An empty aluminum can representing the query: sublimation on aluminum or sublimate on aluminum. And can you sublimate on aluminum?

Sublimation on Aluminum: (Latest Easy Guide 2023)

Sublimation on aluminum is possible, but it happens less often than on materials like dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) or ink. In this process, heat and pressure transfer dye onto an aluminium product’s surface.

This creates designs that won’t fade or wear off, even after a lot of use. Nameplates, signs, custom phone cases, photo panels, keychains, ornaments, awards and trophies, and metal prints are all popular items that can be made with sublimation.

Sublimation on aluminum is a fast and cheap way to make personalized items that are sure to impress. So let’s explore everything you need to know about sublimation on aluminum.


Is Dye sublimation on aluminum possible?

Dye sublimation on aluminum is possible and it is one of the best methods to sublimate on aluminum. Dye sublimation is a way to print on materials like aluminium that uses heat and pressure to transfer dye to the material’s surface.


1) Hybrid Sublimation:  One way is called “hybrid sublimation”combining the traditional dye sublimation process with an ink that can be dried with UV light. With this method, you can print on aluminium and then cure the ink with UV light to make it last longer and not fade.


2) Direct-to-metal printing: It uses a special kind of ink that sticks right to the surface of the aluminium, so you don’t need transfer paper or a heat press. This method is also called “printing without dye-sublimation.”


I included these methods just for information purposes because these other ways are less popular or used as much as traditional dye sublimation on aluminum, and they may be less familiar.

Also, these methods may need special tools, inks, and processes different from traditional dye sublimation on aluminum. That’s why I recommend only sticking with the primary method.


Related: Can you Sublimate on Stainless Steel?


Is it necessary to apply a coating to sublimate on aluminum?

Yes, a special coating has to be put on the surface of the aluminium before you can sublimate on aluminum. This coating is called a “sublimation coating” or “sublimation transfer coating.”

The coating is put on the surface of the aluminium to let the sublimation ink soak in and stick to the metal. This coating is necessary for the sublimation ink to stick to the aluminium surface properly, so the final print might not stick or be of poor quality. The coating can be put on with a spray or a roller.


Required Equipment:

  • Sublimation Ink
  • Sublimation coating
  • Sublimation Transfer Paper
  • Heat press
  • Aluminum product
  • Surface preparation materials
  • Post-processing materials


Also Read: Sublimation Onto Metal: Best Guide (2023)


How to sublimate on aluminum? (Step-by-Step Guide)

A simpsons exotic soda aluminum can on the floor. Representing the query : Sublimation on aluminum or sublimate on aluminum and Is dye sublimation on aluminum possible ?


This guide will take you through the process to ensure you can achieve a high-quality print by sublimation aluminium.


Step 1: Gather your materials

To begin, you’ll need to get together everything you’ll need. This includes sublimation ink, transfer paper, a heat press, an aluminium product, and other tools or equipment needed.

Make sure the sublimation ink you choose is made to work with aluminium when you buy it. This is important because aluminium needs a higher temperature and more pressure than other surfaces to sublimate the ink correctly.


Step 2: Prepare the aluminum surface.

Before starting, you should ensure that the aluminium item’s surface is clean and free of any oils or dirt. Also, remember to apply a sublimation coating on the product surface and let it dry completely.

If the aluminum is already coated, then you’re good to go. Clean the surface with mild detergent and warm water to make this happen. Once the surface is clean, you can use sandpaper or a unique solution to make it rougher so the dye will stick better.


Step 3: Print your design

Next, you will need a sublimation printer to print your design on the sublimation transfer paper. Make sure that you use sublimation ink that is made to work with aluminium. It’s also important to remember that your printer’s resolution and the transfer paper’s quality will affect your print’s quality.

Make sure to print your design backwards when you do so. This is because the dye sublimation process involves moving the ink from the paper to the aluminium. The final print will be backward if your design is not printed in a mirror image.


Step 4: Place the transfer paper on the aluminum

Once your design is printed, carefully place the printed transfer paper on the aluminium product, ensuring everything is lined up right. Use tape that can handle high temperatures to stick the transfer paper to the aluminium.

Make sure the transfer paper is appropriately lined up on the aluminium. This will prevent any misalignment during the heat press process, which could cause the final print to be smudged or blurry.


Also Read:  Can you Sublimate on Canvas bags? Easy Guide (2023)


Step 5: Heat press the design

Now it’s time to use the heat press to heat and press the transfer paper and aluminium. Because of the heat and pressure, the dye will sublimate on aluminum’s surface. The type of aluminium and transfer paper you use will tell you how to set the temperature and pressure.

For sublimation aluminium, the best temperature is between 385 and 400F, and the best pressure is around 60 psi. It’s important to remember that the heat press process will take a different amount of time depending on how thick the aluminium product is and what kind of heat press you are using.


Step 6: Remove the transfer paper

Once the heat press cycle is over, carefully peel the transfer paper off the aluminium product. It’s important to remember that the aluminium will be hot to the touch, so use heat-resistant gloves or tongs to handle it.

Be careful when you take off the transfer paper because any rough movement can make the final print smudge or blur.


Step 7: Finalize

Let the aluminium item cool down all the way before touching it. Once the print has cooled, check it for any smudges or blurs. If there are problems, you may have to do the process again. If the print looks good, you can use the aluminium item however you want.

It’s important to remember that a clear protective coating will make the final print more durable and less likely to fade.


Check this Simple Tutorial:




Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What are the advantages of sublimation on aluminum?

Sublimation on aluminum provides a durable, long-lasting, and vibrant print that won’t fade or peel. It also allows for full-colour printing and the ability to print high-resolution images and graphics.


Q: What types of aluminum products can be used to sublimation?

Everyday aluminum products used for sublimation include keychains, phone cases, license plates, dog tags, and many more.


Q: Is there any special preparation required before sublimation on aluminum?

Yes, the aluminum surface must be specially coated to properly accept the sublimation ink. This coating can be applied with a spray or roller, and following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential for the best results.


Q: Can I do sublimation on aluminum at home?

Yes, it is possible to print sublimation aluminium at home with the right equipment and materials. However, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the process and to follow proper safety guidelines to avoid any accidents or damage to your equipment. Additionally, it is essential to have a suitable sublimation coating, transfer paper and ink, and a heat press to properly execute the process.



In conclusion, sublimation on aluminum is a fantastic way to create beautiful, long-lasting products that are sure to impress. The process is straightforward, and with the right equipment, you can achieve professional-quality results from the comfort of your home. Just remember to properly prepare the aluminum surface with a special coating and use high-quality sublimation ink, transfer paper and a heat press to get the best results.

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