How To Do Sublimation on Leather

Like many other sublimation techniques, sublimation on leather is a great way too. Leather is an ideal substrate for sublimation printing as it is a natural material and can be printed in a variety of colors without having to use any dyes.

In this blog post, we will look for leather sublimation and explain how they work.

This article is intended for viewers who are already familiar with the basics of sublimation printing. If you want to learn more about this technique, take a look at our extensive sublimation printing guide.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a type of printing where ink is changed into a gas at a very high temperature and pressure.

Although sublimation printing is a common technique used in the fashion industry, there are many different types of sublimation printing. Every technique has its own uniqueness that no one can have.

For Example, sublimation on acrylic is a very aesthetic way to create customized items like keychains. You can also do sublimation on glass. The list goes on because there are very different ways of creating self-customized products.

Sublimation on Leather

The most common type of sublimation printing on leather is called dye sublimation. It uses a heat press to transfer the ink from an image-receiving blanket to the backing material, which can be polyester or polyurethane.

sublimation on leather

The image-receiving blanket is usually made with a heat-resistant and non-woven fabric that does not require any inks or dyes.

Unlike other sublimation methods, where the temperature can go up to 400°F, Leather cannot handle such a high temperature.

Fabrics have the potential to bear up to 400°F but in leather, the heat press is adjusted to reach temperatures of up to 290 degrees Fahrenheit. With the press closed, it heats one side of the substrate for a few seconds and then cools it down before scanning the entire surface of the product.

The blanket is then removed and any excess ink is wiped off while the substrate should be allowed to cool down.

Required Items For Leather Sublimation 

  • Sublimation Printer
  • Heat Press Machine
  • Design Software
  • Sublimation Paper
  • Solid Substrate

How to Print Beautiful Patterns on Leather

One of the most popular techniques for sublimation printing on leather is to use of a technique called “direct to substrate.” To do this, you will need to start with an image in a vector format. You can find vector images by doing an image search on Google or Bing.

Designing Software Instructions

Once you have an image, you will need to outline it using either a black line or a blue line. Your color choice will depend on the colors of your desired print. Once your design is outlined, fill it in with the appropriate color.

After the lines are drawn and filled in, create a new layer underneath your design and fill it with 50% gray paint which has been mixed with black paint. This layer will act as an under-base for your image and give you more control over the final outcome of your print.

  • Next, select your “direct to substrate” printing style from Photoshop’s drop-down menu located under the “Print Settings” tab.
  • Your next step is going to be selecting a “printing plate,” which should be located below all of the different paper types that are on offer.
  • Selecting this option will automatically configure Photoshop so that it creates one long strip of paper instead of individual pages that you would then take to get printed at an office supply store.
  • This long strip of paper is what you’ll use for printing onto leather later on.
  • Now that you have set up Photoshop properly, go back into your design layer and delete any extra layers that may be hiding.
  • One thing I would like to add here is that, when you are done with the design, make sure to check that the Mirror option is checked in Print Settings.
  • Once everything is done, click on Print.

Heat Press Instructions 

  • Remove the unnecessary white edges from the printed design so that you can only get the design. The Best Way To Sublimate On Acrylic
  • Adjust it on the substrate and close the press. ( The optimal temperature for sublimation on leather is 290°F-300°F, but not more than that. Otherwise, it will melt. )
  • If you are using heavy pressure press at 300°F, then you should wait for 45-50 seconds.
  • Open the press after 50 seconds, remove the paper, and see your output.

Using a good quality heat press is very important in leather sublimation. Choose the one which has precise temperature control such as Vevor 6-in-1 Heat Press.

If you still don’t get it, watch this video. It will help you clear your doubts about leather sublimation.

Tips for Successful Leather Sublimation Printing

1. Consider the different techniques for sublimation printing on leather

There are many different techniques for sublimation printing on leather, and some are more successful than others. One of the most popular methods is to use dye-based ink and water-based heat transfer paper (HTP).

This technique takes advantage of the two different layers of materials being able to absorb ink differently. In this technique, HTP is used as a base layer which will be soaked in ink that has been mixed with a dye.

The HTP is then clamped onto the leather and put into an oven to heat up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. As the paper cools down, the color from the paper will have been transferred onto the leather substrate below it.

2. Consider your budget

Another thing to consider when doing this printing technique is your budget. The more you spend, the greater quality prints you will get.

3. Keep in mind how long it will take

Finally, keep in mind how long this type of printing will take before you begin your project! Printing at high temperatures requires time so if you order 100 items, they won’t all be completed at once. You’ll need to account for time when designing your project so that it’s finished by its deadline!


Can you sublimate on leather wallets? 

Yes, sublimation on leather is possible if you follow proper guidelines for the specific substrate you are using.

Can you use low pressure for leather sublimation?

Since it requires heavy pressure, you cannot use a low-pressure heat press.

Can you remove the sublimation ink?

You can easily remove sublimation ink, with the help of cleaners and vinegar.


Sublimation printing on leather is a great option for someone looking for a unique and luxurious way to print their designs on leather. It’s not difficult to do, but there are a few tricks to ensure your design looks its best.

In this article, I explained the best methods for sublimation on leather, if you have any queries feel free to ask me in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “How To Do Sublimation on Leather”

    • The temperature for leather sublimation is fairly low (300°F) as compared to fabric and leather starts shrinking at 390°F. So if you are following the right temperature and time for the heat press, there will be no such damage.

      Faux Leather and Genuine Leather also known as Natural leather are considered the best leather for sublimation.

      I Hope that helps!

Leave a Comment