How to Sublimate on Canvas – 5 Easy Methods

how to sublimate on canvas

Sublimation is the new favorite for crafters these days. The images and artwork it produces are vibrant, detailed, and durable. There is no limit to what you can print your design on, customize almost anything from ceramics and glass to wood, plastic, or fabric. The best part about sublimation printing is that you do not have to spend exuberantly on equipment to start sublimating. The printers for sublimation are reasonably priced, and you can also convert an inkjet printer into a sublimation printer.

Images on canvas look attractive and bright. Photo canvases can be the best gift for your loved ones, and you can also decorate your walls or desks with gorgeous artwork. Since sublimation works with polyester-coated materials only, people wonder whether or not they can print designs on canvas through sublimation. It is possible, but that brings us to the question how to sublimate on canvas. You can easily print a high-quality design on canvas with a few tips and tricks. We will share a few easy methods that will enable you to print your designs onto 100% cotton canvases, even in dark colors.

Method 1: Sublimation on Canvas with Sublimation Spray

Since canvases are usually not poly-coated, we need to modify the surface to print a design that looks beautiful and lasts. A sublimation spray can help you with that. Let us quickly look at the process of sublimating onto a canvas using a sublimation spray.

The first step is to prep the canvas. If, you have a large 9 x 12” heat press, you do not need to separate the canvas from the frame. But a canvas with a wooden needs to be detached from the frame first. All you need to do is remove the bolts on the back of the frame. For this, you can use a Xacto knife. 

how to sublimate on canvas

Now you have to coat the canvas with sublimation spray. Use a generous amount to ensure the area where you want to print your design is damp. 

how to sublimate on canvas

Warm your heat press to 35 degrees, place the sprayed canvas on the platen, and heat press it for about fifteen to twenty seconds. The surface where you have applied the sublimation spray will become hard. Repeat the process twice for better results.

Print your design on sublimation paper using a sublimation printer. You can print anything you like, a photo of yourself or your family, or design an image using editing software like Photoshop.

how to sublimate on canvas

Place the sublimation over the canvas design side down. You can use heat-resistant tape to secure the design over the right spot so that it affixes where you want it. Press it in the heat press for forty seconds at 365 degrees. 

how to sublimate on a canvas

Carefully remove the sublimation paper from the canvas. You can easily re-assemble the canvas with the frame using hot glue or two-sided tape. Cut the canvas around the edges if it looks disproportionate. 

how to sublimate on canvas

And you have successfully sublimated on canvas.

how to sublimate on canvas

Method 2: Sublimating on Canvas with Polyester Fabric

The designing and printing process remains the same for all methods. How you prepare the canvas for sublimation differs. Learn how you can prep your canvas using polyester fabric in this method.

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Grab a polyester fabric and cut it to the size of your canvas. Keep the fabric half an inch longer from the canvas from all sides.

how to sublimate on canvas

Heat press the fabric for about sixty seconds to remove wrinkles. Place the sublimation paper over the polyester fabric design side down and secure it with sublimation tape.

Now heat press the fabric with sublimation paper attached for sixty seconds at 400 degrees. The heat and pressure will transfer the design to the polyester fabric. 

how to sublimtae on canvas

The final step is to attach the fabric to the canvas. Carefully adjust the print over the canvas and stick it together with a staple gun. You can also use hot glue to adhere your design to the canvas. 

how to sublimate on canvas

The canvas now has a beautifully sublimated design over it.

how to sublimate on canvas process

Method 3: Sublimating Directly on Polyester Canvas

If you get a polyester fabric canvas, the process becomes so much easier as you can sublimate on it directly.

Design and edit your image on design software, and print it on sublimation paper.

Wipe the fabric with a lint roller to remove wrinkles, dirt, or tiny threads stuck to it.

how to sublimate on canvas method 3

Coat the canvas with sublimation spray to enhance the vibrancy and quality of your end results. Cover the canvas with a Teflon sheet and then heat press it for about twenty seconds. Heat pressing the canvas removes the wrinkles and moisture and flattens it nicely for sublimation.

Now place the sublimation paper over the canvas design side down after removing the Teflon sheet. Secure it with thermal transfer tape, then cover it with the Teflon sheet. The last step is to heat press it for forty seconds at 365 degrees.  

Gently remove the tape and sublimation paper, and enjoy your sublimated canvas image.

Method 4: Sublimating on Canvas with Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl is an excellent tool to prepare canvases outsourced from 100% cotton fibers. You can also sublimate on dark-colored garments with this technique. Sublimation printing does not work on dark-color fabrics otherwise. You will require a Cricut or Silhouette cutting machine for this process.

Print your image onto sublimation paper.

Take a sheet of heat transfer vinyl and cut it to the size of your canvas. Now stick the two sheets together with heat-resistant tape.

sublimation on canvas

Press the canvas using Cricut Easy Press or heat press at 320 degrees for 15 seconds.

Now take your artwork that you have printed on sublimation paper and place it face down on the HTV ironed-on canvas. Secure it with heat-resistant tape.

Cover the HTV with butcher paper and press for 90 seconds at 360 degrees.

how to sublimate on canvas method 4

Carefully remove the butcher and sublimation paper to reveal the beautiful results underneath.

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how to sublimate on canvas method 4.

Method 05: Sublimating on Canvas with Thermal Laminating Pouches

It is the best method to make your sublimated images on canvas look smooth, glossy, and shiny. This technique helps print vibrant, high-quality designs through sublimation on 100% cotton canvases. The process is quite simple; all you have to do is laminate the canvas with thermal pouches. Here is how you can do it:

Cut the laminating thermal pouch to the size of your canvas. You can also get laminate sheets in the exact same size as your canvas, so you would not need to trim them.

Place the laminating pouch over the canvas. One side of the sheet will be shiny, while the other side will be matte. Make sure you place it on the canvas, glossy side up. Cover it with butcher paper and heat press it at 385 degrees for twenty seconds.

The heat and pressure will make the laminating sheet stick to the canvas. Now place the sublimation printed design on the canvas and attach it with heat-resistant tape to ensure it doesn’t shift.

Cover the canvas with butcher paper and heat press it for sixty seconds at 386 degrees.

Peel the sublimation paper gently and look at your beautiful creation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should be the temperature of my heat press for sublimation?

A: The accurate temperature for sublimating on canvas is 365 degrees. You will get exceptional results by pressing for 45 seconds at 365 degrees.

Q: What type of canvas should I use for sublimation?

A: You can sublimate on any canvas type in different colors with these methods. You can use polyester and cotton canvases or other canvas products like photo canvases, aprons, tote bags, pillowcases, and more.

Q: Can I sublimate on canvas board?

A: Yes, you can sublimate on canvas boards. Canvas boards usually come with a wooden frame, so you have to separate it from the frame. We have explained how you can do it in the article. There are several ways to put them back together, like using hot glue, thumbtacks, or an industrial stapler.

Final Thoughts

Have you always wanted to sublimate on canvas tote bags but did not know how to? Well, now you do! Sublimation printing is the best solution for creating high-quality, colorful artwork and photos. You can even sublimate on cotton materials and dark-colored fabrics with a few turnarounds. Through these easy-to-follow methods, you will get excellent sublimation prints on canvases of different materials.



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