Sublimating acrylic blanks is a popular technique used to create custom and professional-looking products. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the best results when sublimating acrylic.
Step 1: Prepare Your Work Surface
Find a flat, stable surface to work on. This is crucial for achieving consistent results during the sublimation process. Make sure your work area is clean and free of debris.
Step 2: Remove Protective Paper
If your acrylic blank has a protective paper covering, remove it before proceeding. This covering is designed to protect the surface from scratches and damage during transportation.
Step 3: Print Your Design
Print your desired image or design on sublimation paper using sublimation ink. Ensure that your printer settings are correctly configured for sublimation printing.
Step 4: Heat Press Settings
Set your heat press to 400°F (204°C) and prepare it for sublimation. Once the press reaches the desired temperature, you’re ready to proceed.
Step 5: Sublimate the Acrylic Blank
Place your printed design on the acrylic blank, ensuring it is properly aligned. Press the blank with your heat press for 70 seconds at medium pressure. This will transfer the ink from the paper onto the acrylic.
Step 6: Prevent Warping
Immediately after removing the blank from the heat press, transfer it to a flat surface. Place a weighted object, such as a book or a block of wood, on top of the blank to keep it flat as it cools. This prevents warping and ensures a smooth final product.
Step 7: Allow to Cool
Allow the acrylic blank to cool completely before attempting to remove the sublimation paper. This will help prevent damage to the design.
Step 8: Clean the Blank
Once the acrylic blank has cooled, gently scrub the surface with water and a soft sponge or cloth to remove any paper residue that may have stuck during the sublimation process.
Paper will often stick to the blank after sublimating. The stuck paper can be washed off with water.
Sublimating acrylic blanks can produce stunning, professional results when done correctly. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a high-quality custom acrylic product. Remember to always practice safety precautions and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using a heat press.