Acrylic sublimation is a process to transfer images from a sublimation paper onto an acrylic blank by using heat and pressure. Sublimation on acrylic is a great option for custom design keychains, acrylic cups, acrylic fabric, and other décor ornaments. Here, we’ll take a look at the process of sublimation on acrylic.
We mostly hear sublimation on substrates like t-shirts, ceramic mugs, mousepads and phone cases. However, sublimation on acrylic is both creative and innovative while still being practical. You can either print on a clear or white acrylic sheet. You can print eye-catching designs with minimum cost.
Also, read a detailed guide on wood sublimation.
What is Acrylic?
Before we discuss how to print on acrylic, let’s first take a look at what acrylic is. Acrylic is a thermoplastic that is made from a polymer of methyl methacrylate. It is a type of transparent solid plastic that is lightweight, durable, and can be easily machined. It is often used as a substitute for glass because it is more shatter-resistant and less prone to scratching.
Acrylic Sublimation – How to Sublimate on Acrylic
Sublimation is the perfect solution if you are looking to add some personalization to your acrylic items. You can use the acrylic blanks to custom design a variety of different items, such as acrylic keychains, cups, and acrylic ornaments. The process of sublimating on acrylic is very similar to the process of sublimating on other materials (like polyester).
You will need the following items to sublimate on acrylic;
- High-resolution image printed on sublimation paper
- An acrylic blank you want to transfer the dye
- A heat press
- A scissor
- Transparent heat-press tape
- White paper chart
The first step is to create a design that you want to transfer to the acrylic blank. You can either use a software program to create your design or download it. Once you have your design, you need to print it out on a sublimation paper using a sublimation printer and special sublimation ink.
The next step is to cut the image to the size of the acrylic blank using a scissor. Place the print first on the acrylic item where it will be printed to make sure of the size.
Now, set the cut-out print on the acrylic blank and apply some tape on the corners to prevent it from moving, insert in-between the fold of the paper chart. Make sure that the acrylic item is at the bottom and the printed sublimation paper is on top facing down.
Place them on a heat press and apply pressure for a set amount of time. We advise setting the temperature of the heat press between 370 to 400 degrees. The amount of time will vary depending on the type of heat press you are using, and the thickness of the acrylic blank – usually it is from 45 to 60 seconds.
After the set amount of time has passed, you can remove the acrylic from the heat press. The design will now be transferred to the acrylic blank. Remove the paper chart and let the image cool down. After that, cut the excess paper.
Note: some paper may stick on the acrylic – it is normal! Dip the acrylic item in the water for a couple of minutes to soften the paper, and then rub clean it. Enjoy your new acrylic sublimation!
Video Tutorial on Acrylic Sublimtion
How to Sublimate on Curved Acrylic Items?
If you want to transfer an image onto a curved acrylic item such as mugs and ornaments, you will need to use a curved sublimation acrylic sheet, and a curved heat press. The process is very simple and you will need the following items:
- A curved sublimation acrylic sheet
- A curved heat press
- An image printed on sublimation paper
- A piece of cardboard
- Print your image on the sublimation paper.
- Cut the image to the size of the curved acrylic sheet.
- Place the image face down on the curved sublimation acrylic item.
- Place the cardboard on top of the image and heat press at 375 to 400 degrees for 45 seconds.
- Remove the cardboard and let the image cool.
Video Tutorial on Acrylic Sublimation on Curved Items and Sheets
Can You Sublimate On Clear Vinyl?
You can sublimate on clear vinyl, but the results will not be as good as if you use white acrylic. The image will not be as bright and the colors will not be as vibrant. If you decide to use clear vinyl, you will need to apply a layer of white vinyl first. This will help the image to be more visible.
If you are looking for a way to add some personalization to your acrylic items, then sublimation is the perfect solution. With a little bit of creativity, you can create some truly unique designs that will stand out from the crowd. You can custom design your belongings with beautiful prints or loved ones’ images such as keychains, cups, ornaments, and acrylic fabric.
Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)
Can you sublimate in a regular oven?
No, you cannot sublimate in a regular oven. You will need a heat press to properly transfer the image onto the acrylic blank.
Can acrylic be sublimated?
Yes, acrylic can be sublimated. The process is very simple and you can create a variety of different items using acrylic blanks.
What temperature does acrylic sublimate?
The recommended temperature for acrylic sublimation is 375 – 400 degrees. However, the time may vary depending on the type of heat press you are using and the thickness of the acrylic item.
Can you sublimate on acrylic cups?
Yes, you can sublimate on acrylic cups. You will need to use a curved sublimation acrylic sheet in order to do so.
Can you put acrylic in a heat press?
Yes, you can put acrylic in a heat press. You will need to use a piece of cardboard in order to protect the acrylic from the heat.
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