How to sublimate stainless steel

How to Sublimate Stainless Steel Tumblers | Everything You Need to Know

Do you own a stainless steel tumbler? If so, you may be wondering how to sublimate on them. Sublimation is the process of changing a solid into a gas without going through a liquid phase, and it can be used to create custom designs on stainless steel tumblers. This article will show you how to sublimate stainless steel tumblers using a heat press. Keep reading for learning the process.

How to Sublimate Stainless Steel Tumblers: Step-by-Step Process

Required Material

  • A stainless steel tumbler
  • A heat press
  • Sublimation paper
  • Sublimation ink
  • Teflon sheet
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
how to sublimate stainless steel

Step.1 Design and Image

The first step is to create or find an image you want to use for your design. The raster image must be in reverse when printed with the design on sublimation paper. Once you have the image, you can begin to create your sublimation on steel’s design.

Step.2 Resize the Image

You will need to resize the image to fit the stainless steel tumbler. To do this, you can use a ruler to measure the height and width of the tumbler. For example, you can enter the measurements into a photo editing software program to resize the photographic image once you have the measurements. Be sure to retain the image’s original aspect ratio so that it does not become distorted.

Step.3 Cutting the Design

Next, you will need to cut out your design using scissors. Finally, be sure to cut along the lines of the image and leave a small margin so that the image is slightly larger than the stainless steel tumbler.

If you’re in the market and unsure of which printer is best for you, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Simply read this article on the best sublimation printer for beginner to make your selection.

Step.4 Applying the Design

After cutting out your design, you will need to apply it to the tumbler. To do this, you will need to use a Heat Press follow these steps:

  1. Preheat the heat press to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the Teflon sheet on top of the heat press for sublimation transfer.
  3. Place the tumbler on top of the Teflon sheet and position it so that the area you want to sublimate is in the center of the heat tape.
  4. Place your design on top of the tumbler and close the heat press.

Step.5 Sublimating the Design

Once the heat press is closed, you will need to wait for the timer to reach the desired time. The time will vary depending on the size of your tumbler and the design. Open the heat press and remove the tumbler once the timer goes off. Allow it to cool before handling. Your design should now be transferred onto the stainless steel tumbler.

Additional Tips

how to sublimate stainless steel
  1. Be sure to use sublimation print paper and infusible ink made explicitly for sublimating on stainless steel tumblers.
  2. If the design is not transferring correctly, you may need to adjust the heat gun press settings. Try increasing the temperature or time.
  3. Always allow the tumbler to cool before handling to avoid burns.
  4. Do not use any type of abrasive cleaner or scrubber to clean the design, as this may damage it. Instead, use a soft cloth and mild soap and water.

Drawbacks of Sublimating Steel Tumblers

One drawback of sublimating on stainless steel tumblers is that the design may not be as durable as it would be if it were printed directly onto the tumbler. However, the design may fade or become scratched over time with regular use.

Another drawback of the steel sublimation process can be time-consuming, especially if you are new.

Finally, it is important to note that you will need to use a heat press in order to sublimate onto a stainless steel tumbler. If you do not have access to a heat press, you may not be able to complete this project.

How to Wash Sublimated Stainless Steel Tumblers?

  1. When washing your stainless steel tumbler, be sure to use mild soap and water.
  2. Avoid using any type of abrasive cleaner or scrubber, as this may damage the design. Instead, use a soft cloth to wipe down the tumbler.
  3. Allow the tumbler to air dry completely before storing.
  4. You should also avoid putting your tumbler in the dishwasher, which may also damage the design.


Can I use any type of paper to sublimate on a stainless steel tumbler?

You will need to use a sublimation sheet made explicitly for sublimating stainless steel tumblers.

What type of ink should I use?

You will need to use sublimation ink specifically made for sublimating on stainless steel tumblers.

Why does my sublimation look faded on tumbler?

One possible reason your sublimation may look faded is that you are not using the correct type of paper and ink. Be sure to use sublimation printing paper and ink made specifically for sublimating on stainless steel tumblers.

Another possible reason is that you did not correctly resize your larger image. Be sure to retain the image’s original aspect ratio when you resize it.


In conclusion, sublimating on stainless steel tumblers is a great way to personalize your drinkware. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider when deciding if this is the right printing method for you, but with a little bit of knowledge and preparation, you can create beautiful prints that will last. We hope these tips have been helpful and that you’ll give DIY sublimation on steel skinny tumblers a try.

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