How to Sublimate on Polyester & Cotton Canvas? (Heat Press Temperature and Settings)

Canvas art started in the 14th century and became more popular in the Italian Renaissance and 17th centuries. After that, it was used mainly in European and American homes. Most of the people asked to form me can I sublimate on canvas if yes then how to sublimate on polyester & cotton canvas? Sublimation on canvas is the easiest way to create a decoration piece for homes and offices. You can also sell it commercially. With the help of a few gadgets, we can convert any digital design onto a canvas surface. If you are already working with the sublimation business, then you know that we can’t sublimate the design onto the cotton substrates, but I will discuss some tips and tricks to help you.

What is Canvas? and Things Required to Do Sublimation on Canvas:

Before going deep into the article, we need to know the canvas. The canvas is a plain woven cloth generally made from a mixture of cotton and linen. Due to its vertical weaving pattern, it is more durable than other cloths, which is why it is widely used for making handbags, tents, and other fashion-related products. In addition, the canvas is robust, and the artist used it as a surface to paint.

The equipment and gadgets required to do work professionally are listed below:

Sublimation Printer:

The first gadget we need to start work is a good sublimation printer. It will help us convert the digital designs to physical ones onto the sublimation paper, which will be further transferred on the canvas. Most printer companies, like sawgrass, offer built-in sublimation technology. But you can also convert these inkjet printers to sublimation ready very quickly Epson ET, Epson F4, Epson work force.

Sublimation Paper:

A special aqueous colloid resin-coated paper is used to print the designs for the dye sublimation process. Compared to copy printer paper, sublimation paper does not hold the ink permanently. When heat is provided, it can diffuse ink onto the material you want to sublimate very quickly. I suggest you select the sublimation paper wisely because the ink transfer rate, dry time and print quality depend on it.

Heat Press Machine:

A heat press machine utilizes heat and pressure to transfer the designs on different substrates. When heat is provided to the sublimation paper, the ink changes its state from solid to gas, and the pressure helps the ink to stick with the canvas permanently. You can also use a Cricut easy press machine for this purpose.

Other Supplies:

A heat resistant tape, butcher paper, heat-resisting gloves and a cutting machine are other necessary things.

Types of Canvas for Sublimation:

There are so many types of canvas available for sublimation in the market. I have used most of the canvas for sublimation and found that the canvas panel and gallery wrap are the best.

What is the Difference Between a Canvas Panel and a Gallery Wrap?

Canvas Panel/Stretched Canvas:

A stretched canvas consists of a cloth stretched over a wooden frame. Generally, this type of canvas is light-weighted because of its thinner size. The canvas is hollow inside, and you can easily hang it on the wall.

Note: Be careful to use sensitive art material on the canvas because the canvas is hollow from the inside, and the art material can ruin your canvas.

Gallery Wrapped Canvas:

Gallery-wrapped canvas has a thicker side than the regular canvas panel and is clean in the back. What I like about this type of canvas is that you can hang it on the wall without framing. The front surface is more smooth but a little bit more expensive.

Now I will share the sublimation process on both the Canvas panel and gallery wrapped with you.

How do you do Sublimation on the Canvas Panel without a Laminate Sheet?

Before starting the project, the first thing is to create a design digitally. You can use different design software like Adobe, canvas, etc. But if you are not good at designing, you can hire some good freelancers to form Fiverr.

If you are designing it by yourself, then make sure to align all the text and images you will use in the design. Don’t go all the way to the edge. The standard size for printing the design on the canvas is 7.5 inches tall and 9.5 inches wide. Flip your design horizontally and print it on sublimation paper.

Prepare the Canvas for Sublimation:

The supplies need to do this method are an 8×10 canvas panel, a sheet of heat seal laminate, sublimation print, butcher paper and a standard paper trimmer.

  1. The first step is to trim the laminate sheet so its matches the size of the canvas. You can trim it by using a pair of scissors or a paper trimmer. Cut the laminate sheet a little bit shorter to get smooth edges.
  2. Now trim the edges of the printed sublimation paper using the scissor, and don’t trim it very close; otherwise, you can leave an indent on the laminate sheet.
  3. Put the canvas panel and laminate sheet between the butcher paper and press it under a heat press machine for 15-20 seconds at 380 f. This process will adhere to the laminate sheet. This process s for the glass laminate sheet. You can also repeat the same process for matt laminate.
  4. If you have ripples on the surface of the canvas, then don’t worry; they will remove on their own you can use a squeegee if you are worried. Line up the design onto the canvas, and secure it with heat-resistant tape. Make sure to sandwich it with butcher paper.
  5. Press it under a heat press for the 60s at 400f. Now Peel off the design paper gently, and your design is ready to frame the canvas.

Sublimation on Canvas Panel by using Laminate Sheet:

Required Materials:

  1. Sublimation printer, ink and paper
  2. Heat press machine
  3. Butcher paper
  4. Heat resistant tape
  5. Lint roller
  6. Piece of polyester fabric and canvas panel

In this method, we will transfer the design onto a piece of polyester fabric and then staple it on the canvas; for that, first of all, we create the design digitally and print it on the sublimation paper.

Cut the required polyester fabric and clean it with the lint roller. Put the sheet of butcher paper onto the fabric and heat it under a heat press machine. This process will remove all the wrinkles and humidity from the material.

Take the printed design and put it down on the polyester fabric. Secure it with heat-resistant tape. Preheat the heat press machine and put the design onto it for 60 seconds. Make sure to cover it with butcher paper. Peel the sublimation paper smoothly.

Now take the piece of polyester fabric you have printed, fold it over the canvas, and check that it fits entirely onto the canvas. Next, put some hot glue (you can also use silicon) onto the polyester fabric, tighten it, and keep it in place. Once it dries, then use the same process for all sides. You can also use a staple gun for this purpose.

Pros and Cons of using a Canvas Panel:


  • Easy to buy: The canvas panels commonly use canvas artists, and you can easily find them online and in your local supermarkets.
  • Affordable: Canvas panels are made with wood and fabric, so their price is meager compared to the galley canvas.
  • Easy to use: These panels are straightforward to use, and you can get outstanding results by applying the sublimation methods I have shared with you above.
  • Surface control: You can create both smooth and rough surfaces. For example, if you will use the laminate sheet above the canvas surface, then it will give you a very smooth texture; on the other hand, if you will transfer the design on a piece of fabric and then tight it on the canvas panel, then you will get a rough and vintage surface.
  • Easy to hang: It is straightforward to hang the canvas panel onto the walls by using some nails and a piece of rope.


  • Loosening: As you know, canvas panels are made from wood, and if you secure the designs with low-quality glue, they may lose the canvas’s grip. You can avoid this situation by ensuring the design with high-quality glue and staples.

How to do sublimation on Gallery Wrap Canvas?

In the gallery wrap picture frame, the photo wraps around the edge and goes to the wall. By doing sublimation on the gallery wrap canvas, the first thing that we need to do is to build a wooden frame or structure. The things that are required in this process are a wooden frame, staple gun, canvas pliers (for stretching the canvas), scissors, glue and a piece of sandpaper.

Assembling/Preparing the Frame:

  1. The frame we will create needs to be undersized by a minimum of 3 inches in all dimensions. If you are familiar with carpentry, you can create a wooden frame from scratch, but if you don’t want to mess up with all these things, then purchase a ready-made frame.
  2. Spread some glue on all the edges of the wood and fit them right in against each other. 
  3. Now measure the frame with the ruler and ensure that all the corners are right and equal to each other. If you are not using glue, take the staple gun and put a table in each corner.
  4. Smooth the corner of the frame by using sandpaper. If you do not smooth it, then it will stick with the cloth we will wrap on it.
  5. Now cut the poly duct piece of the canvas a little bit larger than the canvas frame because we will wrap it around the edge.

Print the Design and transfer it on the Gallery Wrap Canavs

  1. Print the digital design that you want to transfer on a sublimation paper. Now pick the lint roller and remove all excess from the fabric.
  2. Prepress the fabric for the 30s at 400f; this process will remove all the moisture and stretching from the cloth.
  3. Align the design you want to transfer to the center on the canvas and secure it with thermal tape.
  4. Sandwich it with the sheets of protective paper and press it for 50-60 seconds( the time depends on the size of the article) at 390f.
  5. Now gently peel the paper off, and your design is successfully sublimated on the canvas. Leave it for a few seconds to cool down, and then we will do the actual wrap process.

How to Wrap the Gallery Wrap Canvas?

  1. Flip over the design you have sublimated on the canvas and put the frame in the center. Make sure you are not cutting any vital design.
  2. Now wrap one side of the canvas around the wooden frame and place a staple in the center.
  3. Stretch the opposite side using a canvas plier and tighten it as much as possible. Secure it with a staple.
  4. Now tighten the corners and place the staples on them. Trim all the excess fabric by using a scissor. If you don’t want to cut the extra part of the canvas, then you can secure it with the staples. Do the same process for the other sides.
  5. If you want to clean the back area of the canvas where you have added all the staples, then you can apply finishing tape to it.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Gallery Wrap Canvas:


  • Create realistic 3-d effect: The gallery wrap canvas creates a frame with fewer 3-d effects, which looks great on most images.
  • It can be hung in all types of areas: As you know, that gallery wraps are well protected by the sublimation ink coating and can be hung in semi-humid areas such as outdoors and in bathrooms.
  • Inexpensive: A gallery wrap canvas does not contain any glass frame, that’s why it is less expensive and straightforward to ship from one place to another.


  • If you want to print the exact digital design onto the canvas, then the gallery wrap is not a good option for you because it may lose some details compared to the paper prints.

How to Prepare the Cotton Canvas for Gallery Wrap?

This process is for those who want to use a cotton canvas instead of polyester. We can’t sublimate onto the cotton substrates if you are already doing the sublimation. But I will share some easy methods with you that can help you in this matter. All we are doing is adding a polyester layer onto the cotton. There are more than 7 ways to do sublimation on the cotton. Here I am going to explain the polyacrylic spray method.

The things that we need in this method are a polyacrylic spray, spray bottle, purified water, lint roller and, of course, a piece of canvas.

  1. Mix the spray with the water according to the instructions given with the spray bottle.
  2. Fill the polyacrylic spray and water in the spray bottle and shake it well. 
  3. Now lint rolls the canvas and preheats it for 12 seconds at 320f. Spray all over the area where you want to transfer the design until it’s damp.
  4. Leave it until it completely dryies and your canvas is ready to accept the sublimation design on it.

How to do Sublimation on Dark-Colored Canvas?

During the last few months, most of my blog readers raised a question: Can we do sublimation on dark-colored canvas? The simple answer is yes, we can do it using glitter htv. The cool thing about the glitter htv is that we can use it on 100% dark or light cotton fabrics.

  1. The first thing you need to do is print the design onto the glitter htv.
  2. Now cut the design using scissors, but if your design is complex, I suggest you use the Cricut automatic cutting machine.
  3. Print the actual design onto the sublimation paper. Lint rolls the canvas and prepress it under a heat press machine at 360f for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Put the HTV design onto the canvas and heat it for 320f for 10 seconds, now put the actual design that we have printed onto the HTV design and heat it at 380 for 40 seconds. Make sure to use butcher or peachmart paper during this process.

FAQs Related to the Sublimation on Canvas.

Summary / Final Words:

In this article, we have learned different methods for sublimation on cotton. By applying all the techniques and tips I have discussed, you can easily create a masterpiece for your family or friends, even if you are a beginner. People like sublimated canvases because they are more durable and cheap than any other art pieces. That’s why it is one of the growing businesses in the USA.

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