Sublimation On Wood With & Without Laminate Using Polycrylic

From decorating your ornament, and earrings, to wood cutting boards, sublimation is a perfect and durable craft to bring your imaginary designs into a permanent wonderful print. However, sublimation on wood requires a couple of steps to get the job done. Because you cannot sublimate directly onto the wood. That is why you need to follow today’s guidelines to know the best ways to sublimate wood. So let’s go ahead and start your journey.

sublimation on wood

Sublimation On Wood In Two Ways

According to my experience, I always utilize different ways of sublimation printing rather than depending on a single way. The same applies to wood sublimation printing. I’ve tried two methods to sublimate the wood. Of course, both are famous ones and you might know them. One is using thermal lamination sheets and the second one is using a polyacrylic coat.

We’re utilizing coats in both ways because direct sublimation on wood will likely to be faded after heat transfer. So follow the guide 

Supplies Required

  • A Beginner or mug sublimation printer. Here I’m using my all-time favorite ET-15000. if you don’t have enough budget then you can choose the cheapest sublimation printer.
  • Hiipoo sublimation inks – You can also get the best sublimation inks.
  • A-Sub sublimation paper – Also check the best sublimation paper.
  • A heat press or Cricut Easypress.
  • Heat-resistant tapes
  • Butcher paper
  • Wood blanks according to your choice for example slices, rounds, earrings, and so on. Here I’m using a wood frame in both methods.
  • X-acto knife
  • Lint roller

Step-By-Step Guide To Do Sublimation on wood With Laminate

Step 1: Laminate

To get started with the lamination, clean the surface of the blank thoroughly in order to eliminate the dirt and debris. Grab the thermal sheet and slice them apart. Take the butcher paper and place it underneath the wood substrate.

Now place the lamination sheet over the wood facing down the matte side to the substrate. Take another piece of butcher paper and place it over the laminate sheet. Press it for 20 seconds at 380 F.

Take another piece of butcher paper
Take another piece of butcher paper

Step 2: Cutting & Ready To Sublimate

After heat pressing, let the sheet cool down for a couple of seconds. Now take the xacto knife and cut the laminated sheet sides which are excess out of the substrate. Now you’ll get the shiny side ready to sublimate.

cut the laminated sheet sides
cut the laminated sheet sides

Step 3: Prepare The Printing

I’ve prepared my design for the wood substrate. And gonna print it using my ET-15000. Before printing, make sure the flip horizontal the image if it has text or images.

flip horizontal the image
flip horizontal the image

Step 4: Prepare The Substrate

Once printed, cut the sides of the sublimation paper if you feel they are excessive. But make sure to leave a half inch in order to get taped with the substrate. Now take the laminated wood and clean it off with a clean cloth because it might have fingerprints when you cut out the lamination sheet.

Now lay down the substrate on the butcher paper and tape down the printed image firmly. Now cover the taped wood with another piece of butcher paper. The best time and temp for wood is to press it for almost 50 seconds at 380 F.

cover the taped wood
cover the taped wood

Step 5: Final Product

After heat press, gently remove the butcher paper and sublimation paper so that it should not smear.

gently remove the sublimation paper
gently remove the sublimation paper

And here is the final stunning image.

here is the final result
here is the final result

Sublimation On Wood Without Laminate With Polycrylic

In my opinion, this method is passable but my favorite method is above mentioned using laminate sheets. The reason is lamination method provided me with more vibrant results than polyacrylic and was also easier.

Because the paper residue and ghosting were present on the substrate after heat pressing due to the polyacrylic that is why I recommend in my posts buying factory-coated substrates for sublimation. To remove paper residue, there are a couple of steps I’ve performed below. Let’s get started.

Check How To Do Sublimation On Acrylic And Sublimation On Glass.

Additional Supplies Required

Other than these two additional supplies, all the above-mentioned supplies are the same excluding lamination sheets. Because we’re using Polycrylic instead of lamination sheets.

Step 1: Polycrylic Coat

We’ll coat the wood twice. So first of all get the brush and open up the quarter. Dip the brush into the polyacrylic and apply the coat thoroughly on the whole surface.

apply the coat thoroughly
apply the coat thoroughly

After brushing leave the first coat for about 15 minutes. Once the first coat has been dried completely, apply another light coat of the polyacrylic and let it dry for a couple of hours. The substrate is ready.

Step 2: Tape Down

Design your image in the online software and print it. Tape down it facing the printed side to the substrate. After preparing, ensure to place the butcher paper underneath the heat press. Place another piece of paper on top. Press the wood for about 70 seconds at 380 F. After heat press, do not remove the sublimation paper immediately.

do not remove the sublimation paper immediately
do not remove the sublimation paper immediately

Step 3: Removing The Sublimation Paper

The heat-pressed sublimation paper will be stuck with the substrate. To remove it, I’m gonna rinse the blank with water in order to wet the sublimation paper and remove it slowly. You can simply dip the wood substrate into the water bowl and use a sponge to remove the paper.

rinse the blank with water
rinse the blank with water

After the paper is wet, peel the paper very slowly and ensure the water is poured on the substrate.

peel the paper
peel the paper

Once the paper is removed, take a sponge or wet towel and rub on the areas which are ghosted or have the paper residue. 

rub on the areas
rub on the areas

Step 4: Final Coat

Once the paper is removed and you won’t see any of the residue and spots on the image then it’s time to coat the image with the polyacrylic to look perfect. Brush the image with polyacrylic to get the protected coat. Once the coat is finished and dried up completely, the final result is ready. Look at the image below.

final result
final result

How To Sublimate On Uncoated Wood

Unfortunately, you cannot sublimate on uncoated wood. Hard substrates either require a polymer coat on the surface to get the ink absorbed or thermal laminated sheets can also be adhered using a heat press. If you try to sublimate on the uncoated wood then the result may not be vibrant as you’re expecting from the sublimation.

You might get faded results with the uncoated wood. Although you can try sublimating on uncoated wood blanks when you buy them. Because most of the wood substrates will arrive smooth and plain without any coat.

Check Sublimation On Faux Leather Sheets.


So now you’ve learned the two easy ways to sublimate on wood that can really help you to decorate the blanks accordingly. Don’t want to sublimate on the clear wood? Then paint the wood and apply the polyacrylic and start sublimating. If you own a business then prepare the substrates laminated or pre-treated with polyacrylic then you can complete the tasks within no time. Further, you can check how to sublimate canvas.


  • Jessica Warner

    A printing enthusiast is here to serve you the vision of art. I’m working as a printing artist since my childhood and running a successful business online and offline. I inspire you to create beautiful printings via my select products and How-To tutorials. Warner Jessica

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