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What Is Sublimation Printing On Leather – Can You Sublimate A Leather – Easy To Follow Step-By-Step [Updates 2023]

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Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Michael Levi

The sublimation printing business always needs variety, and such companies always need new products to show off their designs. This article will tell you all the possibilities of quickly printing on leather.


Please read our article till the end to find out how you can quickly do sublimation printing on leather.

Do you have the ability to print sublimation on leather? If you use the correct method and the right leather, you can and should. However, do not use 400 too because this could cause the material to melt. Instead, there is a way to apply sublimation to the leather that doesn’t harm it and achieves a stunning result. You’re about to discover the method right today.

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Required Items:

  • Printing machine
  • A porous hard surface that is porous (synthetic leather)
  • Heat tape       
  • Design software
  • Hard surface paper transfer
  • Heating press
  • Foam pad

Steps To Sublimation Printing On Leather

How To DO Sublimate Printing On Leather Step By Step

Step 1

Take a trip to your local craft store and buy bags of leather scraps. I purchased a large bag in Hobby Lobby for around eight dollars. Nice! Make sure the bag you pick is mostly light-colored leather since there is no white ink available in the sublimation printer. It is possible to save dark leather pieces for later projects. In the next section, faux leather can also be ideal for cutting earrings, but you won’t be able to sublimate faux leather. It’s plastic. It melts.

Step 2

Make small scraps of leather. You do not want to throw away to play around with sublimation. I try to keep a small collection of mistakes made in sublimation printing for experiments. If you happen to not mirror your image before printing, do not throw it away! The suggested temperature is 340 degrees Fahrenheit. That seemed way too low for me, considering that most sublimation substrates are more than 400 degrees. I raised it to 350 degrees. It is necessary to apply pressure to the leather extremely delicately to touch the surface barely. I employed parchment paper on the sides and the middle to ensure safety and only pressed for twelve seconds. I was fortunate. It came out fantastic the first time around.

Because your leather will likely differ from mine, you can play to reach the results you’re looking for. Some forums I’ve seen suggest applying the spray with a kind of costly polymer before spraying it. However, I didn’t find this necessary since most commercial leather is coated with this type of protectant.

Step 3

Make a test cut using your Silhouette. Although I’ve watched some YouTube tutorials about this and adhered to the directions, this procedure caused me difficulty with genuine leather. I made my machine cut using a ten-blade, the deepest available. It was then set to the lowest speed and highest pressure, using a second passing. I attempted both the back and front of the material, but it didn’t come close to cutting through the leather, however. So I set it for four passes through the blade to make one last attempt. The first time, it was close, but I’d need to cut the pieces using scissors. In reality, this isn’t an issue since the earring designs in fashion today are pretty easy to miss. Utilizing the Silhouette Cameo let me skip the necessity of stencils.

Step 4

After you’ve got all your earrings in place, you can now choose a design. This is the most fun part! If you know that a holiday is coming up, You might think about making earrings that fit the occasion. In the middle of June, I first discovered this technique, and Independence Day was my holiday. The patriotic prints look fantastic on the leather! Utilize your sublimation printers to print various designs that are slightly larger than the earrings you cut out.

Step 5

After cutting the various designs that you wish to make earrings, you will need an edgy leather tool and make the holes that the wires will pass through. I chose the smallest size for my hole punch, which was one-sixteenth of an inch. Make sure you punch the hole closest to the top of your earring as you can without damaging any earring’s edge.

Step 6

Press! Remember step two? You’ve probably discovered the ideal time temperature, temperature, and pressure on your natural leather. Also, the recommended temperature is 340°F with light pressure for 12 minutes. Take your pre-cut earrings and press them away. Although it’s tempting to try as many as you can in one go, I usually make only a handful at each time. I like to look at the result before moving to continue (pun not intended!)

Alternative To Using Genuine Leather

Though most faux leathers are likely to melt if you attempt to sublimate it, there’s a rare exception. It works excellently to sublimate. It is also able to be cut using your vinyl cutter. When I make earrings made from glitter vinyl, I increase their thickness by pressing one fabric layer between 2 pieces of glitter vinyl. I’ve found that it still cuts well with this thickness.

My substrate is now one-sided. If you like the material you’re using, it is not necessary to follow the steps. However, if you want to have an earring printed with both sides of the fabric, you’ll have to go on. First, cut the glitter squares from the material, and then add another glitter square on the opposite side, following the same procedure.

I’ve discovered that it is best to have several sheets of heavy glitter vinyl to cut and sublimate. It’s not hard in any way. Because my cutting mat measures 12 ” by 12, I cut two squares that are the same size from the sheet of glitter. Then, I place an uncolored piece on the lower plate of my press. It’s an excellent idea to put a Teflon sheet underneath the fabric if adhesive gets sucked through. After that, I put as many shimmery vinyl strips as I could over the material. After a brief press (10-20 minutes at 320 degrees), I remove the layers of plastic.

After your large square substrates are completed, you can send them to the cutting machine to cut any shapes you like to make your earrings. Be sure to make a tiny hole so that your device can cut the outline for you and avoid the hole-punching process! Print your design and then press on both sides. (Print 4 times for two-sided earrings. ) the person performing sublimation on leather must run the sublimation press at 365° and 45 secs.

Video Guide – What is wood sublimation?

The whole credit of this video goes to StuffILikeToday Youtube channel.

In Conclusion:

I hope you’ve been enjoying playing using this innovative method and that it contributes to your achievement. By following the above steps, you will achieve high-quality and consistent printing on any leather material. Furthermore, this technique will also create a protective layer over the image, which increases the life span of the print.

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