Whether you want to wear leather earrings or shoes, make keychains, wallets, or leather jackets, sublimation is suitable to convert your crafting hobby into a money-making business. But before getting started with sublimation on leather, it is essential for you to know the requirements, equipment, and type of leather that is suitable for sublimation. Let’s go ahead to know more about how to do sublimation on leather.
Can You Do Sublimation On Leather?
Yes, you can sublimate on leather to customize the various types of leather substrates. Not only you can use them for personalization but starting to sell them online is also an exceptional choice.
What Kind Of Leather Is Suitable For Sublimation
Leather comes in various types that include natural leather and synthetic leather. Synthetic leather also refers to Faux leather that can withstand the sublimation process because it is produced from synthetic fibers including plastic, polyurethane PVC, and wax.
So it is the Faux leather that is used to sublimate various types of leather substrates. You can use the sublimated synthetic leather in items of clothing, footwear, making notebooks, keychains, pet tags, and much more. Faux provides the feeling of leather-like but is cost-effective and durable from PU.
Synthetic leather also comes in various types that are PU, PVC, and vinyl which are also best for sublimation available in PU leather sheets. But there is a significant difference between PU and Faux leather. PU is made up of 100% polyurethane synthetic substance that can be used for sublimation whereas Faux is a mixture of synthetic substances.
Supplies You’ll Need
- A sublimation printer compatible with Cricut Maker – My choice is ET-3760 & ET-4800
- Sublimation paper – A-sub sublimation bundle You can use A-sub paper
- Sublimation inks – Cosmos or Hiipoo (Recommended)
- A Cricut Maker to cut the leather – Cricut Explore 3
- Butcher paper
- Heat resistant tape
- Sublimation HTV – I’m using HTVRONT to use as a laminate surface on leather
- Cricut Easy press or A flat surface heat press
- Plain Faux leather sheets – According to your choice
Step By Step Guide To Sublimate On Leather
Note: To sublimate on leather, we’ll use an HTVRONT vinyl sheet as a lamination over the faux leather to retain the sublimation ink. I’ve mentioned steps 2,3,4, and 5 on how can you prepare the faux leather.
Step 1: Print the design
Print the 8”x11” size design or according to the size of the substrate. You can get ideas from design bundles and free online websites.
Step 2: Prepare the Faux leather
The next step is to cut the faux leather according to the size of the printed sublimation paper. Place the leather on the grip mat and cut an 8 by the 11-inch substrate. Ensure that the smooth side of the leather faces down the grip mat and secure it with painter’s tape. Also, cut the vinyl sheet according to the size of the substrate. My substrate size is 8 by 11 inches.
Step 3: Press the vinyl on the Faux leather
After cutting the vinyl and leather, it’s time to laminate the leather. Place the butcher paper on the vinyl grip mat, place the faux leather facing up on the smooth surface, and now place the already cut vinyl sheet on the smooth surface of the leather also ensure that the vinyl sheet’s glossy side will be facing up.
Step 4: Tape down
After placing the vinyl sheet, tape down the faux leather and vinyl sheet together in order not to move from their place while heat pressing. Now place another piece of butcher paper over the top of the taped-down substrate.
Step 5: Press the substrate
After placing the butcher paper over the top, heat press the leather substrate for 20 seconds at 395F. Remove the butcher paper and heat-resistant tape, the leather is ready to sublimate.
Step 6: Ready to Sublimate
Now place the printed sublimation paper facing down the printed side on the prepared surface of the faux leather. Secure it with heat-resistant tape and place the butcher paper over the top.
Step 7: Heat press
Heat press the leather for 50 seconds at a temperature of 395F. Peel off the sublimation paper and tapes. Voila! Your design on leather is ready to utilize in making different personalized items.
How Long Do You Sublimate Faux Leather?
The ideal time for leather sublimation is 50 seconds, and the temperature is 395F with medium-heavy pressure.
You may like sublimation on stainless steel
Useful Tips To Do Sublimation On Leather
1. Other than using the sublimation printer, you can use pre-printed sublimation patterns available there by Cricut. You can use printed patterns to make versatile designs for keychains and wallets.
2. I’ve sublimated the plain Faux leather sheet. You can utilize the sublimated leather sheet to make keychains using keychain hardware and a crimping tool. You can make notebooks, leather wallets, and much more.
3. To print on genuine leather, use the printable heat transfer vinyl to make the designs.
4. Other than printing on the leather sheet, there are various types of pre-made leather sublimation blanks available, you can purchase and start sublimating them immediately.
5. You can use scissors or the Xacto knife as an alternative to the cutting machine like Cricut or Silhouette if you’re limited on a budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a printer print on leather?
Printing leather on the commercial level involves a printer to print onto leather shoes and other wide ranges of sublimation. Either it is the dye sublimation on the commercial grade printers or the use the various types of curated inks. Commercial business owners also use pigment ink to make the ink and leather UV and water-resistant.
Does heat damage faux leather?
Faux leather is often a heat-sensitive fiber. If it is not protected against direct sun and chemical detergents, then it may wear and tear quickly. However, faux leather contains polyurethane that protects the leather from all harsh elements but despite that, you need to take care and not expose it to direct burning sunlight and damping.
I hope you find this guide helpful to get your DIY sublimation printing started. Other than sublimating on acrylic, glass, and polyester t-shirts, you can make adorable designs made of leather. Now you’ve got the answer can you do sublimation on leather? Say yes! And follow the above steps to do the dye sublimation.