How to sublimate on wood

Detailed and clear instructions on how to sublimate on wood

Sublimation on wood is a great way to create your designer decorations that will look even cooler since they are made by you.

Not only are creating and styling wooden decorations fun projects, but the fact that you can save money by making quality fakes just once is a huge advantage.

How to sublimate on wood
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However, they can also add to the festive mood, for example, a New Year’s print on a wooden background from which you can even make Christmas decorations.

In this article, we will analyze the answer to the question “how to sublimate on wood slices?”. Moreover, we will analyze the different methods and necessary accessories in detail.

How to sublimate on wood
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How to sublimate on wood? What is sublimation on wood?

Let’s start with the fact that sublimation is the transfer of a pattern from a solid state to a “gas-like” one and then moving it to the surface. In our case, sublimation on wood slices is transferring the desired pattern onto a wooden surface.

How to sublimate on wood
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For this, a very high temperature is used, which literally causes the ink to pass from one surface to another, while not blurring into a liquid state, but immediately absorbed into another material.

Moreover, dye sublimation is quite possible, especially on a wooden surface and there are no limits to the colors of the pattern you want to transfer.

How to sublimate on wood
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How to sublimate on wood? Can you sublimate directly on wood?

The answer is yes, but if you want to get a high-quality result, it is still worth preparing the surface for sublimation.

Also, it is worth saying that wood blank is not clothing because sublimation on it may seem even easier; therefore there is an opinion that the pattern is simply transferred to the surface itself, but you should not take this without caution, and it is better to follow all the instructions.

How to sublimate on wood?How do you prepare wood?

It is not necessary to use pure wood blank for transfer to the surface. You end up with an uneven design and the ink may look worn right after sublimation. It would help if you made wood slices out of plain wood.

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You can choose any shape for slices, and you can start with ordinary circles, but if you are confident in the ability to accurately determine the size of the transferred drawing, you can make a thematic shape, for example, a bird or a Christmas tree.

Treat the wood so that it is smooth and cannot leave you with any splinters in your skin. It is best to do this in special construction gloves, so as not to get hurt during the process.

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How to sublimate on wood? Equipment for 2 methods of sublimation on wood:

Below, you can see a list of items that will be needed to perform two methods. Stock up in advance on the things you need for both methods, and not just one, it will be easier for you to understand which method is more convenient for you.

How to sublimate on wood
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  1. Heat-resistant tape

Heat-resistant tape is a special tape that will help to prevent damage by high temperatures.

  1. Heat press

You can use a heat press machine or an iron, it depends on what is more suitable for you.

The temperature should be around 360 Fahrenheit. 

Medium pressure is required. 

  1. Sublimation paper and parchment paper

The sublimation paper will be the paper with the design.

Parchment paper will be the paper you need to put between the press and wood slices. 

How to sublimate on wood
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  1. Sublimation printer

Sublimation printer or inkjet printer, which will have special inks and papers. 

  1. Knife

A craft knife will be the most suitable for the first method, but you can use scissors as well. 

  1. Wood slices

Again, you need to have repaired for sublimation wood slices. 

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  1. Laminating pouches

The laminating sheet will be a base that allows your wood slice to get ink drawing. 

  1. Sanding block

It will be used to make wood slices with laminating pouch, neater looking. 

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Instructions on how to sublimate on wood

Below, you can see detailed steps for two guides on how to do your sublimation print on wood.

How to sublimate on wood
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How to sublimate on wood? First method with laminating sheet

In the first method, you will need to use laminating sheet a lot. 

  1. Laminating pouches

Take your thermal laminating pouches and just get one laminating sheet.

This will be the base of your future laminated wood slices with design, and you should understand where is the matte and glossy side of the sheet. 

How to sublimate on wood
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  1. Heat press

Now you should make the heat press work according to the instructions (temperature: 360 and pressure: medium). 

In this step, do not use sublimation paper as it is too early. You need to put on the heat press part or parchment paper, then take wood slices and apply them above the paper. Then, place thermal laminating sheet above the wood slices with a glossy side on the top, and check that it is covering all wood slices fully. 

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  1. Excess laminate

After pressing is done, you need excess laminate or extra parts thermal laminating sheet.

Thermal lamination sheets should only be covering the surface of the wood. 

  1. Edges of wood slices

When you are already having perfectly suited laminated wood slices, you need to use a sanding block to make edges smoother. 

This will make laminate perfectly cover wood slices without even small parts left above the edges. 

How to sublimate on wood
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  1. Sublimation printing

Now you can start your inkjet printing. First, you need to have a prepared digital design and then sublimation paper with this printing. 

Use heat-resistant tape to fasten the wood and sublimation image. 

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  1. Heat press again

You have to use the warmed-up heat press again, but this will be the last step. 

You should place your wood slices in a heat press with a sublimation image on top. Press it for 60 seconds and then check the result. 

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How to sublimate on wood? Second method

In this method, we use wood slices with the laminate sheet as well, but we will apply polymer coating. 

You will have to do a “painted wood”, which will just be wood with a cover on. 

Many people say that sublimation on wood with polyacrylic is making a drawing more permanent and of high quality. 

What is the best way to sublimate on wood?

How to sublimate on wood
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It is really hard to say which method of wood sublimation is better, as they have the same procedure, the only difference is applying a cover on slices. So, it would be fair to say that you can use two types of wood slices, one will be for the first method and the other for the second.

Find out more details in the article – HOW TO SUBLIMATE ON WOOD

How to sublimate on wood
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FAQs: How to sublimate on wood?

Can you sublimate directly on wood?

If you want to sublimate onto wood, it is recommended to use specially coated substrates designed for sublimation printing, such as sublimation-coated MDF or other substrates that are specifically formulated for sublimation printing.
These substrates are coated with a polyester coating that allows for the transfer of the sublimation ink and ensures a high-quality, durable print.

What is the best way to sublimate on wood?

It is really hard to say which method of wood sublimation is better, as they have the same procedure, the only difference is applying a cover on slices. So, it would be fair to say that you can use two types of wood slices, one will be for the first method and the other for the second.

What can I spray on wood to sublimate?

There is no spray or coating that you can apply to untreated or uncoated wood that will enable sublimation printing. However, you can use spray adhesive to apply sublimation paper to a wood surface, as the adhesive helps to prevent the paper from moving during the sublimation process.

How do you print on wood sublimation?

Printing on wood using sublimation involves a process of printing the design onto a special sublimation transfer paper using sublimation ink, then transferring the design from the paper to the specially coated wood surface using a heat press.

Conclusion: How to sublimate on wood?

To sum everything up, it may be said that sublimation designs on wood with thermal laminating sheet are a pretty interesting process, which will not just give you a good result in high-quality decorations made by yourself, but the instructions and steps of this type of printing are pretty satisfying and entertaining. 

We hope that after reading this article, the question of “how to sublimate on wood slices?” was perfectly solved in your head, and now you are fully satisfied by new opportunities of getting custom decorations for your home and holidays. 

Also, you may be interested in – Sublimation printer vs inkjet: when can I use it, and why can I use it?


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