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How to print a Sublimation Rock Slate

by karl Brydges on May 31, 2024


The Ultimate Guide to Pressing Sublimation Rock Slates

If you're a crafting enthusiast or a business owner looking to expand your product offerings, sublimation rock slates are an exciting and unique addition to your repertoire. These beautiful, natural-looking slates can be customized with vibrant images, making them perfect for personalised gifts, home decor, and awards. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about pressing sublimation rock slates.


What Are Sublimation Rock Slates?

Sublimation rock slates are pieces of natural slate stone coated with a special polymer that allows images to be permanently infused using a heat press and sublimation inks. They come in various shapes and sizes, and their unique texture adds a rustic charm to any printed image.


Materials and Equipment Needed

Before you start, ensure you have the following materials and equipment:

  1. Sublimation Rock Slates: Available from in different shapes and sizes.
  2. Sublimation Printer: A printer equipped with sublimation inks.
  3. Sublimation Paper: Specially designed paper that holds sublimation inks.
  4. Heat Press: A flat press capable of reaching the required temperatures for sublimation.
  5. Heat Tape: To secure the sublimation paper to the slate.
  6. Heat-Resistant Gloves: To protect your hands when handling hot materials.
  7. Lint Roller (optional): To clean the surface of the slate before pressing.

Step-by-Step Guide to Pressing Sublimation Rock Slates

1. Design Your Image

Start by creating or selecting the image you want to transfer onto the slate. Use graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW to size your image correctly, keeping in mind the dimensions of your rock slate. Ensure the resolution is high enough to produce a clear and vibrant print.


2. Print the Image

Print your design on sublimation paper using a sublimation printer. Remember to mirror the image before printing, especially if it contains text.


3. Prepare the Rock Slate

Use a lint roller to clean the surface of the slate thoroughly, removing any dust or particles that might affect the transfer. Preheat your heat press to the recommended temperature (usually around 360-400°F or 180-200°C).


4. Align and Secure the Transfer

Place the slate face down on the sublimation paper, ensuring it is centered and aligned correctly. Fold the paper around the sale & use heat tape to secure the paper in place to prevent any movement during pressing.


5. Heat Press Settings:

Carefully place the slate with the attached sublimation paper face down into the heat press. It is possible to press the slate face up however we find that pressing face down produces better & consistent results .
Apply medium pressure and press for the recommended time (typically 500 seconds, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines).


6. Remove and Cool

Once the pressing time is complete, use heat-resistant gloves to remove the slate from the press. Carefully peel off the sublimation paper while it’s still hot to avoid ghosting effects. Allow the slate to cool completely on a flat surface.


7. Inspect and Finish

Check the slate for any imperfections or areas where the image might not have transferred fully. Once satisfied, your sublimation rock slate is ready to be displayed or sold!


Tips and Tricks
  • Test Prints: Before doing a full run, test on a sample slate to ensure your settings are correct.
  • Even Pressure: Ensure the slate is flat in the press to achieve even pressure and a consistent image transfer.
  • Preheating: If you’re in a colder environment, preheating the slate to remove any moisture can help achieve better results.
  • Storage: Store sublimation rock slates in a dry, cool place to avoid moisture affecting the coating.

Pressing sublimation rock slates is a rewarding process that allows you to create stunning, personalised items. With the right materials, equipment, and a bit of practice, you can produce high-quality, custom rock slates that will impress your customers and add a unique touch to your product line. Happy sublimating!