Can You Sublimate on Acrylic?

Sublimation is a process that uses heat to transfer images from a special ink onto fabric. Now the question is can you sublimate on acrylic? It’s trendy in the apparel industry for printing on t-shirts and other textiles, but many people have found other ways to use this technique. For example, sublimating on acrylic is another excellent way to use this type of ink.


However, there are specific steps you need to take if you want your design or image to look good. When it comes out of your heat press machine (or home setup), in this article, we will go over everything you need to sublimate on acrylic successfully.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic?

How to do Sublimation on Acrylic?

You’ll need some sublimation ink, an acrylic sheet, a heat transfer machine, and a white spray. There are two ways to sublimate on acrylic: the home and commercial. The home method involves placing your order with an online store that sells products with this technology. You can find these online by searching “sublimation sheets” or “sublimation ink.”


The commercial method involves printing out designs onto T-shirts using an inkjet printer. Then apply them onto transparent polyester fabric at home with a unique adhesive called “spray glue.” This process is more expensive than using home products. It allows for customization beyond what you could do without investing in additional equipment like heating presses or computer graphics software.

Sublimation Printer:

sublimation printer

A sublimation printer is a type of device that prints images onto cloth, paper, or other materials. The image is melted into the material and dried, leaving no paper residue. The process can produce high-quality printing on fabrics like cotton and linen. But it’s most often seen in the automotive industry, where it allows for prints to be applied to exterior trim pieces such as vinyl or plastic bumpers.


Because there are no chemicals involved in this process, although you will need an ink cartridge if you want to print, it’s considered environmentally friendly compared to traditional methods. Such as screen printing because no solvents are used during production or afterward.

Sublimation Ink:

Sublimation Ink:

If you use sublimation ink, you’ll want to ensure that it’s specifically designed for acrylic. Some inks are not suitable for acrylic and sublimation because they have a lower melting point than others, which can cause problems with the print quality.


Look at its ingredients list to ensure your new ink is compatible with your printer and material. The bottom line of what makes up each batch of ink (the chemical compound used).

Sublimation Paper

Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper is the key to the process, and it’s made of a unique material that allows ink to sublimate. The most significant advantage of using this type of paper is using any ink. The ink will still work, even if you’ve used water- or oil-based inks.


Sublimation papers are available in different sizes, weights, and colors. So, you’ll have options for how big your printout will be and how much money per page. Some sublimation papers come pre-cut into sheets. Others are sold as rolls for easy storage and transportability.

Acrylic sheets

Acrylic sheets are an excellent choice for sublimation. These sheets are lightweight and durable, available in various sizes and thicknesses, and easy to clean and maintain. They’re also affordable. If you’re looking for an economical way to print your designs on fabric or paper, acrylic is the way.

Heat Transfer Machine

Heat Transfer Machine

Heat transfer machines are used to transfer heat onto the fabric. There are many different heat transfer machines, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The most popular type is the direct-to-garment (DTG) printer, which can be used for sublimation or heat transfer printing.

white spray

You can also use white spray paint to cover your acrylic. It is beneficial if you want to sublimate on the acrylic that has already been painted with another color and need to protect it from getting damaged by the sublimation process. When using this method, let the surface dry thoroughly before drawing over it with your ink pen or marker (if applicable).

Teflon Paper

Teflon Paper

Teflon paper is a special kind of paper. It’s used to protect the acrylic from scratches and the heat from a press, but it also has some other benefits:


  • The Teflon coating helps keep your acrylic in place when you’re working with it, which means you can use less or even no glue.
  • The Teflon coating protects both sides of your artwork from smudges and fingerprints. So, you can keep working on your project without worrying about getting dirt all over it.

Home Method:

The home method for sublimating acrylic is the simplest and most common way to achieve the desired results. All you need is a heat gun and some acrylic paint. You will first need to cover the acrylic painting with a thick layer of plastic or paper so that it does not come in contact with the heat gun.


Then, place the acrylic painting on a flat surface and set your heat gun at its highest setting. Be careful not to touch the painting with your hands, or else you will ruin it. Once the painting starts smoking, quickly remove it from the heat gun and let it cool. Now you can carefully peel off the plastic or paper and reveal your beautiful sublimated acrylic artwork.

Commercial method:

Commercial sublimation methods can be used to print high-quality images on acrylic sheets. One such method is called “sputter deposition.” In this process, a small amount of inert gas is used to atomize the acrylic and create tiny droplets that are then dispersed in an atmosphere of oxygen.


The droplets are then accelerated towards a heat source, such as a flame, where they evaporate and sublimate the plastic material. This process produces high-resolution prints with a smooth finish.


Frequently Asked Questions

The pressure should be enough to transfer the ink to the acrylic. If you have a lower-quality heat press and it’s not holding up well, your sublimation will not be excellent either. Also, if you are using an old sublimation machine that doesn’t have enough heat output, your results will be mediocre at best.

The pressure should not be too much. If you’re using an air compressor or other power source that pushes out force in all directions (like wind). Make sure that there’s nothing else nearby that could get hurt by this sudden burst of energy. And finally, make sure that whatever tool is being used hasn’t been tightened down too tightly on purpose. Otherwise, this may cause damage afterword’s.

To sublimate on acrylic, you’ll need a temperature between 250- and 350-degrees Fahrenheit. It is the same as what’s required for paper and ink, but it’s also similar to the heat press. It should be easy if you’ve used a heat press before.

It would help if you had a polymer coating to sublimate on acrylic. A polymer coating will protect the acrylic from burning and help the sublimation process move more quickly and evenly across the acrylic surface.


Acrylic is an exciting material that can be sublimated. It’s water-resistant and durable, making it perfect for use in almost any industry. This article covers everything you need to know when sublimating on acrylic sheets. I hope you found this helpful in deciding whether or not your project needs it.

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