Heat press sublimation goes metal! Basics for screen printing metal objects
Using a sublimation heat press is a great way to print on a number of materials, from articles of clothing to ceramic and plastic items. In fact, did you know you can even use your sublimation heat press to print on metal? It’s true, and we’ve got the tips you need to make your metal printing project a major success. Just follow these steps and you’ll be making amazing, one-of-a-kind metal pieces in no time!
Step 1: Remove protective coating
If your metal piece is precoated with protective masking, you’ll want to take this off before you do anything else.
Step 2: Print your design
Use a sublimation printer and sublimation paper to bring your design to life. Don’t forget that the ink needs to be handled with care, as it will sit on top of the paper rather than sinking into it as with a regular piece of printing.
Step 3: Line it up
Get your printout right where you want it on the metal object and then tape it into place. Use heat-resistant tape to avoid any melting disasters.
Step 4: Time to press!
Place the metal object in your press, choose the correct setting for dye sublimation, and sublimate! Remember that metal heats up faster than most materials, and that the three main factors of sublimation printing—time, pressure, and heat—will need to be adjusted and monitored accordingly when working with metal.
Step 5: Time for a cool-down
Once the sublimation process is complete, you’ll want to let the metal cool completely before removing the sublimation printer to check your design. Take care not to burn yourself, since metal stays hotter than other materials for longer!
Step 6: Admire your masterpiece!
After following these steps, you should have a beautiful, unique metal creation, so be sure to take time to give it the appropriate amount of love and admiration. You did it!
Bonus tip: Since metal has a shiny, sparkly quality on its own, try playing with your design by adding white ink here and there. Because most printers can’t print white ink, it will leave those parts transparent, letting the metal shine through with its natural beauty!