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5 most popular free design software for sublimation printing

Are you searching for the best free design software for sublimation printing?

If so, you are in the right place. As you probably know, there are various software options available for making sublimation prints, but most of them are either paid or don’t have all the features.

So, to help you out we have come up with a list of the 5 most popular free designing software that you can use for sublimation printing.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation Printing is a process of printing designs on products like mugs, t-shirts, wood, etc. In this process, ink is sublimated into the surface of the product. We use heat and pressure to print the design on the product.

In the first step of sublimation printing, we have to print our design on a special kind of paper. The ink which is used in the print is turned into gas when we brought it under heat and pressure.

And then, we use heat to transfer it to the product.

To know more about sublimation printing check out this blog: How Sublimation Print Works

Best Best Free Design software for Sublimation Printing

There is a lot of confusion about which software will best help you to design your Sublimation prints—but we’ve done the hard work for you, and found the most popular free design software!

And we’ve gathered our findings into this list of the best free design software for sublimation printing

1. Canva


Canva software for Sublimation Printing


  • Free to use
  • Available for all devices
  • Files Supported


  • Free to use
  • Supported various files
  • Free templates available
  • Available for all devices
  • Easy to learn
  • Collaboration features


  • Some important features (like – design resizing, background removal, effects, etc.) are in the paid version

Canva is one of the best free tools available in the market that you can use in sublimation print designing. It includes various different templates that you can use with a single click and customize as per your needs.

Canva has a huge collection of icons, illustrations, and fonts which makes your design awesome. You can also use the Canva app to design your prints on your phone. Both the app and web version has similar features.

If you are a beginner in designing field then Canva will be the best software for you. You can easily create and edit your design. It supports many different file formats. You can use this tool anywhere at your convenience.

Canva has more than 500 million users who use this tool for designing creatives. To start with Canva you just need to signup to the website and you can start creating your designs.

It has a collaborative feature which means you can invite your teammate and friends to your project and then they can help you with your design

2. Photopea


Photopea software for Sublimation Printing


  • Free to use
  • Available for all devices
  • Files Supported
  • Photoshop alternative


  • Free to use
  • Supported various files
  • Advanced features
  • Pre-sized templates
  • Photoshop alternative
  • Shortcut key similar to photoshop


  • Required stable internet connection
  • Lag in the brush tool

Photopea is a web-based free tool where you can show your design skills. Photopea is the best alternative to photoshop. If you’re a fan of Photoshop then you will love this tool.

It has almost all the features which are available in Photoshop. You can work on layers. It has different tools for selection. Photopea has pre-sized templates which means you can directly use this template for creating banners or social media posts.

You can export and import your files in many different file formats. It is the perfect software for designing sublimation prints with many advanced features. Sometimes you may see a lag while using the brush tool but, you can avoid it if you have a strong internet connection.

If you use many different fonts in your design then you can see a lot of popular fonts are missing from this tool. Overall it is the best tool to create awesome sublimation prints.

Also Check: How to Set visual studio code for Python

3. Inkscape

3. Inkscape

Inkscape-software for Sublimation Printing


  • Free to use
  • Wide range of tools
  • Lots of Resources
  • Advance drawing features


  • Free and open source
  • Supported various files
  • Advanced features
  • Many brush tools
  • Text effects


  • Slightly difficult to learn
  • Slightly difficult to edit and rasterize file

Inkscape is a free and open-source designing tool available for windows, mac, and Linux users. It is a variety of different tools to enhance your design. Inscape is specially used to design vector files like logos, icons, and typography.

It is one of the best free tools for vector file designing. Inkscape supports various file formats to import and export your design. It has a variety of brush tools that you can use in your design.

Inscape may seem difficult to learn, but once you’re familiar with it, you can grow your design to the next level. It has a huge library of pre-made shapes and symbols that you can use in your design.

Inscape has many advanced SVG features like alpha masks, gradients, clipping paths, and transparency. It also has a strong community where you can ask questions related to your designs.



GIMP software for Sublimation Printing


  • Free to use
  • Powerful photo manipulation
  • Many Learning Resources are available
  • Photoshop alternative


  • Free to use
  • Pre-sized templates
  • Photoshop alternative
  • Learning resources available
  • Text Filtres
  • Lots of scripts and plug-ins
  • Icon design elements


  • Brush tool does not work properly
  • Little slow
  • Slightly different UI from Photoshop
  • No mobile app 

GIMP is another free and open-source tool for designing, editing, and photo manipulations. It is also one of the best alternatives to Photoshop. You can use GIMP to design visuals, graphics, and Photo manipulation.

It has a pre-sized template which means you don’t need to manually type in the size of your design when creating banners or other social media posts. GIMP comes with a variety of different plugins and scripts that enhance its features.

Additionally, you will receive constant updates from the GIMP that increase its functionality. It is an excellent tool for beginners who want to work on complex designs or create advanced projects.

There are many tutorials available online that will help you learn how to use the software.

Also Check: Best Video conferencing software for music lessons

5. Krita


krita software for Sublimation Printing


  • Free to use
  • Available for all devices
  • Files Supported
  • Photoshop alternative


  • Free to use
  • Extensive range of customizable brushes
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Layer management features


  • Not supported vector graphics
  • text system is not great a

Krita is a free, open-source digital painting and illustration software for digital artists and designers. It has a wide range of customizable brushes and tools, layer management features, and animation capabilities.

Krita is a great choice for amateur digital artists who are looking for a free and intuitive program to help them get started with digital art. Krita has a freehand brush tool that allows artists to customize the appearance of their brushes and add effects using a drag-and-mass interface.

It has a very user-friendly interface which allows the beginner to easily start their journey with this software. You can easily customize the interface as per your needs.

Krita also has a library that has a variety of different brushes and textures that you can download.

Which printing method is better, sublimation printing or screen printing

Both these methods are good for printing designs. But moreover, it depends upon which material you want to print your design.

The sublimation printing method is mostly suited for printing on materials like – polyester blends, polymer-coated fabrics, ceramics, and metals. Where heat is used to transfer dye onto a material. It is mostly used in the printing of personalized gifts and custom clothing. whereas,

The screen printing method is suitable for printing designs on materials like – cotton blends, metals, paper, etc. The screen printing method is also known as silk printing, here we use stencil ink to print our designs on materials. It is a traditional printing method that is most suitable for printing simple designs in bold colors.

For more details refer to this blogSublimation vs Screen Printing which is better?

What kind of paper works best for sublimation printing, and why?

Polyester and polymer-coated paper work best for sublimation printing because these materials have a special coating that allows sublimation ink to be absorbed by the fibers of these materials.

with the use of these kinds of papers, you will get vibrant, high-quality, and long-lasting prints. It is not recommended to use plain or glossy paper in sublimation because these papers do not have any special kind of coating to absorb the sublimation ink.

How to get free sublimation designs?

There are many ways by which you can get free sublimation designs for your prints. But it is important to note that Not all the designs that you find on the internet are legal, You have to check its terms of use for licensing agreement before using any design in your project.

1. Using free design websites: There are a variety of websites from where you can get high-quality sublimation designs. Some examples of these kinds of websites are – Freepik, Unsplash, Pixabay, etc.

2. Joining designing groups on social media: There are many social media groups dedicated to designers that you can join and use the work that designers share there.

3. Create your own designs: It is the best way, if you have some basic knowledge of design then, you can use tools like Canva where you can easily design your prints by just simple drag and drop.

Why are my sublimation images blurry?

There are many reasons why your sublimation images are blurry :

Using Low-resolution images: Sublimation printing requires high-quality and sharp images to get a better result. If you are using low-resolution images then your print might be blurry.

Paper quality transfer paper: If you are using poor quality transfer paper then it can cause the ink to spread and result in a blurry image.

Incorrect temperature & time setting: Sublimation printing requires a specific time and temperature setting to transfer the design to the material. If these are not correct then there are chances that you will get a blurry image.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does sublimation printing work on all fabric materials?

No, sublimation printing does not work on all fabric materials.

Can you use any type of paper for sublimation printing?

No, you cannot use any type of paper for sublimation printing

Is JPG or PNG better for sublimation?

PNG will work better for sublimation printing

What is the best resolution for sublimation?

The best resolution for sublimation is 300 dpi

can sublimation printing be done on cotton

No, sublimation printing cannot be done in cotton.


I hope that I made the process of finding the best design software for you a little easier. Now you can easily choose the software for Sublimation Print designs Hopefully, this guide has helped you find a company that won’t let you down!

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