From Blank to Beautiful: How to Sublimate on Canvas

How to Sublimate on Canvas

Sublimation has attained a lot of popularity over the world and has increased the value of crafters. Multiple polyester coating crafts get sublimated and sublimation Canvas is one of them. But the sublimation always asks for the poly-coated craft to assist you in completing the process successfully. And if the material doesn’t have a polyester coating, we add some extra couple of steps to make the craft poly-coated before the process begins.

You can sublimate on non-polyester canvas by spraying that specific place with a particular sublimation coating spray. The process of sublimating the canvas is the same as you sublimate the other crafts as we’ve found. There are a couple of changes that we make in terms of pressing the craft after choosing the material. As we use the Convection oven in place of the heat press to press the mug and some safety accessories can also be changed.

Now what you need to do is just read and follow this guide “how to sublimate on canvas” with proper “instructions. And the safety guidelines of your sublimation process machines and the material that gonna be sublimated. Because these instructions and the precautions are only to save valuable and expensive sublimation equipment and crafts. We have listed all the necessary accessories to complete this process and all the steps are allocated to have successful finishing.

Canvas Delights: How to do Sublimation on Canvas?

If you just gonna start a sublimation career and wanna select the sublimation on canvas fabric as a niche. Then it’s very important to select the right quality sublimation printer, ink, and paper to have the expected results. Because ignoring any factor can lead you to the failure of the sublimation process. And once you have everything on the radar, just follow the steps of how to sublimate on canvas and get the sublimated canvas within a few minutes.

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Materials required for Sublimating Canvas

materials for canvas sublimation

You will need these materials for sublimation on canvas:

Sublimation Printer: A sublimation printer is a specialized printer designed specifically for sublimation printing. It uses a heat transfer process to transform sublimation ink into a gas that can penetrate the surface of various materials, including canvas. Sublimation printers are equipped with printheads that can handle the unique properties of sublimation ink and deliver precise and vibrant prints on canvas material.

Sublimation Ink and Paper: Sublimation ink is a unique type of ink formulated for the sublimation process. It contains dyes that, when heated, transform into a gas and bond with the polymers present in the canvas material. Sublimation ink produces vibrant and durable prints with excellent color reproduction and fade resistance. Sublimation paper, also known as transfer paper, acts as a medium to transfer the ink from the paper to the canvas. It has a special coating that holds the ink and releases it when subjected to heat and pressure during the sublimation process.

Sublimation Blank (Canvas): A sublimation blank refers to a flat canvas material that is pre-coated or specifically designed for sublimation printing. These sublimation blanks are coated with a layer that allows the sublimation ink to bond effectively with the canvas material. Sublimation blanks may come in various forms, including stretched canvas, canvas boards, framed canvas, or even reverse canvas. They provide a ready-to-print surface for sublimation projects and ensure optimal results in terms of color vibrancy and print longevity.

Sublimation Design: The sublimation design refers to the artwork or image that you want to transfer onto the canvas through the sublimation process. It can be a custom design created using graphic design software or a pre-designed image chosen for sublimation printing. The design should be of high resolution and properly sized for the canvas to ensure a sharp and accurate sublimation print.

Sublimation Coating Spray: Sublimation coating spray is a product used to enhance the sublimation process on materials that are not pre-coated for sublimation. In the case of sublimating on canvas, a sublimation coating spray can be applied to uncoated canvas fabric to make it receptive to sublimation ink. The spray creates a sublimation-friendly surface on the canvas, improving color vibrancy and print quality. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application of the coating spray.

Heat Press: A heat press is an essential tool for sublimating on canvas. It is a machine that applies heat and pressure to transfer the sublimation ink from the paper to the canvas. The heat press consists of a heated platen and a flat surface where the sublimation paper with the printed design and the canvas are placed together. The heat and pressure from the press activate the sublimation process, causing the ink to bond with the canvas fibers, resulting in a permanent sublimation print.

Heat Resistant Tape: Heat resistant tape is used to secure the sublimation paper onto the canvas during the heat press process. It ensures that the paper remains in place and prevents shifting or misalignment, which could affect the quality of the sublimation print. The tape is heat resistant and leaves no residue on the canvas after removal, ensuring a clean and professional result.

Heat Gloves: Heat gloves are worn during the sublimation process to protect hands from potential burns or injuries caused by the heat press or hot surfaces. They provide insulation and heat resistance, allowing for safe handling of the sublimation prints and the heat press equipment.

Step #1 – Creating outstanding design

Before everything even makes the place sublimatable, make sure the design has already been created. Because it’s a time taking task, especially for the starters. But the question that can arise here is how we can get suitable sublimation design software for our business. Well, it depends on the graphic types and your budget too.

If you ask about user-friendly with flexibility and free tons of templates, CANVA is the software that can generate better designs. But how you make the design depends on your creativity and the design sense. It offers you a premium version as well as a free version with a lot of ready-made templates and effective features to create captivating designs. Also, make sure the design should match the size of the canvas.

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Step #2 – Printing the design

Now use the sublimation printer to print that created design through Canva. And our recommendations will be to choose the Epson printers to have the best sublimation results. But keep in mind that some printers don’t offer you sublimation ink. And never use the regular ink rather buy the sublimation ink separately. Before printing, you must have knowledge of the printer and the basic setting of how you can print your design brilliantly.

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Step #3 – Use Coating Spray & Heat Press

If the canvas is in the frame, then remove the frame first because the heat press will easily press the canvas to avoid ghosting. Now spray that particular area where you wanna transfer the design through sublimation coating spray. Once you’ve sprayed on canvas, place the canvas in a heat press and leave it for 15 seconds to let it dry.

After finishing the time, you’ll find the sprayed area with a bit of hardness. Again spray that specific place and place in a heat press for 15 seconds to have the fully coated place. So that we can obtain the sublimation result that we expect from polyester material.

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Step #4 – Place sublimation paper onto coated Canvas

After preparing that canvas for sublimation, just place the sublimation paper (printed design) onto the canvas-coated area. And fix the sublimation paper by applying heat-resistant tape to avoid any bad impact in transferring step.

Step #5 – Pressing with a Heat press

In this final step, you will press the canvas for 45 seconds at a temperature of 365 degrees to have a full sublimation result. When the time is up, you can remove the sublimation paper and heat-resistant tape. But be careful when removing these materials immediately after finishing the process because it’s too hot to touch. You should use heat resistant gloves or wait for some time to let it cool down.

Tips for Successful Sublimation on Canvas

sublimation on canvas

Following tips will help you with a successful sublimation canvas project

Choosing the right artwork and image resolution:

  • Select high-quality sublimation designs that are suitable for canvas printing.
  • Ensure the image resolution is appropriate for the desired print size on canvas.

Testing color and temperature settings on sample prints:

  • Conduct test prints on similar canvas materials to fine-tune color settings.
  • Experiment with different temperature and time combinations to achieve optimal results.

Ensuring proper heat press alignment and pressure distribution:

  • Align the sublimation paper and canvas carefully to prevent misalignment.
  • Ensure even pressure distribution during the heat press process for a consistent print.

Avoiding common mistakes and troubleshooting issues:

  • Use a sublimation paper that is specifically designed for sublimation printing on canvas.
  • Pay attention to the shiny side of the sublimation paper, which is the printable side.
  • Avoid excessive handling of the sublimation paper to prevent smudging or transferring ink.
  • Use laminate sheets or protective covers to prevent ink bleeding or ghosting.

Experimenting with different canvas textures and finishes:

  • Explore various canvas materials, such as cotton, polyester, or blends, to achieve different effects.
  • Try different canvas textures and finishes, such as matte or glossy, to enhance the visual appeal.
  • Consider using dye-sublimation materials specifically designed for direct sublimation printing.


You can sublimate the canvas at 365 degrees with a time of 45 seconds. Because at this temperature, we have got phenomenal results in sublimating canvas.

Yes you can sublimate canvas without lamination but you have to add a couple of steps to prepare canvas for the sublimation process. As it gives better results on polyester material.

You just heat up your heat press at 365 degrees and press the canvas for 45 seconds. In this way, you press and sublimate the canvas.

Yes the canvas is a polyester material because they are made from cotton material or synthetic materials. But you need to analyze first is it polyester or not because every canvas isn’t made of polyester material.

Yes Bella canvas be used for sublimation as we have seen the best sublimation results because they offer you different poly blends.

It will hardly take 45 seconds to sublimate on canvas, but the overall process can take few minutes to complete. It totally depends on your skill level and your experience as well.

You can use the polyester material made canvas for sublimation as the dye ink accepts polyester and give you brighter results.

Yes sublimation on a canvas bag or canvas tote bag by heat press but must have a polyester coating. If doesn’t’ then use the sublimation coating spray to prepare that place.

Yes you can sublimate 100 cotton canvas but you’ll need to go through the step of preparing the cotton for sublimation.

Absolutely yes, you can sublimate even the non-polyester canvas fabric but the preparation of the Canvas will be needed before the sublimation process.


Sublimation on canvas isn’t a complex task if you don’t make it difficult. We have illustrated all the necessary equipment and extra accessories for the safety of your health and your sublimation materials. And we have described each step in an easy way to make it easy for beginners who are just taking poly canvas for sublimation and are wondering how to sublimate on canvas. Whatever your skill level and the query is, just follow the guide carefully and sublimate the canvas.

Happy Crafting!!!

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