How to Avoid Watermarks When Sublimating Metal

If you're just starting out sublimating metal, you may notice a "scummy" finish.

Usually when you see a “scummy” finish or watermarks on the metal, it is from applying too much pressure. With metal you need just enough pressure to make contact. There is no perfect way to measure pressure – we primarily go by how the pressure feels rather than a gauge because the gauge can vary too much – so below are some general guidelines to help your understanding.

  • Very light: just the weight of the press – no resistance.
  • Light: close the press with one hand with some resistance.
  • Medium: use both hands to close it with some resistance.
  • Heavy: put your weight onto the press to get it to close.

It also helps to place the metal face down on top of the transfer.

-Lisa Ellston, JDS Industries

Lisa Ellston

Lisa Ellston is a Sublimation Specialist at JDS Industries in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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