How to Sublimate on Leather

Discover the 5 essential steps on How to sublimate on leather efficiently. Learn everything you need to know to achieve stunning results.

How to Sublimate on Leather
How to Sublimate on Leather?

Like many other types of sublimation, sublimation on leather is a great way to do things. It is natural and can be painted on in many colors without using dyes, which makes leather a great base for sublimation printing.

To sublimate on leather, start by preparing the leather surface, ensuring it’s clean and smooth. Print your desired design using sublimation ink onto sublimation paper. Then, use a heat press to transfer the design onto the leather, applying heat and pressure according to the specific requirements of the sublimation process. Finally, allow the leather to cool before handling it.

We’ll look at leather sublimation and talk about how can you sublimate on leather in this article.

It is assumed that the people reading this already know a lot about sublimation printing. Check out our in-depth guide to sublimation printing if you want to learn more about this method.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Ensure the leather surface is clean and smooth before sublimating. Print your design on sublimation paper using sublimation ink.
  • Transfer the design onto the leather using a heat press machine, adhering to temperature and pressure guidelines specific to leather sublimation.
  •  When designing for sublimation on leather, use vector images for best results. Remember to mirror the image before printing.
  • Opt for high-quality materials and equipment, manage your budget and time effectively, and follow each step meticulously for vibrant and durable sublimation prints on leather.

What Does Sublimation Printing Mean?

What Does Sublimation Printing Mean (2)

In sublimation printing, ink is heated and pressed very hard until it turns into a gas.

Different kinds of sublimation printing are used in the fashion business, even though sublimation printing is used a lot. Every method is different in a way that no one else can have.

As an example, sublimation on acrylic is a beautiful way to make personalized things like keychains. The process can also be done on glass. The list goes on because making self-customized goods can be done in a lot of different ways.

Step-by-Step Process Guide for Sublimating on Leather:

Step-by-Step Process Guide for Sublimating on Leather (2)

Most of the time, dye sublimation is used to print on leather with sublimation. The ink is moved from an image-receiving blanket to the polyester or polyurethane backing material with the help of a heat press.

The blanket that holds the pictures is generally made of a heat-resistant, non-woven material that doesn’t need any inks or dyes.

When sublimating in other ways, the temperature can reach 400°F. Leather, on the other hand, can’t handle that much heat.

Textiles can handle temperatures of up to 400°F, but for leather, the heat press is set to hit temperatures of no more than 290°F.

 When the press is closed, one side of the base is heated for a few seconds and then cooled down. Then, the whole surface of the product is scanned.

After taking off the cover, any extra ink should be wiped off, and the substrate should be left to cool down.

Things that you need for a leather sublimation printer:

  • Heat press machine
  • Software for designing
  • Sublimation paper
  • Solid Substrate

Step 1) Design Preparation:

Making a drawing of the picture you want to print on the leather blank is the first step in sublimation printing. Choose the image’s size based on the leather piece’s size.

Most experts say to leave up to 1/8 inch of space on each side. This space will help you put the picture on the leather piece even if it moves around. But there is a smaller chance that sublimation printed paper will move.

Step 2) Make the Leather’s Surface Ready:

Make the Leathers Surface Ready

It is strongly suggested that the leather’s surface be cleaned. Remove the piece with a dry cloth and wipe off the dust and other dirt.

For the sublimation ink to stick, the surface must be properly cleaned. If this is not done, small spots will show up after sublimation printing on leather.

But the leather piece doesn’t need to be washed. The sublimation writing on the leather will not look as good because the leather will soak up water.

Also, clean the surface lightly; if you use too much force, the surface will get rough.

Step 3) Get the Heat Press Ready:

After that, turn on the heat press and put the butcher paper on the bottom pad. Leaving the butcher paper on will keep the leather safe from the lower pad’s direct heat.

Get a second piece of butcher paper ready to go on top of the sublimation paper.

Step 4) Print the Image on the Leather and Put it on the Heat Press:

Since the plan has already been made. Print the sublimation image on the sublimation paper.

  • Put the clean leather on the heat press.
  • On top of the leather blank, put the transfer paper.
  • The pattern is all set to be put on the leather.

Step 5) Put the Dye on the Leather:

Since everything has been planned,

  • Do not let the sublimation ink touch the heat press’s upper pad. Instead, put the butcher paper on top of the sublimation paper.
  • For 60 seconds, set the temperature to 180oC and keep the pressure the same.
  • Remove the scraper to get rid of the extra ink.
  • You need to wait 20 minutes for the sublimation ink to soak into the leather.
  • Don doesn’t take the leather blank out of the heat press until the temperature drops to room temperature.
  • Take off the sublimation paper and the butcher paper.
  • The pretty pattern is now on the leather’s surface.

Best of luck! 

Related Post: Can You Sublimate on Silicone?

How to Make Leather Look Beautiful with Patterns:

How to Make Leather Look Beautiful with Patterns

One of the most common ways to print with sublimation on leather is “direct to substrate.” To do this, you will need to begin with a vector picture. You can use Google or Bing picture search to find vector images.

Designing Software Instructions:

Either a black line or a blue line will need to be used to outline the picture once you have it. Which color you choose will depend on what colors you want your picture to be. After outlining your creation, fill it in with the right color.

After you’ve drawn and filled in the lines, add a new layer below your drawing and fill it with 50% gray paint that has been mixed with black paint. This layer will give you more control over how your print turns out and serve as a base for your picture.

  • Next, choose your “direct to substrate” printing style from the drop-down menu under the “Print Settings” tab in Photoshop.
  • After that, you need to choose a “printing plate,” which should be below all the different kinds of paper.
  • If you choose this choice, Photoshop will automatically set itself up to make a long strip of paper instead of separate pages. You can then take this strip of paper to an office supply store to be printed.
  • After that, you’ll use this long piece of paper to print on leather.
  • As soon as you’re done setting up Photoshop, return to your design layer and remove any hidden levels.
  • Also, make sure that the Mirror option is checked in the Print Settings when you are done with the image.
  • Press the Print button when everything is complete.
  • After 50 seconds, open the press, take the paper out, and look at what you got.

When you do sublimation on leather, it’s very important to use a good heat press. Pick the one that lets you precisely control the temperature, like the Vevor 6-in-1 Heat Press.

Related Posts: How to Sublimate on Leather

Tips for Successful Leather Sublimation Printing:

Tips for Successful Leather Sublimation Printing

1. Think About The Different Ways You Can Print on Leather with Sublimation:

Sublimation printing on leather can be done in a lot of different ways, and some work better than others. The use of dye-based ink and water-based heat transfer paper (HTP) is one of the most common ways to do it.

Two layers of different materials can soak ink in different ways, which is used in this method. HTP is used as a base layer in this method. It will then be soaked in ink that has been mixed with a dye.

After that, the HTP is clamped onto the leather and heated up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven. The color on the paper will have moved to the leather layer below it by the time it cools down.

2. Budget Considerations:

Your budget is something else to think about when using this printing method. It is better to spend more on pictures because they will be better.

3. Consider How Much Time it Will Require:

Last but not least, think about how long this kind of printing will take before you start! It takes time to print at high temperatures, so if you order 100 things, they will only be done at a time. 

When planning your job, you’ll need to think about time so it gets done on time!

Bottom Line: How to Sublimate on Leather

Bottom Line How to Sublimate on Leather

People who want a unique and high-end way to put their designs on leather should think about sublimation printing on leather. It’s not hard to do, but some tips will help your idea look its best.

Most things, like chairs, sofas, jackets, bags, and so on, are made of real leather. All of these things will look better with sublimation printing which will improve the design.

The step-by-step process for original sublimation on leather has already been talked about. Take great care to follow all the steps so that the sublimation print on the leather looks great.

We described the most effective sublimation on leather steps and techniques in this article.

Then why not go ahead and do it?

Get a piece of blank leather and begin practicing sublimation on leather on it. 


A straightforward response would be NO.

There is no way to put sublimation on leather blanks that have smooth surfaces. The sublimation ink is being washed off of this kind of surface. Instead of sublimation printing, you can use letter pressing or embossing, which works well on most synthetic leather forms.

For instance, a blank of vegetable-tanned leather will soak up most of the sublimation ink, leaving no pattern on the surface.

This means that sublimation writing can’t be done on all types of leather.

To print the sublimation image on leather blanks, a regular sublimation printer is used. You can use a printer with a resolution of 600 dpi for very complicated forms.

Yes. Printing with sublimation on real leather is not that hard. If you follow the steps we talked about above, you can start sublimation. For this job, you don’t need any special training. 

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Muhammad Haseeb

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