How to Sublimate on Metal Surfaces? Step by Step Guide

Sublimation can be done more easily by printing mugs t t-shirts or many other stuff. But this sublimation can be more useful when you are printing on metal or aluminum surfaces. 

In this article, I will discuss how to sublimate on metal surfaces, image resolution as well as aluminum surfaces, and a step-by-step process to sublimate. So just read till the end.

Sublimation on Metal:

In addition to being durable unique and customizable metal printing is becoming more popular for a variety of reasons. Let’s discuss How to sublimate on metal surfaces.

There are some key differences between dye sublimation and more traditional ways to print on metal.

Dye Sublimation:

In contrast to screen printing or digital printing dye sublimation printing transfers images to properly coated materials using heat.

Traditional Ways:

Oil is applied to the substrate photo emulsion is applied and then it is exposed to light. Afterwards, a solvent is used to develop the image and a chemical bath is used to prepare the substrate for painting.

Sublimation on Metal: The Material you need to get Started

Dye Sublimation Printer:

Your image will be printed on a dye sublimation printer. In addition, make sure that the paper you use for printing is suitable for the printer’s output. The paper may be rolled instead of a sheet if you are using a wide-format printer.

Laser or Inkjet Printer:

A laser or inkjet printer to output your images to standard media.

A Metal Substrate:

There are many types of metal that you can print on. You can choose the one that is required for your project.

Heat-Resistant Paper:

To avoid smudging during the transfer process, laser prints should be printed on heat-resistant paper. It is more durable to use double-sided coated paper.

Digital Camera or Scanner to Digitize your Artwork:

If you want to know How to sublimate on metal surfaces and then create your image you will need a scanner or a digital camera. To produce high-resolution images for your finished product, it would be ideal to use a digital SLR or DSLM.

Transfer Tape:

Transfer tape serves as a carries between the transfer media and substrate

Parchment Paper:

Your best results will come from printing it on parchment paper and then transferring it to metal. The transfer tape will be prevented from adhering to sublimation, sheets, temperature, coat, polyester, tumblers coating, metal, polyacrylic galvanized, Photoshop, Illustrator, microwave, and surface water inks when this is done.

Standard Heat Press:

To know How to sublimate on metal surfaces Applying your image to your substrate would be easier if you used a standard heat press with the right temperature.

Metal Panel:

Instead of using your heat press’s platen or stainless steel, use a metal panel to transfer your image. Your substrate can be used on both sides this way.

How to Sublimation on Metal: step by step


To print an image on paper you should first create your high-resolution file and output it to a laser printer. If you want to avoid any smudging make sure that the printer is laser and not inkjet.

Step 2:

After digitizing your life you should print it on heat-resistant paper. Last but not least you can use a heat press or an office heat press.

Step 3:

Afterward, place the image on a metal panel after transferring it to heat-resistant paper.


Apply pressure to your substrate after heating your heat press to the desired temperature.


Transfer tape should then be removed using tweezers after your substrate has been cooled.


If there are any oils on your substrate, wash it in cold water for 15-30 minutes with laundry detergent.


If you want to use your substrate, you should remove it from the water and let it dry for at least 24 hours.


The dye sublimation process can then be completed by heating the edges of the transfer tape with a heat gun.

Sublimation Process for Aluminum step by step:

  1. To ensure smooth results flatten your aluminum panel and remove dust and dirt particles.
  2. Cut off the excess transfer tape after placing the high-resolution quality file on it.
  3. After peeling away the backing sheet place your custom design on the platen according to your desired orientation.
  4. You should apply your file to your substrate once the platen is inside your standard heat press.
  5. Remove your substrate from your office heat press after it has cooled for a few minutes.
  6. The transfer tape should be removed with your tweezers once your substrate has been removed.
  7. Dye sublimation printing is completed by heating the edges of your transfer tape with a heat gun once your substrate is dry.
  8. Place your metal tumbler or mug in a cold oven after making sure it is dry with a towel.
  9. In a cold oven place your metal tumbler or mug and heat it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Turn off the oven after 30 minutes and let the mug or tumbler cool in the oven at room temperature.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the sublimation printing process on metal?

A sublimation print on metal involves converting dye from a print graphic into a gas, transforming it into a powder coat surface, and then embedding it in a polyurethane finish – all the detail and color of the original graphic is retained.

Can you sublimate straight onto metal?

To know How to sublimate on metal surfaces sublimate metal, it must be coated with polyester, as with any sublimation material. When sublimating on metal for the first time, keep in mind that metal is forgiving Neither bends nor breaks. Your customers will love the unique look and feel you can create with it.

Is it possible for the metal to sublimate?

Normally you can’t observe this but they do in fact. Different metals will sublimate at different rates depending on their temperature and energy of sublimation. Normal conditions will also result in some kind of equilibrium. Some of the particles of the particles will condense back on the surface.

What is the best temperature for sublimation?

A temperature of 400F is recommended for all products. Use moderate to heavy pressure to close your heat press. Time and temperature may differ based on blank material thickness and heat press

What is the method of printing on metal?

Most metal printing companies use three different types of process and technology. Screen printing dye sublimation and inkjet printing are the three types of printing. The most popular option for most users is dye sublimation which offers high-quality printing and exceptional durability.

Which technique is used for sublimation?

Chemical compounds are purified y sublimation. Solids are typically heated under a vacuum in sublimation apparatuses. A nonvolatile residue of impurities is left behind after the solid volatilizer and condenses under this reduced pressure.

Final Verdict:

There are several reasons why How to sublimate on metal surfaces or metal printing is becoming increasingly popular including the stunning results that can be achieved. Here we explain how to print on metal using dye sublimation from what materials to use to what type of substrate.

Moreover tips and tricks for getting started with your projects. We have also included a few tips for getting started with sublimation or aluminum.

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