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

Can you sublimate on Canvas? Yes, you can sublimate on Canvas. It’s a half-truth that sublimation on Canvas is impossible because of cotton material. Sublimation print on Canvas doesn’t work if you use a heat press directly on the Canvas, but you can sublimate it by using a laminating film or polyester fabric between the heat press and Canvas. 

Can you Sublimate On Canvas

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

How To Sublimate On Canvas?

Sublimation printing is a process in which the dye or ink turns into gas when it is brought under the heat. The gas merges with the fabric, and we get stunning prints; that’s the basic concept of sublimation printing. 

The issue is this concept doesn’t work with cotton (which is used in Canvas) because it’s a natural material, not synthetic like polyester. But no worry, we have an easy solution which is we’ll use laminating film, a thin layer of plastic (synthetic material) on cotton Canvas, then sublimate prints or use. Apart from that, there’s another way in which you don’t need laminating film. We’ll share both ways below, so let’s head towards the topic. 

Method 1: Sublimate On Canvas With Laminating Film

Things You Need To Sublimate On Canvas

Laminating film isn’t the only thing you need in this process; there are other things as well, which you can read below. Remember to get all of these things before you sublimate on Canvas. 

  1. Heat Press – You can purchase any model from any brand.  
  2. Sublimation Printer – For printing. 
  3. Heat resistant tape – It’s important to set Canvas and prints together. 
  4. Heat-resistant gloves – They’ll protect your hands from the heat of the heat press.  
  5. Canvas board – It’s used to print images and designs. 
  6. Laminating film – It will 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 Guide To Sublimate On Canvas

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

Step One – Print Images

The first step is to print images that you want to sublimate on Canvas with a sublimation printer. Remember to print on paper that’s the same or big 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 laminating film, it’s time for you to merge it with the Canvas. Open the heat press, and place the Teflon sheet on the bottom. Afterward, put the Canvas and then laminating 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 side will face the Canvas surface.

After setting the laminating film on Canvas, place the second butcher paper again, then use the heat press for about 20 seconds. With the help of this process, the laminating film and Canvas become one.

Step Four – Preparation Canvas For Sublimation

The fourth step is you have to prepare everything for the sublimation process. 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 butcher paper 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° – 400°). 

After 50 seconds, put some pressure on the heat platen and lift it; congratulation, your Canvas is ready. One thing you should keep in mind is to never touch the Canvas immediately after sublimation with bare hands. Use gloves after lifting the heat press handle.

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

Method 2: Sublimate On Canvas Without Lamination

The second method that’s used for sublimation on Canvas works without lamination. Here are the things you need for this process. 

  • Sublimation printer. 
  • Heat press. 
  • Heat-resistant tape and gloves. 
  • Polyester fabric. 

You can sublimate designs onto Canvas without the lamination process with the help of polyester fabric. The entire process is the same except for a few things. 

First, print the image for the canvas. Then use polyester fabric instead of laminating film and attach the fabric to the Canvas with hot glue. Afterward, you can easily sublimate on Canvas with a heat press following the same method we stated above because there will be a layer of synthetic material (polyester) between cotton canvas and heat press. 

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 degrees. Also, remember to use a heat press for about 50 – 60 seconds to sublimate the image on the canvas. 

Final Words 

Hopefully, you’ve got the answer: Can you sublimate on Canvas? Yes, you can, and it’s not a difficult process. The only thing you need to remember is you have to create a layer of synthetic material (laminating film) between the cotton Canvas and heat press. In case you don’t have laminating film, then the second method is best for you. By using polyester material, you can easily print anything you want within a few minutes.

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