Best Sublimation Results: Temperature and dwell times

Follow these temperature and dwell time pointers for best sublimation results.

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A temperature of 400 F is recommended for all products. Use moderate to heavy pressure-it should require some effort to close your heat press. Time and temperature may vary depending on your heat press and the thickness of the blank material. Dwell times can be increased or reduced in 5-10 second increments until you find the time that results in the clearest image. The times shown below will provide a general starting point. Please refer to the documentation from your ink supplier for more information on temperature and dwell time.

  • FR Plastic (name badges, bag tags, etc.): 60-70 seconds
  • FR Plastic for outdoor use (license plates): 80-90 seconds*
  • Hardboard (clipboards, coasters, etc.): 60-70 seconds
  • MDF (plaques, paperweights, etc.): 80-90 seconds
  • Phenolic: 45-55 seconds
  • Aluminum (sheet stock and jewelry): 45-55 seconds
  • Aluminum (bookmarks, face down): 60-70 seconds
  • Car Flags: 25-35 seconds

Large parts will require a longer dwell time to produce optimal color. For any pieces that are larger than 9″ X 12″, we recommend increasing the dwell time by 15 seconds over the recommended setting for that substrate. If necessary, increase the dwell time in 10 second increments until you achieve optimum color

*Laboratory research has shown that using a longer dwell time can extend outdoor life. While these sublimatable products feature UV absorbers to extend outdoor life, they are not intended for permanent outdoor use. Fading will occur over time depending on the brand of sublimation ink used and outdoor environment. Contact your sublimation ink manufacturer for data on expected outdoor life. 

Shira Allego

Shira Allego has worked for Unisub for nine years, serving as a sublimation specialist for four years. In her role, Allego sublimates and sends out samples to trade shows, customers, and potential clients. As an industry expert, she attends trade shows and answers customers' technical sublimation questions.

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