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The Art of Adding Colour and Depth into Wooden Medals


For those of you who don't know Zero Waste Medals has a sister company over at Local Print Pros. We print absolutely anything and everything. This includes sublimating tee shirts. 

Now that may have seemed like a bit of pointless information but actually it explains the back story behind our newest exploration into the world of coloured medals. 

ROC 24 along with most medals currently on our blog was again one of the very first we created. Hand painting onto wood is a traditional technique used to add colour and design to wooden medals. This involves applying paint or stain to the wooden surface by hand using brushes. The process includes selecting the appropriate paint or stain, sanding the surface, applying multiple coats, distressing the raised areas, and letting it dry. The end result is a unique and eye-catching wooden medal.
Hand painting onto wood is a time-consuming process, but it results in a unique and eye-catching wooden medal. The process of painting the wooden medal after it has been cut and etched ensures that the final product is free from any unwanted singe marks. We tried and tested many techniques to get a fully coloured medal and can now proudly say we have found a process which allows us to create medals much quicker but still with the same great quality of the hand painted products. 

Sublimation printing onto wood is a relatively new and innovative technique for adding colour to wooden medals. Sublimation printing involves transferring a water based dye onto a material using heat and pressure. It works by printing a design onto special transfer paper using sublimation ink, which is then transferred onto the wooden surface using a heat press.

The process of sublimation printing onto wood starts with preparing the wooden surface. The surface is sanded to remove any roughness and create a smooth surface. Then, a special sublimation coating is applied to the wooden surface, which helps to absorb the water based sublimation ink and ensures a long lasting and vibrant colour.


The transfer paper is then placed onto the wooden surface, and the two are sandwiched together between the plates of a heat press. The heat press applies heat and pressure, which causes the sublimation ink to turn into a gas and penetrate the surface of the wood. As the temperature drops, the sublimation ink reverts back to a solid state, and the design becomes permanently embedded into the surface of the wooden medal. This results in a durable and long-lasting colour that will not fade, crack or peel.

Sublimation printing onto wood is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to add colour to wooden medals. It allows for a wide range of designs and colours to be printed onto the medal, and the finished product has a unique and vibrant appearance. The layering effect that is mentioned in the blog post adds depth and texture to the design, making it stand out even more.

In summary, sublimation printing onto wood is an exciting new technique that allows for high-quality and vibrant designs to be added to wooden medals. The process involves preparing the wooden surface, printing the design onto transfer paper using sublimation ink, and using a heat press to transfer the design onto the wooden surface. The end result is a durable and long-lasting colour that adds a unique and eye-catching element to wooden medals.

Take a look at our social media pages to see more examples of custom colour designs: 

Zero Waste Medals | Telford | Facebook

Zero Waste Medals (@zerowastemedals) • Instagram photos and videos

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