Sublimation printing on keyboard keycaps

Anybody tried this before? I want to make a DIY macropad like the one in this video, and he links to another video showing the process in more detail using a hair straightener.

That instructional video seems really solid. They cover how using the small pieces of silicone pad material helps create a solid press onto the slightly concave key shape. The keys being made from plastic is probably perfectly suited to using sublimation. The small scale of the hair straightener seems ideal to give good control for such a small item.

They mention having a hair straightener with a temperature control, and I agree this is needed. Then you will need to play around with time, temperature and pressure to get the results you want.

Nice! I might have to buy a hair straightener :laughing:

It also makes me wonder if this process would work on dice for D&D

I should add - our sublimation printer should be capable of printing whatever designs you come up with. Remember to use your sublimation paper from your intro session, and print the reverse image. We have some heat proof tape at the shop, but it’s skinnier, so you might want to get slightly thicker stuff.

As they point out at the end of the video, the colors often look slightly different after pressing than they do on the paper.

Depending on how many of these you are making, I can imagine that it would be possible to make a jig or holder for our heat press so you could do more than one key at a time. Probably using a similar set of silicone pads next to the heating side to keep a solid contact throughout pressing

Now I am also curious about how it might work on dice!

As always, whatever you learn, please report back.

Will do. This also makes me wish our printer printed white, for darker color keycaps/dice

You can sublimate to acrylic but you have to be careful because acrylic’s melting temperature is pretty much where you need to be at to sublimate. I’d be very concerned about smooshing any acrylic dice and throwing off their balance. As for resin dice, I’d never put resin in something that got that hot.

I suspect some sort of sublimation/direct to garment adjacent process was used to make these game pieces from Dinosaur World. They’ve used a white backing layer first to make the colors pop through though, otherwise they’d have an amber “white”