Acrylic Paint

Sublimation on Acrylic: What You Need to Know

Can you sublimate on acrylic?

Acrylic is a highly versatile material which makes it the perfect environment for 3D printing.

You may have seen a lot of articles on the Internet, blogs and discussion forums talking about whether you can use your DLP printer to print on to acrylic – and what methods you should employ for best results.

Here we aim to discuss whether or not you can sublimate on acrylic – and how to do so if indeed it is possible.

Related Post: Does Acrylic Paint Stick To Plastic?

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic?

You can sublimate on acrylic, but the process is a little different.

Acrylic is a type of plastic and is used in many industries to make signs, displays and other products. The sublimation process works by heating the ink up so that it melts onto the surface of your acrylic product.

You will need to heat up your printer and ink cartridge to about 300° Fahrenheit so that it melts the ink onto your acrylic product.

The printer will automatically shut off when it reaches this temperature, which is why you need to wait until after the printer has cooled down before trying to print again.

Sublimation on acrylic is not as durable as on metal or plastic because it is less dense than those materials. This means that over time your image may fade or get damaged by scratches or other wear and tear.

You should keep in mind that sublimation tends to fade faster than screen printing would because it doesn’t have an extra layer of material protecting it from sunlight like screen printing does.

How Long Do You Press Sublimation on Acrylic?

Sublimation on acrylic is a tricky process. In general, you want to use a heat press set to around 275 degrees F. This is a lower temperature than what you would use for polycarbonate or glass.

The tricky part is getting the right time and pressure combinations. The time it takes to press your design onto the acrylic will vary based on how thick your material is and how much ink coverage you have.

Most of the time, we recommend pressing for about 20 seconds per side, but this can vary depending on your artwork and press settings.

If you’re using a sublimation printer like the Ultra Violet or Heat Press Pro, then these machines come with built-in timers that make timing easier!

We have tested different thicknesses of acrylic and found that these were our best results:

0.040″ thick – 2 minutes 15 seconds at 300°F (150°C)

0.060″ thick – 3 minutes 45 seconds at 300°F (150°C)

0.080″ thick – 5 minutes 30 seconds at 300°F (150°C)

It’s important to note that this process only works with one color at a time, so if you want more than one color in your design, you’ll have to do it in steps.

You’ll need 4 sheets of acrylic: 2 white and 2 clear or black (depending on what color you want).

Then create your design on white paper and press each sheet separately before moving on to another color.

What Surfaces Can You Sublimate On?

The best surfaces for sublimation are those with no image on them already.

If there is an image on the surface of your product, it will be difficult for the ink to stick properly to it without coming off in time.

The best surfaces for sublimation are those that do not have any images printed on them already.

These include:

Ceramic mugs: These must be white or light coloured. Any other colours will not work because they contain chemicals that prevent the ink from sticking properly to them.

Ceramic tiles: These must be white or light coloured as well so they can be used as coasters or keychains etc..

MDF coasters : These are great for parties or events because they’re disposable and easy to clean!

Glass sheets :These can be used as mouse mats or framed pictures etc… They

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Keychains?

Yes, you can sublimate on acrylic keychains.

Acrylic keychains are a popular choice for many businesses because of the durability and value that they provide. Acrylic keychains can be used as promotional giveaways, or even as product packaging for your products.

The process of sublimation is the transfer of ink from a special sublimation paper onto a substrate like metal or plastic.

The ink becomes part of the material and cannot be removed without damaging the surface. This process is used in many industries such as t-shirt printing and car decal applications.

The only downside is that it can be difficult to adhesively bond to fabrics or other materials. For this reason, we do not recommend using a heat press or heat transfer machine when sublimating on acrylic keychains.

Instead, we recommend using our direct-to-fabric process which requires no heat press or transfer sheets.

This process allows you to fully customize your keychain with text and images before adhering it directly onto the item itself!

Can You Sublimate on White Acrylic Paint?

Yes, you can sublimate on white acrylic paint, but there are some things to keep in mind.

The first thing to consider is what kind of transfer paper you’ll be using. If you’re using a paper that has a rough texture, like our Heat Transfer Paper (HTP), then there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, make sure that your design is not too dark because if it is, the heat will not penetrate all the way through and you may end up with an uneven imprint.

The second thing is to make sure to lay down a gloss coat before printing onto your garment. This helps protect your garment from getting damaged during the transfer process by making sure there’s no fibers and ink on top of your fabric so they don’t get burnt during the sublimation process.

If you’re using our Blank HTP or White HTP, then this shouldn’t be an issue since these papers don’t have any roughness or texture and will allow for a smooth transfer onto your garments without damaging them in anyway.

Can You Use a Heat Press on Acrylic?

The answer to this question is yes, you can use a heat press on acrylic.

The reason why you cannot use a heat press on acrylic is because the acrylic will melt under the extreme temperature and pressure.

Using an acrylic sheet as a heat press platen is not recommended because it will distort under the heat and pressure. Acrylic sheets are used for other purposes such as signage, displays and more.

When using an acrylic sheet for printing purposes, it must be cut into smaller pieces before applying them to the heat press platen.

This way, each piece will withstand the pressure and temperature required for printing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you sublimate on acrylic?

Yes. You can sublimate on acrylic as long as it’s not a solid color. Transfers are recommended for this material.

What kind of acrylic works best?

We recommend using the thickest piece of acrylic you can find (up to 1/4″ thick) for best results with our sublimation process. It should be clear and free from scratches or dents as well as being clean and dry before applying your design or logo.
After applying your design we recommend letting the substrate sit for at least 24 hours before heating it up again in order to allow any excess moisture from the sublimation process time to evaporate out of the substrate.

Can you sublimate on glass?

Yes, but only if it is a tinted glass. Solid color glass does not work well with our heat press machines.

Can you sublimate on metal?

Yes, but only with a transfer. The metal must be pre-treated with a chemical solution and then pressed with an adhesive film in between the metal and transfer. We recommend using an image with a white background for this process because we cannot guarantee that all colors will adhere properly to metal without first being treated in this manner.

How do I clean my heat press machine?

Cleaning the inside of your heat press will help maintain its longevity by preventing build up of dirt or debris that could damage internal parts of your machine over time. You should clean out your machine after each use so that no debris gets trapped inside during storage and use again later when you open it up again.


It is indeed possible to use your sublimation printer to print onto acrylic. It may take some experimentation to get the best results with your materials, but when you do find the right settings, it’s a great way to make custom acrylic products quickly and easily.

The vinyl used for sublimation will last a long time without breaking down, so you can feel good about using these custom products for years to come.

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