Can You Sublimate On Canvas? How to do Sublimation On Canvas?

Yes, you can. It’s a half-truth that sublimation on Canvas is impossible because of cotton material. It doesn’t work if you sublimate directly on the Canvas, but you can easily sublimate it by adding a layer of laminating film or polyester fabric on it.

Can you Sublimate On Canvas

How To Sublimate On Canvas?

I’ll explain what’s the right procedure for doing sublimation on Canvas using these 2 methods. So be with us and find all the answers.

Method 1: With Laminating Film

Things You Need

Laminating film isn’t the only thing you need in this process; there are other things as well if you are sublimating first time. Remember to get all of these things before you start. 

  1. Heat Press – To transfer the print.
  2. Sublimation Printer – For printing design/image.
  3. Heat-resistant tape – To set Canvas and prints together. 
  4. Heat-resistant gloves – To protect your hands from the heat. 
  5. Canvas board – To print images and designs. 
  6. Laminating film – To create a layer between heat press and cotton. 
  7. Teflon sheet and Butcher paper – To place it beneath and on top of the canvas.

Step By Step Process

Once you’ve gathered all the things. You can then follow these steps:

Step One – Print Design/Images

The first step is to print the design with a sublimation printer that you want to sublimate. Remember to print on paper that’s the same or bigger in dimension compared to Canvas. Otherwise, the print won’t look good. 

Step Two – Cut Extra Laminating Film For Canvas

In the second step, you have to attach the laminating film on Canvas. Place the Canvas on a table or stable surface, hold the laminating film and set it on the Canvas.

The laminating film will be large in size compared to Canvas. Therefore, make sure to cut the extra laminating film from all sides. You can cut the edges with the help of a measuring tape or scale too. 

Step Three – Merge Laminating Film And Canvas

Once you’re done cutting the laminating film, it’s time for you to attach it to the Canvas. Open the heat press, and place the Teflon sheet on the bottom. Afterward, put the Canvas and then laminate film on it. 

The laminating film has two sides. One side will be shiny in contrast to the opposite side. The shiny side will come on top, and the other will face the Canvas surface.

After setting the laminating film on Canvas, place the second butcher paper again, then heat press at 400 °F for about 10-20 seconds. Now, the laminating film is attached to Canvas. Let’s move to the next step.

Step Four – Preparing Canvas For Sublimation

After merging the laminating film with the Canvas, you’ll notice small edges of laminating film on the corners of the Canvas. It’s best to cut them as they won’t look good. You can also push the edges on the backside, then use the heat press to heat seal the edges on the backside of the Canvas.

Step Five – Sublimate Your Designs

The last step is to sublimate the design you want on the Canvas. Since you’ve already prepared the Canvas, the rest of the process is easy.

1. Remove the Teflon sheet (which you’ve placed beneath the Canvas) and replace it with the butcher paper.
2. Set the image on butcher paper (the image’s backside should touch the surface).
3. Place the Canvas on the image facing down.
4. Use thermal tape and attach the Canvas and image to each other.
5. Hold the Canvas and place the side that has the image attached facing up to the heat press.
6. In the last press, put the heat platen on the Canvas for about 50 seconds (the temperature should be around 385°F – 400 °F). 

After 50 seconds, put some pressure on the heat platen and lift it; congratulations, your Canvas is ready.

Wait for at least 5 minutes and let the Canvas cool down, then remove the picture slowly, and your Canvas is ready.

Method 2: Without Lamination

Things you need

Just one change, everything else remains the same as method 1. You need polyester fabric instead of laminating film this time.


The entire process is the same except for a few things. 

First, design the image using your favorite software and print it on the sublimation paper. Then use polyester fabric instead of laminating film and attach the fabric to the Canvas with hot glue. Afterward, you can easily sublimate with a heat press at 400 °F for 60 seconds following the same method I stated above.

Tip: To make your canvas look more beautiful, you can add cardstock to the back. It gives a more clean and professional finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What happens if you sublimate on cotton?

If you sublimate on cotton directly, the print will fade after one or at most two washes. Because sublimation dyes can’t bond with natural materials. The sublimation process is only possible with synthetic materials like polyester.

2. What temp do you sublimate on Canvas?

The temperature of the heat press should be around 380 – 400 °F for about 50 – 60 seconds to sublimate the image on the canvas properly.

Final Words 

Hopefully, you’ve got the answer, it’s not a complex process. The only thing you need to remember is you have to create a layer of synthetic material (laminating film or polyester fabric) on the cotton Canvas. After that, you can easily sublimate anything you want within a few minutes.

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