Sublimating Cool Images onto Wood

Hey guys. I sublimated onto wood a month or so ago, and figured I should post my results.

For both tests I’m using birch plywood. All images used the “fine” cut print option shown in the print settings section where you choose print quality. All prints used 400 F as the default setting.

This girl holds a special place in my heart the first time I saw her image online. Just kidding, but I thought she looked badass & I wanted to see how I could make her pop. I used a PNG file I found online. The left side shows the heat pressed onto the wood for 115 seconds. The right shows it pressed for 100 seconds. I like the left press more because I see more of the character.

This image reminds of something I’d see in Mad Max, which made me feel kinda funky. So, I tested out different image formats. Girl on the left uses a PNG file and the same girl on the right uses a JPG file. Because they were the pretty much the same, I put some Rustoleum gloss clear coat on the right girl. The right girl got slightly darker, but not much. Both images used a 100 second heat press.

I think sublimating onto wood can be used to create some incredible artwork. I’m not sure how to get some good finishes from this, or even if I’m using the best wood, but it’s my first attempt.

Oh, and I recommend everyone take the sublimation class. @stepho rocks!


And to clarify, did you use a wood specific sublimation coating prior to pressing? Or is this straight onto plywood?

For general reference, the wood coating I opt to use when I do any prep work for wood is PolyNatural by Dyepress

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Ah, I did not know about, or think of using a wood coating prior to pressing. So, yes, this is straight birch plywood. I’ll take a look at the polynatural by dyepress. I saw one of the examples on the website and I think it’s worth a shot. It makes the wood grain pop in ways I hadn’t considered before.

I’ll report back with some results after I’ve sufficiently tested it. Finishing is one of my weakest areas.

This is one of my samples to demonstrate the differences between no coating (left) and a layer of sublimation coating (right) done prior to pressing.

And then an example on some darker veneer, with the coated section being on the upper half, as indicated. It was interesting on this different species how almost none of the aqua color transferred without the coating