I get a lot of questions about sublimation on acrylic. So thought I would put a post together of the information I have received from various customers, and videos in which they have found helpful.
Type of sublimation paper to use on Acrylic?
Dye Sublimation paper, otherwise it just won’t work. Normal sub paper either does not transfer, or makes it really faint.
Type of Acrylic used for Sublimation?
It must be cast acrylic, extruded acrylic will not work. It has also been said that white acrylic gives the best results, and that the darker the colour, the worse the result. This as you are dying the acrylic, and red ink for example will not show up on black. I have seen some customers which have used clear cast acrylic for sublimating, but it generally requires a vinyl backer to make it visible as it shows quite opaque.
Press times and heat for 3mm Cast Acrylic?
Using a non-stick Teflon paper either side, with the acrylic inside a bit of craft paper so you can take it out easily, as it will be hot! I have read that a medium pressure at 180c for 180 seconds works well for 3mm acrylic, but I have had customers say it does not work. Although I have seen great results with customers using 200c with a medium pressure for 80 seconds, print side up. The reports I have had back from people vary, so it is best to tinker with settings yourself.
Removing from the press
Acrylic is a form of Poly, and can be bent with heat, so after removing from the press it needs to be kept under a weight to stop it distorting. I have seen some customers who have spare heat press plate and put them in there until cool, whilst overs pile them under weights, books etc.
Removing the dye sublimation paper
The paper will stick to the acrylic, so letting it soak in soapy water, or using a magic rubber was also recommended.
A helpful video
Some customs have followed videos by Zindee and had good results.
Although none of the above is my recommendation or advice, I hope it may be helpful in giving you the confidence to try, but best is to get experience from people who have done it before, so feel free to ask for advice from some of my customers on my Facebook Group.