Sublimation on Aluminum: Everything You Need to Know (2024)

Sublimation printing is getting more modern day by day. It is employed on wood, ceramic mugs, leather blanks, and even steel tumblers. It adds class and attractive styles on blanks, along with bright and lively colors. 

Sublimation printing on aluminum sheets, business cards, photo panels, and bottles is perfect and adds value to the art display. The sublimated photo panel hung on the wall provides a refreshing look because of the high-resolution images.

Sublimation on aluminum is tricky compared to sublimation on shirts and other fabrics. Surface treatment of aluminum sheets with the polyester coating is essential. This coating helps in infusing the sublimation ink into the aluminum sheet.

You can even directly purchase coated aluminum blanks from trusted sellers.

What Are the Top 5 Aluminum Sublimation Blanks?

Various blanks for aluminum sublimation are available in the market. You can get better results in the following blanks as the sublimation experts specify them.  

Photo Panel

These blanks are pretreated with matte, gloss, or semigloss layers, making them ideal for sublimation. Most of the time, you would have seen interior designs, wall decorations, and exhibition of artworks.

These aluminum blanks are offered in different blanks, but white makes it most suitable while sublimating dark designs.

The size range is 8 to 12 inches and 11 to 23 inches, with a thickness of 1.1 mm.

Popular sellers such as Heatpressnation, Conde, and JPPlus are selling the blanks of photo panels for 2$ to 15$.

License Plate

The license plate made of aluminum, coated with polyester, produces the best results. These customized plates are displayed for advertisement, for example, in vehicles, nameplates, and gift packs.

They are manufactured in silver and white colors having a thickness of 0.77mm. The price range is 5$ to 6$ in the stores like Heatpressnation, Conde, and JPPlus.

Aluminum Business Card   

Business details sublimated on the aluminum sheet makes a perfect identity, advertisement, and sense of style. These cards can then be sublimated on both sides.

With white color, they are available in the market in thickness of 1.16 mm.

Price ranges only from 1$ to 2$, which is a very cheap but excellent result. 

Tag Plate

Aluminum blanks for tag plates are manufactured in various profiles like rectangular, square, circle, and bones. These are used for gifts, nameplates, lockets, etc.

Aluminum Sublimation Sheets

These sublimation blanks are used in industrial applications such as engineering parts, construction, and display boards. The reason is that they are resistant to erosion and corrosion and are best for sublimation printing.

These blanks are available in all colors having both sides glossy finish. They are available in Heatpressnation, Conde with the price range of 8$ to 40$.

Things Needed for The Sublimation of Aluminum

You must know the materials required for the sublimation of aluminum, which are:

Heat Press

A heat press is a primary equipment required for aluminum’s sublimation printing.

Sublimation Printer

With a sublimation printer, aluminum blanks can be sublimated. Hence it is the most crucial part of the process. The cost of the sublimation printer has gone down as the demand has gone down. 

Sublimation Paper

A sublimation or transfer paper is used to carry the required design. Any color can be printed on these papers. Complex and intricate shapes such as logos and family portraits can be printed on sublimation paper.

Computer & RIP Software

The Raster Image Processor (RIP) is unavailable in all sublimation printers. It has to be purchased separately and installed. Compatibility of the software with the printer is essential. 

Cutting Mechanism

A rotary blade or knife will be required to cut the designs. Cutting items is necessary when dealing with Silicon Edge Graphic (SEG) frames.

Heat Resistant Gloves

Safety is the first issue. Heat-resistant gloves are required to avoid any risk of a severe burn. In case of any accident, such gloves will save you from heat effects. 

Aluminum Sheets

A required amount of High-quality aluminum blanks for sublimation has to be present.

Read more: Can You Sublimate on Nylon?

Sublimation on Aluminum (Step-by-Step Process)


The first step is to create a design to be sublimated on aluminum blanks. To design these artworks, usually, adobe photoshop or Corel Draw are used. 

But remember that the image has high resolution and meets the ICC profiles. The size of the print must be greater than the size of the substrate from all sides.


now, it’s time to print the images on the sublimation paper using the sublimation printer. Print the design on the matte side instead of the shiny surface. Remove the shiny plastic coating from the sublimation paper before placing it onto the printer tray.


Set the temperature of the heat press up to 200oC, pressure in the medium range, and setting time for 60 to 90 seconds.


When the temperature has reached up to 200oC, take butcher paper and place it on the lower platen of the heat press. Place the printer transfer paper and keep the print side up. Then put the blank aluminum face down.

Use heat tapes to retain the image held to its position. Place another butcher paper on the top, lower the upper heat press plate, and start the sublimation process.

Step 5:

After the time is up, lift the heat press quickly but gently lift the aluminum panel up and away from the transfer paper. The metal will be scorching. Perform it smoothly to prevent any blurring of ink. While performing this step, use heat-resistant gloves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can we sublimate any metal?

All the metallic blanks with polyester coating can be sublimated. The sublimation ink will be peeled off without coating due to less cohesion.

Can you sublimate on aluminum sheets?

Yes, of course.

The sheet must be coated with polyester to have better results.

Which is the best heat press for sublimation on aluminum?

A heat press with a flatbed is best for sublimation. The size of the aluminum blank must be equal to the bed of the heat press.

How long do you heat-press aluminum?

Usually, the time for aluminum sublimation is 90 to 120 seconds. You can increase the time to infuse more sublimation ink into the aluminum blank. Albeit, more time may cause a burning effect on sublimation print. 

What is the temperature for aluminum sublimation?

375-400° Fahrenheit.

What kind of metal does not accept dye sublimation printing?

All those metals can’t be sublimation printed and have a very smooth or rough surface. But, a metal with a polyester coating can be easily sublimated.   

How long does my dye-sublimation transfer on aluminum last?

It depends upon the usage and exposure to the environment. It can resist moisture, but exposure to the sun will make the colors fade.


Sublimation printing on metals is the new trend. Nearly all the metals which have polyester coating can be sublimation printed. The polyester layer helps infuse the sublimation ink properly and extends the life of the print.

Sublimation on aluminum blanks is less expensive and helps grow business because of advertisement.

So, you have now gained a lot of knowledge about sublimation on aluminum. Then, what are you waiting for? Go and take a start.

Related Post: Can You Sublimate on Rayon?

To Learn more watch the video:

How to Sublimate an Image to Aluminum!

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