What Can You Sublimate On? Sublimation Material List

Whether you are starting off sublimation a new or have been in the game for a while, you definitely wonder what can you sublimate on at least once in a while. Though you can sublimate on anything that has a polymer coating or you can coat your materials with a thin polymer and enjoy sublimation. 

What Can You Sublimte On

However, the things and/or materials people sublimate are still very vast and somehow unbelievable as well. Likewise, there is a huge limitation to the materials you may sublimate. So let us introduce you to the broad sublimation material list to introduce you to the many ways you can make use of your sublimation printer and heat press creatively. 

What Can You Sublimate On?

The best material for sublimation includes the following;

  • Acrylic
  • Badges
  • Bags
  • Bands
  • Bedsheets
  • Bracelets
  • Canvas
  • Cards
  • Ceramic mugs
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Cups
  • Cushions
  • Cutting board
  • Flags
  • Flip flops
  • Hats
  • Keychains
  • Linen apparel
  • Lockets
  • Mousepads
  • Mugs
  • Nylon
  • Phone cases
  • Picture frames
  • Pillowcases
  • Purses
  • Puzzles
  • Socks
  • T-shirt
  • Tumblers
  • Vinyl
  • Wallets
  • Wood

Well, the list is huge but still is not comprehensive enough. Though, it is to give you a rough idea about what material can you sublimate on and the relevant things you may try with possible success.

How to know if the material is compatible with sublimation?

The process of sublimation requires the infusion of ink into the material via the gaseous form. That said, the material needs to have open pores so it can absorb the ink within. According to the definition, polyester is the material we find with open pores and hence it is a good conductor of sublimation. In contrast, cotton because of the tightened and closed pores cannot be subbed.

Based on the explanation and example, you have to look for materials that are flexible and possess the ability to accept sublimation ink. Once the material is compatible with sublimation ink, you may likely sublimate it with 100% good results.

What materials can I sublimate on?

Polyester fabrics:

Polyester fabrics

Polyester fabrics are a go-to option for sublimation. They are the easiest and hardly fail (of course you’d have messed up with the sublimation process if it fails, certainly).

However, the quality depends on the ratio of polyester your fabric has. For example, if it’s 100% polyester, the colors and quality will be 100%. A slightly compromised color if it’s composite with 75% polyester. A faded color with 25% polyester and no results with 0% polyester.

Polymer coated materials:

Anything can be sublimated if it has a polymer coating. Wood, tumblers, phone cases, metals, steels, etc. though, you may also coat the material manually with polymer and start doing sublimation.

Polymer coated materials



Acrylic is a thermal substance that can be used with a heat press and gave a very vibrant and solid transferred design. There are acrylic blanks, keychains, photo frames, etc that people use for business purposes as well as home decor. However, you need to be careful with the temperatures when sublimating acrylic.



Ceramic is another great conductor that accepts sublimation ink pretty nicely. They infused the ink and lock it, providing greater washability as well. You may sublimate kitchen cutlery and mugs made of ceramics with the use of a suitable heat press.

Faux leather:

Faux leather

Leathers, due to their open pores and flexibility, makes one of the best material you may try sublimation on. Purses, bags, and wallets can be sublimated.

Vinyl and nylon:

Vinyl and nylon also make great materials for sublimation. Most often you’ll see cotton or dark apparel being sublimated using glitters (and yes, glitter vinyl is better than plain ones). Similarly, nylon because of its flexibility accepts the ink very well. 

Dollar Tree sublimation items:

Other than these, dollar tree sublimation items are a very popular choice for many beginners and expert sublimators alike. They have materials i.e cups, mugs, and other polymer items with great compatibility with sublimation ink. However, not all of them work well so keep your receipts and make sure, you have double-checked the product before sublimating it.


Technically no. but there are a few hacks (like using white glitter vinyl) with which you may have satisfactory results for cotton sublimation.

Sublimation ink only works with materials that have open pores, as we explained in the articles. If you use the ink with less molecular substance, it will have smudges and definitely will never stay permanent.

Only those mugs that are made of ceramic can be sublimated, other than them, the mugs/cups need to have a polymer coasting to have them hold the sublimation ink without smudges.

What can I Sublimate on and What Material is Best for Sublimation? Wrap Up:

As we conclude “what can you sublimate on” the answer can be anything you see around that is blank, made of polyester, or has a polymer coating. Although, the best material for sublimation is still polyester fabrics, ceramics, acrylic, and vinyl but since that’s not the end of the world so you shouldn’t stop trying new materials for sublimation.

With the pace at which the industry is growing, every other person is exploring new things to sublimate, so have your luck tried and let us know in the comments new sublimation materials we might have missed in this article. We’d love to hear from you!


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