Can You Sublimate On Spray Painted Tumblers? (Step by Step)

So you’ve painted tumblers in your home and have no idea whether you can sublimate images or designs on them or not?

Don’t worry; yes, sublimation on the spray-painted tumbler is possible, but there are some things you need to keep in mind. 

We’ve shared these below along with the step-by-step process to do it in the right way.

Can You Sublimate On Spray-Painted Tumblers?

Yes, you can, but there’s a condition for it. The tumbler must have a light color surface, e.g., white, silver, etc. 

Once you get the tumbler that meets the criteria of light color surface, check whether the tumbler material is compatible with sublimation or not.

If it’s not, then you have to prepare your tumbler by applying poly-coating to it because sublimation doesn’t work if the substrate surface doesn’t have a polyester coating on it.

How To Sublimate Spray Painted Tumblers?

Here’s the step-by-step guide about how you can sublimate to spray-painted tumblers. 

Things You Need To Sublimate Over Spray Paint 

Here is the list of things you would need during the process.

Items You Need While Applying Poly-Coating On Tumblers

  1. Mug Press
  2. Polygloss
  3. Catalyst
  4. Tumbler
  5. Paintbrush 
  6. Plastic jar
  7. Parchment paper

Items You Need While Sublimation Printing

  1. Sublimation printer
  2. Mug-Press or convection oven
  3. Parchment paper
  4. Silicone bands or shrink wraps
  5. Heat gun
  6. Heat-insulating felt pad
  7. Butcher paper
  8. Heat-resistant tape
  9. Heat-resistant gloves 

Procedure To Do Sublimation On Spray Painted Tumblers

Here is step by step procedure to do sublimation printing on spray-painted tumblers.

Step One – Prepare Your Tumbler

The first step is about preparing the tumbler for the sublimation process. Bear in mind this step is for those whose tumblers aren’t poly-coated. If your tumbler is sublimation-ready, you don’t need to worry about it.

1. To apply the poly-coating, take a small measuring cup and pour 1oz of Polygloss.

2. The second thing you need is a Catalyst; the best way to use it is to take a Syringe and add Catalyst 1ml.

3. Add the Catalyst to the measuring cup, use a small stick, and mix the Polygloss and Catalyst.

4. Now clean your substrate, which means the tumbler, and ensure it doesn’t have any dirt on it.

5. Use a painting brush and apply the poly-coating on the tumbler surface.

6. Afterward, take a plastic jar and cover the bottle with it for about 10 minutes.

7. Remove the jar after 10 minutes, and you can feel that the coating has been dried.

8. In the last, wrap parchment paper on the tumbler, and use a mug press at 320 for three minutes.

Pro Tip – If you don’t have a mug press, you can do the same in the regular or convection oven. Set it at 325 for 10 minutes. 

Step Two – Prepare An Image Or Design For The Tumbler 

The next step is to create an image or design for the tumbler. You can use software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva to create designs or art. Otherwise, the second option is for downloading copyright-free images; it’s up to you which option you want.

Step Three – Preparation For The Sublimation

After creating a design, you should go for the printing process. Choose “mirror setting” in the software and print the design. Cut the excess part of the paper, set the design on the tumbler with the help of heat-resistant tape, and remember to use gloves for safety purposes.

Important Note: If you’re using Polygloss for the poly-coating, don’t use A-SUB paper; the experts do not recommend it as it can cause ink bleed. (You can use multipurpose paper).

Step Four – Sublimate The Design 

There are two ways to do sublimation, first is by using a mug or tumbler press, or the second is by using a convection oven. For your help, we’ll discuss both options.

Sublimation With Mug Press:

1. Get parchment paper and wrap it around your tumbler. 

2. Set the mug press at 360° for 60 seconds and place the tumbler inside the machine. 

3. After 60 seconds, take out the tumbler and remove the parchment and sublimation paper; that’s it; your design is ready.

Sublimation With Convection Oven: 

1. Take out the oven racks if it’s your first time using a convection oven. 

2. Place a heat-insulating felt pad at the bottom of the oven to protect the surface from the sublimation dye. 

3. You have two options: either you can use shrink wrap around the sublimation paper or bands; it’s up to you. 

4. If you’ve selected shrink wrap, don’t forget to use a heat gun to wrap shrink wrap together with sublimation paper. 

5. After wrapping it up carefully, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put the tumbler in the oven for 6 minutes. 

6. For the best result, rotate the tumbler at 180 degrees halfway through the sublimation process but ensure to wear heat-resistant gloves while performing this task. 

7. If you’re using silicone bands, then before using them, wrap butcher paper carefully around the tumbler. Afterward, place the tumbler in the oven at 375-degree for 6 minutes.

Important Note: Always use a convection oven for the sublimation that’s extra. The reason is you can’t use it again for cooking purposes; the sublimation ink will spread throughout the oven. 

Let’s Sublimate!

That’s all about sublimation printing on spray-printed tumblers. Yes, it’s possible to sublimate any type of design on a spray-painted tumbler, but the surface must be in a light color. Then make sure that your tumbler is poly-coated; if both conditions meet, then you’re good to go for the sublimation. 

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