Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric? A Beginner's Guide
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Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric? A Beginner’s Guide

Discover how simple it is to sublimate on acrylic fabric and create DIY tiles, trendy fabrics, and keychains.

But can you sublimate on acrylic fabrics? Yes, acrylic fabrics can be sublimated. Polymer polyacrylonitrile is used to create acrylic textiles. Acrylic fabrics respond well to sublimation because polyacrylonitrile binds to and absorbs the sublimation ink.

I’ve written a number of articles about dye sublimation, including ones on rayon sublimationnylon sublimation, cotton sublimation, and modal sublimation. And you will learn more about acrylic fabric sublimation printing in the sections that follow.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric?

While everyone is familiar with sublimation on polyester sheets, canvases, and acrylic blanks. The dye sublimation process is also used in the local community for fabric sublimation on cotton or synthetic fabric, such as nylon, rayon, or acrylic fabric, for t-shirt printing, beanies, or hoodie printing.

Acrylic fabric is frequently used for dye sublimation because of its stiffness and ability to retain colors despite repeated washings for longer periods of time. As opposed to other natural fabrics, acrylonitrile, a synthetic polymer, is used to make acrylic fabric, which is produced in a different way.

The acrylic fabric is used in a wide variety of everyday items like hoodies, shirts, athletic wear, and jackets in addition to sublimation printing. Acrylic fabric is very robustly constructed and can withstand rough handling with ease.

And it keeps you warm in addition to all that. Because of this, it is primarily used in gloves, jackets, and sweaters.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric? A Beginner's Guide

The advantage of acrylic fiber is that it resists dirt buildup well. because the stains do not bind with the fibers inside and remain on the surface. As a result, washing acrylic fiber without the use of harsh chemicals is very simple.

So yes, you can easily sublimate on acrylic fabric. There are numerous benefits to the acrylic fabric. Your sublimation will last longer and be more resistant to handling irregularities on acrylic fabric.

How to Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric?

Selecting the design you want to print and use the printer to print it on the sublimation paper is the fundamental step in the sublimation process. In order to transfer the design to the fabric, use a heat press machine.

It certainly seems straightforward, but there are some challenges. With the procedure, you must be exact. So, for sublimating on acrylic paper, here is a detailed procedure.

Tools Needed

  • Sublimation Printer and Ink ( you can convert regular printer for sublimation too)
  • Sublimation Paper
  • Heat Press Machine
  • Heat Tape
  • Butcher Paper

Create Your Design

The design that you want to sublimate must first be created. You can choose from a large selection of software programs. Canva, Adobe Photoshop, etc. are a few examples.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric? A Beginner's Guide

After that, the design would be printed onto the sublimation paper. Create or choose a design using graphic design software before printing it on sublimation paper.

To make sure the image will be oriented correctly when transferred, horizontally mirror it next. Afterward, put the sublimation paper in your printer and use sublimation ink to print the design on it. Use a printer, ink, and paper made for sublimation if you want the best results.

Heat Transfer

The most important step in the sublimation process is this one. The sublimation paper must be positioned on top of the fabric with the print side down. Next, press the paper to the fabric using a heat press. The print will be transferred to the fabric by doing this.

Due to the need for accuracy when using the heat press machine, the procedure is delicate. A small disturbance may have a negative impact on the print. The use of a heat press machine is therefore essential.

Things to Consider While Sublimating on Acrylic

When sublimating on acrylic fabric, there are three considerations that you must have in the back of your mind. Any one of the three is essential to the process, and a small adjustment to any one of them can ruin the print. Time, temperature, and pressure are the three factors.

Time

First, let’s discuss how long to sublimate on acrylic fabric. Although acrylic fabrics are heat resistant, timing is still important. Usually, the ideal time to keep the heat press running is for 45–60 seconds.

Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric? A Beginner's Guide

Temperature

The temperature needed for the acrylic sublimation process will be discussed next. The optimum temperature of the heat press should be between 370 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit (188 to 205 degrees Celsius).

One important point I want to make is that you should warm up the machine and the side of the fabric that won’t be printed beforehand. This prevents the fabric from bending due to the sudden application of pressure and heat.

Pressure

So, sublimation on acrylic time and tempisall sorted out. Pressure is the next topic. The pressure required to sublimate on acrylic fabric should be around 30 to 40 psi, but there are no pressure gauges or meters with the machine. As a result, you will need to use low to medium pressure.

Use the heat tape to attach the paper design side to the printing side of the fabric before using the heat press. By neatly sealing it, make sure the image is level and not shifting.

Tips for Getting the Best Sublimation Print on Acrylic Fabric

Although in theory, the sublimation process appears to be very simple and straightforward, in practice it can be very challenging. So, for the best outcomes, here are some recommendations.

  • Create a proper format and resolution backup of the design. PNG, JPEG, SVG, PDF, PSD, EPS, and TIFF are the file types that work best for sublimation. Additionally, the resolution must be at least 300 DPI.
  • Verify that the sublimation paper is printed on the appropriate side.
  • Sublimation shouldn’t be done on soiled fabric. Always make sure the material is clean.
  • To prevent the paper from moving, properly utilize the heat tape.
Can You Sublimate on Acrylic Fabric? A Beginner's Guide
  • The fabric should be pre-pressed to completely remove the moisture. By doing this, moisture-induced printing of tiny dots will be avoided. Earlier than the process itself, heat the fabric. It is ideal for the pre-press heat to be a little lower than the transfer temperature.
  • Before committing to a full transfer, it is always a good idea to test a small area of the fabric first. You can then decide which settings are best for the specific fabric and transfer paper being used.

How to Wash and Care for Your Sublimated Acrylic Fabric?

First things first: your sublimated fabric will be stiff when you receive it. It’s okay to wash it in cool water with a mild detergent and let it air dry if this happens.

It will become soft and usable once it has dried. Wash it in cool water on a gentle cycle after you’re finished using it. Additionally, you can lay it flat to dry or machine dry it on low heat.

Final Thoughts: Sublimating on Acrylic

Sublimating on acrylic sheets or blanks may seem like fun and games, but if the proper equipment, pressure, or heat are not used, the results may turn you off.

Sublimation on acrylic sheets is an essential skill for you to have if you are determined to launch a customization business. The sublimation process ought to be complete at this point if you followed the instructions exactly.

FAQs

What Kind of Fabric Can You Sublimate On?

Nylon, Rayon, Lycra, and Spandex are some of the fabrics that work well with sublimation printing because these fabrics have excellent durability and strength.

Can You Heat Press Synthetic Fabric?

Yes, you can heat press on 100% polyester. When heat-pressing polyester with HTV, lower temperatures and longer press times are advised. Fabric burn risk exists due to the heat press machine’s higher temperature.

Can You Sublimate on Synthetic Material?

Sublimation printing is the most proven method of printing on any synthetic fabric, resulting in a 100% permanent print every time. Digital printing is used to print using water-based inks on paper in this technologically advanced way. The chosen synthetic fabric is then heat-pressed onto the paper.

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