Do you want to do sublimation on acrylic but don’t know how? This guide includes super easy steps for sublimating on acrylic. Keep reading!
Sublimation is a great technique to customize products. With sublimation printing, you can print on glass, fabric, leather, mugs, etc. But can you sublimate on acrylic? Yes, you can easily do this.
Acrylic is one of the best dye sublimation blanks because it’s transparent, and its final result looks stunning. However, sublimating on an acrylic surface is a little more complicated than other blanks.
So, how to sublimate on acrylic? Very easy; below, I have discussed super simple steps to do sublimation onto acrylic, including acrylic keychains and acrylic blocks.
Just read all the steps, and you will be sublimating on acrylic like a pro in no time!
What Is Sublimation And How It Works
Sublimation is a printing technique that transfers prints on substrates using high heat. In sublimation printing, a sublimation printer(filled with sublimation inks) prints the image on the sublimation paper.
The image is then placed on top of the blank, which is heated at high temperatures by a heat transfer like a heat press.
During the dye sublimation process, the inks turn into gases and are absorbed into the substrate’s pores. As the substrate cools, the inks solidify, and the image becomes permanent.
Advantages Of Sublimation
- Sublimation prints are very durable and last a long time.
- Sublimation prints are very bright and vibrant.
- After sublimation, the image becomes a part of the fabric and won’t fade over time.
- Sublimation is a very cost-effective printing process.
Disadvantages Of Sublimation
- Sublimation only works on polyester blanks.
- Sublimation can’t print in white color.
If you want to print in white color, you have to use HTV printing methods. Check out the difference between heat transfer vinyl and sublimation.
What Is Acrylic And Types Of Acrylic Sublimation Blanks
What Is Acrylic
Acrylic is a transparent plastic that is used as a glass. It is less fragile than glass. Acrylic can be cut, molded, and shaped, into many different forms.
It is often used to make picture frames, aquariums, and other household items.
Acrylic comes in two types, cast acrylic, and extruded acrylic. Cast acrylic is usually used in sublimation and is more durable than extruded acrylic.
Types Of Acrylic That You Can Sublimate
There are many acrylic sublimation blanks and ornaments. Some of them are
- Acrylic keychains or keyrings.
- Acrylic blocks.
- Acrylic pin badges.
- Acrylic sign holders.
- Acrylic sheets.
- Acrylic earrings.
- Acrylic key tags.
Things You Require To Do Acrylic Sublimation
Before moving to the step-by-step process, let’s discuss the things you’ll need to do acrylic sublimation.
1: Sublimation Printer
Firstly, you’ll need a sublimation printer filled with sublimation inks. Sublimation and inkjet are two different printers.
You can’t use an inkjet printer for sublimation, but you can convert your inkjet and sublimation printer.
Check out these best sublimation printers if you’re planning to buy a new one.
2: Sublimation Paper
Secondly, you’ll need a sublimation paper. Sublimation printer prints the image on sublimation paper. You have to use the best sublimation paper to get bright results.
A-Sub sublimation papers are the best you can use. I recommend using A sub 120g sublimation paper.
3: Acrylic Sublimation Blank
Thirdly, you’ll need acrylic sublimation blanks. There are a lot of acrylic blanks I discussed above.
They are readily available on Amazon and Etsy. You can get any of them.
4: Heat-Resistant Tapes
Fourthly, you’ll need heat-resistant tapes to avoid movements during sublimation pressing. Movements during sublimation create two copies and ruin the entire process.
So always use heat-resistant tapes to prevent unnecessary movements.
5: Heat Press/Easy Press
Lastly, you’ll need a heat source like a Heat press or Easy press to transfer the print on the blank(acrylic).
Step-by-Step Process Of Sublimation On Acrylic Keychain
Let’s dive into the step-by-step guide to the sublimation process on acrylic. First, I will discuss sublimation steps on acrylic keychains and acrylic blocks.
The overall process is very straightforward. Just read all the steps, and you’ll get the most acceptable results.
Step #1 [Image Printing On Sublimation Paper]
Let’s start by printing the image on the sublimation paper. Follow the steps outlined below.
1- Measure the dimensions of the keychain with the measuring instrument.
2- Open a graphic design software like CorelDRAW or Illustrator and import the image on it.
3- Set the dimensions of the image according to the keychain size. Check the size template below.
4- Don’t mirror the image if you’re printing on a transparent background. Just mirror the image when you’re printing on an opaque background.
5- Check all the print properties and print the image. Make sure to print in high quality.
Step #2 [Sublimating On Acrylic Keychain]
Now you have printed the image, let’s transfer it to acrylic. Follow the instructions below.
1- Take the acrylic blank, align the image over it and fix it with heat tapes.
2- Turn on the heat press and set its temperature to the blank seller guidelines. If you don’t have blank seller guidelines, set the heat press temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
3- In the heat press, place the butcher paper first, then the acrylic(image side facing up), and another butcher paper over the top.
4- Press for 60 seconds using medium pressure.
5- After pressing, take the acrylic out and put something heavy on that for a minute.
6- Then remove the sublimation paper by eliminating the heat tapes. The sublimation paper won’t come out easily; you must soak the acrylic in water and then rub the image with a sponge or something.
7- And after that, you’ll have the sublimated acrylic. The acrylic was looking good but I apply a glitter layer on the back of the acrylic to give it a more eye-catching look.
Step-by-Step Guide Of Sublimation Printing On Acrylic Block
Let’s discuss acrylic block sublimation. Acrylic blocks are clear acrylic blanks. The sublimation result on acrylic blocks looks so good.
Believe me; you will be shocked after watching the final product.
- Sublimation printer
- Sublimation paper
- Sublimation acrylic block
- 2mm heat conductive pads
- Heat-resistant tapes
- Heat press
Step #1 [Image Printing On Sublimation Paper]
This step is the same as the sublimation on acrylic keychains; that’s why I am not discussing it in detail. Follow the steps below.
1- Measure the length and width of the acrylic block.
2- Open the graphics software and transform the image according to the block size.
3- Don’t mirror the image.
4- Print the image in high quality.
Step #2 [Sublimation Printing On Acrylic Block]
Now let’s sublimate on an acrylic block. Again follow the steps below.
1- Take the acrylic block, align the image, and fix it with heat tapes.
2- Turn on the heat press and set its temperature to 200 degrees Celsius.
3- In the heat press, place the butcher paper, the acrylic block(image side), conductive heat pads, and another butcher paper over the top.
After all, press for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
4- And that’s all; you will have your sublimated acrylic block. You can see how bright it is. See these tips to make sublimation brighter.
How To Care For Sublimated Acrylics.
To maintain the highest quality sublimation, it is essential to properly care for your sublimated acrylics. Follow these simple tips, and your sublimated product will last for years!
- Avoid cleaning with harsh chemicals or abrasives. Instead, gently wipe with a soft, damp cloth.
- Do not place it in direct sunlight or near extreme heat sources, as this may cause fading.
- Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight when not in use.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
What are some common uses for sublimated acrylics?
Sublimated acrylics are commonly used for indoor signage, point-of-purchase displays, awards and trophies, desk nameplates, and much more.
Any application that traditionally uses a printed vinyl graphic can benefit from the durability and high-quality look of sublimation.
Are there any special considerations when printing on acrylic?
Acrylic can vary in thickness just like any other substrate. Still, it is important to remember that thicker sheets will require longer heating times to ensure that the design is properly transferred onto the substrate.
Additionally, because acrylic can come in different tints (such as clear or frosted), it’s important to consider this when choosing your design so that it will show up properly on the finished product.
Sublimation on acrylic time and temp.
Acrylics are of different types; therefore, the time and temperature to sublimate on acrylic are not the same. You have to follow the blank seller guidelines. However, the ideal temperature and time are 400 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 seconds, respectively.
There you go. You have now learned simple and easy steps to do sublimation on acrylic. Sublimating on acrylic is very easy. It doesn’t require any rocket science.
There are just two steps, follow them, and you’ll get perfect results. Now it’s time for your first project of acrylic sublimation.
Experiment with multiple designs like typography, logo, natural scene, etc. You can gift it to someone or sell it, even use it for decoration purposes.
If you face issues while sublimating on acrylic, comment below or contact PrinterTip or Tweet @printertip.
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