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How to Use Procreate to Make Sublimation Designs
  • By Design Bundles
  • 20 Aug 2021
  • 14 Mins
  • Procreate Tutorials

How to Use Procreate to Make Sublimation Designs

Learn how to create Sublimation designs then send them directly to the printer from Procreate!

Sublimation designs have become extremely popular with DIYers and crafters. Having the option to make custom prints for yourself is a great way of expressing your style. In this tutorial, we will show you how you can use Procreate to make your Sublimation designs and send them to your printer directly from Procreate.

If you're new to sublimation, we have a great video on everything you need to know about sublimation. You can use sublimation designs on tons of different products like mugs, t-shirts, blankets, car coasters, and so much more. The possibilities are endless!

We are using alcohol ink Procreatebrushes anda Halloween SVG bundle to make our Sublimation design. We are also utilizing the clipping mask function in Procreate. We have a great in-depth tutorial on using clipping masks in Procreate if needed.

Use Procreate to Make Sublimation Designs

Before You Get Started

Before you jump right into designing you need to get a few things ready first. Having all your tools and equipment ready will help with not needing to go back and make corrections later on.

Step 1 - Get your equipment and tools ready

One of the first steps you need to take is getting your equipment and tools ready for designing and printing your Sublimation design. Depending on how you want to make your Sublimation design you will need Procreate brushes and/or PNG elements. Get these items downloaded to your iPad if it isn’t already.

We have a tutorial on how to install the Procreate brushes if you need help with that. We will also show you how to import your PNG element/s later on in the tutorial. If you plan on printing your Sublimation design once done, get your printer on and loaded.

Step 2 - Setting up your Canvas

The size of your canvas is important when it comes to making a Sublimation design. Depending on what size your printer is able to print you will need to create a new canvas according to that size. For this tutorial, we made a canvas that is 13 x 19 inches and 300dpi for the best result.

Making Your Sublimation Design

With all your tools, equipment, and canvas ready you can now start making your Sublimation design. We are showing you the steps to make a Sublimation design using a combination of Procreate brushes and PNG elements. Feel free to use whichever items you need to create your Sublimation design.

Step 1 - Import an image

If you have any PNG elements or SVG designs you want to use in your design now is the time to import them. If you are drawing everything from scratch feel free to skip to the next step.

With your canvas open on the top left side, tap on Actions (Wrench icon), select “Add” and tap on “Insert a file”. From there locate and select the element you want to import.

Import a SVG file in Procreate

Step 2 - Create an overlay design

With our image imported, go to the “Layers” panel (stacked squares icon) and create a new layer. We are going to create a design that we will overlay using the clipping mask function in Procreate.

Create a new layer in Procreate

I went ahead and used 3 brushes from the Alcohol Inks set to create my overlay design. Play around and test out all the brushes and use what works for your project.

For the design, I used the (WBC Alcohol Inks 19)brush in a lilac color for my background. Next, I added nice ink stain effects to the overlay design so I picked the (WBC Alcohol Inks 11) brush and used a dark grey/purple color. For the finishing touch, I added light and dark gold color lines with the (WBC Alcohol Inks 16) brush for a pop of color.

Tip: Work on separate layers for each element, stroke, and color you use in your Sublimation design. This will give you more wiggle room to change out something without needing to redo everything.

Alcohol Ink Brushes in Procreate

Next, use the clipping mask function to overlay the design on the image that you imported or drew from scratch to see how it looks. If you want to make changes go ahead and do so before moving on to the next step.

Clipping mask in Procreate

Step 3 - Merge your layers

Next, merge your design to have one solid image you can work with. You can always duplicate your canvas and keep that as a working file if you plan to make changes later on. To merge your overlay clipping mask design onto your PNG element you can simply use two fingers and pinch inward to flatten the design. We have a step-by-step tutorial on merging and how to use Procreate layers if you need help.

Halloween Sublimation Design in Procreate

Step 4 - Resize and flip design

Go to the Transformation tool (mouse pointer icon). Make sure you have your scaling set to “Uniform”. Adjust the sizing and placement of your design on your canvas if needed.

Resize a design in Procreate

If you don’t have your printer setup to automatically flip your designs you will have to do it manually in Procreate. To do this go to “Transformation” (mouse pointer icon). Under the transformation options tap on “Flip Horizontal” to mirror flip your design. If you don’t flip your design it will be the wrong way around when you put it onto your item.

Mirror Flip a Design in Procreate

Now that our sublimation design is completed, we will need to ensure we have a transparent background before we print it.

Printing Your Sublimation Design

If you plan on printing your Sublimation design follow along as we show you how to share and print directly through Procreate. This is very helpful and saves you time from having to get your design from your iPad to your computer and then only getting it printed.

Step 1 - Sharing your Sublimation design

Going back to your canvas gallery you will need to select the Sublimation design you just created. To do this tap on the “Select” text on the top right side and then tap on your design to select it. You will see a little blue checkmark next to the name to indicate it is selected.

Select a Canvas in Procreate

Once selected, tap on “Share” and you will see a list of Image formats. Select “PNG” as the format.

Share a Canvas in Procreate

Step 2 - Printing your Sublimation design

Once you have tapped on “PNG” you will see all the sharing options pop up. You need to tap on “Print” which has the printer icon on the right side. This will display printer options where you can select your printer.

Share a design to your printer in Procreate

With the “Printer Options” open, select the printer you are using for your Sublimation designs. It may take a few seconds for your printer model to show next to “Printer”. Once you have selected and connected your printer change additional settings if needed (Your printer may display different additional options like color mode).

Once done the “Print” in the right corner will turn blue, tap on it to print your Sublimation designs.

Print designs from Procreate

Now that you know how to use Procreate to make Sublimation designs you can get creative and make designs for mugs, pillows, signs and so much more. We have more great tutorials for you to follow like creating sublimation designs in Silhouette, using craft mockups in Procreate and making planner stickers.


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