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How to Print Large Images in Affinity Designer
  • By Nadine Spires
  • 29 Mar 2023
  • 20 Mins
  • Intermediate
  • Affinity Tutorials

How to Print Large Images in Affinity Designer

Our helpful guide will show you how to print large images on multiple pages using Affinity Designer

Do you want to print larger sublimation designs but only have a standard or A4 size sublimation printer? In today’s tutorial, we are going to show you how to print a large image on multiple pages using Affinity Designer. You will also learn how to align the pages to create a seamless sublimation. Follow these awesome tips and create a beautiful project with us.

Mockup sublimation pillowcase - Affinity Designer

You can use any sublimation printer such as the Sawgrass, or certain Epson or Brother printers that have been converted for sublimation. We are using Affinity Designer version 2.0.4.

Prefer to create sublimation designs in Canva? Crystal has a great video on how to print bigger designs for sublimation.

Materials Needed for this Project

Design - We love this gorgeous Mother’s Day design and will be using it for our pillow

For an unbeatable 91% discount, get this design and other lovely gift ideas in The Mother's Day Bundle.

Editing program - Affinity Designer, but you can use these methods in Photoshop

Sublimation printer - Sawgrass or converted printer compatible with sublimation inks such as an Epson Printer, or the Brother DCP-T420W printer that we are using

Sublimation paper and ink - this will depend on your supplier, we are using two A4 sheets of sublimation paper

40cm x 40cm (15” x 15”) Polyester fabric pillowcase

Heat press or EasyPress

Heat resistant tape, lint roller, Teflon sheet

Extra layers of copy paper or parchment paper

Paper trimmer

Materials needed - How to print large images in Affinity Designer

Step 1 - Divide your Sublimation Image into Sections

We want to print the design at 29cm x 29cm (11.42” x 11.42”) but our printer is limited to a maximum size of 21.59cm x 29.72 (8.5” x 11.7”). So the design will need to be split up into two sections.

The number of sections will depend on the size of your project and maximum printing size. Let’s begin by creating a new document.

Create a New Document

Open Affinity Designer, and in the New Document window, you will see document size options. Go to the bottom right and click on Layout. Make your document bigger than the size you want your design to be. Here, we typed in 350mm for both width and height, leaving DPI at 300.

Affinity Designer - Document settings for sublimation

By default, the margins are set to be visible. You can uncheck the box for Include margins under the Margins menu if this bothers you.

Disable margins in Affinity Designer document

Add the Design to your Document

Locate where your design is stored on your system, and then drag + drop it into the document. On the bottom right corner of the screen, click on the Transform tool and adjust the Width (W) and Height (H) as needed.

Adjust sublimation design dimension - Affinity Designer printing tutorial

Use the Rectangle Shape Tool

To divide the design into sections, we need to create a rectangle. You can do this using the Shape Tools in Affinity Designer, found on the left-side toolbar. Click on the Rectangle shape tool, then click + drag out a shape.

Under the Transform panel, type in 205mm for the Width and 292mm for the Height. An A4 sheet of paper is 210mm x 297mm, but we want the rectangle to be a few mm smaller so that the design fits nicely within the print area.

Next, under the Layers Panel, change the opacity of the layer to 50%. You will be able to see both the design and the rectangle. Reposition the rectangle so that it covers the left side of the design.

Use the shapes tool in Affinity Designer - Print large images for sublimation

Go back to the Layers Panel, right click on the rectangle layer and select Duplicate. Now would be a good time to rename the rectangle layers to keep everything organized. We renamed our layers Rectangle 1 and Rectangle 2.

To make these layers easier to see, you change the fill of each one by using the Fill panel. You will find this at the top left corner of the screen. Make sure that both layers have an opacity of 50%.

Now, position the second layer over the right side of the design so that it overlaps the first rectangle. You want an overlap of about 2cm or 0.78” so you have some flexibility when trimming and to create a seamless blend. We want to avoid overlapping too much as this can cause a blowout of ink when heat setting.

Add a fill to shapes - Affinity Designer printing

Create a Clipping Mask

Clipping masks are great for restricting areas of a design to a specific shape or boundary. First, duplicate the Mother’s Day design by right clicking > Duplicate.

Duplicate sublimation image - Affinity Designer guide

Next, we need to remove the fill from both of the rectangles. Select one of the rectangles, and then click on the Fill panel. On the top right corner of the panel, you will see two circles, one with a red line through it. Click on this circle to remove the fill.

Also make certain that the Stroke line is set to None (option next to the Stroke color). Repeat this process for the second rectangle layer.

Affinity Designer print images - Remove fill from shape

Under the Layers Panel on the right, click + drag one of the design layers over the first rectangle layer name. In order to create a clipping mask, your mouse must be positioned over the layer name and NOT the layer thumbnail. Repeat this for the second rectangle and design.

Affinity Designer tutorial - Create clipping masks

A cropping mask has now been created for both rectangle layers and the design split up into two sections.

Image split in Affinity Designer - Print large sublimation

Step 2 - Adjust the Document Dimensions for Printing

With the design set up, we now need to adjust the document dimensions to match our printer settings. At the top toolbar, click on File > Document Setup.

Locate Document Setup in Affinity Designer

In the Document Setup window, click on the Dimensions tab and input 210mm for the Width and 297mm for the Height. Leave the DPI at 300 and make sure to click on Anchor to Page next to “Objects will”. This option prevents the design from being resized along with the document.

Change document dimensions in Affinity Designer

After the changes have been made, click + drag the right side of the design off the page or hide it under the Layers Panel. Reposition the left side of the design so it’s roughly centered in the middle of the document.

Position first section of sublimation for printing - Affinity

At the top of the screen, click File > Print to bring up the Print menu. Your sublimation ink and paper supplier will have given you instructions on how to stall the ICC profile and set up your printer.

DON’T FORGET to mirror your design. You can manually do this by flipping the design or select this in the printer settings. To access these settings, click on Properties next to your printer in the Print Menu.

This setup may differ depending on your printer. Click on the Advanced tab and check the box for Mirror Print, and then click Ok until you get back to the Print menu.

Mirror images for printing in Affinity Designer

Check that all settings are correct, and then click Ok to print.

Print large images for sublimation in Affinity Designer

After printing is complete, place it to one side to let dry. Now, move the left section off the document page, and reposition the right side for printing. Print out the design and set aside to dry. Allow your prints to dry for about 20 min just to be on the safe side.

Print second section of large sublimation design

Step 3 - Align the Multiple Sublimation Prints

It’s ideal to have a heat press that is larger than the design you want to press. Moving the design while heat setting can cause ghosting. You could try working in sections as long as everything is kept as stable as possible. We will be using a 35cm x 35cm heat press.

The time and temperature may depend on the type of material you are using and your heat press. For our project, we used the following settings:

Temperature: 200°C or 392°F

Time: 60 seconds

Pressure: Light to Medium

While your heat press is heating up, trim and line up the two pages.

Printed sublimation images - Sublimate large designs

Trim away some of the design along the split on the right section. Overlay the designs so they line up and check how much of the left design is covered.

We want to avoid having too much ink being covered or overlapped as this will cause a blowout. The ink turns to a gas when heated and this gas will push out from underneath the paper. So, if needed, trim the left side until you have roughly a 5mm overlap.

Overlap designs for large sublimation prints

After lining up the sections, place heat resistant tape over areas that have not been printed on.

Apply heat resistant tape to multiple sublimation pages

Turn the design over and place heat resistant tape along the seam. Try and keep your paper as flat as possible when adding the tape.

Apply heat resistant tape to the back of large sublimation prints

Step 4 - Heat Set the Sublimation Design

Before heat pressing the design, press the pillowcase cover for a few seconds to remove wrinkles and any moisture. Allow the cover to cool for a few seconds as any remaining heat can begin activating the ink. Place a double layer of parchment paper inside the cover to protect the other side from ink bleed.

Add parchment as liner inside pillowcase - Large print sublimation

Position your design on the pillowcase and tape down all sides with heat resistant tape. When the heat press is ready, place a Teflon sheet or additional parchment paper on the bottom platen. This is optional but adds an extra layer of protection for your machine.

Place the pillowcase on the heat press, layer the top with more parchment paper or copy paper, then close the press.

Once the countdown has finished, gently open your press and quickly remove all the papers including the sublimation paper. Your pillowcase is finally done!

Place an insert inside the pillowcase and your creation is ready for gifting!

Final result of printing large sublimation designs - Mother's Day gift

Making a sublimation pillowcase for Mother's Day is a wonderful gift for mom. You don’t need to be restricted by print size or design. With a few simple steps and a little bit of time, you can create a beautiful and thoughtful gift that any mother will treasure forever.

We hope that you enjoyed this tutorial on how to print large images in Affinity Designer. Experiment and be inspired to create with bigger designs.

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affinity designer tutorial how to print large images in affinity designer print large designs for sublimation

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