Last Updated on November 4, 2023 by Fredrick Miller
As we are all aware, the sublimation printing industry is overwhelmed in today’s market. There are numerous varieties of sublimation printing.
Sublimation printing is a fun and unique way to print photos and designs onto materials like wood, fabric, and metal.
If you’re new to the process, or just want to learn some tips and tricks for getting the best results, this guide is for you.
In this article, we will teach you how to sublimate on wood.
Will sublimation work on wood surfaces that have no coating? What about the material polycrylic? How to sublimate on wood ornaments?
Will it be effective for wood sublimation? I will be responding to all of that and much more!
Table of Contents
What Really Is Sublimation?
Sublimation is a technique that uses heat and ink to “print” a design onto a surface, most commonly fabric, ceramics, or wood.
This procedure enables the printing of materials with vivid colors and designs, and the color richness and level of detail are preferable to other printing methods.
How precisely does this work? Heat is used in the sublimation printing process to bind the ink and the material together.
A special paper is utilized to print the design when it is being prepared.
The paper and the surface are then brought together under great heat, effectively turning the unique ink into gas and pressing the design onto the surface.
This results in a permanent, non-removable print. Sublimation printing is also a relatively simple process that may be done at home.
You only need a sublimation printer (or a regular printer that can use sublimation ink), sublimation paper (which can be found in most craft stores or online), and a heat press, which may be used for a variety of other tasks in addition to sublimation.
It allows people to create their own designs, print small batches, and experiment with enormous items without having to adhere to rigid frames and stencils.
Sublimation is mostly utilized for on-demand t-shirt printing. It may, however, be used on a variety of metals and materials, including wood.
However, if you prefer to sublimate on wood, you must utilize wood with a polymer coating that helps it to more effectively bond the sublimation ink.
If you do not have poly-coated wood, you can laminate the wood before sublimating it with laminating paper.
This layer will serve as an additional layer of support to aid the color’s bonding to the wood surface.
Some woods are also unfavorable for sublimation. Chipboard, for example, relies heavily on synthetic binders to hold wood particles together.
When heat and pressure are used during the sublimation process, some of the binders can be melted, resulting in a somewhat split piece of chipboard.
Different Types of Wood that can be Sublimated
There are many different types of wood that can be sublimated. Some of the most popular options include:
Each type of wood has its own unique grain and colour.
This can affect the way your design looks when it is printed. You may want to experiment with different types of wood to see which one you like the best.
Can You Sublimate on Painted Wood?
It is possible to sublimate on painted wood, but the results may not be as high quality as sublimation on other materials.
The paint on the wood can interfere with the sublimation process, causing the colors to appear differently than expected or the design to not adhere properly.
Additionally, the surface of the wood must be smooth for the best results.
The paint type and the quality of the paint surface can also play a role in the final outcome.
How to choose the right type of wood for sublimation?
There are a few things to consider when choosing the right type of wood for sublimation. The first is the grain of the wood.
Coarser grains will absorb more ink and produce a darker print. Softer woods with finer grains are better for lighter prints.
The second thing to consider is the density of the wood. Heavier woods will absorb more heat and produce a darker print.
Lighter woods will not absorb as much heat and produce a lighter print.
Finally, you will need to consider the texture of the wood. Smooth woods are better for detailed prints, while rough woods are better for more rustic prints.
Sublimation is a process that can be applied on different types of elements:
Material Required for Sublimating on Wood:
Here is a list of items I have gathered for your wood sublimation printing project.
Investing in a high-quality sublimation printer is the first step in launching a wood sublimation business.
There are many different sublimation printers on the market, but not all of them are created equal.
When choosing a sublimation printer for wood, you need to make sure that it is designed for sublimation.
Some printers are designed for other types of printing, and they will not work well for sublimation.
The best sublimation printers on the market are the Epson Workforce series and the Sawgrass Virtuoso series.
These printers are designed specifically for sublimation and will produce the best results.
Ink for sublimation on wood:
Sublimation on wood usually requires the use of a particular ink that will not deplete due to the wood’s surface.
It’s difficult to choose right type of sublimation ink for your wood but we provide best sublimation ink for you after a wise research.
This ink should not be used to sublimate on other materials. This is an additional expense when sublimating on wood.
However, if you intend to start a sublimation business, your investment will not be in vain. The best ink for sublimation is the Printers Jack 400ML Sublimation Ink.
Sublimation transfer paper:
Best sublimation paper for wood is the A-SUB Sublimation Paper. This paper is specifically designed for sublimation and produces excellent results.
Moving on to the most significant aspect (your canvas), the wooden planks.
You must choose the texture of the wood carefully since, on some wooden surfaces, the sublimation ink becomes ruined and does not produce the desired effects.
Furthermore, the wooden blanks must be coated with a polymer resin; otherwise, the ink will not bond to them as naturally as it should be
Heat Press Machine:
When it comes to sublimation on all surfaces, a heat press machine is crucial.
However, for sublimation on wood, you will need a machine that can handle complex jobs with variable pressure settings, allowing you to alter the setting to meet the needs of each particular work.
Best heat press for sublimation is the Cricut EasyPress 2 . This heat press is specifically designed for sublimation and produces excellent results.
Now you have the right equipment for sublimation on the wood you can follow these steps to sublimate on wood:
How to Prepare the Wood for Sublimation?
The first step in preparing your wood surface for sublimation is to sand it down. This will remove any dirt, dust, or debris that may be on the surface of the wood.
Once the wood is sanded, you will need to wipe it down with a damp cloth. Next, you will need to apply a layer of primer to the wood.
This will help the inks adhere to the wood and produce a better print. Once the primer is dry, you are ready to start sublimating.
How to Sublimate on Wood Training Video:
Sublimate on wood with polycrylic:
If you want to know how to sublimate on wood with polycrylic, then continue reading this article.
The first step would be to prepare the wood for sublimation. If you have poly-coated wood, you can immediately sublimate it; otherwise, you will need a laminating machine and laminating paper.
You should laminate the side of the wood that you want to sublimate, which means that the shiny side of the laminating paper should be on top of the side of the wood that you want to sublimate when you laminate it.
After laminating the wood, clip away any excess laminating paper. This is the point at which it is ready for sublimation.
Print out your design using a sublimation printer and sublimation paper to get it ready.
You don’t have to use special wood ink because the laminating paper will help the ink bond to the wood just fine.
Place the design face down on the side of the wood that will be sublimated.
If you have a trimmed piece of wood with a design, cover the entire thing with paper on the top and bottom of the wood as well as the sublimation paper.
As a result, when the pattern is transferred during the sublimation process, it will not be transferred to your table.
Use the suitable pressure and heat setting for your sublimation ink and press it over the sublimation paper with your heat press.
Remove the heat press after a few minutes and allow the wood to cool before removing the sublimation paper.
The design should have been effectively copied to the wood surface.
This procedure creates a fantastic lightfast design on your wood, and you do not have to seal it or anything, the design will not fade away.
It should be noted that if you have a natural wood hue, some of it will still be visible through the sublimation pattern.
If you want the design to look exactly how it does on the sublimation paper, sublimate it on a piece of white-painted wood.
Sublimate on painted wood:
Sublimation can be applied on linen but Can you sublimate on painted wood? Yes, you can sublimate on painted wood and even sublimation on uncoated wood is also possible.
However, not all woods are made equal.
The heat and pressure produced by the heat press will force the pores of the wood to open and the natural wood grains to rise in the natural wood that has been painted.
That implies that even after the wood has been painted, some of the natural wood colors will still show through.
This can give your overall design a rustic appearance while still allowing the design’s colors to shine, so if you like this look, you can still explore it.
Remember that even if the wood is painted, it must be coated with a polymer coating to allow the ink to bond to it.
If not, repeat the previous steps and do not try sublimation on wood without laminate. There are numerous ways to experiment with sublimation and painted wood.
You can obtain completely different outcomes for your design depending on the paint color, so do not be afraid to experiment with your material, paint color, and design to attain the best results.
Sublimation on wood settings:
The dye sublimation process can be utilized on a wide spectrum of surfaces, including plastic, polyester, and ceramic.
You can also use a plastic or polymer covering for sublimation on wood.
To produce a beautiful sublimation print, heat press on wood with light pressure for around 10 minutes at 360 degrees Fahrenheit or 182.222 Celsius.
Sublimation wood blanks:
Sublimation blanks are substrates that allow the print to be sublimated into the desired object’s surface.
It assists in the sublimation process by trapping the ink molecules on the object’s surface. That is what sublimation ink is and how it works in the sublimation process.
It is quite possible to create our sublimation blanks; however, you must coat the substrates with a high coating so that the print to be sublimated remains bonded to the surface for a lengthy period of time.
Making your blanks for dye sublimation imprinting is not complicated; you just need to coat the print on hard substrates.
Once the entire print has been correctly coated, the substrate will accept dye sublimation ink during the heating process.
The heating will transfer the design to the blank’s surface.
This will occur as a result of getting heat from the heating process; the heat will provide help in the embedding of the print into the blank.
A soft substrate does not require healing in the same way that a hard substrate requires heat to transfer the pattern to the blank.
Surfaces must always meet specific conditions in order to take sublimation ink.
How to Sublimate on Uncoated Wood?
Sublimating on uncoated wood is similar to sublimating on painted wood, but with a few additional steps. Here is the general process:
- Sand the surface of the wood to create a smooth and even surface. This will help ensure that the design adheres properly and that the colors appear as expected.
- Clean the surface of the wood to remove any dust or debris. This can be done using a damp cloth or a mild cleaner.
- Apply a clear coat or sealant to the wood. This will help protect the wood and also provide a smooth surface for the sublimation process.
- Print the design onto sublimation paper using a sublimation printer.
- Place the wood on the heat press, and position the design on top of the wood.
- Apply heat and pressure to the wood according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will cause the design to transfer from the paper to the wood.
- Allow the wood to cool before removing the paper.
What are the benefits of sublimation printing on wood?
There are many benefits to sublimation printing on wood. One benefit is that it is a very durable process. The prints are resistant to fading and scratching, and they will last for years. Another benefit is that sublimation printing produces very vivid and vibrant colors.
The colors are so vibrant that they will pop off the wood. Finally, sublimation printing is a very versatile process. It can be used on a variety of different woods, and it can produce a wide range of different effects.
How long does sublimation printing last on wood?
Sublimation prints are very durable and will last for years. The colors will not fade, and the print will not scratch or wear down over time.
What kind of printer do I need for sublimation printing?
You will need a sublimation printer to print onto wood. Sublimation printers are specifically designed for this type of printing and will produce the best results.
Can you sublimate directly on wood?
Yes, you can sublimate directly onto the wood. However, it is important to note that you will need to use transfer paper to protect your design.
What is the best way to sublimate on wood?
The best way to sublimate on wood is to sand the surface, clean it, apply a clear coat or sealant, print the design onto thermal lamination paper using a sublimation printer, apply heat and pressure, and allow it to cool before removing the paper.
Can you sublimate onto wood?
Yes, it is possible to sublimate onto wood, but the surface must be smooth, clean, sealed and sanded before the process, and some woods work better than others for sublimation.
What can I spray on wood to sublimate?
Polynatural spray is a clear coat that can be sprayed on wood to prepare it for sublimation, it creates a smooth and even surface for the design to adhere, protects the wood and helps to improve the final outcome.
What materials can you not sublimate on?
Materials that are not sublimation-friendly include: materials that don’t have polyester coatings, materials that can’t withstand high heat, materials that have a non-smooth surface, materials that have a low melting point, and materials that can’t release the ink.
We hope that after reading our article, you have a better understanding of how to simply transfer any print onto the surface of the wood.
In our post, we went over all of the specifics of wood sublimation printing and How to sublimate on wood using several ways.
Most people like to decorate their houses with a variety of beautiful items, one of which is sublimated wood.
There is a high demand for wood sublimation in the market since people are always looking for new and trendy solutions to sublimate on.
Fredrik Miller is the Founder of PrinterLake.com, a platform dedicated to providing information on sublimation printing. With a Master’s degree in Information Technology from Reputed University, Fredrik brings a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise to the site.
He leads a team of writers who are experts in the field and strive to deliver the best and most comprehensive information on sublimation printers, inks, and paper.