Sublimation on Proofgrade Plywood

I threw a piece of Proofgrade plywood into my heat press and it seemed to take a sublimation transfer well. Is there any reason I shouldn’t do this? Any durability concerns?



No idea about your question unfortunately.


This QR code is the print I transferred onto the PG maple


Was there warping? I put some wood in my heat press and sometimes it warps.

I’ve done this before and it works Ok.

Here are a few observations…

Yes, sometimes some types of plywood warp a bit. If you fiddle with the time and temperature you’re using in the heat press you can reduce that. I also weigh down the plywood until it cools, which also helps a bit.

The resulting ink on the plywood transfers much better if the plywood is very smooth. I give it a quick fine sanding, clean off the dust, and it’s good to go.

The colors will be muted since it’s being transferred to a non-white base surface. Someone recommended that I apply a paint white wash to the plywood first, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Also, the sublimation ink WILL come off if rubbed with isopropyl alcohol, which I learned while removing soot marks. I can just mask the wood instead to eliminate soot issues.

Here’s a photo of an untreated sublimated plywood experiment I tried recently. Go ALL the way to the bottom of my post to see it (aka “Fancy Plywood 3.0”


makes me wonder if PG maybe isn’t the best medium, since it’s already finished. but you could sublimate on non-finished plywood and then put a finish on it that would protect the surface.

not that i’d expect your final wood product is going to come into contact w/alcohol, but…


Yes, you’re right. I do always end up putting a quick spray of clear-coat on sublimated wood.


The sublimation could/might fade in time. The key to sublimation printing is the bonding of the ink as it gasses out to the polyester. I have successfully sublimated to both clear and white acrylic, but both material show the colors to be muted as the bonding is not as strong as to polyester. I have thought about trying HDPE, but it melts so easily that I haven’t.


You had me worried, since I’m getting good results with both Proofgrade plywood, and plywood I’ve pre-treated with sanding sealer or polycrylic.

I rubbed the sublimated PG ply with isopropyl alcohol and it didn’t remove the ink from the finished wood. I also tried really working it with an alcohol prep pad, that didn’t remove the ink either.

Was that only unfinished wood you sublimated that didn’t hold the ink when cleaned?


I sublimated on to unfinished non-PG plywood for this experiment. Sorry to startle you! :smile: