Canvas Sublimation Printing: Everything You Need To Know

How do you market your business online? What’s the most effective way to get people to notice your products and services? How can you most effectively get your products in front of the people who need them?

Canvas sublimation printing might be the answer to all of these questions. But what is it, exactly? How does it work? What kind of results can you expect? This article covers everything you need to know about canvas sublimation printing, so keep reading if you want to learn more about this increasingly popular marketing method!

Everything You Need To Know About Canvas Sublimation Printing

What is canvas sublimation printing?

Before we get into what canvas sublimation printing is, let’s go over exactly what canvas is. A canvas is a heavy cotton fabric that has been woven to be tightly packed with fibers. In turn, it creates a material that is very smooth and sturdy but also soft to touch. The term canvas originated from cannabis or hemp, which was made out of hemp fiber in ancient history.

As you can imagine, that would make for some pretty uncomfortable textiles, so thankfully hemp has not been used to create canvases since then! Nowadays, our canvases are made from cotton fibers and polyester resins, making them durable while maintaining softness and sturdiness at the same time.

Materials you need for Canvas sublimation

What are you going to print on and how big? The two main options for printing on canvas that you have available to you are transfer paper and a heat press. If your print will be 8 x 10 or smaller, it’s almost always a good idea to use transfer paper instead of a heat press.

Larger than 8 x 10 should probably use heat press (at least unless you’re doing it yourself.) What kind of ink are you using? Ink comes in either standard or dye-based, though dye-based is much more common. Dye based ink tends to dry faster than standard ink does and give you better color fidelity and durability.

Sublimation Printer

Before getting started with your sublimation printing business, it is important to buy a printer that’s capable of handling both inkjet and printhead technology. They tend to be more expensive than other models, but they allow you to produce greater-quality prints in less time.

A few examples of good sublimation printers include Brother, Canon, Epson and HP. If you’re serious about starting a successful business, then buying an upper-tier printer should be your first priority.

Sublimation Ink

What It Is and Why You Should Use It: When choosing a printer, it’s important to understand exactly what type of ink they use. Printer manufacturers often use a specific ink to print their sublimation canvases and that can have a dramatic effect on your final product.

Sublimation Paper

Before you can print on sublimation paper, you have to start with a high-quality roll of sublimation paper. This type of paper is coated with an ink receptive film and it’s available in a wide variety of colors and finishes—the higher-quality rolls will also contain more vibrant colors.

Some rolls are even double-coated, meaning that one side contains ink receptive coating on both sides for convenient printing without having to flip over your prints.

Computer and RIP Software

This will be your main tool to create your design. Almost all designs are created in Adobe Photoshop or another type of computer software that can convert a digital image into a photorealistic image.

The reason that it is called sublimation printing is that you are converting a digital file (from either a graphic designer or yourself) into an ink jet printer format for use with sublimation printers.

Canvas Blanks

When you’re ordering your canvas prints, you’ll notice that there are two different canvas types: blank and textured. Blank canvases are great for any image—the printed surface on these canvases is perfectly smooth and flat. Textured canvases have been sanded and primed to give them a subtle, textured finish.

Cutting Mechanism

There are two major mechanisms in use: rotary cutters and perforators. A rotary cutter is used to saw through material on a straight line, while a Perforator creates holes for stitching by pressing it against paper. While perforators are less effective than rotary cutters, they can be quicker if you’re doing smaller jobs.

Heat Press Machine

A good sublimation heat press machine will set you back a bit, but it’s one of your most important investments. When using vinyl or other types of paper-based media for printing, you can use a standard heating plate. The paper won’t be damaged by being heated up and cooled down repeatedly.

But with sublimated goods, that is not possible; all of those layers of ink are in direct contact with your item and can peel away if not heated properly.

Most heat presses run between $500–$1000 depending on size, construction, and materials used (most are made from aluminum). Depending on your skill level and ambition, consider purchasing a semi-automatic press.

How does it work?

When you’re printing your photos or art on canvas, there are a few factors that influence how it will look: Dye-Sublimation vs. Cold-Press. Cold-pressing inks are thick and impasto, which means they can act almost like paint (as opposed to dye sublimating ink) and will not absorb into a layer of fabric nearly as well as dye sublimators.

So if you want high definition color on top of rich texture, cold press is an option—but be aware that you won’t get quite as rich a texture as with dye sublimation printing (or even lithography).

Can I do it myself?

If you’re interested in canvas sublimation printing, you may be thinking of doing it yourself. But is it really worth going to all that trouble? What do you need to know before setting up your own canvas sublimating studio at home? We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help answer these questions and more.

What’s the quality like?

When it comes to sublimation printing, you’ll find that there are some factors that affect quality. First of all, keep in mind that high-quality ink is going to provide better pictures and fewer mistakes. It’s a good idea to compare different companies and make sure they’re using high-quality, photo-grade ink.

As well, make sure they have a large selection of fonts available, as well as frames and sizing options. They should be able to offer assistance in choosing what fits your needs best.

Next up: consider ordering samples if you want something custom or unusual; if it looks good on paper then chances are it will look great on canvas too! While you’re at it, why not just order an entire print?

How long does it take?

The longest step in sublimation printing is setup time, but that can vary based on complexity and size. If you’re working with a local print shop, they can estimate how long it will take when you call for an appointment or go in for a consultation.

Larger chains will also be able to give you an accurate idea of how long things will take when working with their team.

The turnaround process is fast; many printers will turn around your order in just one day. Setup time often depends on size and complexity, so make sure to ask your printer what it will be if you have something more unique than a simple photo or logo.

That way you can factor everything into your timeline and plan accordingly to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks!

Is there a difference between DIY and professional canvas prints?

Yes, there is a difference. If you have never worked with canvas printing before, then you might be surprised at how easy it is to get great looking prints when they are done by an experienced business.

However, if you’re willing to learn from someone who has already been in your shoes, you can save yourself quite a bit of time and money by figuring out what works best for your needs before making any significant investments.

With professional services, you will have access to people who are highly trained in getting excellent results from any canvas print project. The bulk of their experience can help them provide more value than what you would get from doing everything on your own.

What are the best artists for canvas printing?

Most of us love our original works of art as they bring memories, stories and great moments back. The only issue is where to display them all and what better way than on your walls?

A large canvas print can really add color to a room and if you are thinking about making one for yourself or as a gift for someone else, it’s important that you know what materials work best.

After all, these pieces are made to be seen from afar so it’s important that quality matters more than anything else.

Are there any dangers in getting a canvas print made?

There are a few things to keep in mind with canvas printing. With that said, it’s typically nothing to worry about as long as you take proper care of your product. For example, when transporting your canvas print, make sure you use bubble wrap or an equally protective material; too much sunlight can damage or fade your product.

Additionally, avoid placing heat near a canvas print. Steam from bathrooms and heaters are especially harmful to prints because they tend to be concentrated in those areas.


Whether you are looking to create your own custom artwork or need a last-minute gift for a friend, canvas sublimation printing is an option that should be considered. This type of printing offers many benefits for both artists and customers, as well as being eco-friendly.

Sublimation printing involves use of substrates that have been treated with dyes, made permanent and bonded with heat to transfer onto fabrics without any use of chemicals.

There are numerous companies out there today offering these services, so it might take some time in order to choose one that fits your needs. Before you shop around, first learn more about what canvass sublimation is and how it works before making a decision.

Last Updated on October 3, 2022

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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith is an editor and author for Printerchief, specializing in creating informative content on the topics of office printing and paper processing technology. When he is not working, he enjoys exploring the great outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, along with activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, and reading. Additionally, Andrew loves working on various projects for his home and garden to keep himself busy and continue learning new skills.


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