Sublimation on a Plate: Step by Step Guide

Sublimation on a plate has now become the new trend in fine dining and is one of the most popular techniques used by chefs today. It allows you to add your own unique artistic flair to your food, making it more than just edible, but an edible work of art that will delight your guest’s eyes, and taste buds alike!

Sublimation on Plate relies on heat transfer and can be used in both commercial and domestic settings. The following guide will explain everything you need to know about Sublimation on the Plate and how you can use it in your own cooking, giving your dishes that added pizzazz!

Things You Need

-A dish

-Your favorite food (Use 2-3 different textures like crunchy, soft and liquid)

-A spatula -Styrofoam cup or plastic bag (you will be using it as a mold)

-White glue -A sponge (it has to be wet)

-Food dye (in primary colors: red, yellow and blue)

1. A sublimation printer

If you have bought a printer for your business, and use it for marketing purposes, then you know that most of these printers are capable of printing in only one color.

What if we tell you that there is a technology where you can print in full colors? Yes, you heard it right! All your posters and flyers will be in full colors with such sublimation printer. They come in different forms and vary in their price tag too.

2. Inks that can be used on any plate

The specific ink used for sublimation is called pre-mixed inks, which typically consists of pigment suspended in ethanol. Although you can use any solvent based ink with a solvent based machine, I would recommend using pre-mixed inks because they are specifically formulated for use with heat presses and will give you better results and help avoid potential problems.

There are many manufacturers that sell pre-mixed inks, such as Universal Pre-Mix Supplies or Rapidograph.

3. Heat press machine

If you’re going to start with sublimation, you’ll need some equipment. The most important piece of gear is your heat press machine. This is what will melt your designs onto your shirt or mug, and it comes in two varieties: piston and platen.

Piston presses are less expensive, but they can create an uneven imprint on curved surfaces—like a coffee mug. For those types of projects, you want a platen press, which creates more even heating across their surface area.

4. Rotary Cutter

It’s as simple as it sounds. A rotary cutter is a spinning wheel that has razor-sharp wheels attached. You use them just like you would use scissors, but instead of snipping material with two blades, it cuts using one blade and rotates back into place for you when you’re done cutting.

The resulting edges are clean and crisp, so they make perfect templates for sublimation printing (like we mentioned above).

5. Leather Work Mat

If you are using transfer paper, then you will need an exacto knife or blade of some sort. The blade will be used to poke holes in your leather where your artwork is located. For instance, if your artwork was just one simple design, like say a dog bone or heart, then you wouldn’t need many holes.

8. Acrylic paint

The size of your canvas is determined by how large you want your end product to be. Unless you’re printing on paper plates, then we recommend starting small and testing out colors before going all in. For painting, we recommend looking for craft paint at any arts and crafts store, or even Target or Walmart.

Acrylic paint is water based, which means that if you happen to ruin your masterpiece then it’s okay – it washes right off of hands, clothes and countertops with some soap and water.

Steps to Sublimation on a Plate

1. Put your plate in an oven for 30 minutes at 200 °C, with baking paper underneath it.

2. Take out your plate, let it cool off and clean it with soap and water.

3. Print out whatever you want onto transparency film.

4. Place that film onto your plate and leave it under sunlight.

5. Finally, you will have achieved sublimation effect!

Tips For Perfect Sublimation Process On Plates

Get An Inkjet Printer With Good Resolution: You can find one with 300 dpi or higher resolution. Also look for how many colors your inkjet printer supports, as most support only 4 or 5.

Nowadays, you can find a printer for sublimated plates of any size and shape without too much hassle, but since most of us will be using 8.5 x 11 paper instead of large plates, we’ll go with one that fits standard-sized paper best. Look at 2 x 3 inches as minimum and 6 x 9 inches as maximum; anything bigger will cost more and be harder to set up.


There are many methods used in sublimation, some more than others. All of them work for their own reasons. Some methods were designed for photographic material, some for cloth products, and some for printing designs onto glass or mirrors. For your order or product to be successful, it is important that you choose the correct method.

The most successful form of sublimating onto different items is a laser heat press, as it will always provide quality prints and works with 100% of materials that you print on without fail. Nowadays, there are many products which call themselves laser printer which claim they can do sublimation but in reality they only print using a flatbed which is more commonly known as inkjet printing.

Last Updated on October 11, 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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