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Sublimation onto Metal: (Step-by-Step Guide)

Sublimation onto metal is a state-of-the-art printing method that has attracted the attention of industry leaders in design, manufacturing, and the arts.

This cutting-edge method of infusing dye into the surface of metal goods yields vivid, long-lasting, and wear-resistant final products.

Sublimation has enabled new forms of expression on metal, from personalized name plates to eye-catching trophies.

Sublimation onto metal is increasingly becoming the go-to solution for people who expect the best because of its striking combination of color, clarity, and longevity.

But the process of Sublimation onto metal itself could be tricky for beginners. That’s why we will discuss the process and some considerations to remember before Sublimation.


What type of Metal products can be sublimated?

Sublimation is a method of transferring dye into the surface of the metal using heat and pressure. It can be applied to a wide variety of metal goods. Examples of popular metal goods that can be sublimated include:

  1. Badges with a person’s name or company emblem are a common form of identification in many fields.
  2. Plaques, trophies, and medals are some of the custom rewards that may be made with sublimation printing.
  3. Custom signs, such as those for businesses, directions, or safety, can be printed using sublimation technology.
  4. Personalized metal keychains, lapel pins, and other promotional products can be sublimated for an upscale look and feel.
  5. Metal wall art, photo frames, and other home decor objects can have sublimated patterns added to them.
  6. License plates and valve covers are two examples of car accessories that can be sublimated.
  7. Cups, thermoses, and cutting boards are some kitchen objects that could benefit from having a bespoke pattern sublimated into them.

Several metal things can be sublimated, but the ones I mentioned are common because you can easily get these products from Amazon, Walmart or other platforms.


Is Sublimation onto metal durable?

Long-lasting prints from Sublimation on metal can be obtained. Due to the dye’s incorporation into the metal surface by Sublimation, the finished product is scratch- and fade-proof. Sublimation printing ensures that designs on metalware will retain their luster for years.

Sublimation printing uses intense heat and pressure to fuse the dye to the metal, creating a strong and long-lasting result.

Although Sublimation onto metal is a long-lasting method, the product must be handled carefully to ensure it lasts. Please take the necessary precautions to protect it from harmful substances and excessive use.

However, with attention to detail, Sublimation onto metal can yield long-lasting and high-quality results.


Related PostSublimation on Aluminum


Required Supplies

  • A metal product suitable for sublimation printing
  • A sublimation printer
  • Sublimation paper
  • Sublimation ink
  • Heat press
  • Heat-resistant tape or spray adhesive


Step-By-Step Guide

To get the best results, choose a metal item that is made to be printed with Sublimation. You can find these things in a lot of general and specialty stores. If you need to know if a product can be used for Sublimation, you can contact the maker and ask.


Step 1.

It’s important to choose a metal item made for sublimation printing or to check with the maker to ensure it can be used for the process. This is because not all metals can handle the high temperatures needed for Sublimation.


Step 2.

Use software for graphic design to make the image or text you want. Make sure to use high-quality images or graphics and format them in a way that will work well with the sublimation process. Then, use the sublimation printer and ink to print the design on the sublimation paper.


Step 3.

Cut the printed picture to the right size and stick it on the metal. Use tape that can handle heat or spray adhesive to keep the paper in place. This will keep the paper in place during the sublimation process and ensure that the image gets transferred to the metal surface correctly.


Step 4.

Set the heat press to the recommended temperature for the metal you use. Let it heat up before moving on to the next step.

This is important because it ensures that the heat press is at the right temperature for the sublimation process and that the image will transfer correctly.


Step 5.

Put the metal item with the sublimation paper on the heat press and close the lid. Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer, which may differ depending on the heat press type and metal product being used.

This is important because it helps move the color from the paper to the metal.


Step 6.

Keep the heat press closed for 60 to 90 seconds; that is usually suggested. During this time, the heat will move the color from the paper to the surface of the metal.

This time may differ depending on the heat press and metal product being used, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s instructions for the right time.


Step 7.

Open the heat press and take the metal product out carefully. Let it cool down before touching it to keep the design from getting messed up.

This is important because if you touch the metal while it is still hot, you could damage the design or even bend the surface of the metal.


Step 8.

Once the metal has cooled, you can peel off the sublimation paper to see the bright, permanent design on the metal. This is the last step in the sublimation process. It makes a high-quality design that will last for many years.


You May Like: Sublimation on Stainless Steel: Best Guide (2023)


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can I sublimate a metal product on both sides?

It depends on what kind of metal you’re using and how it’s made. Some metal products may have a special coating on one side that stops Sublimation. In contrast, others may have design features that make it hard to sublimate on both sides. Check with the company that made the product or do some research to find out the best way to clean it.


Q: How do I make the image and prepare it for Sublimation onto metal?

To design and prepare an image for Sublimation onto metal, you’ll need to use graphic design software to create the image you want. Then, you’ll need to use a sublimation printer and ink to print the image on sublimation paper. It’s important to ensure the image is the right size, and the colors are bright. Also, flip the image horizontally before printing it on the sublimation paper.


Q: Do I need to take any special care before Sublimation onto metal?

Yes, you should take a few precautions and follow a few rules when sublimating on metal. First, you must ensure that the heat press is set to the right temperature and pressure so that the design transfers well to the metal surface. Also, you’ll need to be careful when taking the metal item out of the heat press and wait until it’s completely cool before touching it to keep the design from getting messed up.


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