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Have you ever wondered how full color engraving works?  In this article we’ll take a quick look from start to finish how the process works and what goes into providing you with a full-color image on your awards!

What is Full Color Engraving?

Full color engraving is also known as sublimation engraving, or sublimation printing.  It differs from traditional engraving in that no material is extracted from the engraving sheet as done with diamond and laser engraving.  Instead, the engraving is “printed” on a sheet of plastic or metal after being transferred from sublimation paper through extreme heat and pressure.


Where does it begin?

Sublimation PrinterFull color engraving starts by rendering a design in a computer graphics program.  We use CorelDraw.  For this example we’re designing Name Tags for Southern Utah University.  Logos, and text are formatted in any color and are printed in reverse to a sublimation printer using customized print settings.  This allows the image to be transferred onto the engraving stock in the correct direction later on in the process.


The engraving stock is then attached to the printed design using heat-resistant tape able to withstand an excess of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  The product is then pressed under extreme heat and pressure from anywhere from 60-90 seconds.  This is when the image is transferred from the paper to the engraving material.  After the elapsed time, the material is allowed to cool, and then removed from the paper revealing the full color image on the metal or plastic surface.

Sublimation Engraving Process

How Full Color Engraving has Changed the Industry

Full color engraving has given a new addition of color into the engraving world.  With this more modern look, many employers cater to their millennial employees and customers by creating eye catching plaques and name tags.  If you have a suggestion for a product you’d like to see made using sublimation engraving, leave a comment below.  If you have any questions please contact Gem Awards.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sublimation Engraving.

What is Sublimation Engraving?

Sublimation engraving is also known as full-color printing or full-color engraving.  The process of full-color engraving is described in more detail above.

What materials can be sublimated?

Sublimation engraving is limited to engraving on specific items designed for the process.  There are specialty metals, plastics and other personalized gifts such as mugs, trays and phone cases.  This usually means you need to buy the products from us and through our vendors. 

How long does it take for an item to be sublimated?

We can usually produce our sublimated items within 24 hours of your ordering.