The demand for small businesses like sublimation is dramatically increased because of inflation. That’s why people often ask about sublimation printing businesses and want to know which materials we can sublimate?
Here we are answering the most commonly asked question. Can you sublimate on acrylic? Yes, acrylic is one of the best substrates for sublimation. Most Importantly, acrylic sublimation is a good business. For this, just need to sublimate unique and attractive designs onto the acrylic material.
Here in this guide, we will discuss how we can do the acrylic sublimation process effectively? And also informs you about the things that are essential for acrylic sublimation.
Asides, people also have some other queries like can you sublimate on acrylic paint? Can you sublimate on acrylic fabrics? Can you sublimate on acrylic sheets, etc? So, we will answer the above questions as well to show you a more clear picture of acrylic sublimation. Read this for making sublimation brighter.
What is Acrylic?
First of all, it’s better to know about acrylic. Acrylic which is also called Plexiglass is a transparent solid plastic material with phenomenal strength and extraordinary stiffness. Furthermore, acrylic has optical clarity and weather-resistive properties. Acrylic includes a high percentage of Polymer, making this substrate perfect for sublimation. Chemically acrylic is known as polymethyl methacrylate.
Types of Acrylic. which one is used for Acrylic Sublimation?
There are two main types of acrylic, extruded and cast acrylic. Extruded acrylic which is made by using the extrusion method is dimensionally stable, malleable, soft, less thick, and cheap.
While on the other hand cast acrylic is produced by mixing acrylic liquid ingredients. Cast acrylic is rigid, comes with a high melting point, and has brilliant thermal properties. Additionally cast acrylic has unbelievable resistance to sun and heat. That’s why cast acrylic is used for sublimation.
For sublimation, normally acrylic sheets or blanks are used. In the process of acrylic sublimation, temperatures raise up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cast acrylic can easily withstand this temperature without melting or heating up. Conversely, extruded acrylics can not bear such high temperatures.
So, one can cut cast acrylic into the desired shape and perform sublimation on it without any issue.
Stuff You Need for Acrylic Sublimation:
There are some essential items that you should have in your workspace before moving towards Acrylic sublimation.
Laptop or PC:
It does not matter what type of sublimation printing and on which surface you want to do it. For any sublimation printing process, it is necessary to have a laptop or pc to design a print. For this, one can use any of the designing software to create an attractive design.
To take out quality prints top-notch sublimation printer is required. There is a huge number of sublimation printers of different weights, sizes, and print qualities available. So, you can buy a perfect sublimation printer according to your workspace and printing requirements in this list.
Sublimation Paper and Ink:
Sublimation ink and papers are other important things that need to take prints on them. In some printers, there are ink cartridges for colored and black inks. while on the other hand, some printers come with ink tanks or ink bottles.
Similarly to take on prints by using sublimation ink one also need sublimation papers as well. These are special heat transfer that not only withstands high temperature but also helps in transferring a design onto acrylic materials via a heat press.
Before buying acrylic sheets or blanks make sure these are cast acrylic. In the market, there are plenty of cast acrylic sheets and blanks of different shapes available. Furthermore, you can find acrylic sheets of various sizes and thicknesses.
Most importantly, apart from the transparent one can easily find the white acrylic sheets of various dimensions. So, just take the one that looks good for your design.
Heat Transfer and Easy Press:
While doing acrylic sublimation heat transfer is necessary and an easy press is just for a better finish to the final product. So, after taking out prints from the sublimation printer and attaching the printed paper on acrylic sheets need a heat press transfers the design onto the acrylic material. Press this material further by using the easy press to get the strong and fine final product.
It is another item you should have in your workspace before starting the acrylic sublimation process. The acrylic spray just works like magic to provide strong adhesiveness to the printed design. Furthermore, it makes the print more visible and prominent on the transparent acrylic surface. But it must be used wisely in small amounts to avoid overcoating.
Butcher Paper and Teflon sheets:
Butcher paper and Teflon sheets are essentials during the heat transfer process. The special thing about butcher paper is it can withstand high temperatures and also moisture. Moreover, it also prevents from spreading of sublimation ink on the sides or moving towards the backside.
That’s why it is necessary to cover the acrylic sheet completely in the butcher paper and also have Teflon sheets around the paper.
Another important item that you need for acrylic sublimation is heat tape. It is required while attaching printer sublimation paper to the acrylic sheet. Normal tape can not bear 400 degrees Fahrenheit temperature during heat transfer.
How to do sublimation on Acrylic? Step-by-step Guide:
For sublimation on acrylic sheets or blanks just follow the below steps carefully.
- First of all, you need to select an acrylic sheet according to your requirements. You can take sheets of various sizes and shapes like heart, square, round, or rectangle shapes. Acrylic sheets in all the above shapes are available in the market.
- After taking a particular acrylic sheet take print or design print on any graphic designing software. While designing must keep in mind the dimensions of the acrylic sheet where you want to transfer this design. The dimensions of the designed image must be smaller than acrylic sheet dimensions.
- Next, attach your laptop or pc with any sublimation printer and take the print on sublimation paper while using sublimation ink. Make sure your printer is equipped with colored sublimation ink if you want to make a colorful design. Before taking print must centralize the design on the paper.
- Then you need to transfer this design onto the acrylic surface. For this, cut the sublimation paper according to the acrylic sheet size and attach the printer sublimation paper to the acrylic with heat tape. Before doing this make sure acrylic is clean and dust-free. In the case of a transparent acrylic sheet, you don’t need to reverse the paper position while attaching with acrylic. On the other hand, if you have a white acrylic sheet then reverse the paper before attaching.
- After doing this completely cover the acrylic sheet with butcher paper. Then it is further protected with Teflon sheets before pressing in a heat transfer machine. It will provide extra protection and prevent the ink from spreading on the sides or back of the acrylic. While covering into the butcher paper sublimation paper should be on the upper side of the acrylic.
- The most important step is transferring the design from the sublimation paper to the acrylic sheet by pressing it in a heat transfer machine. In this step, you need to press the covered acrylic at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 sec.
- Remove it from the heat press after 60 sec and then take it into the easy press and press it here for almost 40 sec to make sure the design is stuck completely to the acrylic.
- In the heat transfer, process sublimation paper will be stuck on the acrylic. So, put the acrylic in the water to cool it down and then remove the sublimation paper completely. After this sprayed the acrylic for a more strong and visible final print.
How long to Sublimate on Acrylic?
There are two answers to describe this question. First of all, if we consider the time of actual design transferring from sublimation paper to acrylic then it just takes 60 sec.
But for the complete process from creating a design to getting a final acrylic print. It will take almost 30 to 40 minutes.
Can you sublimate on acrylic paint?
Yes, we can do sublimation by using acrylic paints. For this just need to take acrylic paint and dilute it with water. This solution will reduce the stiffness of the paint on the transferring surface. Then spray this solution to the desired surface.
Can you sublimate on acrylic fabrics?
Yes, sublimation on acrylic fabrics can be done. But rather than heat transfer by pressing, screen printing is the best and most widely accepted method for doing sublimation on acrylic fabrics.
Can you sublimate on acrylic sheets?
Sublimation on acrylic sheets is the most common method and you will get better print on acrylic sheets than on others. After going through the above procedure surely you will be able to do this perfectly.
Acrylic sublimation is not only the best way to decorate your office or room with some attractive acrylic prints but also a good idea to establish small businesses. Although you can easily find acrylic sublimated products in the market. However, after reading this article you can print some unique designs on acrylic materials.
Now surely you have the answer to your question. Can you sublimate on acrylic? And also how you can do acrylic sublimation effectively?