Use Sublimation On Any Hard Surface

Use Sublimation On Any Hard Surface main article image
Posted on August 24, 2021 by Carmel Jalnski

Have you ever priced infusible products? They are EXPENSIVE! Now you can take any metal, wood or ceramic surface and treat it. Then use infusible ink (sublimation) on it.  The Dollar Store has all sorts of balsa wood and ceramic stuff for $1 and even metal things.

Balsa Wood Shapes

Picture Frame

Metal Sign

Ceramic Ornament Shape

What you will need

  • Infusible ink Pen or Sheet or Sublimation Printer Sheet
  • Something to put it on
  • Easy Press or other heat source
  • Polycrylic
  • Foam Paint Brush

Where to Get Materials to Use Infusible Ink on Anything

Firstly Dollar store is a great place to get mugs, wood, metal etc. cheaply.  And if you don’t have any polycrylic left over from doing glitter ornaments, you can get it at Walmart.  One small can will last you for a really long time, so buy the smallest you can get.  Use the cheap foam brushes you can get anywhere.  If you use a regular paint brush, you get brush stroke lines.

Pre-Treating the Surface You Want to Use Infusible Ink On

First, make sure the surface is clean and dry.  Put down butcher paper on the table to protect it.  And I will warn you,  polycrylic does not smell pleasant.  You might want to be somewhere with good air circulation.  Then, with the foam brush, apply a thin coat of the polycrylic.  Let it set for about an hour.  Then put a second thick coat of polycrylic on the surface.

Heating for Using Infused Ink

I would definitely use a heat press for this.  An iron usually doesn’t get hot enough and usually isn’t big enough to cover the whole project.

The heat settings don’t vary by the material you are using but the time does. The temperature is 400 degrees.  The time goes up the more heat resistant the material is. So wood and metal only take 45 sec to a minute, but ceramic materials takes at least twice that long.

Make sure the table is protected. The infusible ink will bleed onto the table if it isn’t cut to the exact right size.  You don’t have to trim it but the parchment paper on the bottom will get covered in ink. So put a heat shield with a sheet of parchment paper down and then the material.  Next the infusible ink.  Then put another piece of parchment paper on top.

Heat the sandwich for the appropriate time (see above) and then let the material cool.  Be careful because the materials are hot (duh).  Yes I burned my finger on the metal.  Remove the parchment paper on top and then the infusible ink sheet.  If the paper sticks, spray it with water (this happens a lot).  You may need to scrub at it to get it off but it will come off.  Just use a rag and not a scrubbie.


Again after using the heat press the material is hot!  Be careful.
This method works with infusible markers too.  And also with thing printed on a sublimation printer.  The sublimation printer paper sticks a little more often but scrubs off easier than infusible ink paper. Probably because it is thinner.

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1 Comment
Shirley Lundstrom

November 7, 2021

Great article. Looking forward to giving this a try.

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