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Blowout Paper for Sublimation Printing: Best Options To Use

Sublimation printing is the process of using special sublimation ink to print a design on sublimation transfer paper.

You then use a heat press on the transfer paper to set the design into a material that is made from polyester fabric or covered with a poly-coating.

The heat from the heat press causes the sublimation ink to turn into a vapor and become embedded in the material.

What is blowout paper?

Blowout paper is used during the sublimation process to keep the heated sublimation ink from getting on the heat press or ghosting or double printing on your substrate. It functions as a protective sheet to keep the heated ink from getting anywhere you don’t want it.

This article details the best blowout paper options for sublimation as well as what to avoid when looking for a good blowout paper.

I’ll also describe the step-by-step process of using blowout paper during sublimation printing.

Blowout Paper for Sublimation

Blowout paper is a protective paper used during sublimation printing.

You can use it to protect the material you are printing on, as well as your heat press, from any wayward heated sublimation ink. 

Purpose of Blowout Paper

Blowout paper is used to keep your materials safe from excess ink.

It can be used to prevent ghosting, which is when the transfer paper shifts during the printing process or the surface of the heat press is sullied with residual ink, resulting in a blurred or double print.

Blowout Paper Requirements

A good blowout paper should be absorbent. It should also be uncoated, clean, and able to withstand high temperatures.

Choosing a 40 lb. or higher paper weight will help to ensure the durability of the blowout paper. 

Best Type of Paper To Use for Blowout Paper

Standard white, unwaxed butcher paper is the best kind of paper to use for blowout paper. It can come in larger sizes, which is helpful when you are sublimation printing on a larger item. 

White Butcher Kraft Paper is a great option for blowout paper as it comes in a 175-foot roll, giving you an ample amount of paper that will last through many sublimation prints.

It is a cost-effective option that can also be used for crafts, such as drawing and painting, as well as protecting your table or floor during art projects.

It is designed for use in meat processing, so you can be sure of its moisture-absorbing properties.

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Other Blowout Paper Options

You can use regular white copy paper or craft paper to protect your substrate and heating press from excess ink.

Packing paper can easily be found at Walmart and similar stores and can be used as blowout paper. 

You can also find protective paper made of 100% silicone online or at craft stores. This silicone protective paper is specially designed for use with sublimation printing.

Silicone protective paper is placed above and below the item you are printing on, sandwiching the item and protecting your heat plate and surface mat from sublimation ink.

It is heat resistant and reusable, but it is not as cost-effective as butcher paper. 

The important thing is to make sure that you are using clean paper and that if it’s not silicone protective paper, you are only using it once per print.

What Not To Use as Blowout Paper

While Teflon paper is often used in Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), Teflon paper retains moisture and is not a good choice for blowout paper.

Parchment paper contains silicone and will not absorb moisture, making it a poor option for blowout paper.

You also want to avoid using wax and freezer paper, as they are not designed to resist heat or absorb moisture.

How To Use Blowout Paper for Sublimation Printing

Using blowout paper is a simple and easy way to keep surplus ink from ruining your sublimation print.

1. Create Your Design

Use design software to create your desired image. Be sure to flip, or mirror, the image if you are using words or if the image is directional. 

2. Print Your Design

Print your design using either a specialty sublimation printer or a converted printer that uses Piezo technology on sublimation transfer paper.

Be sure to use sublimation ink for the printing process.

The print may come out looking faded but don’t worry, that is normal. The colors should become brighter once they come in contact with heat. 

3. Set Up Your Blowout Paper

If the substrate you are printing on has a protective film, be sure to peel that off first. Then place one piece of blowout paper on top of the substrate and one piece underneath it.

If you’re printing on fabric, you can put a sheet of blowout paper between the layers of the fabric to keep the ink from getting on the bottom layer.

4. Apply the Heat Press

Set your heat press at 400℉, and press it down on your substrate. The time that you press it will vary depending on what you are printing on.

Related Questions: 

Can Blowout Paper Be Used Again?

Unless you’re using silicone protective paper, blowout paper should only be used once as once the stray ink from the previous project gets reheated, it can get on the current project and ruin your design.

If you’re environmentally minded and looking for a way to reuse blowout paper, you can use it for kids’ crafts that don’t involve heat, or use it to protect tables or floors during art projects.

You can also shred used blowout paper and use it as packing material. 

Can You Use Brown Kraft Paper for Sublimation?

You can use brown kraft paper for blowout paper. Kraft paper and butcher paper are made of the same materials, but they have received different finishing treatments.

Butcher paper is designed to be food grade and tolerate moisture, while kraft paper is less absorbent.
If you are using kraft paper as blowout paper during the sublimation printing process, you will want to make sure it’s not coated.

Check to see if either side of the kraft paper is shiny or feels smooth. If the kraft paper is uncoated, you should be able to easily write on both sides of the paper with a pencil. 


Blowout paper is an important part of the sublimation printing process as it protects both your heat press and your substrate from heated ink.

White, uncoated butcher paper is the best product to use for blowout paper, as it is more cost-effective than copy paper and can be used on larger areas. 

When you are using blowout paper, it’s a good idea to use a larger size paper than the object that you are printing on.

Butcher paper comes in large rolls, making it ideal for your sublimation printing needs.

You can also use copy paper, kraft paper, or silicone paper that is specifically made for use with sublimation printing. 

Unless you are using silicone paper, blowout paper should not be reused for sublimation printing, as the heat will reactivate the ink from the previous project.

Used blowout paper can be reused in crafts that don’t involve high heat. 

image showing a man crafting a piece of pottery on a pottery wheel - header graphic for the hobby ideas post on gigworker.com
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