How To Make Sublimation Coating – Make Your Own at Home

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How to Make Sublimation Coating - Make Your Own at Home

Sublimation coating is a type of coating that we use in sublimation printing. Sublimation printing transfers an image onto a substrate (such as a shirt, mug, or phone case) using heat and pressure. The idea is initially printed onto a transfer paper using sublimation ink. Then the transfer paper is placed on the material and subjected to heat and pressure, causing the ink to turn into a gas and bond with the surface. Most people need clarification about how to make sublimation coating. 

So, today we will share everything you need to make a sublimation coating. Once you can make that coating, the sublimation coating is applied to the surface of the material before printing to help the ink bond better and improve the overall quality of the print. The coating is a clear liquid applied using a spray bottle or other methods. You can use it on various substrates, including polyester, ceramic, metal, and plastic.

How to Make Sublimation Coating

Mainly we use the following material on which we apply the sublimation process. We will share the materials required for a specific operation along with instructions. 

  1. For Stainless Steel
  2. For Cotton

Without wasting a minute, we will share everything here with you. 

For Stainless Steel

Making sublimation coating for stainless steel involves the same general process as making a coating for other substrates. Here, you may need to adjust the recipe to ensure proper durability and adhesion on stainless steel. 

Materials Required:

  • Sublimation coating solution
  • Acetone
  • Spray bottle
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Respirator mask
  • Clean cloth or paper towels
  • Stainless steel substrate


  • First, clean the stainless steel substrate thoroughly with acetone and a clean cloth or paper towel. It will help to remove any dirt, oils, or other contaminants that may interfere with the adhesion process of the coating.
  • Now mix the sublimation coating solution according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the specific solution you are using, you may need to adjust the ratio of the solution to water or other additives to achieve the desired consistency and properties.
  • Fill a spray bottle with the coating solution and apply a thin, even layer to the surface of the stainless steel substrate. It would be best to wear protective gloves, eyewear, and a respirator mask to avoid exposure to the chemicals in the coating solution.
  • Allow the coating to dry completely. It may take several hours, depending on the temperature and humidity of your workspace.
  • After the coating has dried, you can proceed with sublimation printing using your preferred method. The coated stainless steel substrate can now withstand the heat and pressure of the sublimation process without peeling or cracking.

It is prominent to mention here that depending on the specific application and requirements, you may need to experiment with different coatings and application methods to achieve the desired results. Testing a small area before applying the layer to the entire substrate is always good.

For Cotton

As we know, we can’t apply sublimation printing directly on cotton fabric. However, a way around it can allow you to transfer sublimation ink onto cotton using a particular type of paper. Here are the steps to create a sublimation transfer for cotton:

Materials Required:

  • A Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation ink
  • A Sublimation transfer paper for cotton
  • A Heat press
  • Protective gloves
  • Protective eyewear


  • Firstly, create your design using sublimation software and print it onto sublimation transfer paper for cotton utilizing a printer and ink.
  • Cut out the transfer paper around the design, leaving a small margin of white space around the edges.
  • Preheat your heat press to the recommended temperature and time for the transfer paper you use.
  • Place the cotton fabric onto the heat press and preheat it for a few seconds to remove moisture or wrinkles.
  • After that, place your sublimation transfer paper face-down onto the fabric, with the printed side in contact with the material. Ensure that the design is centered and aligned.
  • Cover the transfer paper with protective paper to prevent the ink from pouring onto the heat press.
  • Press the heat press down firmly onto the fabric and hold it for the recommended time and temperature specified by the transfer paper manufacturer.
  • In the end, remove the heat press and peel the transfer paper off the cotton fabric while it is still hot. Wear protective gloves and eyewear to avoid burns or exposure to the sublimation ink.
  • Finally, allow the t-shirt to cool completely before handling or washing.

The critical thing to consider here is that a sublimation transfer paper for cotton typically contains a special coating that allows sublimation ink to bond with the cotton fibers. This coating will enable you to create a sublimation transfer for cotton t-shirts. It is not a traditional sublimation coating that can be applied directly to the fabric.


Sublimation coating is a specialized type in sublimation printing to ensure proper adhesion and durability of the printed image on the substrate. While the recipe for sublimation coating may vary depending on the substrate and specific requirements, the general process involves:

  • Mixing a coating solution.
  • Applying it to the substrate.
  • Allowing it to dry completely before printing.

Following safety precautions when working with sublimation coating is essential, as the chemicals involved can be hazardous. As discussed earlier, sublimation coating cannot be used directly on natural fibers like cotton. We can use other methods like transfer printing to achieve similar results. Anyone can create high-quality sublimation prints lasting years with suitable materials and techniques. 


What is the purpose of sublimation coating in sublimation printing?

Sublimation coating helps to ensure proper adhesion and durability of the printed image on the substrate.

Can we use sublimation coating on any substrate?

No, sublimation coating is designed explicitly on substrates with a polymer coating, such as polyester or ceramics.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when making sublimation coating?

Yes, wearing protective gloves, eyewear, and clothing is essential when working with sublimation coating, as the chemicals involved can be hazardous.

Can I make a sublimation coating at home using everyday household items?

While making sublimation coating at home using some common ingredients is possible, it’s generally recommended to use specialized coating solutions designed specifically for sublimation printing.

Is it possible to use sublimation printing on natural fibers like cotton?

No, sublimation printing requires a polymer coating to bond properly with the substrate, and natural fibers like cotton do not have this coating. However, there are other printing methods, such as transfer printing, that you can apply to cotton. One of the methods is covered in our article for your reference. Follow that method if you are working on a cotton substrate. 

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