Butcher Paper for Sublimation Printing | Everything You need to Know (2024)

A wide range of sublimation protective papers are available in the market. The butcher paper for sublimation has many colors, textures, and durability.

The cost-effectiveness is the real factor that makes it ideal for sublimation printing.

A butcher paper can withstand a high-heat environment during sublimation printing. Butcher papers help in distributing heat evenly on the sublimation paper.

It protects the sublimation paper from burning and ensures consistent sublimation design transfer.

Hence, if you want a reasonably priced yet effective blowout paper for sublimation to incorporate into your sublimation printing business, then butcher paper is one that you’ve been searching for!

What is Butcher Paper for Sublimation?

Butcher paper is a protective paper that is placed over the sublimation paper. After pressing with a heat press, it resists heat transfer toward the sublimation papers.

It is made from Kraft pulp, a coarse and unbleached paper material. The butcher paper’s natural brown color comes from the unbleached pulp.

Butcher papers have higher durability, moisture resistance, and versatility. It is the best option for sublimation printing on all fabrics, ceramic, plastic, and wooden substrates.

Other protective sheets, such as parchment paper, Teflon sheets, or silicone pads, are also commonly used depending on the specific materials and equipment.

The Best Butcher Paper for Sublimation Printing

The best butcher paper for sublimation must be thick enough so that the sublimation ink doesn’t pass through. To avoid ink bleeding, the surface must be free from dust particles and grease.

It should withstand high temperatures and the Pressure of a heat press. Two types of butcher paper are available in the market, i.e., Uncoated and Hi-Kote art paper.

As the name suggests, uncoated butcher paper has no external coating. It is pure, natural butcher paper made from unbleached Kraft pulp. So, it can produce the best color reproduction and enhances vibrance on the sublimation blank due to even heat distribution.

The uncoated butcher paper needs protection from wet and humid environments. Otherwise, the results would be less lively and exciting.

Hi-Kote art papers are more expensive than uncoated ones.

The Hi-Kote art paper has a chemical agent on its surface, which improves its smoothness. Due to coated surface, the art paper has resistance against moisture and dust particles.

The ink doesn’t pass through the paper during sublimation printing, resulting in sharp images.

Ultimately, it depends upon your requirements to display the work and choose the right butcher paper.

Can You Use Pink Butcher Paper for Sublimation?

Absolutely! Pink butcher paper is gaining popularity in sublimation printing due to its availability in various sizes and rolls. However, before using it, ensure the surface is free from moisture and dust particles.

Pink butcher paper can withstand sublimation temperatures of 375-400°F. Be cautious not to exceed this temperature range, as doing so may cause discoloration and scorching.

Can I Use Brown Butcher Paper for Sublimation?

The Brown large format sublimation heat protection paper is a recycled fiber to protect the heat press and plate.

Yes, you can, but most experts recommend avoiding it as it stains the sublimation paper and distorts the image.

In addition, you can have better results if you choose a coated brown butcher paper instead of an uncoated brown butcher paper.

You can also place a silicone sheet in between the sublimation paper and brown butcher paper to avoid sublimation ink bleeding.

Do You Need Butcher Paper for Sublimation?

In sublimation printing, the key resources are a sublimation printer, sublimation ink, sublimation paper, heat press, and protective paper.

This protective butcher paper is important, but do you need it? The answer is yes because the butcher paper helps in protecting the sublimation paper and heat press from residue ink particles.

Furthermore, butcher paper prevents the sublimation image from discoloration, scorching, and ink smudging.

Therefore, butcher paper is essential to achieve sharp, high-quality sublimation prints.

What Can I Use Instead of Butcher Paper for Sublimation?

It is challenging to pick the right kind of protective for sublimation printing. Various papers available in the market can fulfill the purpose similar to butcher paper. Here are some of the papers as per following;

Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a highly appealing and viable alternative to traditional butcher paper, having comparable pore structure, surface characteristics, and permeability.

If you possess butcher paper, rest assured that parchment paper can serve as an equally proficient substitute.

Moreover, parchment paper exhibits similar heat resistance and ink absorption qualities, making it an advantageous choice for various applications.

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)

Heat transfer vinyl is a special material that is good at resisting heat. It can absorb ink well and helps prevent the sublimation paper from getting burnt during heat transfer. So, it’s a great option to use as a substitute for butcher paper for making cool designs on fabrics and other items!

When choosing a substitute for butcher paper in your sublimation printing project, the decision is entirely up to you.

You have different options, like parchment paper or heat transfer vinyl, each with unique qualities. So, consider what works best for your sublimation project and go ahead with confidence!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Butcher Paper for Sublimation

Most of the newbies in sublimation printing need to follow the given guidelines and make mistakes, resulting in lower-quality sublimation prints. Here are some of the common mistakes:

Using the Wrong Type of Paper

Butcher paper is made from Kraft pulp, which is a coarse and unbleached paper material. After that, some papers are bleached and coated with chemicals.

So, you have to pick the right kind of butcher according to your sublimation project.

If you choose the wrong paper, like you use brown paper instead of white butcher paper, you will end up with brown stains.

So, if you need clarification on paper selection, you must seek help from your seniors or experts.

Applying uneven Pressure

If you apply high Pressure, then a lot of issues are observed. Applying low Pressure wouldn’t get the right image transfer.

High Pressure can cause distorted-edged and blur images.

Therefore, apply even Pressure with the help of a heat press plate over the project’s top surface so that heat distributes evenly.

Read This: Most Common Sublimation Problems

Tips for Proper Storage and Handling of Butcher Paper

Proper butcher paper storage and handling are essential to maintain its effectiveness during sublimation printing. Here are some useful tips:

Store in a Dry and Cool Environment

To preserve the integrity of the butcher paper, keep it in a dry and cool environment, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Avoid Folding or Creasing

Avoid folding or creasing the butcher paper, as it may impact its ability to lay flat during sublimation.

Use Protective Covers

When not in use, place protective covers over the butcher paper to prevent dust or debris from settling on its surface.

Keep it in a Sealed Container.

Consider storing the butcher paper in a sealed container or resealable bag to protect it from external elements.

Handle with Clean Hands

When handling the butcher paper, ensure your hands are clean and free from ink or contaminants.


Butcher paper proves to be a versatile and cost-effective protective paper for sublimation printing. Its heat resistance, even heat distribution, and protective properties ensure vibrant design transfers. When selecting the ideal butcher paper, consider thickness, surface cleanliness, and heat resistance.

For alternatives, parchment paper and heat transfer vinyl offer compelling options. With proper guidance, butcher paper and its alternatives promise high-quality results on various materials.

May the insights from this guide empower you in your sublimation journey to create remarkable designs that leave an indelible mark on your creations?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size butcher paper for sublimation printing should I use?

The butcher paper should be larger than the sublimation transfer paper and substrate to ensure minimum ink bleeding during sublimation printing.

How long do I need to press the sublimation transfer paper with butcher paper?

The duration of pressing sublimation transfer paper with butcher paper depends upon several factors, including the type of substrate and transfer paper employed and the heat press’s temperature and pressure settings.

Typically, these pressing times may vary between 30 to 60 seconds, contributing to successful and vibrant sublimation prints.

Can Kraft paper be used for sublimation?

Using virgin biodegradable Kraft paper for large-format sublimation as a protective layer. This specialized Kraft paper is ideal for sublimation transfers, providing a barrier between the sublimation transfer paper and the printed apparel.

It helps prevent any sublimated image from transferring onto the heat press bed and platen. This ensures your heat press remains clean and free from residual ink, avoiding any potential smudging or damage to future prints.

What color butcher paper for sublimation?

White Butcher Paper

White Butcher Paper for Sublimation – 18 Inch x 175 Feet (2100 Inch) – Unwaxed and Uncoated – Made in USA is the best choice for sublimation printing projects.

Is butcher paper reusable for sublimation printing?

Butcher paper can be reused for sublimation printing; however, Once the sublimation transfer process is complete, the butcher paper absorbs the ink and becomes saturated with the transferred image. Reusing butcher paper can lead to unwanted ink transfer or smudging in subsequent prints and might compromise the overall print quality.

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