Can You Sublimate on Paper Bags?

Can You Sublimate on Paper Bags

One question that often arises is whether sublimation can be applied to paper bags. These versatile and environmentally friendly bags offer a practical and visually appealing option for packaging and carrying items.

Yes, it is possible to sublimate on paper bags. The sublimation process allows vibrant designs to be transferred onto the surface of paper bags, enhancing their visual appeal.

Can You Sublimate on Paper Bags?

You can sublimate it onto paper bags. paper bags require a polyester or adhesive pretreatment spray or liquid first to help the sublimation inks properly absorb and bond to the paper fibers.

Here are a few key things to know about sublimating on paper bags:

Use Uncoated Paper Bags:

Sublimation works best on porous surfaces that will absorb the ink. Coated paper bags may not absorb the ink well.

Pretreat The Bags:

Use a polyester or adhesive pretreatment spray or liquid to help the ink bond better to the paper fibers. This is important for good ink adhesion.

Press At the Right Temp and Time:

For paper bags, press at 375-400°F for 30-45 seconds. Higher temp may cause scorching or melting. Time depends on a number of colors/inks used.

Flatness Matters:

The bag surface needs to be as flat as possible during pressing for best results. Consider using something rigid underneath like cardboard if needed.

Ink Bleed Is Possible:

With paper, some minor ink bleed or feathering may occur due to the absorbent surface. Take this into account with design placement.

Lamination Helps Longevity:

For durability, consider laminating the printed areas after sublimation. This helps protect the inks from moisture, fading over time.

How To Sublimate on Paper Bags?

Here are the basic steps for sublimating on paper bags:

  • Make sure the paper bag is made of a material that can accept sublimation ink, such as polyester. Test a small area first to ensure it works.
  • Prepare your art or image for printing. Designs should be mirror-imaged/reversed since bags are viewed from the outside.
  • Preheat your home iron to the recommended temperature for your sublimation paper, usually around 400°F.
  • Lay the paper bag flat on a heat-resistant surface. Place the sublimation paper image side down on the area you want to sublimate.
  • Cover with a protective sheet like parchment paper. This prevents ink from smearing while transferring.
  • Lower the hot iron directly onto the paper and slowly move it back and forth for about 30 seconds. Keep firm, even under pressure.
  • Lift the iron and allow the printed area to cool completely before removing the transfer and protective paper.
  • For best results, seal the image by heating it again for another 30 seconds without the paper on top.
  • Test your settings and process on scrap material first to get familiar with how the bag takes the ink. Go slowly and be careful when ironing to avoid potential fires.


In conclusion, while sublimation on paper bags requires some extra steps like pretreating the surface and being careful of potential ink bleed, it is indeed possible to apply vibrant designs to paper bags using this process. Sublimation allows for customized, colorful printing directly onto paper bags, enhancing their visual appeal for uses like gift packaging or promotional items.

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