Black Sublimation Ink Looks Brown | ISSUE SOLVED 2024

Sublimation is a digital printing process that involves heat to transfer images onto materials such as fabrics and ceramics. One of the most popular sublimation materials is polyester fabric, which is often used to make sports jerseys, flags, and other items. Black sublimation ink is one of the most commonly used colors in sublimation printing, but it can sometimes appear brown instead of black. You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered why your black sublimation ink looks brown.

Many people have noticed that their black sublimation ink often looks more like a dark brown or coffee color. There are a few reasons why this happens, and we’ll explore them all in this article. So read on to find out more about why your black sublimation ink looks brown.

Why is my black sublimation ink printing brown

First, it’s imperative to understand that sublimation inks are not the same as regular printing inks. They are specifically formulated to work with the special sublimation paper and transfer onto polyester fabrics. So you can’t really compare them to regular ink colors. When printing with black sublimation ink, it’s not uncommon for the ink to print out brown instead of black. There are a few reasons why this may happen:

  • Black sublimation ink may appear brown when it is first printed onto a substrate. However, this is not because the ink is defective. The brown color is actually due to the fact that black sublimation ink is transparent. When it is printed onto a white substrate, the white background will cause the black ink to appear brown.
  • One possibility is that the black ink has been diluted with water. When this happens, the ink doesn’t have the same intensity, which can result in a brown color when printed.
  • Another reason could be that the transfer paper isn’t completely flat. If there are any wrinkles or creases in the paper, this can cause the ink to spread out and appear lighter in color.
  • Lastly, if the heat transfer temperature or pressure settings are not correct, this can also affect the color of the ink. For example, if the temperature is set too low, the ink won’t fully transfer onto the substrate and will appear faded.

Some More Reasons: Why black sublimation ink may look brown

Black Sublimation Ink Looks Brown

Black is one of the most popular colors when it comes to sublimation ink. However, sometimes black sublimation ink can look brown. Following are a few reasons why this may happen.

Substrate color

One reason is the type of substrate or material, you are printing on. If you are printing on a light-colored substrate, such as white or pastel-colored fabric, the ink will appear darker and more saturated. On dark-colored substrates, the ink will appear lighter and less saturated. This is due to the contrast between the substrate color and the ink color.

Another reason why your black sublimation ink may look brown is because of the type of paper you are using. Coated papers tend to produce darker and more saturated colors, while uncoated papers produce lighter and less saturated colors.

Incorrect ICC profile

An ICC profile is a file that tells your printer how to print colors. If you’re using an incorrect ICC profile, your black sublimation ink may look brown.

There are a few reasons why this might happen:

  • You’re using the wrong ICC profile for your printer model. Make sure you’re using the correct ICC profile for your printer.
  • The ICC profile you’re using is corrupted or damaged. Try downloading a new ICC profile from your printer manufacturer’s website.
  • Your printer settings are incorrect. Check your printer settings to make sure they’re set up correctly for sublimation printing.

Ink expiration date

Your black sublimation ink may look brown for a number of reasons, but one common reason is that the ink has expired. Sublimation inks have a shelf life of around 12 months, so if your ink is more than a year old, it may be time to replace it. If you’re not sure when you bought your ink, check the expiration date on the bottle. If the date has passed, it’s probably time for some fresh ink.

Poor quality paper

There are several reasons why your black sublimation ink might look brown. One reason is that the quality of the paper you’re using is poor. If the paper is absorbent, it will cause the ink to spread and become lighter in color. Another reason could be that your printer settings are not optimized for sublimation printing. Make sure you’re using the right type of paper and that your printer settings are correct before you start printing.


In conclusion, black sublimation ink looks brown because of the chemical reaction that occurs when the ink is heated. This is why it is so crucial to use high-quality sublimation ink when printing black and white images. If you are using sublimation paper, choose one that is made specifically for this purpose. If you’re printing on a lower quality ink or paper, the browning effect may be more noticeable. 

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