Best Ways for Sublimation on Leather – Tips and Guide

Like other sublimation techniques, sublimation on leather is a fantastic option to use. 

Leather is a great substrate for sublimation printing since leather is an organic substance and is printed in a wide range of colors without needing to make use of any dyes.

If you think of sublimation printing, your initial impression might be to think of it being used for mugs and clothing. 

But, have you thought about sublimation on leather It is not only possible to sublimate on genuine leather (both authentic and fake leather) It is also quite simple to do.

The result is great fashion earrings, leather keychain tags for luggage, wallets with sublimated leather, journals, patches, pillows, and more.

In this blog, we will explore the sublimation of leather and describe how they function.

Sublimation Printing

What is sublimation printing? Sublimation printing is a form of printing that involves ink being converted into a gas by an extremely high temperature and pressure.

Sublimation printing is a popular technique in the fashion industry, there are kinds in sublimation printing. Each method has its own distinctness that no other can duplicate.

For example, sublimation on acrylic is an extremely attractive method to make custom products such as keychains. 

Sublimation on Leather

Many people ask the question: Can You Sublimate on Leather (Genuine Leather)? The short answer is Yes; you can obtain excellent results using sublimation on leather.

Leather that is genuine (Natural Leather) is ideal to be used to make patches, keychain bags, tags for luggage, wallets, journals, and earrings.

The sublimation process on the leather can be a fantastic method to create stunning and memorable objects that you can keep for yourself, offer to friends and family, or even sell through your business of sublimation.

The most popular kind that uses sublimation printed leather is known as dye sublimation on leather

It makes use of a heat press to transfer ink from a blanket that is used to receive images on the material backing which is typically polyurethane or polyurethane.

The blanket for image reception is typically constructed from a heat-resistant, non-woven fabric that doesn’t require dyes or inks.

Contrary to other methods of sublimation which can reach up to 400 degrees F, Leather is not able to handle this high temperature.

Fabrics are able to be able to withstand temperatures of up to 400°F, however, in the case of leather, the press is adjusted to achieve temperatures as high as 300 degrees Fahrenheit

After the press is shut it warms only one surface for a couple of seconds, is then cooled before scanning all the surfaces of the object.

The blanket is removed, and any remaining ink is removed, while the substrate is allowed to cool.

Also Read,

Can You Use a Sublimation Printer for Regular Printing?

How to Use a Sublimation Printer: The Comprehensive Guide 2023

Things to be Aware of Prior to Sublimation on Leather

If you are sublimating onto genuine leather, there are some points to be aware of.

1: Select Leather that has a Silky Surface

If you are choosing the material to sublimate on, ensure that the leather has an even surface finish, instead of a pebbled surface. 

When the finish is pebbled the design might not be able to penetrate into the entire depression. If you’re not satisfied with how the design sticks it, you could also test sublimation spray.

2:  Cuts the Leather in the Desired Shape

If you’re not starting with blanks cut from the pre-cut, you’ll have to cut the leather to the desired form. 

A cutting tool like that of the Circuit Maker and Circuit Explore will do this using the deep point blade, knife blade, or a rotary blade. 

If the leather is not thin enough or too small for the cutting tools You can also cut it with scissors.

3: Make Creative Design for Sublimation on Leather

Simple and bold designs with only two or three dark colors can be more effective than intricate designs or multicolored ones. 

Be sure to print an identical mirror image of your design on your printer. Sublimation marker and sublimation acrylic paints are perfect for creating your own designs to sublimate onto the leather. 

Simple designs are the best When You Sublimate to Leather (Genuine Leather)

4:  Compatible Color Contrast

Genuine leather is easily available in a variety of colors of brown. It is usually sold in strips of leather or fragments. Opt for the lighter hues of leather, and make use of dark sublimation ink

Keep in mind that because your substrate will be brown in shade and the colors of the ink will not appear the same as when the design is produced on the printer with white.

5: The method of preparing leather for the use of a heat press

It is essential to secure the sublimation transfer sheet that has your design onto the leather item prior to transferring it into the press. 

Make sure that your design is set against the leather in the direction you would like it to be, and utilize heat tape to fix it securely. 

This is crucial in the case of a project that involves sublimation. produces small pieces which could slip when pressure is applied to your heat press.

6: Preparation for the heat press to sublimation of leather

It is recommended to always make use of a liner when you are making use of a heat press. This is particularly crucial for items that might fall off.

At the bottom, place an item that is cushioned by the object. Next, put a protective paper layer. You can choose any of these:

  • Teflon Sheet

A Teflon sheet, commonly referred to as a non-stick cover sheet, is a protective sheet that can be used repeatedly.

  • Parchment Paper

Parchment paper is a type of non-stick baking liner. Parchment paper is a thin, light-weight, non-stick, flexible paper used for baking and other types of cooking.

  • Butcher Paper

Butcher paper is a very common way of wrapping things. It is often used to wrap gifts or as a gift bag, but it can also be used as a wall covering, as a table cloth, or even as a kitchen towel.

  • Silicon Paper

Silicon paper (also called silica gel) is a porous glass microfiber sheet that is used as an adsorbent for the solid-phase extraction of compounds from a variety of matrices.

It can be used to purify and concentrate organic and inorganic compounds, as well as drugs and explosives from complex biological and environmental samples.

After choosing the paper then, set the leather piece into place with the leather side at the bottom, and the colored sublimation paper on the top.

Then, place another piece of protection paper over the mat. The paper pieces guard the mat and heat press against having ink on them in the event there’s slippage or spills through.

If you happen to spill ink on your press, the ink might be transferred onto your next project.

7: Temperature and Period for Leather Sublimation

The temperature and duration to use for the process of sublimation will vary with each project and may require testing on your component. 

An ideal starting base will be around 350degF (180degC) as well as 60 secs. You should make use of the medium to heavy pressure.

How to Create Stunning Leather Patterns

The most well-known method for printing sublimation onto the leather is using the method known as ” direct to substrate.”

For this, you’ll require an image that is in vector format. It is possible to find vector images using image searching through Google as well as Bing.

Items necessary for sublimating leather

A sublimation printer is a device that prints images by transferring ink from a ribbon onto an image-receptive material.

We have made a detailed guide on the best dye sublimation printer that will help you to select the best dye sublimation printer.

  • Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper is the name of the special kind of paper which is made of polyvinyl chloride.

  • Heat Press Machine

A heat press is a device that uses heat to press or weld items such as fabrics, leathers, plastics, and papers.

  • Design Software
  • Solid Substrata

Heat Press Guidelines

  • Take out the edges of white from the printed design to ensure that you only see the design.
  • Set it to the desired substrate, then close the press. (The ideal temp that is suitable for the sublimation of the leather is between 290 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • However, it should not be higher than 300degF. Otherwise, sublimation will occur.)
  • If you’re using a heavy pressure press, at 300 Fahrenheit the recommended time is for 45-50 minutes.
  • The press should be opened after 50 seconds, take off the paper and check your output.

Creating Software Design Instructions

If you’ve got an image, then you have to outline it with either black or blue lines. 

The color you choose will be based on the color of the print you want to create. After your design has been drawn out, complete it with the color you want to use.

Once the lines have been filled in and drawn After the lines are drawn and filled in, you can create a new layer under your design. fill it in with 50 percent gray paint which is combined with black. 

The layer will serve as an under-base to your image and will give you greater flexibility over the look that your design will achieve.

  • Then, choose your ” direct to substrate” printing option from the drop-down menu of Photoshop beneath the ” Print Settings” tab.
  • The next step is to be deciding on the ” printing plate,” which is placed below the various types of paper that are available.
  • This option will automatically set up Photoshop to print an entire strip instead of pages you could then print in an office supplies retailer.
  • This long piece of paper is the one you’ll print on leather later.
  • Once you’ve established Photoshop correctly, return to your design layer and remove any layers that might be hidden.
  • One thing I’d like to add is that when you’re done with the design, you should ensure whether Mirror is checked in Print Settings. mirror option is selected in the Print Settings.
  • After everything is completed then click Print.

Guidelines for Effective Sublimation Printing

1:  Look at Your Budget

The most important factor to think about when you are considering this printing method is the cost. The higher your budget for printing, the higher quality prints you can expect to receive.

2: Consider the Many Techniques for Sublimation Printing on leather

There are a variety of methods for printing sublimation onto leather Some have more success than others. 

The most well-known techniques are to employ dye-based ink as well as water-based HTP.

This technique makes use of the two layers of materials that are capable of absorption in different ways. 

In this method, HTP is utilized to serve as the base that will be soaked by a dye that is mixed with dye.

It is clamped on the leather before being placed in an oven, where it will be heated to 300°F. After the paper cools the color of the paper will be transferred to the leather beneath it.

3. Keep in mind how long it will take

Keep in mind the amount of time this type of printing will take prior to you starting your print project! High-temperature printing takes time.

If you order more than 100 pieces, they will not all be printed at the same time. 

It is important to consider the amount of time needed when planning your project to ensure that it is done by the time it is due!


Can You Sublimate on Faux Leather?

Yes! faux leather journal Sublimation is a great material for sublimation.

It’s the perfect material to make gorgeous key chain bags, luggage tags ornaments, patches, earrings pillows, earrings, phone wallets, book covers, and many more.

What is the difference between Genuine Leather and Faux Leather?

If a product is simply described in the form of “leather,” it may be difficult to tell if it is actually genuine leather or not. You should look for the words “Genuine Leather,” or the hide-shaped symbol.

Faux Leather won’t have these symbols and will be referred to as synthetic leather, synthetic leather, PU Leather, Leatherette, Vegan Leather, Pleather, and plastic-based polyurethane imitation leather.

Can You do Sublimation on Leather Shoes?

Yes, a machine designed for leather shoes. The machine is more powerful than commercial garment printers, and the material is specially designed to be durable under the intense heat of the machine.

It can transfer the ink deep into the leather. It is mainly used for sports shoes, especially basketball shoes.

Can You Sublimate on Leather wallet?

Yes, sublimation of leather is possible when you adhere to the correct guidelines specific to the material you’re working with.

Can You do Sublimation on Leather Keychain?

Yes, you can do sublimation on a leather keychain.  But you will have to take extra precautions and follow the given conditions.

Firstly, you should fix the design on wood to avoid any ink seepage.

Secondly, do not use any metallic or hard material tool to fix the design; even soft material like wood is fine.

Thirdly, you should not remove the wood until the print gets completely dry. Do not use any heat guns; air dry is fine.

Fourthly, do not have any direct contact of the design surface with the ink. Fifthly, you can do sublimation on the leather keychain if all the above conditions are met.

Can You Sublimate on PU Leather?

PU Leather is an excellent material for sublimation. First, it comes in white and allows you to utilize a broad variety of colors in your sublimation designs. 

There are also a variety of blanks cut in advance that are available for sale which means you don’t have to go through the process of making your own templates. 

The third reason is that it is made of polyurethane, a kind of plastic. This implies that the sublimation ink will stick to it very well. 

It is possible to use extremely intricate, vivid images and designs to create the most gorgeous faux leather products.

Are you able to sublimate leather with low pressure?

Since it demands high pressure, it is not possible to make use of a heat press with low pressure.

What is Faux Leather?

Sublimation, Faux Leather, PU Leather, Leatherette, Vegan Leather, and Pleather are the terms utilized interchangeably to refer to synthetic leather.

Simply put, Faux Leather is imitation leather with a cloth backing and is made up of PVC ( polyvinyl chloride). 

It could also include only a small amount of natural leather. PU Leather, on the contrary, is 100 100% synthetic leather that is composed of polyurethane. 

These differences are significant in the selection of the upholstery materials.

Sublimation is a sublimation process however sublimation blanks are nearly all made of PU Leather. 

Although a blank might be called vegan leather, leather, leather, or any other term that is mentioned above, if one looks over the fine print, you’ll likely discover that the material used in the blank is polyurethane or PU Leather.

Final Words

Sublimation is a process where one substance is placed above another. In this case, leather is placed over heat and then melted into a liquid form, which is then sublimed off of the leather and onto a cold surface.

Printing with sublimation on leather is an excellent alternative for those seeking an original and luxurious way to print their design on the leather. 

It’s not a difficult process however, there are a few tips to make sure that your designs look great. 

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