Can You Sublimate Stainless Steel? (Tumblers, Coffee Mugs, Travel Mugs, Trophies, and Plates)

Sublimation allows you to dye your favorite material such as t-shirts, polyester, plastic, and metals. The process of sublimation is the same for metals and non-metals but for getting the desired results there are some things you need to take care of. While looking at the variety of shirts and mugs in the market the question may arise in your mind that “Can you sublimate stainless steel?” definitely you can sublimate your favorite piece of metal (Tumblers, Coffee Mugs, Trophies, or Plates) but there are some tips and tricks you need to follow during the process.
There are a few differences between dye sublimation on metal versus other materials.

When fashioning dye sublimated custom stainless steel, it’s important to pay attention to the temperature and pressure of the Heat transfer press or Cricut Mug press, when transferring your design onto steel (Mugs, Tumblers, Trophies). The reason for this is that metal does not absorb as much heat as other substrates (Like Fabric), so, therefore, you need to apply more pressure and higher temperature to ensure that the dye transfers properly to the metal substrate.

Things to Remember While Sublimating a Stainless Steel

  • Firstly, you need to remember that sublimation gives awesome results on materials with a polyester coating. Try to have a Steel/aluminum blank with polyester coating or coat it with polyester coating spray. Any metal with a coating of polyester is a great material to work with to get fantastic results colors.
  • You may face the problem of mismatching colors if you are new to the sublimation of metals. Sometimes colors may look different on sublimation paper and metals. For example, a dark blue shade may appear light on steel.
  • It is advised that before going into the process, you may need to do some testing for the desired look on the metal. It is best to prepare swatches so that you can compare them. Creating a gradient of the color you want and then testing different color variations are the fastest ways to match colors.

Process of Sublimation on Metals

Without any further ado, let’s have a look at the process

  1. If your metal has a protective mass, then remove it carefully and select the design for your sublimation.
  2. Select the size of the design and print your design on the sublimation paper with the help of a sublimation printer.
  3. Cut out the paper according to the piece of metal and affix it to the metal with a heat tap.
  4. Now you are going to apply shrink wrap to your metal. First, place the metal in the wrap and make sure it is completely covered. Then, place it inside the metal. Then, put the metal in the machine that heats and shrinks the wrap. This is the most important part, if you don’t do this correctly then your metal will not be protected.
  5. Now set the temperature of the heat press machine to 360C for 6 minutes. Put your metal in the press machine for the selected time. After completion remove the paper from the metal carefully.

Now you have your favorite design in your hand. You can make a number of designs for your friends once you get experience in it. 


Hopefully, The information in this article should help you sublimate metals perfectly. Sublimation can be done on different materials of your choice. You can make an everlasting memory with your friends and family by giving sublimated gifts on Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, and different occasions.

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