6 Steps to Sublimation On Metal: Beginner Guide in 2023

Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Fredrick Miller

Sublimation on Metal is a great way to add a little art to your home. Keeping your memories safe is one of the best things you can do through this. The process is very easy and inexpensive and does not require much experience, just patience and fun.

Sublimation on metal is a process where a print moves from the paper to the surface of the metal. The image appears to float on top of the metal as the ink disappears.

In this article, we will explore what is sublimation and how such an art can be created on metal. We will also discuss the materials required for this technique and how you can apply them together to get the best results.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a process used to print directly on fabric. It is a perfect option for printing large-format graphics with photographic quality.

Sublimation printing involves the use of heat and pressure to transfer dye from a special ink film onto a garment. This process is also called sublimation transfer, sublimation dye-sublimation, or dye-sub.

What Kind of Metal Can I Sublimate?

Metal is a good choice because it’s durable and inexpensive. Another benefit of metal is that it doesn’t need to be cleaned after you’ve created the design on it.

Not all metal is created equal, though! There are some metals that are better suited for sublimation than others. For example:

Aluminum: It is the best choice for sublimation. It’s durable and inexpensive, plus it won’t rust.

Copper: It is a good option if you want to make your design last longer than other metals.

Stainless Steel: It is a durable, rust-resistant metal that’s easy to clean.

Titanium: It is a lightweight option that doesn’t corrode and can be polished to make it shiny.

Gold: It’s an expensive metal that has many uses beyond sublimation! However, it has some properties that make it ideal for this application.

Brass: It is another great option because it doesn’t oxidize (become tarnished) quickly or easily.

Material Required For Sublimation On Metal

Sublimation printing is the best choice for printing on metals as it gives high-quality prints with excellent durability.

The material required for sublimation on metal includes:

Substrate: The main component used in this process is a substrate which can be a metal sheet or an aluminium foil.

Ink: The ink should be non-toxic and dry fast so that it does not contaminate your hands. It should also be permanent and fade-resistant so that you can use it for any kind of artwork.

Print head: A print head is an essential part of this process as it allows the transfer of ink from paper to the substrate without causing any damage to either of them.

Heat press: Heat press machines apply pressure to the substrate so that it adheres to the ink.

Sublimation Paper: This paper is used as a base for your artwork. The material is available in a variety of sizes, colors, and thicknesses.

Piece of Metal: You will also need a thin and flat piece so you can use it as a base for your artwork.

How to Sublimate on Metal?

Sublimation Printing on Metal

Step 1:

Clean your metal piece. You’ll want to ensure that there’s no residue on the surface of your metal before starting this process because any dust or dirt will show up on your finished product. If needed, wash the area with mild soap and water and use a soft cloth.

Step 2:

Lay out your transfer paper flat on a table in front of you. Make sure that it is placed so that it is face down (the side with no writing should be facing up).

Step 3:

Take your sublimation ink pad and begin applying color over all areas of the transfer paper without overlapping too much so that there’s no white showing through anywhere on the top surface of the transfer paper.

Step 4:

Once you have applied all of the colors that you want on the transfer paper then, flip it over so that the side with the writing is facing up.

Step 5:

Place your metal piece onto the transfer paper so that it is face-down on the surface. To ensure a perfect transfer, make sure it is completely flat on the transfer paper.

Step 6:

Slowly peel up one edge of the transfer paper, making sure not to move any other part of it, or else you will mess up all of your hard work!

Benefits of Sublimation on Metal

Sublimation is also known as “cold printing,” because there is no need for any chemicals or additional equipment during this process. You just need heat and pressure to get started.

1) Durability: Sublimation creates a permanent design on your metal surface, which means it won’t fade over time like an imprinted image would after some time has passed.

2) Convenience: No chemicals are needed during this process, making it easy to use at home with no mess or cleanup afterwards!

3) Customization: You can choose your own colors and designs to make a personalized gift for someone special!

4) No Residue: The result of sublimating metal is metal powder or dust, which means no residue can remain behind on your metal surface.

FAQs Section

Can you use sublimation on metal?

Sublimation on metal is possible, although it is a bit more difficult than using other substrates. In order to sublimate on metal, you will need to use a special sublimation ink that has been designed specifically for use on metal.

How long do you sublimate on metal?

The length of time it takes to sublimate the image onto the metal fully can vary depending on the size of your design and how many coats of ink are applied. Smaller designs may only take about 20 minutes to sublimate fully, while larger designs may take up to 1 hour or more.

How durable is sublimation printing on metal?

Sublimation permanently alters your metal surface so that the design won’t wear off. The durability of a sublimated print depends on how well it was manufactured and what type of material was used during production.

What materials can be sublimated?

Sublimation is an excellent way to print on metal, and it’s also often used for glass, ceramics and some plastics. Materials such as stainless steel, brass, and aluminum can be processed using this process.

Final Words

Sublimation on metal is a highly versatile method for printing digital designs onto almost anything. The list is endless for water bottles, mugs, plates and cups, coasters, signs and frames! Although sublimation is similar to graphics that you would print out on a regular inkjet printer, it’s much better quality and has many more applications.

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