Acrylic is a great surface for sublimation. It’s durable, easy to clean and scratch resistant. Do you want to put something on the top of your acrylic? Maybe it’s a memory of your loved one, or maybe it’s a logo. You have this idea, but it needs some kind of platform. Will sublimation on acrylic work?
To sublimate on acrylic as a beginner, you need to select an acrylic sheet designed for sublimation, design your artwork in software, and print it using sublimation ink on transfer paper. Then, use a heat press, heat gun or Iron to transfer the ink onto the acrylic sheet. Proper temperature and pressure settings are crucial for a successful transfer. After the transfer, peel off the transfer paper, and you will have a colourful and durable design on the acrylic.
There are a lot of factors to consider when sublimating on acrylic glass. This blog post will cover everything you need to know about sublimating on acrylics, it will also give you tips to help you get the best results.
You can sublimate on acrylic and I’m going to show you how. There are a few things to consider when sublimating your acrylic. First, make sure that the acrylic is clean and free of any oil or dust. Also, when choosing your artwork, make sure that it is designed for sublimation printing and not just for screen printing.
What Will You Need For Acrylic Sublimation?
Acrylic is a great material for sublimation. it’s durable, easy to care for and relatively inexpensive. Here are some of the things you’ll need to get started with this process:
Right off the bat- printer machine, sublimation Ink and a paper. Let me start with the Printer Sublimation ink( Hiipoo 440ML Sublimation Ink is the best on the market right now). The work of the ink is specially formulated to be permanently fused into the surface that it’s printed on. So, you will need a paper that is made specifically for use with inks and sublimation paper.(I recommend Stratford Brands Sublimation Paper 11×17 inches 110 Sheets Ultra Premium 125G, it works well with wide array of dye sublimation blank products).
Next, the important part of your sublimation is a quality printer. You need one as it’s what allows you to print on just about any acrylic surface. The Epson EcoTank ET-2720 Wireless Color All-in-One Supertank Printer is perfect for this( it can be used on any surfaces including cotton, mugs, T-shirts etc
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The second thing you will need for acrylic sublimation is a design software(very important unless you are going to manually craft your own designs). The design software needs to be compatible with your heat press and the type of vinyl you use. If you’re using a standard heat press, then most any program should work fine such as Canva, CorelDraw or adobe Illustrator.. You’ll still want to check with your manufacturer or dealer in case there are special requirements.
3.Heat Press Machine
The third thing you need for acrylic sublimation is a heat press machine. A heat machine comes in many different sizes and styles, so it’s important that you get one that fits your needs both now and in the future as well as fits within your budget. The CREWORKS Heat Press Machine is by far one of the best we have in the market, this heat machine provides a whooping 1400W of heating power to make your design come to life. Keep in mind that most companies offer financing options that allow you to pay over time at low interest rates so that it’s easier to fit into your budget without having to pay full price up front all at once( Which is a win).
4.Vinyl ( Optional)
You don’t really need vinyl if you already have acrylic blank sheets. However, some people still prefer vinyl. Just make sure it is good quality. It should feel slightly thicker , but not as thick as a car decal. Also, make sure it is compatible with your sublimation printer. Buying a sample pack of different colors will help you decide which vinyl works best for your needs. Lya Vinyl 65 Pack Permanent Vinyl has some cool colours to choose from so check them out.
5.Butcher Paper and Heat Tape
Butcher paper acts as a backing for your design before it goes through the heat press machine. It protects your acrylic blanks/garment from getting damaged or ruined by any ink splatter during the printing process. The heat tape helps keep the design pressed down onto the paper while being heated up in the press machine. You can find both items at any office supply store or online. My best is the MyJOR Heat Tape. This tape is a polyester film that will make your work more efficient. It is also easy to peel off.
6.Acrylic Blanks( Surface)
You can use just about any acrylic blank surface for this application, though some are more suitable than others depending on what purpose you have in mind for them. For example, if you want a piece that can be used as a display stand or trophy case, then a thick piece of acrylic sheet would work best. If you want something that can hold up against wear and tear but still look good
Ways for Sublimation on Acrylic
Sublimation can be used to create signs, decals and other images on acrylics. The process works by heating up the ink so that it turns into gas and then transfers onto the material. There are several ways to sublimate on acrylic:
1.Heat Press Machine
This is the most common method used by DIYers to sublimate. This machine uses heat to transfer the image onto the acrylic by using heat pressure to push down on the material so that it can transfer ink from underneath onto the top layer of material. Pressing it down will also help prevent any bubbles from forming during transfer.
A heat gun can also be used to sublimate images onto acrylics . You’ll need to place your design on top of your acrylic and then use a heat gun to melt your ink onto it by passing over it with your gun for about three seconds at a time . The SEEKONE Heat Gun 1800W Heavy Duty Hot Air Gun Kit does this job quiet well, it has a built-in temperature control so that you do not damage your designs wit excess heat.
If you don’t have access to a heat press machine or if you want to try something new, then consider using a Sublimator instead! This device uses electricity instead of pressure and works best with smaller pieces like keychains or name tags sized at 3×3 inches or less
How to Sublimate on Acrylic: Step- to- Step Guide
Acrylic is an excellent material for sublimation. Foe this guide , you can use a heat press or an Iron.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Clean Your Surface: Before applying your design, it’s important to clean the surface of your acrylic ornament thoroughly with soap and water or rubbing alcohol (isopropyl). Any dirt or dust will prevent your design from adhering properly.
- Create your Design: Create your design using a sublimation printer and print it.
- Apply Your Design: Place the design face down onto your acrylic blank or vinyl so that the adhesive side of sticks to the clean surface of your ornament. Press firmly so that it sticks well and doesn’t move around.
- Heat Press Machine Method: Set up your heat press machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place your design face down onto the top of your acrylic blank sheet in between two pieces of thin cardboard or butcher paper to prevent damage to your machine if any adhesive gets on it.
- Iron Method: If you are using Iron method. Simply place your cut out design face down onto the top of your acrylic blank. Iron firmly so that it sticks, You should repeat this method repetitively so it your design is sublimated.
- Once your design is firmly stuck down, remove any extra glue around the edges with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Allow your design to dry for a few hours before using it
Sublimation on Acrylic Keychains
- Use a heat press machine to sublimate your images on acrylic keychains.
- Cut the acrylic into the shape you want, then sand the edges so they are smooth and rounded.
- Place a piece of transfer paper on top of the image you want to transfer, then place it face down on the acrylic keychain.
- Lay the heat press machine on top of it and turn it on for about 8-10 seconds. The longer you press for, the stronger the image will be once it cools down.
Sublimation on Acrylic Ornaments
If you are looking for a way to customize your acrylic ornaments, sublimation is an excellent choice. This process uses heat to transfer the image from a metal plate onto the object. It is permanent and durable.
There are many ways to sublimate on acrylic ornaments. You can use a heat press machine or even a household iron if that’s all you have access to. If you’re planning on doing this yourself, here are some steps to follow:
- Wash your acrylic with soap and water to remove any oils or waxes that may be present. The easiest way to do this is in the kitchen sink with hot water and dish soap. Rinse thoroughly after washing.
- Place your image on the acrylic and press firmly on top of it with a piece of paper towel (or something similar). Use masking tape around all four sides of the image to prevent any movement during transfer.
- Heat up your sublimation press using your preferred method (I use an iron, you can also use a heat machine) until it reaches a temperature of 320°F/160°C ( if you use a heat gun, make sure you’re using a heat gun that can go above this temperature range). Also , Make sure you’ve chosen the correct setting for your press! Most presses come with charts that show which settings are used for different materials like stainless steel and aluminum
Step 4. Peel off the paper and reveal your design!
Sublimation on Acrylic Cups
Acrylic cups are a very popular option for sublimation because they are durable and easy to use. The process of sublimating on acrylic cups is similar to sublimating on glassware. The only difference is that you will need a heat press instead of an iron to transfer your design onto the acrylic cup.
- To get started, make sure that your design is ready for printing. We recommend using any SubliMaker software or another free designer to create your artwork( Canva also works just fine)
- Next, you’ll need to decide what color you want your finished product to be. If you want it to be solid white , then you will want to choose an opaque reverse image for your design. If you want it translucent, then choose an image with a transparent background or just leave it blank and let the color show through.
- Once your design is ready, place it onto the acrylic cup .
- Use Heat gun to sublimate the design onto the acrylic cup. Apply for a few seconds untill it fully sticks.
- Now, let it cool and peel off any residue.
Note: Make sure there are no wrinkles in the paper or tape before placing it onto the cup because this could cause warping during heating!
Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric?
Sublimation printing is a great way to decorate your acrylic fabric. You can use it to add a unique pattern or design to you acrylic fabric or even print photos on it. Here’s how to do it:
- Get your acrylic fabric ready. Some fabrics are made for sublimation, but if not then you will have to purchase one that is designed for this process.
- Print out the image that you want onto paper with a laser printer. Make sure that there is enough ink on the paper so that when you put it under heat, the ink will transfer onto the acrylic fabric.
- Now place the paper face down onto your acrylic fabric and iron over it with a steam iron or Heat press it for about 30 seconds at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until all of the ink transfers onto your acrylic fabric .
- Once you have transferred the image onto your acrylic fabric, remove it from heat and cool it off.
Acrylic Sublimation Temperature
The acrylic sublimation temperature is the point at which the paint will begin to burn and distort. This temperature is determined by the type of paint and substrate used, but it’s generally around 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).
How Long Do You Press Sublimation on Acrylic?
10-15 seconds per side is enough for sublimating on acrylic sheet, which should be enough time for the ink to transfer onto your product. When pressing sublimation on acrylic, it’s important to always use a medium to high heat setting, as this will help prevent the material from cracking or warping. However, you don’t want to press for too long either, as this can also cause damage to your design.
What Happens When Acrylic Is Heated?
When acrylic is heated, it will eventually get soft and bend or break. The problem with this is that acrylic can be difficult to work with if it has been heated enough to soften. It can also be dangerous to work with molten acrylic as it will burn skin and clothing.
To avoid this situation, use a heat gun on low heat while applying pressure to the side of the acrylic piece you are working on. If you need to cut acrylic, try using a jigsaw with a metal blade instead of a reciprocating saw. A jigsaw will cut through acrylic much more easily than a reciprocating saw and should not damage your material as much as using a reciprocating saw would do.
Tips for Sublimating on Acrylic
- Make Sure Your Acrylic Is Clean: Acrylics are prone to scratches and dirt build-up if they aren’t properly cleaned. Use warm water and soap, or an alcohol-based cleaner like Windex or 409, followed by a thorough rinse and dry with a microfiber cloth before sublimating.
- Use a Dry Erase Marker Pen to Mark off Any Areas Where You Don’t Want Ink Coverage: This lets you avoid mistakes during the printing process by protecting areas like the edges of frames or the glass of picture frames (which may not be visible after installation).
- Use Sublimating Paper, Which Is Heat Resistant and Made to Withstand High Temperatures: Make sure that it is compatible with your printer and that it doesn’t have any protective coatings on it. The printable side should be smooth without any bumps or edges that could interfere with your print job.
- Make Sure That Your Printer Has a High Enough Resolution (Dpi) Setting So That Your Design Will Be Sharp When Printed Onto the Acrylic Sheet: This is especially important if you want small details like text or fine lines to show up clearly in your design after it has been transferred onto the acrylic surface.
After experimenting with a few different techniques, I learned that sublimation is possible on acrylic. It will definitely leave an imprint and this may be desirable for some looking to make a unique countertop. The key is to find a heat press that gets hot enough to pre-burn the design onto the countertop before pressing.
If your heat method does not reach temperatures of 325 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the design will not transfer well to the acrylic due to its lower heat tolerance. That being said, try it out if you have access to a heat press that reaches this temperature. Give it a go and let us know how it goes!
Sublimation on Acrylic: Your Ultimate Guide
How to sublimate on acrylic. Sublimating on acrylic tutorial.