Can You Sublimate on Acrylic? – (Step by Step Tutorial)

Last Updated on February 20, 2024

If you’re a fan of sublimation and love working with acrylics, you’re in for a treat! Today, we’ll guide you through the process of sublimating on acrylics, particularly focusing on high-quality cast acrylic sheets. The beauty of acrylics lies in their ability to accept sublimation inks, making them an excellent canvas for vibrant and permanent designs.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic

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Sublimation on Acrylic

Before we dive into the tutorial, let’s briefly understand what sublimation on acrylic is. Sublimation is a printing technique that involves using special inks printed on special paper.

These inks are then heat-pressed onto an item, permanently dyeing the surface. Not all materials can accept sublimation inks, but polyester is well-known for its compatibility.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic?

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic

Yes, you can sublimate on acrylic. Cast acrylic blanks are ideal for sublimation, offering a versatile canvas for vibrant and permanent designs when heat-pressed.

To sublimate on acrylic, print your design on sublimation paper, remove the protective backing from the acrylic, tape the paper, and heat press at 385-400°F for 60 seconds.

Add creative finishes like glitter or vinyl for personalized results.

Materials Needed

  • Cast acrylic blanks (ensure they are not black)
  • Sublimation paper with your desired design
  • Heat press or Easy Press 2 (recommended temperature: 385-400°F)
  • Butcher paper
  • Teflon sheet
  • Heat tape
  • Bowl of hot soapy water
  • Something heavy for pressing after sublimation
  • Optional: Glitter, white vinyl, or holographic adhesive glitter for creative finishes
  • Magic eraser for quick cleaning

The Sublimation Process

I’m excited to share this process with you, so let’s dive in! 

Step 1: Select Your Acrylic

Choose a clear or white cast acrylic. Ensure it’s free from scratches, and remove the protective film from both sides.

Step 2: Prepare Your Design

Print your sublimation image onto the paper. Remember to mirror the image for standard sublimation, though it’s not necessary for clear acrylic.

Step 3: Secure the Acrylic

Place the acrylic on a clean surface with the side you want to sublimate facing up. Position the sublimation paper on the acrylic and use heat tape to secure it in place, preventing any movement during the process.

Step 4: Heat Pressing

Sandwich the acrylic and sublimation paper between two sheets of butcher paper. Heat press the assembly at 385-400°F for 60 seconds, using light to medium pressure.

Step 5: Post-Pressing

After the heat press, place something heavy on the acrylic to keep it flat while cooling. Once cooled, immerse it in a hot, soapy water bowl to help remove any paper residue.

Step 6: Optional Enhancements

Get creative by adding transparent glitter vinyl, white vinyl, or holographic adhesive glitter to the back of clear acrylics for unique effects.

Step 7: Admire Your Creations

 Once the acrylic has dried, observe the transformation from muted colors to vibrant hues. Explore different finishes like clear, white vinyl-backed, or with added glitter effects.

Tips and Considerations

  • Ensure your heat press or Easy Press 2 reaches the recommended temperature for optimal ink transfer.
  • Make your sublimation design slightly larger than the acrylic to avoid visible edges.
  • For varied effects, experiment with different finishes on the back of clear acrylics, such as glitter or white vinyl.


Can I use any acrylic for sublimation?

We recommend using cast acrylic for sublimation. All acrylics are cast acrylic, making them suitable for accepting sublimation inks.

Why avoid black acrylic for sublimation?

 Black acrylic is pre-colored, and sublimation can only dye items darker. Using sublimation on black acrylic won’t achieve the desired effect, as it can’t lighten the color.

Do I need to mirror the image for sublimation on acrylic?

While it’s standard practice to mirror images for sublimation with clear acrylic, it’s not necessary. You can place the image on either side of the acrylic.

What temperature and time settings are ideal for sublimating on acrylics?

The recommended temperature range is 385-400°F, and the ideal press time is 60 seconds. Use a heat press or Easy Press 2 for best results.

How can I avoid paper residue after sublimation?

Soak the sublimated acrylic in a hot, soapy water bowl to soften the paper residue. You can also use a magic eraser for a quicker cleaning process.

Can I add additional effects to sublimated acrylics?

Yes, be creative! Experiment with transparent glitter vinyl, white vinyl, or holographic adhesive glitter on the back of clear acrylics for unique finishes.

 Is it essential to remove the protective film from both sides of the acrylic before sublimating?

Yes, removing the protective film from both sides of the acrylic before sublimation is crucial to ensure a smooth and even transfer of the sublimation ink.

Can I sublimate small images on acrylics?

Yes, but be cautious. If the image is smaller than the acrylic, you might see marks where the paper was sublimated. It’s recommended to make the image slightly larger than the acrylic.


Sublimating on acrylics opens up a world of creative possibilities. You can achieve stunning, permanent designs on various acrylic surfaces with cast acrylic blanks and the right technique. Have fun experimenting with different finishes and creating unique, personalized items.