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How to Make Sublimation and Laser Cut Fridge Magnets

One of my favorite things to do is combine the power of more than one piece of equipment.  When I realized how well my sublimation printer and laser cutter and engraver work was a game changer. 

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In this tutorial I'm going to show you how to make laser cut fridge magnets that are sublimated! Once you see how to combine laser cutting with sublimation the possibilities of what you can do, including making your own sublimation blanks, really opens up! 

This is a pretty advanced tutorial that assumes you are familiar with designing and printing to your sublimation printer from Silhouette Studio as well as laser cutting with the xTool. I'm using the xTool P2 55w CO2 laser for these laser cut fridge magnets, but the 10w xTool M1 craft laser and 40w xTool S1 can also cut sublimation hardboard. 

Start in Silhouette Studio by filling your page with a design. I used this blue butterfly design and after quickly filling the page, used one of my favorite Silhouette Studio tricks to change the colors for a full set.  

After you print, don't close the work area yet - we need to create the laser file as well.

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Print the sublimation transfer to your printer - I'm using my Sawgrass SG1000 sublimation printer for this project.

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How to Create a Laser Cut File from a PNG

After you've printed the sublimation transfer sheet we need to export a laser cut file to match. This is why you need Silhouette Studio Business Edition. Do NOT change the size, scale, or move anything or this file will not line up with your sublimation print. 

I have a more indepth tutorial here on how to create a laser cut file to match sublimation prints, but the basic steps are: 
  • Select the Entire Design or Set of Designs 
  • Fill with White (basically remove the design, but keep the shape)
  • Change the Line Color to Red
  • File Save > Save to Hard Drive > Save as SVG

How to Print on Sublimation Hardboard 

Sublimation hardboard often comes in pre cut shapes, but with a laser cutter, you can cut it to make custom sublimation blanks!  If you've never used sublimation hardboard before with a laser cutter, check out this beginner tutorial. 

Heat up your heat press to 400 degrees. 

Tape the printed sheet, face down, to the piece of sublimation hardboard. 

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Press for 60 seconds in the heat press.

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When the time is up, peel away the sublimation transfer paper.

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Laser Cutting Sublimation Hardboard 

Before you place the piece of hardboard into your laser cutter, I would suggest you tape or mask the hardboard to avoid getting dark areas around the laser cut edges from charring. 

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White masking tape would be a better option than this blue painters tape... because you want to be able to see the image through the tape (at least well enough to mark it) so you know where to place the laser cut file to cut around the designs. 

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With the xTool P2 powered on, place the hardboard sheet into the laser bed.  

Open xTool Creative Space and connect your laser. Refresh the camera so you get the current view. 

Go to File > Import Image and import that SVG file you exported from Silhouette Studio. 

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Use the Close Up Camera capture to focus on one an area where you can see the image through the tape or see your markings.  Use the close up view to help you precisely line up the laser cut file. 

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Once you have it in position, make sure you are set to Cut.  Enter the laser cut settings for hardboard. I found with the xTool P2: Power 100, Speed 10 and 1 Pass work well.

You can download my hardboard laser settings and printable cheat sheet for xTool M1, S1, and P2 settings here.

Click Process to begin the laser cutting. 

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When the cutting is complete, you'll need to peel off the tape from all of the magnets. 

Tip: If you have trouble lining up the laser cut lines to the printed image, you can cut the hardboard first then sublimate directly onto it.  

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The final step is to use glue like E6000 or B7000 to glue magnets onto the back of the hardboard.  

The magnets I used are so strong that I found they were pulling toward other when I had the round hardboard too close to each other.  

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Make sure you have enough distance between each one until the glue dries. 

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These came out so cute...and as you can see I'm clearly addicted to making laser cut fridge magnets from hardboard, wood, and acrylic

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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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