Can You Sublimate on Stainless Steel Tumblers – Best Guide of 2024

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Fredrick Miller

Sublimation printing is an excellent way to create customized and unique designs on various items.

Sublimation is also a great way to produce exclusive gifts for friends and family.

If you are looking to craft a customized item for yourself or you are thinking of creating a unique gift for a friend, then you should try sublimation on stainless steel tumbler.

But can you sublimate on stainless steel tumblers?

The simple answer is “yes.” If you want to know how to sublimate on stainless steel tumbler, then you are at the right place.

This comprehensive guide will cover all steps to sublimate stainless tumblers.

We will also discuss the materials required for the process. So, without any further delay, let’s begin with the sublimation process on the stainless steel tumbler.

Can You Sublimate On Stainless Steel?

Yes, you can sublimate on stainless steel. Sublimation involves the transfer of dye onto a substrate using heat and pressure.

Stainless steel is a commonly used surface for sublimation and can be treated with a sublimation coating to allow for the transfer of the dye.

The coated stainless steel is placed in a heat press with the sublimation paper, and the design is transferred onto the surface.

The process of sublimation on stainless steel results in a long-lasting, vibrant, and durable design that is dishwasher-safe.

However, using high-quality sublimation blanks and inks is important to achieve the best results.

Can You Sublimate on Stainless Steel Tumblers?

sublimate on stainless steel tumblers

As we have discussed above, you can sublimate on stainless steel tumblers, but to proceed with the process, keep in mind that sublimation ink only adheres to polyester.

That’s why you must first have a polyester coating on the metal. There are different ways to do polyester coating, but powder coating is the most common method.

After the metal is coated correctly, you can proceed with the sublimation on the steel tumbler.

But remember that sublimation results could vary depending on the metal used; that’s why it’s essential to execute a test on a small area before moving.

What Materials Required Sublimate on Stainless Steel Tumblers?

The materials that are required for sublimation on stainless steel tumbler are

The Printer:

The printer with sublimation ink will be the first thing you will need to sublimate on the stainless steel tumbler.

If the sublimation printer is unavailable, you can also convert a printer to a sublimation printer, but remember that printer only works with sublimation ink.

With ordinary ink, sublimation won’t work, and your entire project may fail.

Sublimation Tumbler:

The following item required for the project is the sublimation tumbler.

You will have to coat the tumbler with polyester so that sublimation ink can adhere to it. Without polyester coating, the ink won’t work on the tumbler.

Sublimation Paper:

A sublimation paper is recommended if you want to attain the best results with sublimation printing on a tumbler. The sublimation paper is available anywhere online easily.

Sublimation Shrink Wrap:

For stainless steel tumbler sublimation, a shrink wrap is used on the tumbler and then placed in the oven. Sublimation shrink wrap is also available online on different marketplaces.


An essential thing for sublimation is the design. There are some best sublimation software for designs available that you can use for your project.

You can use personalized design, copy it from anywhere, or put a picture on the tumbler. Whatever design you want to use, it will work on the stainless steel tumbler.

How To Sublimate Stainless Steel Tumblers?

After knowing how to use sublimation printer and finalizing the materials for sublimation, let’s see the steps you can follow to create a unique and personalized design on stainless steel tumbler.

There are a few steps involved in the process. The steps are super easy, and you will get your customized item within an hour.

Step 1:

The first step is the design selection. As the design is the core entity in this process, keep the design ready before starting the process.

Step 2:

The second step of the process is printing. Once the design is selected, it’s time to print it on sublimation paper.

Don’t forget to set the design size and use a sublimation printer as a sublimation printer has sublimation ink that is essential for printing.

Step 3:

After printing, cut the design according to the size of the tumbler and fix the design on it with the help of heat tape. This step is straightforward and won’t take much time.

Step 4:

Once the design is fixed on the tumbler, wrap the stainless steel tumbler in shrink wrap. You can make a use of a heat gun to shrink the wrap around the tumbler.

Step 5:

Now, place the tumbler in the oven for six minutes at 360 degrees.

After six minutes, remove the tumbler from over. Remove shrink wrap and the image from a tumbler.

Here you got a customized stainless steel tumbler.

Although you can use a regular oven for sublimation, it’s recommended to use a separate oven for this purpose.

Can You Sublimate on Spray Painted Tumblers?

Yes, you can sublimate on spray painted tumblers, but it depends on the type of spray paint used and the sublimation process.

Some spray paints contain chemicals that can interfere with the sublimation process and cause the image to fade or discolor.

It’s recommended to use a high-temperature spray paint and a heat press that is capable of reaching high temperatures.

To ensure a successful transfer, it’s advisable to perform a test before mass production.

Related Article:

Can You Sublimate on Stainless Steel Cups?

On stainless steel cups, sublimation is indeed feasible.

The cup’s surface is coated with a unique polymer during the procedure, enabling the sublimation ink to attach to it.

The cup’s surface should first be cleaned, the coating should be applied, and the coating should have time to cure before the sublimation process can begin.

This coating can be acquired from a supplier of sublimation materials. The finished product is a colorful, long-lasting, and permanent design on the cup.

Can You Sublimate on Metal?

Sublimation is the process of changing a substance from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase.

This can occur on metal surfaces if the metal has a special coating or is treated to allow the sublimation process to occur.

The metal surface must have a porous or hydrophobic coating to allow the sublimation ink to penetrate and adhere to the surface.

Sublimation is often used to print images or designs onto metal products, such as mugs, keychains, and ornaments.

FAQs Section

Can you sublimate on any stainless steel?

Yes, you can sublimate on any stainless steel, but it should be coated with polyester so that sublimation ink may adhere to it. You can’t just sublimate to anything.

What kind of tumblers can you sublimate on?

If you want to sublimate on a tumbler, it should be stainless steel or made from any other material compatible for sublimation.

At what temperature does steel sublimate?

The temperature that is required for steel sublimation is 360 to 400 degrees. Time varies from material to material.

What is better sublimation or heat transfer?

Both are better in their own way. If you are dealing with white and light-colored polyester fabric, then sublimation is an excellent option as the design will be durable and washable. And if you deal with dark-colored items, heat transfer paper would be the best bet.

Can I sublimate on stainless steel flask?

Yes, sublimation can be done on a stainless steel flask with a special coating or treated surface to allow ink penetration.

Can you heat press on stainless steel?

Yes, you can heat press on stainless steel, but the surface must have a special coating or treatment to allow the transfer of the design or image.

How long does it take to sublimate stainless steel?

The time it takes to sublimate a design onto a stainless steel surface depends on the size and complexity of the design, as well as the heat press temperature and pressure used. Typically, it takes 2-3 minutes to complete the process.


Sublimation is an excellent way of expressing your thoughts and feelings. The sublimation process can be done on various items.

But can you sublimate on stainless steel tumbler? The answer is yes. You can sublimate on stainless steel tumbler. The process is pretty simple, which we have explained above.

So, will you try it? Think of the ideas and designs you can work on and surprise yourself and your friends with amazing unique gifts.

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