Can You Print Stickers with Sublimation Ink | Explained

Sublimation printing technology has been around for quite some time now, and it has been widely used in the textile and crafting industry. However, as the demand for personalized stickers increased, many people started asking if it was possible to print stickers with sublimation ink. 

Tips To Print Stickers with Sublimation Ink

Before we dive deeper into the process of sublimation printing for stickers, let us first understand how this technology operates. Sublimation is a process where a solid material passes directly into a gas form without going through the liquid stage. If you’ve ever seen a block of dry ice, you know that it sublimates. When this principle is applied to ink, it transforms the solid dye into a gas form and infuses it onto a substrate or transfer paper.

Sublimation ink has been proven to work exceptionally well on polyester fabrics and other coated materials such as ceramic, metal, and plastic, as long as the material can withstand high temperatures. However, printing stickers with sublimation ink is possible, but only under certain conditions.

To use sublimation ink for printing stickers, you will need a specially coated vinyl material that can withstand the high temperatures used during the transfer process. Keep in mind that the typical sticker papers that are readily accessible in stores often contain a layer of silicone or other non-porous materials that will not absorb the ink.

Another thing to consider is the printer you plan on using. For sublimation printing, you will need a printer that can handle the sublimation ink cartridges or a converted printer that has been modified to accept these cartridges. The reason for this is that sublimation ink cartridges have smaller nozzles and are more prone to clogging than regular inkjet printers.

Sublimation ink also requires high heat and pressure during the transfer process to create a successful bond between the ink and the substrate. This means that you will need a heat press that can accommodate the sticker size you want to print.


When done right, sublimation printing for stickers can be a fantastic way to produce customized designs with long-lasting, vibrant colors. However, since the process requires specialized materials, equipment, and techniques, it may not be as feasible or accessible as other printing methods.

Therefore, before making the leap into sublimation printing, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of this method and determine if it is the best option for your specific needs. Now that you know the ins and outs of printing stickers with sublimation ink, we hope you can make a well-informed decision that best suits your printing needs.


Here are some FAQs related to can you Print Stickers with Sublimation Ink.

Q: Can you sublimate on clear sticker paper?

A: To secure the sublimation transfer face down on the clear vinyl, use heat-resistant tape. Preheat your heat press to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For this application, we are using the StarCraft 15 x 15-inch mint clamshell heat press. Place the vinyl/sublimation transfer between parchment paper and press for 25 seconds.

Q: Is sublimation ink waterproof?

A: The finished design is highly resistant to water. However, it’s important to note that the ink used in the sublimation process is water-soluble prior to undergoing the said process.

Q: How permanent is sublimation?

A: When exposed to heat, the inks utilized undergo a process of gaseous transformation before commonly bonding with the fabric, resulting in a permanent print. Subsequently, the ink gets embedded in the substrate or fabric, leading to more permanent results that are less susceptible to fading in comparison to traditional print techniques.

Q: Does sublimation fade in sunlight?

A: When exposed to sunlight, sublimated products tend to fade over time, even though one of the benefits of sublimation is its versatility and longevity.

Q: Which is better sublimation or UV printing?

A: UV digital printers offer superior efficiency and speed compared to sublimation printers, due to their single-step process and in-built UV light that instantly dries the ink on the material. This removes the need for additional heat and improves overall productivity.

Q: What type of image is best for sublimation printing?

A: When designing a file for sublimation printing, it’s important to choose the right software and consider the format and size of the image. PNG or TIFF formats are typically the best options for sublimation because they preserve the image’s sharpness and clarity throughout the printing process.

Q: Are sublimation stickers waterproof?

A: The stickers were put to the test by removing one and submerging it in the water while rubbing it. The ink remained permanent, waterproof, and did not smudge, which is a significant advantage of using your sublimation printer to make stickers.

This multi-functional material is perfect whether you desire waterproof stickers or seek to create stickers right at home using a sublimation printer. What’s more, it integrates seamlessly with your Cricut machine making it incredibly easy to use. I especially adore incorporating crafts that involve both Cricut and sublimation techniques into one project.

Q: Can you print in color on clear sticker paper?

A: Custom clear labels are the optimal choice to complete your packaging needs. These labels are composed of clear-cast PVC, enabling full-color print support.

Q: Do stickers need to be CMYK?

A: Converting from one color standard to another can cause a shift in color. It is recommended to begin your sticker art in CMYK format to avoid this.

Q: What format is best for sticker printing?

A: To achieve optimal printing results, vector artwork is the recommended format. Non-vector images should be saved with a resolution of 300 pixels per inch. The preferred file formats for compatibility are Illustrator, photoshop, and Indesign.

Q: What DPI should I use for stickers?

A: For optimal quality of printing, we suggest utilizing a range of 350ppi to 600ppi.

Q: What is the pixel size of a sticker?

A: Stickers are required to have dimensions of 512×512 pixels, with a 16-pixel margin between the image and the canvas edge. Additionally, each sticker file should not exceed 100KB in size.

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