aluminum yard sign sublimation

Try This: Sublimate Yard Signs

Peggy Waters is the Brand Manager for Unisub sublimatable products at Universal Woods, parent company of Unisub and ChromaLuxe. With over 19 years of marketing and advertising experience, Peggy began her career as an instructor for a national software training company, later moving into marketing and advertising for small to mid-size businesses. Her experience includes graphic design, brand management, strategic budgeting, web design, new product development, and market research. Peggy can be reached at (502) 855-3235 or via email, peggyw@unisub.com.  

Aluminum yard signs are easy to sublimate and are a great way to make a statement. These colorful signs capture attention right on the lawn, by the driveway, sidewalk, or landscape bed. For businesses, they can be used as directional signage or branding tools. Yard signs are made for the outdoors with a UV-resistant, sublimatable coating made to last outside for up to three years. If you’re using them as seasonal items, they’ll last much longer. 

So, what do you need to get started making your own yard sign? 

Materials needed:

  • Editing program or software (such as Photoshop, CorelDRAW, or CreativeStudio) 
  • Sublimation printer with sublimation paper and inks
  • Yard sign*
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Heat tape
  • Heat press
  • Heat gloves

*Note: The yard sign used in this example is from Unisub.

Step 1: Find your product template

The square yard sign with two legs in this example is item #4776 shown on Unisub.com. For templates, visit Unisub.com and find the product you are using, then click on templates and product shots. Download and open the template in your preferred editor. If you’re using CreativeStudio, a template should already be loaded in the software for you to use.

(All images courtesy Jennifer Foy)

Step 2: Make your design

Create your design. Remember, less is more for signage, especially if you want the message to be read easily from the road or sidewalk. Add large but brief text and a contrasting background color. When you’ve lined up your design on the template, delete the template so that just the artwork you want to print shows.

Step 3: Proof and prepare the transfer

Proof your design and save it as a print-ready file for your appropriate printer format, then print with your sublimation printer using dye-sublimation inks and transfer paper. Let the transfer dry for at least 30 minutes before pressing.

Step 4: Clean and prepare your product

Peel any film that the blank product may have on it. Remove dust and dirt on the blank using a clean microfiber cloth or compressed air. 

Step 5: Prepare to sublimate

Lay the printed transfer flat with the ink side up. Then lay the yard sign coating face down onto the transfer paper. Line it up, centered with the printed design, and secure it with heat tape.  

Step 6: Sublimate the yard sign

Place the taped yard sign transfer side up in your heat press for 1 minute and 10 seconds at 375 F. When time is up, release the press. 

Step 7: Remove the yard sign from the heat press

Carefully remove the yard sign from the heat press using heat gloves. Remove the transfer paper quickly in a swift, fluid motion to reduce the chances of ghosting or chipping of the product. Let the yard sign cool completely on a cooling rack or cool surface.

Now you’re ready to place the yard sign outside and enjoy!