Sublimation Notebooks: What Works and What Doesn’t

Design

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sublimation on notebooks

Are you ready to make personalized sublimation notebooks? Keep reading to learn which blanks work and which ones don’t. Then you can give this project a try for yourself. This is a great way to make a sublimation project for the kids or a fun sublimation journal to give as a gift.

New to sublimation? Check out my sublimation beginner’s guide here.

Sublimation notebooks with Cricut EasyPress.

Sublimation Notebooks

We’re going to walk through all the steps for creating personalized sublimation notebooks. I’m testing 5 different notebooks and spoiler alert – they aren’t all successes. You can actually watch me test all of these blanks. Just click play on the video below:

Supplies Used:

Sublimation notebook supplies.

Blanks used:

Glitter Sublimation Notebooks

Last year I heard of a lot of people finding regular glitter notebooks at Dollar Tree and successfully adding sublimation images to the covers. Unfortunately, I had no success last year finding these notebooks. I have continued to look and still haven’t found them. I really wanted to try them out so I ordered a few from Amazon.

As you’ll see, I had no success applying sublimation to regular glitter notebooks. I am testing Amazon glitter notebooks, not Dollar Tree glitter notebooks so I can’t say if they will work or not. If I can find the Dollar Tree ones, I’ll try them out to see if they will work. I don’t have a lot of hope because I was sure the Amazon ones would.

How to Sublimate on Glitter Notebooks

Maybe this section should be titled “How NOT to Sublimate on Glitter Notebooks” since I didn’t have any success. I did want to share my process in case you had success doing something different. I am using an EasyPress set to 365 degrees and pressing for 50 seconds for all of my projects today.

For this first glitter notebook, I used my lint roller to quickly go over the surface to make sure and remove any lint or hair that may affect the finished project.

Glitter notebook blank.

I’m using my Artesprix mat because it’s firmer than the EasyPress Mat in hopes of preventing any warping of the notebook covers. I’ve mirrored all of my sublimation prints so they’re ready to apply to my notebooks. Because my image is smaller than the cardboard notebook cover I don’t need to protect my mat.

Tape down your image well so it doesn’t move. With these glitter notebook covers, I don’t want to risk tearing them when I remove the tape so I’m tacking the print to the wire spiral spine and to the mat with heat-resistant tape.

Pressing Sublimation Print to Glitter Notebook

Make sure you always use protective paper between the image and your heat source. You don’t want to risk having any of your image transfer to the plate of your press.

Using EasyPress 2 apply heat to sublimation image.

Unfortunately for this project, the notebook started melting. I could smell the melting, the cover was actually melting to the sublimation print and it still did not sublimate at all.

Glitter notebook sublimation fail #1.

For the smaller glitter notebook, I followed all the same steps but reduced the pressing time to 30 seconds. I was hopeful that maybe I had just pressed for too long.

Small glitter notebook with sublimation print - failure.

I checked the image at 30 seconds and once again saw nothing had transferred. So I went ahead and laid the image back down and tried pressing for longer and still had zero success. As you can see, both glitter notebooks I ordered would be considered a total failure.

How to Sublimate on Sublimation Notebook Blanks

Now that we know those non-sublimation blank notebooks didn’t work let’s move on to ones that are actually sublimation blanks.

Sublimation Notebook with Page Insert

This sublimation notebook comes with a few different pieces. There is the cover, the pages insert, and adhesive sheets. I am going to sublimate the entire cover.

Sublimation notebook with insert taken out.

Start by lint rolling the entire thing to remove any dust, dirt, or hair. Add the sublimation print with a few pieces of heat-resistant tape. I am making sure to keep the tape on the white part of the cover and not the inside cardboard part.

Taping down sublimation image to notebook cover.

My sublimation print is larger than the cover so I am going to put a piece of protective paper on my mat and then place the notebook sublimation side up on top. Add protective paper to the top to protect your heat source. Make sure your protective paper covers the entire sublimation image.

Protective paper added to the sublimation notebook.

This notebook cover is larger than my EasyPress so I am going to need to press twice. I’ll press for the full time in one place and then lift the EasyPress, move it over, and press again for the full time. After pressing the entire thing, remove the protective sheet and the sublimation print.

Removing sublimation print to expose sublimated notebook cover.

Isn’t this beautiful!? I used light pressure with my EasyPress and, along the spine, it didn’t transfer as well. In the future, I would use more pressure. Especially along the spine. You could even add something thick under the spine to get more pressure in that area.

Spine of the sublimation notebook.

Assembling the Notebook After Sublimation

Now that we have the sublimation print removed and everything is cool we can assemble the notebook. To put the notebook together we’re going to peel back the lining on one side of the adhesive sheet. That will expose some sticky adhesive and you’re going to line that up onto your notebook and press it down. Repeat on the other side.

Applying adhesive sheet to insert pages.

The next step is to remove the lining to expose the adhesive. Once that adhesive is exposed, we’re going to put that on one side of the notebook. Make sure you line it up and then press it down really well. Repeat on the other side.

I recommend closing the notebook and placing something heavy on top of it for a little while so the cover can completely adhere to the inside.

Finished sublimation notebook with feather print on front and back.

Spiral Bound Sublimation Notebook

For the spiral-bound sublimation notebook, you can see it comes with the interior notebook part and then two covers. Using a sheet from a lint roller go over the cover to remove anything that may be on it.

Spiral bound sublimation notebook before sublimating.

To apply the sublimation print, I am going to lay the cover on top of the print locating it right where I want it with the shiny side facing the print. Use a couple of pieces of heat-resistant tape to hold the cover in place.

Sprial bound sublimation notebook with EasyPress.

Before pressing make sure you have things stacked in the appropriate order:

  • Pressing Mat
  • Protective Paper
  • Notebook Cover
  • Sublimation Print
  • Protective Paper

Make sure your protective paper sheets are both larger than the sublimation image to protect your pressing mat and heat press.

Protective sheet covering sublimation notebook cover.

Now we’re going to press at 365 degrees for 50 seconds. Peel back the sublimation print while it’s still hot and then place a piece of the protective paper back on top. Place something heavy on it to help flatten it out. You can also use your hands to flatten it out while it’s cooling.

Floral sublimation print exposed on sublimation notebook.

Now our cover is completely cool, nice and flat, and ready to assemble.

Sublimation notebook before being assembled.

Assembling a Spiral Bound Notebook

The assembly process for this notebook I would say is a little more difficult. You have to work the covers into the spiral and it will take a few minutes. I do love that the cover comes separate so you can actually sublimate the entire cover, even into the area that is in the spiral. I think it would look amazing with a full cover sublimation print.

Sprial bound sublimation notebook completely assembled.

Linen Sublimation Notebook

Earlier I showed you the little leather sublimation notebook and this linen one is very similar. The linen cover is sublimatable so you can add a sublimation print to as much of it as you want. Unlike the leather notebook, this linen cover has pockets on the inside so you can slide the pages in and out. You could even probably replace the pages when you’ve filled the initial pages.

Linen sublimation notebook.

Final Thoughts on Sublimation Notebooks

Now you have several options to make sublimation notebooks of your own. I would avoid regular glitter notebooks since those didn’t work for me at all. With the sublimatin notebook blanks I used, I did order the smaller size of all of them. They each come in a variety of sizes if you’re looking for something larger.

If you have any questions about sublimating notebooks, leave them in the comments. I’m happy to answer them. If you’ve had success adding sublimation to the Dollar Tree glitter notebooks, tell us in the comments what you purchased and what settings you used so everyone knows how to make them. I’ll continue stalking my Dollar Tree in hopes of finding something that will work.

notebooks with sublimation prints applied

Now all that is left is for you to make some sublimation notebooks of your very own! Grab a few blanks and give this one a try. These make great gifts and the kids would love a personalized notebook for back to school!

sublimation on notebooks

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