The use of sublimation designs by DIYers and crafters has grown immensely. Having the ability to make sublimation designs and personalized sublimation prints for yourself is a fantastic way to display your sense of design.
In this article, I will demonstrate how to make sublimation designs by using any image processing software. Let it be Photoshop, CorelDraw, or procreate. Then I will discuss transmitting the designs straight to your printers from the software.
I have this detailed article on everything you need to know about how to make sublimation designs if you are new to the sublimation process. Many various objects, including mugs, t-shirts, blankets, car coasters, and much more, can be decorated with sublimation graphics. There are countless options!
Make Sublimation Design through Procreate
In addition to using Procreate’s clipping mask feature (a photo editing tool), I may utilize alcohol or sublimation ink Procreate brushes and a Halloween SVG kit to create sublimation designs in Procreate. (Just an example) for Halloween events.
Prepare your tools and equipment
Setting up your tools and equipment for designing and printing your sublimation design should be one of your initial tasks. You will need the Procreate brushes and/or PNG pieces, depending on how you want to create your sublimation design. If it has not already, download these files to your device.
Putting your canvas together
When creating your own sublimation designs, the size of your canvas is crucial. You will need to make a new canvas following the size that your printer can print in. For the sake of this article, I prepared a 13 x 19-inch canvas at a resolution of 300 dpi.
Designing Your Sublimation Projects
The time has come for you to begin creating your free sublimation designs now that your tools, supplies, and canvas are all set. Using Procreate brushes and PNG elements, I am demonstrating how to create a Sublimation design. You can use any materials you deem appropriate to produce your design.
Add a picture
Now is the moment to import any PNG or SVG designs that you intend to include in your design. You are good to move on to the next step if you are drawing everything from scratch.
When your canvas is open, hit the Actions (Wrench icon) button in the top left corner, choose “Add,” and then tap “Insert a file.” The element you want to import can then be found and chosen from there.
Create an overlay design
Go to the “Layers” panel (stacked squares icon) after importing our image to add a new layer. Using Procreate’s clipping mask feature, I will create a design to be overlaid.
For my overlay design, I used three different brushes from the Alcohol Inks series. Try out all the brushes and experiment to find which ones work best for you. For example, you can use the (WBC Alcohol Inks 19) brush in your favorite color for the background of the design.
Then to give an ink stain effect for an overlay design, you can choose the (WBC Alcohol Inks 11) brush and a dark hue. And for the final flourishing, you can use the (WBC Alcohol Inks 16) brush to create bright and dark gold color lines for a more aesthetic look.
For each element, stroke, and color you utilize in your sublimation design, create different layers. This will give you greater flexibility to replace something without having to start over.
Next, overlay the design using the clipping mask feature to check how it looks on the image you imported or created from scratch. If you wish to make modifications go ahead and do so before moving on to the next stage.
Merge your layers.
Next, combine your designs to create a single, sturdy image that you can use. If you intend to make modifications later, you may always duplicate your canvas and keep that as working free files.
Use two fingers to pinch inward to flatten the overlay clipping mask design before merging it onto the PNG element.
Activate the Transformation tool (mouse pointer icon).
Verify that your scale is set to “Uniform.” If necessary, alter the size and positioning of your design on your canvas. You will need to manually flip your drawings in Procreate if your printer is not set up to do so.
Go to “Transformation” to complete this (mouse pointer icon). To mirror-flip your design, select “Flip Horizontal” from the transformation options. Your design will be applied to your product with the wrong side up if you do not flip it.
After making your sublimation printing design, you must make sure that the background is translucent before printing it.
Making Your Sublimation Design Printed
If you intend to sublimation print on your design, keep reading as I demonstrate how to share and print using Procreate. The time you would have spent having to transfer your design from your device to your computer and then only have it printed is reduced by doing this.
Share your sublimation design.
You must pick the Sublimation design you just generated when you return to your canvas gallery.
To select your design, first, touch on the “Select” text in the top right corner of the screen. A tiny blue checkmark will appear next to the name to show that it has been chosen.
Once you have made your choice, touch “Share,” and a list of image formats will appear. Make “PNG” your format choice.
Sublimation Printing on your design
All the sharing choices will appear as soon as you hit on “PNG.” The printer icon is located on the right side of the word “Print,” which you must tap. You can choose your printer from the alternatives that are displayed for printers.
Choose the printer you will be utilizing for your sublimation designs while the “Printer Options” window is active.
Your printer model might not appear next to “Printer” right away. After choosing and connecting your printer, make any extra settings necessary (Your printer may display different additional options like color mode).
When finished, touch the blue “Print” button in the right corner to sublimation print on your designs.
You may get inventive and create designs for mugs, pillows, signs, and so much more now that you understand how to utilize Procreate to create Sublimation designs.
Make Sublimation Design through Silhouette Studio Software
Let us look at how to use one of the best sublimation software, Silhouette Studio which helps in making professional sublimation designs. I will be using a handwritten script font and a vibrant watercolor background. Start by launching Silhouette Studio (you can also use free images for designing).
Import the background
The photo editing tool is perfect for making designs, and it doesn’t matter how big your artboard is since you can change it later when you save it as a PNG. For reference, a 12 x 12 artboard will be used in this tutorial. Find the folder containing the backgrounds, then open it. The backgrounds you plan to use should be dropped into your Silhouette Studio artboard.
Let us design the popsicle.
From the Drawing Tools menu on the left side, choose the Rounded Rectangle tool. Draw a rectangle that slopes downward from the top. By shifting the two red dots at the top of the rectangle, you may modify how rounded the corners are. When the shape is just correct, choose the rectangle and then choose Convert to Path from the menu bar.
Inside the bigger circular rectangle, draw a smaller rectangle. The red dots on the corners should be adjusted appropriately. Next, right-click the rectangle you just selected and choose Convert to Path. Inside the top section, repeat the process with a second rectangle.
Ctrl + G allows you to choose areas inside rectangles as well as groups. You may also choose Group from the context menu when you right-click. Next, click on the Transform Panel on the right-hand side of the screen while selecting all of the rectangles. To access the options, click Align, and then select Horizontal Align Center.
Draw the stick using the rounded rectangle. To change the corners, use the red dots. To draw a straight, even line, make sure that it is overlapping. Convert to the path that can be chosen with a right-click. Select it, then use the right mouse button to Send it back.
Modify the popsicle design.
Always make a copy of the original section before editing it. To accomplish this, pick the top rectangular area and click Ctrl + right arrow. This will copy it to the right.
Choose the stick and the top of the popsicle. To access the Modify panel on the right side, click, and then select Subtract. You should just have the center and the remaining stick.
The original top piece will then be no longer present. This will be altered by repositioning the replicated rectangle over the top of the original rectangle. To accomplish this, pick the duplicate rectangle and press Ctrl + left arrow. The right-side rectangle should be removed because it is no longer necessary. You are left with a popsicle now.
Recreate the popsicle pattern.
Press Ctrl + the right arrow key to select the entire popsicle. This will duplicate the whole design. To change the space between each popsicle, press the arrow keys. To make three popsicles, repeat this procedure twice more.
Fill the design with backgrounds.
Here, you will cover one popsicle with a watercolor background. Make sure the background completely encloses the popsicle’s top. White should be used in place of the outside’s red outline.
The outside white line and the background should both be selected. Next, choose Crop from the Modify tool. Send to the back is a right-click option.
Choose the rectangles that are inside the popsicle. White should be used for the color and outline. On the right, select the Open fill panel button. Set the Transparency to your preferred level. As a result, the background will be seen.
Click on the Fill pattern in the Fill Panel after selecting the stick. Click Advance options, select the Butcherblock option from the preloaded patterns, and then click OK. The wood grains’ rotation can be changed here. To convert the pattern to vertical, choose Rotate pattern 90 degrees under Rotate. The line color should be changed to none.
Repeat to give the other popsicle backgrounds. You should now have three finished popsicles.
Include and edit text
Make a text that you want to use. Summer Vibes will be written in the Mismade font, and I will use it. Write the words out, then alter the outline and color fill to black. Put the text back over the pattern. Regardless of your preferences, you can rotate the direction.
Open the Offset panel after selecting the text. Choose Offset, then select a distance. Since that is where I usually start, I decided on a distance of.05. Choose Apply.
Select Ctrl + G in the group after that. After that, make the outline translucent and the fill white.
You now possess a design that is ideal for sublimation. The silhouette can be exported as a PNG picture or printed directly from it on a sublimation printer.
Make Sublimation Design Through Photoshop
Learn how to create stunning gifts with sublimation design techniques in Photoshop.
With pre-made graphics or photos and some text, you can create sublimation designs easily in Photoshop. All different sublimation blanks can be customized with these patterns, and they also make wonderful gifts. You will learn how to access the print options, add, and change text, and import and edit photos in this article.
I will walk you through making a specific sublimation pattern, but you can utilize the methods you learn in this article to make your original designs.
First, add design elements
Make sure to download and unzip all of your fonts and pictures. Likewise, install the fonts.
Locate your image file in File Explorer or Finder by opening it. Then from the File Explorer or Finder, click + drag your image file to Photoshop’s artboard. Repeat with the remaining photos. I am going to add a split sunflower monogram made from a collection of sunflower mandala SVGs, along with a rainbow tie-dye background.
Edit the design components by use of Free Transform
Press Control/Command + T to activate Free Transform when selecting the layer. Then, to keep the aspect ratio, select the chain-link icon from the Options bar at the top of the screen.
The actions you can take using Free Transform are listed below.
Rotate – Move your cursor up close to a corner handle until you notice a curved arrow. Next, rotate the picture by clicking and dragging.
- Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical by doing a right-click and choosing Mirror.
To the Background (Tie Dye) Layer in Step 2, add a layer mask.
The tie-dye background layer will have a layer mask added since I do not want the tie-dye pattern to show outside of the sunflower region.
Choosing the Magic Wand tool
The Magic Wand Tool (W) is available in the left toolbar.
Make the Selection and Then Inverse the Selection
Select the layer with the sunflower in the Layers panel. Next, click outside the area containing the sunflower shape. Next, select Inverse by using the right-click menu. Now, you should only select items inside the region shaped like a sunflower.
Activate the Layer Mask
Click the Add a layer mask button at the base of the Layers panel while selecting the tie-dye background layer.
The next step is to give the top (Sunflower) layer a color overlay layer style.
With the help of the Color Overlay layer style, I will modify the color of the sunflower layer.
Click the fx (Effects) icon at the bottom after selecting the sunflower layer. Afterward, select Color Overlay from the list.
Options to Modify Color Overlay
For a real-time view of the updates, make sure Preview is turned on. A new color can then be chosen by clicking the color icon. I chose black so that the tie-dye colors would stand out more. Once you are satisfied with the appearance of your design, click OK.
Adding Text Using the Horizontal Type Tool
To change the font selections, select the Horizontal Type Tool (T) and click the Options bar. After that, type your text by clicking the artboard. I utilized Font Bundles’ Snowy Wishes font for our writing.
Text can be edited and moved.
For even more font choices, select Window > Character from the menu. You can alter the leading, kerning, etc. in the Character panel as well.
Note: If you would like, you can also use Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to alter the text’s size.
If necessary, choose the Move Tool (V) and click + drag the text to the desired location. Our finished artwork is prepared for the best sublimation printing!
Print sublimation design in Photoshop
Navigate to File > Print. When you are ready to submit your design to your sublimation printer, make any necessary adjustments to your printer’s print parameters, and then click Print.
White sublimation Printing
Without a white toner printer, any white areas in your design will not print. If your printer does not have white toner, the shirt will show through the white spaces.
The design illustration below has a translucent background with a border on top of a white background. Those white regions will not be opaque without a printer with white toner.
I hope you enjoyed discovering how to make this lovely color-filled sublimation pattern! Now that you have learned today, you can use it to embellish, signs, bags, shirts, pillowcases, and more!
How to Make Sublimation Designs with Cricut Design Space?
If you are new to sublimation but have experience with Cricut, this is a fantastic place to start because it is sublimation software that many crafters are acquainted with. How to achieve the optimum color while using Cricut Design Space for sublimation crafts is shown here.
I will cover how to upload images to Cricut or heat transfer vinyl, edit images, and print them to get the best possible color accuracy.
The simplest way to use Cricut Design Space for sublimation is to upload sublimation PNG files using the upload tool. This is going to be your best option if you are not a designer. Cricut Design Space is not the most robust design program overall, but you could theoretically use photos and patterns to start dye sublimation printing from scratch and create complicated sublimation designs there. Therefore, a good place to start is by uploading designs that have already been created by others or by you to another software.
The Cricut Image Library also offers Print then Cut images, although I have discovered that, weirdly, sometimes the color can be a little erratic with these images. For me, it has been quite haphazard.
Print and Cut Constraints
The size restriction—6.75′′ widths by 9.25′′ tall—is the main restriction when utilizing Cricut Design Space and Print then Cut. As a result, the size of the photos you can print is constrained, and this approach can result in significant dye sublimation paper waste. You will have to decide whether the trade-off is worthwhile for you. I would rather waste a little paper than manually chop a lot of photographs.
Making a Sublimation Design in Cricut Design Space
I used the polar bear ornament design for this article. To upload the PNG in Cricut Design Space, click Upload. Choose Complex from the Select Image Type menu.
Sublimation Image Upload and Editing in Design Space
Click “next.” You can notice that the background of the image is transparent on the Background Remover screen (represented with the checkered squares). If the background is not transparent, which it typically is, you can click to remove the background. To continue, click Apply.
Select Print on the Select Upload Type screen, then cut and click Upload.
After that, pick your image and transfer it to your canvas. Adapt the size to your decoration. I made my image 3.6′′ wide because my metal ornaments are 3.5′′ wide. It is tough to align two circles exactly so that there will not be a white edge, therefore I slightly exaggerate the size to ensure that it completely covers the ornament’s face.
Using the Text tool, you can provide a name if you would like. Select your font, adjust its size, and color, and then write your name in it. Be sure to position the text low enough so that it will not be hidden by the ornament’s hole.
Once you are satisfied, click Flatten to combine the name and image into a single Print then Cut the image. The Layers Panel will display the word Print.
You are all set to go! In the top right corner, click Make It.
You may see your image on a white sheet of paper on a mat with a black box surrounding it on the Prepare screen. The sensors in your Cricut use those black registration markings to determine precisely where to cut your design.
Important: To reverse your image, click Mirror. If you do not do this, when you attempt to put your image on your ornament, it will be backward. To proceed to the Make Screen, click Continue.
Before I complete our ornament, let us speak about color!
Color Management for Cricut Print
Cricut Design Space has an ICC profile management feature, in contrast to other, more capable applications like Photoshop. A little computer file known as an ICC profile ensures the highest level of color accuracy when sublimation printing.
But if you know where to search, you can use an ICC profile with Cricut Design Space!
Design spaces with and without color management
I have discovered that an ICC profile significantly raises the caliber of my sublimation graphics created using Cricut Design Space.
I printed the image twice, once without color management and once with an ICC profile, using the procedure described below. What a notable distinction!
Caveats for Color Management
Color management depends on a variety of factors, including the humidity in your work area, if Mercury is in retrograde, the type of sublimation ink you are using, the sublimation paper you are using, the sublimation software you are using to create the free sublimation images are all factors that have the major effect.
Using my variables and Cricut Design Space with an ICC profile often works very well. It prevents my pictures from becoming excessively saturated and green. However, I do find it difficult to produce real reds sometimes when using an ICC profile in Design Space and things with a general pink hue (it often goes a bit pink). But a variety of elements play a role.
With your unique combination of circumstances, you might have a distinct experience.
Let us return to Design Space now. The steps for a Mac and a PC are as follows. Keep in mind that installing an ICC Profile is required before proceeding.
How to Print Your File on a Mac with a Color Profile?
Design Space will ask you to print your artwork on the Make Screen. This window will appear after clicking Send to the sublimation printer. Keep Add Bleed selected, but also choose Use System Dialog Box. Press Print.
Choose a sublimation printer. You will see a dropdown in the window’s center. Then select Color Matching by clicking it.
Then, select ColorSync. If you recall from when you installed your ICC profile, ColorSync is the Mac tool for managing colors. Check if you can see the name of your ICC profile there. If not, select your profile from the list by clicking Other Profiles.
Hooray! You may now manage colors.
Use the same dropdown to choose Print Settings before pressing print.
You can select your print quality from here. SELECT NOT Mirror Image in this case. You already did that in Design Space and doing it again here will just make things worse for you.
Click Print after making sure your paper is in your sublimation printer.
Your Cricut will read the registration lines and cut around your picture once you have your image printed, placed it in the upper left corner of a cutting mat, and inserted it into your machine.
Using a Color Profile to Print Your File on a PC
Design Space will ask you to print your artwork on the Make Screen. This window will appear after clicking Send to the sublimation Printer. Continue to pick Add Bleed while also choosing Use System Dialog Box. Press Print.
Choose a sublimation printer. This box’s right side has a section called Preferences. Toggle it.
Pick More Options from here.
If you recall from when you installed your ICC profile, you should choose “Custom” for Color Correction. After that, a window will appear. You should choose “No Color Adjustment” and press “OK” to use your ICC Color Profile.
Hooray! You may now manage colors.
Use the same pop-up window to choose Print Preferences before pressing print. You can select your print quality from here (I typically use “High”).
Click Print after making sure your sublimation paper is in your printer.
Your Cricut will read the registration lines and cut around your picture once you have your image printed, placed it in the upper left corner of a cutting mat, and inserted it into your machine.
Once your picture has been printed, use the time and temperature settings recommended by the manufacturer to transfer it to your sublimation blank. Once more, I advise printing a sample to serve as a test print on a piece of polyester fabric to make sure everything looks good.
How do you make designs for sublimation printing?
Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw are among the alternatives available in the best sublimation printing software. Products like Inkscape, GIMP, and Canva are well-known examples of free software. Tools for downloading, modifying, replicating, and printing designs are provided by this software.
Are my sublimation transfers printable on simple printers?
No, you cannot simply use any printer for sublimation transfers. To print on sublimation paper, you need particular dyes, and not all sublimation printers have a good relationship with them. Most printers employ thermal or heating technology, which bakes the sublimation dye directly into the paper.
What kind of files are required for sublimation?
For sublimation printing, you can use the following file types: PNG, JPEG, SVG, PDF, PSD, EPS, and TIFF. If you need to do a large print, you will want to make sure the photo is high resolution and that the file quality for your image is good.