posted by Ahijoy on October 28, 2022

Can You Sublimate On Canvas?

Canvas has been quite a popular medium for arts and crafts since time immemorial. Over the years, different materials have been used to make canvas such as hemp which progressed to linen, and then finally cotton or synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon. Many processes are used on canvas to create exquisite works of arts and crafts, but can we sublimate it?

Can You Sublimate On Canvas?

The answer is yes. You can sublimate on canvas and it is super easy. The best material to sublimate on is polyester. If your canvas is made of polyester, it is easy to sublimate on it. If it is not, you can still carry out the process but you will have to employ an easy trick. But first things first – let’s understand what sublimation is.

The Process of Sublimation

Sublimation is a process in which an image is first printed on a special sheet of paper then transferred onto a fabric using pressure and heat. This way, you can customize products without burning a hole in your pocket.

The process of sublimation has gained immense popularity over the past few years and crafters love to create beautiful pieces of workmanship with it.

Sublimation on Canvas

For crafters and artists, canvas has been the easiest yet inexpensive way to practice and create their magic. There are multiple ways to perfectly sublimate the canvas. Let’s first gather the right tools.

Can You Sublimate On Canvas?

Sublimation Printer

The first thing you will need is a printer to sublimate your design. This is slightly different from a regular printer. A regular printer prints with liquid ink whereas a sublimation printer pervades the material with ink vapors. It uses special ink to do the job.

Sublimation Paper

Use a sublimation paper to print the design. This is a special kind of paper with polyester coating that allows ink to settle when heat is provided.

Can You Sublimate On Canvas?

Sublimation Ink

Only use sublimation ink that is specifically made for this process.

Heat Press for Sublimation

The most important tool to sublimate on your canvas is the heat press. When heat is applied, the ink quickly starts to become solid and moves around turning into gas. It finally permeates the fabric and is transferred.

Canvas for Sublimation

You can choose from canvas panels or gallery wraps. Canvas made from polyester is the best for sublimating.

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Butcher Paper

Butcher paper is a very important tool for preventing the canvas from burning or getting marks while the heat is applied.

A Pair Of Scissors

You will have to cut the laminate sheet and the printed design according to the size of the canvas.

A Laminate Sheet

If you are using the second method stated below, you will need a standard laminate sheet.

Can You Sublimate On Canvas?

Heat Tape

This is used to ensure correct placement of the design on the canvas before heating.

 Method 1: Sublimating On Canvas

  • Spray your canvas with sublimating spray especially if it is of cotton. Coat the whole area that you want to sublimate thoroughly. The spray adds polyurethane to the surface making the process easy.
  • Movement during the process may cause ghosting or a double print. This means that you have one print then it moves a little print and you get another print. This can be extreme or just a little bit where you barely notice it. It can spoil the final product. A sublimating spray prevents this. 
  • Next, place the canvas into the heat press to let it dry for 15 to 20 seconds. It should be a bit stiff. After it has dried, spray it again with the sublimation spray and let it dry again in the heat press for another 15 seconds. 
  • Print out the design that you have chosen on the sublimation paper, trim it and place it face down on the canvas. Use the heat tape so your design stays in place and ghosting is avoided. PLace butcher paper on top and apply heat.
  • Hold it for about 40 seconds in the heat press. Then remove the canvas and gently remove the sublimation print.

That's it! You have completed sublimation on canvas and your beautiful transfer is ready to behold and admire!

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Method 2: Sublimating On Canvas Using A Laminate

For this, you will need a lamination sheet that is very easily available. Here’s how you can sublimate.

  • Place the laminate sheet on the canvas shiny side up.
  • Place butcher paper on top and apply heat to it with a heat press machine for 20 seconds at 385°F. The aim is to make the laminate adhere to the canvas.
  • Now place your design that you have printed on the sublimation printer face down on the laminated canvas, fix it with the heat tape, and cover it with butcher paper. Apply heat for 60 seconds at 400°F.
  • Enjoy the beautiful design that you have transferred onto the laminated canvas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Final Words

Well, now you know that we can sublimate on canvas and it is pretty easy. Before starting the project, make sure you have all the right tools available. Having the right paper and printer, and the best canvas is highly important for a perfect final product. Once you have gathered the paraphernalia, you are good to go.
Happy Sublimating!

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