How To Make Sublimation Coating For Stainless Steel: A Step-By-Step Guide

How To Make Sublimation Coating For Stainless Steel

Welcome to our blog, where we delve into the fascinating world of sublimation coating for stainless steel. If you’ve ever wondered how to transform plain stainless steel surfaces into vibrant, personalized works of art, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a sublimation coating that will unlock endless possibilities for customization. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a business owner looking to offer unique products, join us as we explore the exciting techniques and tips to achieve stunning results. Let’s dive in and uncover the secrets of sublimation coating for stainless steel!

Essential Requirements For Sublimation Coating On Stainless Steel.

Required Things for Sublimation Coating:

  1. Sublimation Printer
  2. Sublimation Ink & Paper
  3. Digital Design (You can hire a designer from Fiverr)
  4. Additional items depend on the material being coated.

Required Things for Sublimation Coating on Stainless Steel & Tumblers:

  1. Polyglots
  2. Catalyst
  3. Measuring Cup
  4. Parchment Paper
  5. Big Container (optional)
  6. Heat Press Machine or Mug Press
  7. Piece of Microfiber Cloth

How To Make Sublimation Coating For Stainless Steel

Now that we understand the benefits of sublimation coating, let’s delve into the process of applying it to stainless steel surfaces. Although it may seem complex, with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve professional results. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Surface Preparation

Before applying sublimation coating, it’s crucial to prepare the stainless steel surface properly. Start by cleaning the metal using a mild detergent to remove any dirt, oil, or contaminants. Rinse it thoroughly and ensure that it is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Applying the Sublimation Coating

There are various methods for applying sublimation coating, including spraying, rolling, or dipping. Choose the technique that suits your requirements and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific coating you’re using. Apply the coating evenly, making sure to cover the entire surface.

Step 3: Curing the Coating

Once the sublimation coating is applied, it needs to cure or dry. The curing process typically involves subjecting the coated stainless steel to a specific temperature for a designated period. Follow the instructions provided by the coating manufacturer to ensure proper curing and optimal adhesion.

Step 4: Sublimation Printing

After the coating has cured, the stainless steel is ready for sublimation printing. Prepare your sublimation printer and select the desired image or design. Print the image onto sublimation transfer paper using sublimation inks. Ensure that you mirror the image horizontally to achieve the correct orientation upon transfer.

Step 5: Transferring the Design

Place the sublimation transfer paper with the printed design onto the coated stainless steel surface, aligning it correctly. Apply heat and pressure using a heat press machine, following the recommended time and temperature settings for sublimation on stainless steel. The heat and pressure will cause the ink to vaporize and bond with the sublimation coating, transferring the design onto the metal.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Once the sublimation transfer process is complete, carefully remove the transfer paper. Inspect the printed design for any imperfections or inconsistencies. If necessary, use a mild cleaning agent and a soft cloth to clean the surface gently. Voila! You now have a stunning sublimated stainless steel piece ready to impress.

Making A Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation-Ready

While stainless steel tumblers are one of the materials that may be sublimated printed on, a specific coating must be applied to the tumbler’s surface in order to produce a print that is of excellent quality and durability. The procedures to prepare a stainless steel tumbler for sublimation are as follows:

  • Tumbler cleanup: The tumbler should be cleaned with warm water and a moderate detergent and then dried with a lint-free towel.
  • Put on the coating: Apply the coating: Polyester spray and sublimation coating liquid are two common forms of sublimation coatings for stainless steel tumblers. Apply the coating to the tumbler’s surface uniformly according to the coating product’s directions. For optimum effects, you might need to use numerous coats.
  • Heal the coating: The tumbler must be cured at a specified temperature and for a specific period of time after the coating has been applied. Follow the directions given with the product you choose as this procedure differs based on the exact coating you’re using. Usually, a heat press or an oven is used to bake the tumbler.
  • Clean and ice the tumbler: When the tumbler has cooled, wipe it off with a fresh, dry cloth to eliminate any coating-related dust or residue.

Once you have followed these steps, your stainless steel tumbler is ready for sublimation printing. Print your desired design on a sublimation transfer paper, wrap the paper around the tumbler, and use a heat press to transfer the design onto the tumbler. The heat and pressure will cause the ink to sublimate into the coating, creating a permanent, vibrant image. To make the other things easier, you should consider sheet pile rentals.

Benefits Of Sublimation Coating For Stainless Steel

  1. Durability and Longevity: One of the primary advantages of sublimation coating on stainless steel is its exceptional durability. The coating forms a protective layer over the metal surface, guarding it against scratches, abrasions, and UV damage. This makes sublimation-coated stainless steel ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications, ensuring that your designs withstand the test of time.
  2. Vibrant and High-Resolution Prints: Sublimation coating enhances the color vibrancy and resolution of prints on stainless steel. The porous nature of the coating allows the sublimation ink to penetrate and bond with the surface, resulting in rich, vivid colors and intricate details. This ensures that your artwork or designs truly come to life, captivating viewers with their stunning visual appeal.
  3. Versatility and Customization: Sublimation coating provides unparalleled versatility in terms of design and customization. Whether you’re creating personalized gifts, promotional items, signage, or industrial components, sublimation-coated stainless steel offers endless possibilities. From intricate patterns to company logos and photographic images, you can achieve a wide range of creative and eye-catching designs.
  4. Resistance to Fading and Wear: Stainless steel with sublimation coating boasts excellent resistance to fading and wear. The specialized coating helps protect the printed image from environmental factors, such as sunlight, moisture, and chemical exposure. This ensures that your designs retain their original quality and vibrant appearance, even after prolonged use or exposure to harsh conditions.


In conclusion, sublimation coating for stainless steel opens up a world of possibilities for customization and personalization. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this blog, you can easily make your stainless steel tumbler sublimation ready. From vibrant designs to personalized artwork, sublimation opens up endless opportunities to express your creativity and create unique products. So grab your materials, unleash your imagination, and get ready to turn your stainless steel tumbler into a stunning work of art with a sublimation coating. Start your sublimation journey today and enjoy the endless possibilities that await!


Q: Can I use any type of stainless steel for sublimation coating? 

A: It is recommended to use stainless steel with a special sublimation coating for optimal results. Regular stainless steel surfaces may not hold the sublimated ink as well and may result in less vibrant colors or durability.

Q: Can I apply sublimation coating to a stainless steel object that already has a design or coating on it? 

A: It is generally recommended to apply sublimation coating to a clean, uncoated stainless steel surface. Applying sublimation coating over an existing design or coating may affect the adhesion and quality of the sublimated image.

Q: Is sublimation coating on stainless steel permanent? 

A: Sublimation coating on stainless steel is generally durable and long-lasting. However, it is important to note that it can be susceptible to scratching or fading over time, especially with heavy use or exposure to harsh conditions. Proper care and maintenance, such as handwashing and avoiding abrasive materials, can help prolong the life of the sublimated design.