How to make sublimation stickers for beginners?

Are you struggling to figure out how to make your own sublimation stickers? You’re not alone; I’ve been there too, and through extensive research and practice, I discovered that the quality of materials like sublimation ink and paper greatly affects the end result.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn a simple step-by-step process on how to create durable and visually striking sublimation stickers right from your home or workspace. Dive in, let’s transform those creative ideas into stunning decals together.

Supplies needed to make sublimation stickers

To make sublimation stickers, you will need the following equipment and materials: sublimation paper, a sublimation printer, sublimation ink, and adhesive vinyl.

how to make sublimation stickers


Sublimation paper

Sublimation paper is a crucial element for creating quality sublimation stickers. It’s the medium that holds your designs before they are transferred onto adhesive vinyl. The beauty of this type of paper lies in its special coating that changes solid sublimation ink into gas when exposed to high heat, avoiding the liquid phase altogether and ensuring better color retention and sharpness on your sticker design.

Opting for a high-quality sublimation paper can significantly boost the vibrancy and durability of your final product, making it resistant to fading even after prolonged exposure to sunlight or harsh weather conditions – an essential consideration if you’re planning on creating waterproof outdoor stickers or car decals as mentioned in our important facts section above.

Sublimation printer

To create high-quality sublimation stickers, you’ll need the right equipment, including a reliable sublimation printer. A sublimation printer is specifically designed to transfer ink onto various surfaces through the process of sublimation.

It uses specialized inks that turn into gas when heated and penetrate the surface of your sticker material.

When choosing a sublimation printer, opt for one that offers vibrant color reproduction and precise details. Look for models with multiple ink cartridges to ensure accurate color mixing.

Additionally, consider printers that support larger paper sizes to accommodate different sticker dimensions.

Remember to use compatible sublimation ink cartridges for optimal results. These inks are vital as they have unique properties that allow them to bond with the coating on your sticker material effectively.

By using high-quality ink and a dependable printer, you can produce stunning and durable sublimated stickers.

Sublimation ink

One crucial component in the process of making sublimation stickers is the use of high-quality sublimation ink. The ink plays a significant role in ensuring vibrant and long-lasting colors on your stickers.

When choosing sublimation ink, it is essential to opt for a brand that offers excellent color reproduction and fast-drying properties. Additionally, consider using dye-sublimation ink specifically formulated for the type of printer you have, as different printers may require different types of ink.

By selecting the right sublimation ink, you can achieve stunning results with your sticker designs that will impress both yourself and your customers.

Adhesive vinyl

Adhesive vinyl is a crucial material when it comes to making sublimation stickers. With its sticky backing, adhesive vinyl allows you to easily apply your designs onto various surfaces.

This durable and versatile material ensures that your sublimation stickers will stay in place for a long time, even on outdoor items like cars or water bottles. Available in different finishes such as glossy or matte, adhesive vinyl gives you the freedom to create custom and eye-catching designs.

Whether you’re making personalized laptop decals or promotional products, adhesive vinyl is a must-have for any sublimation maker looking to create high-quality and long-lasting stickers.

How to make sublimation stickers?

Printing the design onto sublimation paper, transferring it onto the adhesive vinyl, cutting the sticker sheet with a cutting machine, and applying the sticker to desired surfaces – learn how to make stunning sublimation stickers step-by-step.

Step 1: Printing the design onto sublimation paper

To start making your own sublimation stickers, you’ll first need to print your design onto sublimation paper. Sublimation paper is a special type of paper that allows the ink to transfer onto another material when heat and pressure are applied.

It’s important to use high-quality sublimation ink and paper for vibrant and long-lasting results.

When printing your design, make sure to adjust the settings on your printer for optimal image quality. This includes selecting the correct printer profile and ensuring that the ink saturation levels are appropriate.

Remember, test prints are always a good idea before committing to mass production.

Step 2: Sublimating the design onto the adhesive vinyl

To bring your sublimation sticker design to life, the next step is to transfer it onto the adhesive vinyl. This process, known as sublimation, involves using heat and pressure to permanently embed the design into the vinyl material.

It’s important to ensure that you have a high-quality sublimation printer and ink for optimal results.

Start by printing your design onto sublimation paper using your chosen printer and ink. Once printed, place the printed side of the paper face-down onto the adhesive side of the vinyl sheet.

Apply even pressure and use a heat press or an iron set at the appropriate temperature to heat-transfer the design from the paper onto the vinyl.

The heat will cause the ink on the paper to turn into gas, which then bonds with polyester molecules in both materials – creating a vibrant, long-lasting result that won’t fade or peel easily.

Step 3: Cutting the sticker sheet using a cutting machine

To achieve precise and professional-looking sublimation stickers, it is crucial to accurately cut the sticker sheet. This can be easily done using a cutting machine like the Cricut.

After printing your design onto sublimation paper and transferring it onto the adhesive vinyl, place the sticker sheet on the cutting mat and load it into your cutting machine. With just a few clicks of a button, you can effortlessly achieve clean cuts with intricate details.

The cutting machine ensures that each sticker is perfectly shaped, making them ready for application in no time. Whether you’re creating custom decals or personalized stickers, investing in a reliable cutting machine will make your sublimation sticker-making process much more efficient and enjoyable.

Step 4: Applying the sticker onto desired surfaces

Now that you have created your sublimation stickers, it’s time to apply them onto your desired surfaces. Whether it’s adding a custom touch to your phone case or personalizing a water bottle, the application process is simple and straightforward.

Start by cleaning the surface where you want to place the sticker. Use a mild soap and water solution or an alcohol wipe to remove any dirt or oils. This will ensure better adhesion of the sticker.

Next, carefully peel off the backing paper from the sticker sheet. Be gentle to avoid tearing or stretching the design. Once removed, position the sticker on the surface and press down firmly with your fingers.

Smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles using a squeegee or credit card.

If you’re applying larger stickers, consider using masking tape as hinges before sticking them permanently. This will allow you to align and adjust without losing placement accuracy.

Tips for making sublimation stickers

To ensure successful sublimation stickers, it is important to maintain proper temperature and pressure during the sublimation process.

1. Ensuring proper temperature and pressure during sublimation

One crucial aspect of making sublimation stickers is ensuring the proper temperature and pressure during the sublimation process. This step plays a significant role in achieving vibrant colors and long-lasting results.

To ensure success, it’s essential to follow these key principles.

Firstly, make sure you have the right heat press machine capable of reaching accurate temperatures for sublimation. Different types of materials may require varying temperatures, so it’s vital to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines or conduct some test runs to determine the optimal temperature setting.

Secondly, maintaining consistent pressure throughout the entire sublimation process is crucial. Uneven pressure can result in blotchy designs or incomplete transfers. Adjust your heat press machine accordingly based on the thickness and type of material you’re using.

Lastly, be mindful of any potential variations caused by environmental factors such as humidity or altitude. These variables can affect how well the ink adheres to the surface, resulting in less vibrant colors or unwanted fading over time.

2. Using high-quality sublimation ink and paper

To create vibrant and long-lasting sublimation stickers, it is crucial to use high-quality sublimation ink and paper. High-quality ink ensures that your designs are reproduced accurately with vivid colors and sharp details.

It also improves the longevity of the stickers, preventing them from fading or smudging over time.

Similarly, using top-notch sublimation paper guarantees excellent transfer results. Good quality paper absorbs the ink properly, resulting in clean and clear prints without any blurriness or bleeding.

It also contributes to a smoother transfer process, ensuring that your designs adhere perfectly onto the sticker sheet.

Investing in high-quality sublimation ink and paper may seem like an additional expense upfront but can make a significant difference in the overall quality of your finished products.

By choosing reliable materials, you can produce professional-looking sublimation stickers that stand out and withstand daily wear-and-tear.

3. Testing designs and settings before mass production

Before diving into mass production of your sublimation stickers, it’s crucial to test your designs and settings to ensure the best results. Taking this step will save you time, money, and materials in the long run.

Start by printing a sample design on a small piece of sublimation paper using your chosen ink and printer. Transfer the design onto a sticker sheet and observe how well the colors come out, if there are any issues with alignment or bleeding.

Adjust the temperature and pressure settings on your heat-press accordingly until you achieve vibrant colors without any smudging or distortions. By fine-tuning these variables during testing, you can guarantee consistent high-quality prints when producing larger batches of sublimation stickers for your customers.


1. What materials do I need to make sublimation stickers?

To make sublimation stickers, you will need sublimation paper, a printer with sublimation ink, heat-resistant tape, and a heat press machine. You will also need the design or image you want to transfer onto the sticker.

2. How do I prepare the design for sublimation printing?

First, ensure that your design is in a digital format and sized correctly for your desired sticker size. Then, using graphic design software, reverse the image horizontally so that it prints mirrored on the paper when transferred onto the sticker.

3. How do I transfer the design onto the sticker using sublimation?

To transfer the design onto the sticker using sublimation, first print your reversed design on sublimation paper with a printer loaded with sublimation ink. Securely attach the printed paper to your sticker surface using heat-resistant tape. Next, place it in a heat press machine at an appropriate temperature and pressure for sublimating stickers based on your specific materials and instructions provided by manufacturers.

4. Are there any special considerations or tips when making sublimation stickers?

Yes, here are some important considerations:

  • Ensure that both your printer and ink are specifically designed for sublimation printing.
  • Use high-quality material for both your printable surface (such as vinyl) and adhesive backing to achieve better results.
  • Experiment with different temperatures and pressures in order to find out what works best for transferring images onto different types of surfaces.
  • Always follow manufacturer guidelines regarding safety precautions when working with heat presses or other equipment involved in this process


In conclusion, making sublimation stickers is a creative and fun process that allows you to personalize your belongings. With just a few essential materials and equipment, such as sublimation paper, ink, adhesive vinyl, and a cutting machine, you can create high-quality stickers with ease.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and implementing some tips and tricks for success, you’ll be on your way to designing beautiful sublimation stickers that will impress everyone around you.

Get ready to unleash your creativity and start making stunning DIY sublimation stickers today!

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