Can you use iron for sublimation?

Written By PrintingPro

Sublimation is an innovative printing procedure that uses heat and pressure to imprint dye onto polyester, ceramics, and metals. The technique requires sublimation ink – a special kind of ink that must be heated until it becomes gas-like before being applied to the material’s surface. This process can be accomplished with specialized equipment like a heat press capable of providing adequate temperature and force for successful transferal. To address whether or not a common household person can use iron for sublimation, this post dives into specifics about how to use iron for this purpose and any potential limitations and obstacles. Of course, alternative equipment may also be available if that’s your preference.

Can you use iron for sublimation?

Yes, Utilizing an iron for sublimation is possible, yet not recommended as it does not possess the capability to administer consistent pressure and heat to the material. This is necessary for a successful transfer of ink. Moreover, typical irons do not reach the high temperatures desired to complete this process properly or have large enough plates to make efficient transfers – making other tools such as heat presses more ideal options when carrying out this task.

How to use an iron for sublimation- Process step by step:

Materials Needed:

Ink for sublimation:

When exposed to heat, a distinct ink known as sublimation ink undergoes an interesting transformation; it turns into a gas which is then embedded in certain surfaces like polyester, ceramics, or metals.

Sublimation paper:

Crafted to flawlessly run with sublimation ink, this paper is coated in a special material that helps the ink transfer process.

Polyester or polymer-coated item:

To produce the best results with sublimation, you must ensure your material can absorb the ink. The most popular materials used in this process are polyester and polymer fabrics. With these on hand, you can have the freedom to create a unique design that will surely stand out.


Leveraging heat and pressure, iron can be used in place of a press to effectively transfer ink onto the fabric.


Install your ironing board and connect your iron:

For optimal sublimation results, it’s essential to have a steady, even base for your work. An ironing board is ideal and easy to assemble – simply plug in the appliance on its maximum heat setting with the steam disabled. Follow these steps, and you’ll be ready to begin.

Using a sublimation ink printer, print your design onto sublimation paper:

Before using iron for your sublimation, printing the design onto transfer paper is essential. Doing this helps make sure that the design is properly sized and oriented. A printer with special sublimation ink should be used while printing to get optimal results.

Cut out your design:

After printing your design, carefully and precisely trim it out before adhering it to a polyester or polymer-coated item. Ensuring that you place the layout accurately is essential for obtaining an attractive, centered final product.

To protect the iron from ink, place a plain sheet of paper over the design:

To ensure a flawless transfer, it is key to protect your iron from ink before commencing the ironing process. Covering the design area with an ordinary sheet of paper will prevent smudging or ink transfers onto the iron surface.

In addition, ensuring all materials are well-prepared and designs have been accurately printed and properly positioned on fabric substrates will guarantee optimal results when using an iron for sublimation printing. With some preparation, you can achieve spectacular outcomes.

Ironing-How to Use an Iron for Sublimation:

Set your iron to the maximum heat setting and turn off the steam:

To guarantee that the heat is consistent and your ink gets correctly imprinted onto the fabric, switch off all steam settings of your iron before starting. Once ready, set it at its maximum temperature so you can get perfect results every time.

Press the iron down firmly onto the paper:

You must use a firm pressing motion with your iron to guarantee the ink has fully transferred to the substrate. Start by laying it on top of the design and push it down for 30 seconds before lifting and realigning it. You’ll need to repeat this process until every inch of your design is covered; make sure not to neglect any edges.

Ensure that the entire design has been covered with the iron:

Verifying that the iron has completely covered your design is essential for a successful transfer. Those edges can be tricky, so give them extra attention. Additionally, ensure your item has cooled before you peel off the paper – this guarantees that all of the ink is transferred and keeps your design in place. Allowing it a few minutes after finishing up will do wonders.

The ironing process is essential for successful sublimation, requiring continuous and rigorous heat to achieve the best results. To ensure maximum impact, take your time while pressing onto fabric to allow plenty of room for a stunning transfer.


After ironing, your creative design should be transferred onto the polyester or polymer-coated material. The result will be a vibrant and enduring pattern that you’ll love.

It’s essential to realize that using iron for sublimation is not the standard nor the most optimal approach. Heat and pressure may be inconsistent throughout, resulting in haphazard or ineffective transfers. Moreover, the range of space on the iron can be restricted, impacting transfer quality.

Can you use iron for sublimation

Tips and Tricks:

  • It is important to use high-quality sublimation ink and paper for optimal results.
  • Make sure the item’s surface is clean and free of debris before applying the design.
  • Use a protective sheet of paper between the iron and the design to prevent smudging or ink transfer onto the iron.
  • Use consistent and firm pressure when ironing the design to ensure a successful transfer.
  • Avoid using steam when ironing, as it can affect the sublimation process.


Is it necessary to use a special type of iron for sublimation?

A regular iron can be used for sublimation printing. Still, it’s imperative to ensure that the appliance can reach higher temperatures and has a sufficiently large surface area to transfer the ink properly.

How long should I leave the iron on the design?

The transfer process duration varies depending on the material, aspect, and volume of ink. It is usually advised to apply pressure for 30-45 seconds in each region before lifting off your iron. Consider that corners are often difficult to cover; therefore, take extra care when addressing these areas.

Will my iron get damaged during the process?

To ensure that your typical household iron won’t be damaged, it’s important not to exceed the suggested highest heat setting. It is also recommended to cover the design with a plain sheet of paper when pressing to avert ink transfer onto the iron surface.

Can I achieve professional results with iron for sublimation?

While it is possible to create professional-looking results using a sublimation iron, the process can be tedious and time-consuming compared to its heat press counterpart. Additionally, there won’t always be consistent transfer quality with an iron as you would get with a heat press. It’s critical that only polyester or polymer-coated items are used for this method since the ink will not adhere to other materials. By sticking precisely to instructions and being patient throughout the entire process, the superior output may be achieved.

Is a heat press required for sublimation?

Sublimation may be accomplished using an iron, but a heat press is highly encouraged for optimal results. These specialized machines are designed to simplify sublimation, as they provide uniform pressure and temperature that guarantee superior quality transfers. Moreover, with their larger surface areas, you can expect increased efficiency when completing your projects. 


Sublimation can be successfully achieved with a reliable iron. While it may take more attention and effort than using a heat press, you’ll still get the desired outcome if done properly. Maintaining continuous pressure while pressing down on the item and allowing it to cool before removing its paper backing is essential. Try placing an extra sheet of plain paper between your design and iron to avoid ink smudges for added protection. Sublimation ironing can produce professional results only if you are mindful of the steps and materials used. Beautiful outcomes await by following exact instructions and allowing yourself ample time to execute your project with attention to detail. Sublimation ironing requires patience; however, it is worth it as it will be rewarding when complete.

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Written By PrintingPro

PrintingPro Konti is a seasoned wordsmith with a fervor for crafting enlightening and captivating content. With a wealth of experience in crafting blog posts and product guides within the printing industry, Konti has firmly positioned himself as the go-to authority for readers in search of valuable insights within this multifaceted and dynamically evolving sector. As a recognized expert in the printing domain, Konti possesses an exhaustive grasp of cutting-edge technologies, emerging trends, and industry best practices. He adeptly harnesses this knowledge to generate content that not only informs but also engrosses, ensuring that readers stay abreast of the latest developments in digital printing, offset printing, and 3D printing.