How to Make Sublimation Coating for Stainless Steel, Cotton & Ceramic

The sublimation printing is an easy and affordable way to get beautiful and vivid colors on a wide range of substrates. Most designers want to do sublimation on different materials and they don’t know how to make sublimation coating for stainless steel and other materials. If you are a professional in the sublimation business, then you probably know that we can’t sublimate on all types of materials because the sublimation ink makes a bond with the product surface that you are going to sublimate at a molecular level which is only possible with the polyester. Yes, you read it right. We can only sublimate on the polyester, but for non-polyester material, we apply the polyester coating before the actual sublimation.

I have worked in the sublimation business for many years and have sublimated many items. Although polyester is the best material for good sublimation results, applying a suitable coating can get bright and cheerful colors on all substrates.

How to Make Sublimation Coating at Home?

Before starting the sublimation process, we need to know how many things are required to make a sublimation coating at home. Some things are common in all sublimation methods. 

Required Things for Sublimation Coating:

  • Sublimation Printer
  • Sublimation ink & paper
  • A digital design( You can hire a designer from Fiverr)

The other required things depend on the method of coating the different materials.

Required Things for Sublimation Coating on Stainless Steel & Tumblers:

  • Polygloss
  • Catalyst
  • Measuring Cup
  • Parchment paper
  • A big container (optional)
  • Heat Press machine or a mug press
  • Piece of microfiber cloth

Method 2:

  • Subli Glaze adhesion promoter
  • Subli Glaze coating

Essential Things to do Sublimation Coating on 100% Cotton:

  • Spray Bottle
  • Polyacrylic
  • Table Spoon

How to Make Sublimation Coating For Stainless Steel tumblers?

I will discuss two ways to make a sublimation coating for stainless steel.

Sublimation Coating on Stainless Steel with Poly Gloss (Method 1)

Make sublimation coating for stainless steel and tumblers

Prepare the Poly gloss Mixture:

  1. When you purchase the poly gloss, it comes with the catalyst, syringe, and four measuring cups & sticks.
  2. Mix one ounce of poly gloss in 1 ml of catalyst (measure the catalyst with the syringe) and mix it with the help of a stir. Now the mixture is ready to use.

Coat Stainless Steel with Poly gloss:

  1. Clean the stainless steel with the help of a microfiber cloth (if you don’t have any, then you can also use a piece of cotton cloth). 
  2. Cover the table or surface with an old cloth to keep the table clean from marks and stains.
  3. Now dip the paintbrush in the poly gloss mixture and apply a thin layer throughout the bottle or surface that you will sublimate straightly.
  4. If you live in a warm area, the poly gloss coating will probably dry out very quickly, and the air bubbles will come out from the surface where you applied the coating. Cover the coated products with a container for ten minutes, reducing the drying speed of poly gloss.

Cure the Items with the Help of a Mug Press or Convection Oven:

  1. After drying, the following process is curing the items with heat. Wrap the tumbler or product coated in parchment paper and heat it in a convection oven at 325 F for 10 minutes. If you are heating it in the mug, press it only for 3 minutes at standard pressure.

Read the Article: How to Remove Sublimation Ink from Tumbler and Ceramic Mugs

Sublimation Coating on Stainless Steel with Subli Glaze (Method 2)

Coat the stainless steel tumblers with subli glaze

If you don’t want to coat the stainless steel with the brush, the easiest and best way to make the sublimation coating on metal is with the Subli Glaze.

Prepare the Surface:

  1. Clean the surface using a microfiber cloth.
  2. Wear gloves and apply a thin Subli Glaze Adhesion promoter layer on the area where you want to sublimate.

Spray the Product by Using Subli Glaze:

  1. Shake the spray bottle in up and down motion for about 2 minutes and spray the coating in a smooth motion from about 25 cm distance and 
  2. Let it dry for 10 minutes.

Cure it in a Convection Oven:

  1. Place the coated piece in an oven at 320 F for 15-20 minutes. 
  2. Let it cool at room temperature for a few minutes, and your product is ready to accept the sublimation design.

Read the Article: How to Sublimate the Blank and Stainless Steel Tumblers?

How to Make Sublimation Coating Liquid at Home for Ceramic Mugs?

Prepare the Poly gloss Mixture:

  1. Again we will add one milliliter of catalyst in one ounce of poly gloss.
  2. Stir it using a wooden stick for one minute, and the mixture is ready to apply on the mug, plate, or any other ceramic substrate.

Coating the Poly gloss on Ceramic Mugs:

  1. Now coat the surface of the mug or plate by using a paintbrush in a nice and smooth motion.
  2. Cover the product that you have coated with a food container. This will reduce the process of bubble formulation.

Curing the Mugs

  1. Cure the items in an oven for about 20 to 25 minutes at 320 F and allow them to cool at room temperature for a few minutes. Your products are ready to accept the sublimation designs.

How to Make Sublimation Spray for Cotton?

Coat the cotton t-shirts with polyacrylic

Most people think we can’t sublimate on the 100% cotton material, but this is wrong. I have personally sublimated tons of cotton t-shirts and blanks. Sublimation on cotton requires one additional step: coating the product surface with the polyester liquid.

Prepare the Liquid by Using Polyacrylic:

  1. Mix 8 ounces of fluid (water) ounces in two tablespoons of polyacrylic. Make sure to level the polyacrylic with the tablespoon. Remember to only use regular tap water at the average temperature. 
  2. Shake the bottle well for about 2 minutes, and the polyester mixture is ready to use.

Apply the Liquid to the Cotton Fabric:

  1. Lay the shirt flat and spray the liquid where you will sublimate the design. Spray it until thoroughly wet, and remember not to spray too much because it will turn the area yellow. Just apply 3-4 sprays with the sprayer.
  2. Let it fully dry at room temperature, and your shirt is ready for sublimation.

Sublimation Coating on Cotton with Polymer Powder :

Another straightforward and effective way to make the sublimation coating for cotton fabric is by using polymer powder. I am personally using this method to create vivid colors on cotton fabric. Unlike the other methods, this is quick because you do not need to wait for the polymer coating to dry.

Print the Design with the Sublimation Printer:

  1. Print the design using the sublimation printer on specially coated paper (silicon paper).
  2. Always enable the mirror mode and print settings to plain paper.

Applying the Polyamide Powder:

  1. Now apply the polyamide powder immediately after printing. Spread the polyamide powder and completely cover the design. (Always wear a face mask before applying the polyamide powder)
  2. The excess powder is reusable, so pour it into a container.

Ironing /Curing:

  1. Heat The paper under the heat press at 350° F for 30 seconds and a distance of 3cm. You can also do the same process in the regular convection oven, and the curing time will be 10-15 seconds.
  2. Lay the paper onto the cotton fabric you want to sublimate and press it under a heat press for about 34s at 365° F. Use the protective paper between shit and the heat press machine.

Peeling the Paper:

  1. Let it cool for the 40s, and peel the paper gently. Congratulations, your shirt is ready to wear.

Read the Article: How to Make Sublimation Brighter on Tumblers, Mugs, & Shirts

Frequently Asked Questions:


I have discussed different methods to make the sublimation coatings on dissimilar materials. You can get realistic colors on all substrates by applying the polyester sublimation coating with the methods that I have shared. Most people want to know from which material the polyester coating is made and if we can make all the ingredients at home. The simple and short answer is no, you can’t create everything at home because the polyester powder contains resins, pigments, fillers, and other chemicals. But you can purchase a ready-made coating and mix it with the water.

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