Can You Sublimate on Silicone (Yes, Here’s How)

While sublimation is commonly done on fabrics, ceramics, and metals, a question that often arises among creatives is – can you sublimate on silicone?

Silicone is a versatile and heat-resistant material that has gained a lot of popularity in the manufacturing space, ranging from kitchen utensils and medical devices to phone cases and wearable accessories.

Yes, it’s possible to sublimate on silicone. However, you need the correct temperature, sublimation ink, a suitable design, and more.

Join us as we look at all you need to know about this process:

Can You Sublimate on Silicone?

The answer to whether you can sublimate on silicone is yes. But, it’s not that simple and there are a few things you must consider. 

Can You Sublimate on Silicone

The first thing you should consider is the properties of silicone – It’s a durable and flexible product that exists in various colors. 

Also Read: Can You Sublimate on Plastic?

However, since it’s a synthetic rubber, it won’t absorb dyes as efficiently as other materials you might have used. 

Thus, this is the main reason why silicone sublimation is difficult. 

You will have to use lower temperatures and increased pressing times compared to traditional materials. You must also clean your silicon surfaces thoroughly to avoid compromising the results. 

Now, on to the specific products that you can sublimate on. 

These include wristbands, phone cases, watch bands, and other similar resources. Remember that getting the best results may take practice and the correct methods. 

Broadly speaking, your answer is a straight “YES!!” if you ask the following questions:

  • Can You Sublimate On Silicone Watch Bands?
  • Can You Sublimate On a Silicone Phone Case?
  • Can You Sublimate On Silicone Bracelets?
  • Can You Sublimate On Silicone Cups?
  • Can You Sublimate On Silicone Apple Watch Bands?

How to Sublimate on Silicone

Now that you know the basics of sublimating on silicone, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide on how to do it on silicone phone cases, apple watch bands, and wristbands.

How to Sublimate on Silicone

Also Read: Can You Sublimate on Modal Fabric?

Step #1. Prepare Your Silicone Blank

  • The first step is to ensure you have a clean silicone product free from issues like debris and any oils. 

Doing this ensures your design has a vibrant appearance and also offers longevity. 

  • One of the BEST ways to clean a silicone blank is to use warm water and mild detergent. 

Ensure you use it to scrub the product surface and keep track of any crevices or grooves in the design. 

For the best results, rinse the product thoroughly and clean it using a lint-free cloth.

  • The other method of cleaning silicone involves using some rubbing alcohol. You just dampen a cotton swab or lint-free cloth using some rubbing alcohol. 
  • Next, clean the surface of the product, this is an effective method when removing any dirt on the silicone surface.
  • Before sublimating, evaluate the silicone blanks for damage like cracks or holes.
  • You must also test a small section of the silicone product before you perform the sublimation process. Doing this gives you insight into the results you should expect from the colors.

Step #2. Transfer Your Design Onto Silicone

Once you clean your silicone products and print the sublimation design, proceed to transfer your design. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Set the printed section of your sublimation paper with the design facing down on the silicone product surface. Use a heat press to set the paper and silicone together.
  1. Remember to set the temperature correctly, which is about 400°F, which should take about one minute. Remember that this process may vary based on factors like the density and silicone product type you are using.
  1. Press the silicone product carefully on your printed image, and remember to use the heat press for this process. You must also leverage even pressure on the product’s surface for the best results.
  1. Once it’s complete, remove the silicone from your heat press, and set it aside to cool. Remember this step is crucial because the design won’t set on the surface as required if you remove the product when it’s warm.
  1. The final step is to remove the sublimation paper gently, and you should be done.

Also Read: Can You Sublimate on Cardstock?

How to Use Silicone Bands for Sublimation

Using silicone bands for sublimation is a common technique. Many people like using it to produce customized designs on their silicone accessories. 

Here are the steps you might expect in using them for your sublimation projects:

  1. Get all your resources together. These include sublimation paper, ink, heat-resistant tape, silicone bands, and gloves.
  2. Prepare the design. Ensure you have the design or stencil ready for printing.
  3. Print the design. Set up the sublimation printer with the correct cartridges, then insert the paper. Print the design on the sublimation paper, and we recommend the mirror image setting.
  4. Prepare the silicone bands. Before you set the design, clean the silicone bands to remove any dirt or dust. 
  5. Position the design. Cut the printed design out, and ensure it is similar to the shape or size of your silicone band. Ensure you also set the design face down on the silicone band. Remember also to position it exactly where the image should come up.
  6. Secure it using heat-resistant tape. Get some heat-resistant tape and use it to secure the sublimation paper to the band. 
  7. Prepare the heat press. Let it preheat for a few minutes until it reaches the  375°F (190°C) mark.
  8. Transfer the design. Set the silicone band and the integrated paper onto the lower section of your heat press. Ensure the design sits downwards, facing the band. Close the heat press, and let it sit for up to one minute.
  9. Remove the silicone band or sublimation wristbands blanks. Once you complete the transfer, open the heat press machine and remove the silicone bands. Be careful because these items have been under intense heat. Use gloves here.
  10. Remove the sublimation paper. Once the transfer is complete, open the heat press carefully, and detach the silicone band. Remember to be cautious.
  11. Peel the sublimation paper. Once you remove the silicone band, wait for a few seconds so that it cools. Then, peel off the paper from the band, and let it involve a single smooth motion.
  12. Let the band cool. Set the silicone band aside, and let it cool down for a few minutes. Doing this helps ensure the design transfer results.
  13. Repeat this process. If you have additional silicone bands that require sublimation, repeat the above steps as required!
  14. Voila, your projects should be complete.

Recommended Products for Sublimating on Silicone

We tried to identify some top products on Amazon you might need for this process (let us know if there is a better or more!):

  1. Subli-Shine Silicone Paper Sublimation Finish
  2. Hiipoo Sublimation Ink Refilled Bottles Work
  3. Silicone Bands for Sublimation Tumbler


Can You Sublimate on Rubber?

No, it’s not possible to sublimate directly on rubber. The reason is that sublimation requires specialized materials that can withstand a heat press. Using rubber for sublimation can be difficult.

Can You Use Silicone Bands in a Heat Press?

Yes, it’s possible to use silicone bands in a heat press. You can also use silicone bands to keep designs tightly around the edges of the top and bottom. The blank sections of ghosting may appear because of the gaps in the paper. You can also use tumbler bands for sublimation for improved quality.

Bottom Line

Yes, so it’s possible to sublimate on silicone. However, like all other materials, this requires an informed process for the best results. 

You must regulate the temperature, prepare your design, calibrate the temperature, and use the heat press correctly. 

With a few tries – you should become perfect at this process! Let us know of your experiences for more insight!

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