Can You Sublimate on Canvas

Do you want to know if can you sublimate on Canvas? All of the information you require is provided. Read on.

Can You Sublimate on Canvas

Sublimation is a great way to put vivid, full-color pictures on metal, plastic, glass, pottery, and other materials. But did you know that can you use sublimation to make stunning paintings on canvas? 

Yes, you can sublimate on canvas, as long as your canvas is treated to accept sublimation ink. Polyester canvas is available for purchase, but if you have a cotton canvas, you can prepare it with sublimation coating spray, laminate, or clear dye sublimation HTV.

There are several ways we’ll show you how can you sublimate on a canvas, so you can choose the one that works best for you and your goals!

We will explain everything you need and how to use it in great detail. 

Read on to learn how to get started, whether you are an experienced commercial-grade sublimation artist looking for a new way to make money or a beginner wanting to try out their new tools.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Yes, you can sublimate on canvas. Ensure your canvas is treated to accept sublimation ink, either by purchasing polyester canvas or preparing cotton canvas with sublimation coating spray, laminate, or clear dye sublimation HTV.
  • Two common methods for sublimating on canvas are using laminate sheets or sublimation spray. Laminate sheets involve printing the sublimation image, pressing it onto the canvas with medium pressure, and then peeling off the sublimation paper. Sublimation spray offers a simpler approach where the canvas is coated with the spray, then the sublimation image is printed and pressed onto the canvas.
  • Proper preparation is key. Design your image, ensure it has a good resolution, and print it on sublimation paper. For cotton canvas, you can use white heat transfer vinyl or a sublimation finishing spray.
  • After printing, follow the heat press instructions carefully, using heat-resistant tape to secure the sublimation paper and wearing heat-resistant gloves for safety. Remember to remove the sublimation paper carefully once the process is complete to reveal your sublimated image on canvas.

Can You Sublimate on Canvas:

Can You Sublimate on Canvas
Can You Sublimate on Canvas

We doubt there is anyone who doesn’t know what a canvas is, but here are some important facts for those who don’t:

Canvas is a natural cloth that artists have used for hundreds of years. It is usually mostly made of cotton. When stretched over a wooden frame, it makes a great way to display art or photos.

That being said, the natural cotton (or sometimes linen) that is used for fabric sublimation isn’t usually good for sublimation. 

When we sublimate on t-shirts or other fabrics, we usually use synthetic fibers like polyester because the chemical bonding process works much better.

We just need to think of new ways to sublimate on canvas. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We’ll talk about the two most common ways to add to your sublimation process for canvas pictures below.

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Using Laminate Sheets for Sublimation on Canvas:

It is easy for sublimation prints to stick to the canvas when you use a laminating sheet between the sublimation paper and the canvas. It takes a little more work than regular sublimation printing, but the result is worth it.

It’s important to print your sublimation image on the paper first and let it dry completely. It’s possible to print this way, but for the best results, We’d suggest using an ICC color setting that is a little more saturated.

At the same time, you need to separate the canvas from the frame if it is still connected. Each pin is usually tightly attached to the frame with staples, so it will be hard to pull them apart. Carefully cut around the screws with scissors. Cut the fabric off of the canvas frame on all four sides.

Put your heat press machine on a low setting to get rid of any folds or wrinkles.

Once there are no more wrinkles in the cloth, set your heat press to 385°F and medium pressure.

Put the laminate sheet on top of the pressed cloth on the table. The shiny side should be on top and the dull side should touch the cloth. Cut off the extra laminate sheet so that it fits the fabric.

Put the fabric and laminate in the heat press machine so they are lined up. Press for 20 seconds. If wrinkles show up, go over it again for about 10 seconds. Set the painting aside to cool down. Get your press hot (400°F) while that cools down.

Now that your sublimation print is dry, you can place it on the cloth. To keep it in place and lower the chance of making a mistake, use heat-resistant tape.

After setting up your heat-press, put your canvas-laminate-sublimation picture in it for one minute. With care, take it off the heat and let it cool.

When sublimation printing, you should always wear gloves that can handle heat to avoid getting major burns or other injuries.

After it has cooled, take off the sublimation paper. What you should see is a glossy pattern on canvas that was sublimated. Use a glue gun or staples to line up the cloth in the frame again if you need to. 

Your sublimation picture on canvas is ready when the glue is dry.

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Using Sublimation Spray on Canvas for Sublimation:

The other main way to sublimate on canvas is with sublimation spray. It’s a little easier to use than a laminate sheet. As with a laminate sheet, you need to make sure your drawing is dry and take the canvas out of the frame if you need to.

Warm up your heat press all over again to 385°F. You can use any sublimation spray you like to give your cloth a smooth finish after you’ve laid it out. For 15 seconds, put it in your heat press.

Make sure that the coating is spread out as evenly as possible on the fabric.

After it has cooled, do it again with a second layer and press it for 15 seconds more. Lay the cloth out on a flat surface once it is cool. If it has any wrinkles, give it an extra 10 seconds. Get your press as hot as 400°F.

Make sure your sublimation paper is straight before putting it on top of the fabric. Again, use tape that can withstand heat to keep it in place. Over the sublimation paper, put a piece of butcher paper so that it doesn’t come into direct touch with the oven.

Press down on the picture for 40 seconds. When it’s cool, just peel off the sublimation paper to reveal your image.

There is no shine because the sublimation paper is right on top of the canvas. The sublimation print on the fabric will look great.

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Using PVC Canvas for Sublimation on Canvas:

This isn’t really a method, but it’s worth adding that some companies make PVC canvas in different shapes and sizes. This material is much better for sublimation because it can handle the high temperatures that heat press machines need.

This isn’t quite like a regular canvas picture, though. It’s more like a poster, and there are faster ways to print those.

 It’s a good way to sublimation print pictures on banners or big signs, so some professional sublimation print artists might find it useful.

How Can You Sublimate On Canvas Frame?

How Can You Sublimate On Canvas Frame

Step 1) Creating Outstanding Design:

This is the first step in every sublimation printing process. You need to use design tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, or Corel Draw to make the design you want. To save time and get better at graphics, you can also hire a professional to do it for you.

Remember that the picture needs to have a good resolution and the right aspect ratio. If you don’t, the sublimation print on the cloth will look dull and fade.

Step 2) Print the Design on Sublimation Paper:

If you want to print the picture, put the sublimation paper in the printer tray. Make sure the printer is working right. For sublimation on canvas, most experts say to use Epson printers to get a bright, clear picture.

Step 3) Use a Coating Spray:

Take the canvas off the frame so that the heat press can be set up quickly. This will stop the image from ghosting. Now, get the bottle of the best sublimation spray for fabric and dot it on the area where you want to print with sublimation.

Put it in the heat press for 15 seconds and wait for it to dry.

Start a second coat and do the steps above again if the first coat isn’t tough enough. We want the area to be strong enough to be sublimated.

Step 4) Place the Sublimation Paper on Top of the Coated Canvas:

Once the coating is done, put the sublimation paper with the image you want on top of the coated area. Put heat-resistant tape on all the sides and edges to keep them from moving.

Step 5) Use the Heat Press to Press:

The last thing to do is to put the cloth on the heat press. Set the timer for 45 seconds and the temperature to 365 degrees Fahrenheit for the sublimation on canvas.

The canvas with the sublimation picture can be taken out of the heat press when the time is up. Once it’s cool, take off the heat-resistant tape and sublimation paper. You can now see the transfer print on Canvas.

How Can You Sublimate on Cotton Canvas?

This part is for you if you want to print on a cloth that is made of true cotton fibers. You can follow these steps not only for printing on cotton canvas but also for painting on dark clothes. 

You will need your cutting machine and white heat transfer vinyl for this step.

  • Step one is to get your drawing ready. Then, use your cutting machine to start cutting the heat transfer vinyl.
  • The heat transfer vinyl and sublimation paper must be the same size. The heat transfer vinyl is what you put down first so that you can sublimate on top of it.
  • Use the best print quality to make the sublimation paper. Don’t forget to mirror the pattern, of course.
  • Press the cloth bag ahead of time to get rid of the water.
  • Do not move the heat transfer vinyl. If you’re using PU HTV or shiny HTV from TeckWrap Craft, set the heat press to 266 ℉ for 8 to 12 seconds at that temperature.
  • Before you start the sublimation process, let the cloth and HTV cool down.
  • To use the sublimation image on the HTV, press it.

Here you go!

How Can You Sublimate on Canvas Tote Bags?

How Can You Sublimate on Canvas Tote Bags

Step 1) Plan The Transfer:

Put your drawing on sublimation transfer paper and print it. Make sure your idea looks good in it!

Step 2) Get the Heat Press Ready:

Set the pressure on your heat press to moderate light and heat it up to 385F. It should be possible to close it with some force, but you shouldn’t have to press down on it. 

Make sure that the thickness of the pressing pillow is taken into account when setting the pressure on the press.

Step 3) Get the Tote Bags Ready:

Cut two butcher paper pieces that are bigger than the image. Inside the tote bag, put the pressing pillow and one piece of butcher paper. Any ink that gets on the butcher paper will be soaked up when you press. 

The pressing pillow will help the seams of the tote bag fall apart and give you a smooth press. Use a lint roller to go over the tote bag before pressing to get rid of the annoying lint bits that turn blue when you press them. 

To get rid of the wrinkles and fold lines, press the tote bag for about 10 seconds before adding the pattern.

Step 4) Put it on Tote Bags:

Roll the lint out one more time before adding the print. Next, put the pattern on the tote bag and use heat-resistant tape to keep it in place. Close the press and put the last piece of butcher paper on top of the transfer paper. Hold down for one minute.

Step 5) Complete the Totes:

Take off the butcher paper and the cardboard. This will get rid of the pressing lines on the transfer paper. Run the lint roller over the pattern. It’s done!

Guidelines for Sublimating On Canvas:

Here’s what you need to know about sublimation printing on cloth to keep things easy. You might want to get a pen and paper and do the following to print:

  • Place a light-colored 100% cotton fabric on a press and then put a white heat transfer vinyl on top of it. You could also use a sublimation finishing spray.
  • Use direct sublimation on light-colored polyester fabric.
  • Press a white heat transfer vinyl on top of the dark-colored 100% cotton fabric first.
  • If you want to use a dark polyester fabric, press a white heat transfer vinyl on top of it first.

Bottom Line: Sublimate on Canvas

Your understanding of sublimation printing on canvas is quite advanced at this point. It’s easy to understand how to do everything that needs to be done. The best results will happen if you just follow the step-by-step instructions.

Don’t forget that you need to use heat tape to keep the sublimation paper on the canvas blank.

For safety reasons, don’t touch your body directly to the heat press. Instead, wear a pair of heat-resistant gloves.

Don’t forget to use the best sublimation paper. If you want to print your sublimation projects on a shirt, canvas, or any other sublimation blank.

Here we go, it’s time to start sublimation on Canvas. Let’s go!  


It is not a good idea to sublimate straight onto regular canvas, which is usually made of cotton or a blend of cotton and polyester. The reason for this is that these materials don’t have enough polyester for sublimation to work.

 It is possible to sublimate on 100% cotton cloth, though. All you need to do is use a sublimation coating spray. With this process, you can make designs on cotton canvas that are bright and unique. 

Remember that a fabric made of a mix of cotton and polyester is still the best choice for sublimation because it works well with the process.

When sublimating on canvas, the process involves transferring a design onto the canvas using heat. Here’s a concise guide:


  • Measure the area on the canvas where you want to place the design.
  • Use a paper trimmer to cut the clear dye sub-HTV to the exact size of the area.
  • Secure the clear dye sub to the canvas using heat-resistant tape.
  • Preheat your heat press to 365°F.
  • Place the canvas with the attached design into the heat press.
  • Press for 40 seconds.
  • After cooling, peel away the sublimation paper to reveal your pristine sublimated print on the canvas. 

Note that the result won’t be gloss

Sublimation on acrylic is indeed possible. Acrylic blanks, especially cast acrylic, serve as an excellent canvas for vibrant and permanent designs when heat-pressed. To achieve this, follow these steps:

  • Print your desired design on sublimation paper.
  • Remove any protective backing from the acrylic surface.
  • Tape the sublimation paper with the design onto the acrylic.
  • Apply heat at a temperature of 385-400°F for 60 seconds.

Stunning, detailed designs that truly stand out on clear acrylic surfaces! Whether it’s keychains, nightlights, or photo panels, sublimation on acrylic offers endless creative possibilities. 

Just remember to handle the hot acrylic with care during shaping or flattening, and enjoy the glowing effect when light shines through your artwork! 

Many fabric shirts at Bella Canvas can be printed on with sublimation. Bella Canvas has choices that work well with sublimation, unlike cotton t-shirts, which are not good for this method. 

You can be sure to find the right shirt for your job among its many colors and sizes. That’s right, you can sublimate on Bella Canvas shirts!

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Muhammad Haseeb

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