How to Convert HP Printer to Sublimation Printer: Easy Guide

If you’re eager to explore the creative world of sublimation printing, converting your existing HP printer can be an excellent starting point. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process step-by-step to ensure you know exactly how to convert HP printer to sublimation printer.

How to Convert HP Printer to Sublimation Printer
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Can you Convert an HP Printer to a Sublimation Printer?

Before we even begin to discuss the conversion process, we need to address the elephant in the room. “Is the conversion truly possible?” Let’s find out…

Converting a regular inkjet printer into a sublimation printer is a subject of discussion within various printing and DIY communities. However, the process is not officially recommended or supported by most printer manufacturers, including HP. The act of converting your printer can void warranties and lead to other unforeseen complications.

Various forums and YouTube tutorials might suggest that it’s possible to convert a regular inkjet printer, including HP printers, for sublimation printing by replacing the ink cartridges with sublimation ink and following certain procedures. However, such modifications are not supported by the manufacturer and could result in poor print quality, printer malfunctions, or even permanent damage to the printer.

For reliable information, it’s crucial to consult manufacturer guidelines and documentation or speak directly with professionals in the field of printing and sublimation. HP does not officially support converting their regular inkjet printers into sublimation printers. Therefore, undertaking such a conversion is at your own risk.

If you’re interested in sublimation printing, the best practice is to purchase a printer specifically designed for that purpose. This ensures that the printer is optimized for the sublimation process, will produce high-quality prints, and is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.

In summary, while it may technically be possible to convert a regular HP printer into a sublimation printer, it is not recommended without expert guidance and a thorough understanding of the risks involved.


Preparation: Gathering the Necessary Supplies

If you still insist on converting your HP printer to a sublimation printer, you’ll require these essential supplies. Here is a list, along with an explanation for each item:

Sublimation ink: This is the special ink that turns into gas upon heating. It’s the core element of sublimation printing.

Sublimation paper: This paper is specifically designed to hold sublimation ink. Unlike regular paper, it ensures the ink turns into gas effectively.

Empty ink cartridges: These will hold the sublimation ink. You can use the cartridges that originally came with your HP printer as long as they are empty and clean.

Printer cleaning solution: This is used to flush out any residual standard ink from the printer’s nozzles.

Syringes: These are for refilling the ink cartridges with sublimation ink.


Steps on How to Convert HP Printer to Sublimation Printer

The steps below will guide you on how to convert HP printer to sublimation printer.

Step 1: Cleaning the Printer

Before adding sublimation ink, it’s absolutely crucial to remove all traces of regular ink from the printer. This ensures that you won’t have any mixing of inks, which could ruin your sublimation projects.

Open the Printer: The first step is to open the printer cover where you access the cartridges. Make sure the printer is turned off and unplugged for safety.

Remove the Existing Cartridges: Take out the cartridges and set them aside. You might want to place them in a plastic bag or cover them with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.

Clean the Printhead: Take a soft lint-free cloth and wet it slightly with a printer cleaning solution. Gently wipe the printhead, the part of the printer that comes into contact with the ink cartridge. This will help remove any ink residue.

Internal Cleaning: While the printer is open, you can also use the cloth to wipe away any ink spills inside the printer.

Run Built-in Cleaning Cycles: After manually cleaning, plug the printer back in and run its built-in cleaning cycle. This will usually be an option accessible from the printer’s control panel or through its software on your computer.

Step 2: Emptying the Ink Cartridges

Now that your printer is clean, the next step is to empty the existing ink cartridges to make room for the sublimation ink.

Remove Ink with Syringe: Use a large syringe to extract the remaining ink from the cartridges. Do this over a sink or a bowl to catch any spills.

Clean the Cartridges: After emptying, rinse the cartridges with warm water to ensure that no traces of the regular ink remain. You may also use a lint-free cloth to wipe them down.

Let Them Dry: Allow the cartridges to completely dry before refilling them with sublimation ink. Any moisture can contaminate the sublimation ink.

Step 3: Refilling the Cartridges with Sublimation Ink

This step is critical as you’ll now be adding the sublimation ink to your cleaned and empty cartridges.

Prepare the Sublimation Ink: Shake the sublimation ink bottles gently to make sure the ink is well-mixed.

Use a New Syringe: Use a new syringe for each color of ink to avoid cross-contamination. Draw ink from the bottle into the syringe.

Inject the Ink: Carefully inject the sublimation ink into the corresponding sections of the empty cartridges. If your cartridge has separate compartments for different colors, make sure to match them correctly.

Seal and Install: Once filled, securely close any openings and install the cartridges back into the printer.

Step 4: Load Sublimation Paper

Sublimation paper is designed to receive and hold the sublimation ink in a way that regular paper cannot. Here’s how to load it into your printer.

Identify the Correct Side: Sublimation paper usually has a right and wrong side for printing. Check the packaging for instructions.

Place the Paper: Insert the paper into the paper tray with the correct side facing up or down, based on your printer’s requirements.

Align the Paper: Make sure the paper is aligned correctly to prevent any printing issues.

You can get this A-SUB Sublimation Paper from Walmart.

Step 5: Test Printing

The final step is to perform a test print to confirm that everything is working as it should.

Select a Simple Design: Choose a straightforward design with multiple colors to check if each cartridge is functioning properly.

Print: Execute the print command from your computer.

Inspect: Once printed, check for color accuracy, sharpness, and any other anomalies. If something seems off, you may need to run more cleaning cycles or check the cartridges.


Check out these other articles…

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HP Sublimation Printer: The Ultimate Guide

Sublimation Ink for HP Printer: A Comprehensive Guide


Frequently Asked Questions

We understand you may have additional questions. Here are some commonly asked questions about converting an HP printer to a sublimation printer, along with their answers.

Can you convert an HP Deskjet printer to a sublimation printer?
Yes, most HP Deskjet printers can be converted following the steps above.

Is converting an HP printer to sublimation expensive?
While there is an initial investment for sublimation ink and paper, converting an HP printer can be quite cost-effective in the long run, especially if you already own the printer.

Can I use regular paper instead of sublimation paper?
No, regular paper will not hold the sublimation ink properly and will result in poor-quality prints.

Is it necessary to clean the printer before converting?
Yes, failure to properly clean the printer can result in a mix of regular and sublimation ink, which could ruin your prints.