View Full Version : Sublimation printing onto acrylic.

sunil jain
05-24-2007, 12:53 AM
Sorry guys, something wrong i have done to attach the image. I am posting the thread again.

I have been trying to add colors onto acrylic awards/mementoes but couldn't got. I have used acrylic fabric paint, crayon color and many other things to color fill on acrylic. The paint or crayon do not adheres on the engravings and is removed out on rubbing. Kindly find the attached file of my work.

Can any one help me to add colors on acrylic. Is it possible to print on acrylic by sublimation. I have not tried screen printing on acrylic yet.

Gary Hair
05-24-2007, 1:59 AM
The only way to get color onto acrylic, by sublimation, is by using laser transfers. I don't particularly like this technology because it is, in my opinion, virtually the same as screen printing in that it goes ON the substrate instead of IN like ink-jet dye sublimation. Granted, it is better than screen printing in many ways, but it still goes ON the substrate. The one positive that I feel is pretty important though is that you don't have to have anything specially coated for laser transfer, unlike ink-jet dye sub.

If you want another option for color you could always raster out paint mask and use an airbrush. That's pretty difficult to get much more than a few colors but it is possible.


sunil jain
05-24-2007, 5:24 AM
Dear Gary

Thanks for your reply.

I am very new in laser business. Kindly let me know in details how color fill is posibble with laser transfer. I have came to know from various site that some material requires polymer coating prior to sublimation. Is the coating process needed for acrylic also. If so what polymer coating has to be applied.

You have opted screen printing instead of sublimation. I think screen printing is lengthy time consuming job than sublimation.


Mike Null
05-24-2007, 8:05 AM
The color laser transfer process will work. It is not a sublimation process. It is a heat transfer process. It is an application to the unengraved surface.

Dye sublimation requires dye sub inks and transfer paper. The transfer is printed and applied to a polymner or polymer coated substrate and heat is applied at about 400 degrees F. During the process the ink changes to a gas and migrates to the substrate becoming a permanent part of it.

You can do a color fill by spraying, brushing or spreading the paint onto the engraved surface.

sunil jain
05-27-2007, 9:30 AM
Thanks Mike for your post.

I could'nt reply for your post because i am out of station this week. I will be back by 30th and then try for heat transfer process.

Larry Bratton
05-27-2007, 4:02 PM
and you don't have to spend a large sum of money to do it. For $1000 you can be doing CLTT. Don't think thats true with sublimation. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Depends on what your in to.

Mike Null
05-27-2007, 10:22 PM
I've been using CLTT for more than 7 years and dye sub for about 2. CLTT is far more reliable and less expensive as well as more versatile.

I am almost ready to scrap my $1200 sublimation system.

jack Halley
05-28-2007, 10:01 AM
I've been using CLTT for more than 7 years and dye sub for about 2. CLTT is far more reliable and less expensive as well as more versatile.

I am almost ready to scrap my $1200 sublimation system.

Mike and all,
Can you give us info on where to find out more about CLTT?
Where to find the equipment, instructions, materials?

Thanks and love this forum
great group of people.

jack halley

Mike Null
05-28-2007, 11:11 AM
My system is a Panasonic now about 7 years old. It has been flawless when operator error doesn't get in the way.

Today's hot brands are Okidata and Konica-Minolta. With a little searching you can find some models of these printers for around $300. Do your homework as there are some subtle differences in all.

The manufacturer's warranty does not support transfer paper so be aware of that. Commercial transfer paper is available from several places including Magictouch and Versatrans. I have a friend who uses Airwaves paper. (I've been using Magictouch since I started and found no reason to change)

The newer toners are apparently more adhesive than what I have with Panasonic as some of them claim to be able to transfer to mugs. I have not been able to do that with success.

I make good t-shirts, awards and name tags with my equipment.

Larry Bratton
05-28-2007, 2:15 PM
Their is a whole section on nothing but CLTT at
You can go there and read for free but their is a Premium Member fee of $20 a year if in order to view the other areas and attachments.

Dave Jones
05-28-2007, 2:35 PM
Here's a source for the VersaTrans paper. There is a link near the top of the page for heat press instructions on using it with different materials.


Typically you use one of a specific set of laser printers, a heat press, maybe a sheet of special silicone padding, and in some cases a convection oven to post bake the products to make them last longer.

jack Halley
05-28-2007, 3:34 PM
Thanks everybody for the added information.
It gave me enough to know what it is and direction to pursue it.

Jack Halley

Larry Bratton
05-28-2007, 6:35 PM
I haven't done much as I am just getting into it, but I did a transfer to a common old glazed coffee mug and it looked great. I have not a clue as to how well it would stand the rigors of a dishwasher over time though. I used Versatrans from Cactus Coatings. I would advise anybody planning on doing mugs in quantity to buy the wraps instead of a mug press. With those, you can put a bunch of them in your kitchen oven rather than doing one at a time in a press.

Aaron Koehl
05-29-2007, 12:33 PM
Has anyone ever tried that new plastic-bonding spray paint with acrylic?

James Stokes
05-29-2007, 2:40 PM
Are you talking about the Fusion paint? I have tried to color fill with it and the acrylic crazed badly. I only use acrylic latex paint,

Mike Null
05-29-2007, 2:41 PM
I have and it works but the color selection is short. I needed aluminum, for example, and they don't make it.

sunil jain
06-03-2007, 2:15 AM
Hello to everyone in this forum.


Can you show me any of your work of cltt on acrylic substrate. also let me know which color laser printer supports best.


Mike Null
06-03-2007, 9:03 AM

I would ratehr somebody else recommend a printer as mine is a Panasonic about 6 years old and out of production. The brands I'd consider are Konica Minolta and Okidata.

I do very little transferring to acrylic but here is a name tag I just did along with a t-shirt and some brass plates.

Larry Bratton
06-03-2007, 12:08 PM
I have a Konica Minolta 5450 and an Okidata 3400n. I had some problems with the Okidata which were posted here. The KM is a superior printer to the OKI for all purposes. You will great output from it for general use and CLTT transfer. I use Versatrans paper from Cactus. http://cactus-equipment.com/

Martin Boekers
06-04-2007, 12:02 AM
Greetings, You might want to try a water slide decal. It's the same type of material that we used in our younger days for models. Todays version can be printed in an ink-jet or a laser copier. I've had better luck with the laser copier. I've found two versions one is transparent and the other on an opaque white background. It takes a bit of playing with initially on larger areas to smooth it out as it is very fragile. I love the material though and use it on ceramic, glass, candles etc. you will have to give it an overcoat (sealer) if you need it to stand up to abuse, but other than that it's pretty cool and versatile. You can find it at most hobby stores or do a search on the internet. A lot of companies handle it. One more thing a company Brooke Cutters has a system that through a coating and a UV process it will seal it to acrylic or crystal. (they use a water-slide decal in their process) Their web site is www.brookecutters.com they don't have much on that page about it but it will give you some contact info. They also provide custom jigsaw puzzles cut from your images fairly reasonable for one ups. Check them out.


sunil jain
06-04-2007, 11:24 PM
Thank your Mike to show your work. It's great looking.

Thanks every one in this forum for their great ideas and suggestions on CLTT.

I am going for CLTT and expand my product range.