Tutorial: Sublimation on Mugs – 2 Ways

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We started with an introduction to sublimation, then a tutorial for sublimation on apparel, and today I’m showing you how to do sublimation on mugs.

Supplies Needed:

Method 1: Sublimation with a Mug Press

Step 1) Create a design and print it on your sublimation printer (don’t forget to mirror!).

Step 2) Line up your design and tape into place with heat resistant tape.

Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Step 3) Set up your mug press machine and load mug into your mug press. The actual operation of mug presses vary – follow the instructions that came with yours. (I bought this one. A quick note about buying a mug press: read, read, read. Some mug presses only work with certain sized mugs.)

Step 4) Press mug with firm pressure according to transfer paper and mug recommendations. I used 380/385 degrees for 185 seconds. When pressing, you’ll want to make sure that the handle of the mug isn’t touching the metal edges – that’s too much pressure.

Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Step 5) Using pot holders or gloves, remove the mug and transfer paper immediately. (These gloves worked much better than a pot holder – get 2.)

Step 6) Place the mug in warm water or place it in front of a fan to cool it off and prevent bleeding. Final product:

Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

That’s it! It’s pretty simple to use the mug press, but time consuming because each mug has to press for so long.

Method 2: Sublimation with Mug Wraps

Step 1) Create a design and print it on your sublimation printer.

Step 2) Line up your design and tape into place with heat resistant tape.

Step 3) Slightly dampen the transfer paper. I used a towel and it worked well.

Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Step 4) Carefully place the mug wrap around the mug. Be careful not to wrinkle the transfer paper, and clamp it closed. You can find the mug wraps at this link.

Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Step 5) Bake in oven (not a toaster oven or microwave!) according to the settings that came with your transfer paper. I baked for 14 minutes at 425 degrees. Final product:

Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

Both mugs are washable, can withstand scrubbing, and are dishwasher and microwave safe. If you plan to sell mugs, I’d highly recommend you choose sublimation over vinyl.

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Tutorial: How to Sublimate Mugs - Two ways - A great intro for Silhouette Cameo and Cricut crafters - by cuttingforbusiness.com

41 thoughts on “Tutorial: Sublimation on Mugs – 2 Ways”

  1. I’m considering purchasing the press you have. Question, without the tapering attachment, how does it work on tapered cups?

    2nd question, I have a Epson workforce 7610 and Jet opaque II and Jet Pro SS paper that I use on shirts. Will all of these work for sublimation on mugs.

    3rd question, do you have to have a special king of mug material? It won’t work on just any mug?

    4th and final question. where do you get your mugs?

    Thank you

    1. Hi April, I’m sorry – I must have missed it. If your Workforce has liquid sublimation ink in it or you’ve added a continuous sublimation ink supply, it should work fine. I believe that the papers you listed are iron on inkjet papers – not sublimation papers. Might want to double check with the manufacturer.

  2. Do you feel that it is worth the investment if you are planning on making mugs as a regular part of your business? Or do you feel that Laser Slide Paper or Vinyl work just a well? Do you feel that the sublimation is a better seller then the other methods? Can you do he same designs that you would with the other methods?

    1. I absolutely think that sublimation is a better alternative to vinyl on mugs/cups. I have heard so many disappointed buyers when they realize that the letters aren’t permanent with normal use. I’ve never really used the slide paper for an extended period of time to know how that would hold up over time. Yes, you can use the same designs with sublimation. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi, I was wondering if you knew if a mug wrap would work with htv ? I realize it’s not as permanent as sublimation however these will be used as gifts and I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on stuff that wont be used that often. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t make me sound cheap 🙂

    1. Hi yes it does work but only on mugs treated with a sublimation coating the htv will not stick to a normal mug I know I have tried.
      Hope this helps.
      Dawn

  4. Hi I just recently have thought about making my own mugs and I am struggling with how to make the images. Do you have a blog post that goes into detail regarding that!?
    Thank you

    1. Hello! No, I don’t have a blog post to create images. You would create them the same way you create other designs for shirts or decals. Head over to Etsy, Creative Market, or The Hungry JPEG. They have lots of bundle packs of ready made images you could use.

  5. I don’t want to invest in sublimation equipment, but your series on this topic is excellent and certainly appropriate for someone that wants to pursue this market niche. Speaking of which, I’m now inspired to “purchase” some mugs vs use regular vinyl. Do you take orders for custom sublimation mugs, or have someone to recommend?

    QuiltShopGal
    http://www.quiltshopgal.com

  6. I am interested in trying this. My question is I have a canon selphy which is a dye sub printer. Can i use the paper that this comes with to print and tape to the mug or is there special paper/transfer paper that this needs to go on? I am unsure why i need special transfer tape if this is printed. I guess I am just confused. Thanks for any help you can give me!

  7. my heat press is not transfering on to the cup would you know why. I have ink, sublimation paper and the correct mugs. I have my press at 400 for 100 sec. Do you think I just need it on longer

  8. hello,
    can you give the temperature in celcus or fahnerhait and time to transfer mug by using heat machine press .
    i must put the mug before reaching the temperature or to reach the temperature and then put the mug .

  9. Love this series on sublimation! I want to get into it for making cheer bows but love the mugs 🙂

    Have you done an article on sublimation printers and their ink? I just noticed you mentioned something about “a continuous sublimation ink supply” on one of your replies… I would love to read more on what printer to purchase as well as this ink you mentioned.

    I have the Epson WF-7610 sitting in my amazon cart as well as something I thought was an adapter ink kit but now looking at it, its a continuous ink supply system. That being said… I have no clue! A few people on FB recommended that printer but I would love to read your opinions on printers 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. I actually don’t recommend one printer over another, because I just don’t have the time (or money) to try out a lot of sublimation printers. I don’t think I could write an inclusive article without using at least 10 printers or so. However, I do recommend the team at Coastal Business Supply. Feel free to reach out to them, they have tried them all. 🙂

  10. Hi Christine, Thank you so much for this article you wrote to share with us all x I dyslexic & it’s the first article out of many that I’ve been able to fully understand & follow as well as capturing my eye & re-booting my Brain cogs lol Can I ask can I do designs on wine Glasses ? Etc also ?
    Thanks for reading this Claire H x

  11. I am interested in the mug press that you provided the link for as it says it accommodates larger mugs, unlike other presses I’ve looked at. Just wanting to make sure this is accurate and have you pressed using the larger 15oz mugs?

    Thank you for the detailed easy directions!

  12. Hello, I am wondering if the inside of sublimated mugs are sprayed with a coating and able to be printed on. and would it be safe to drink from? Basically I want to buy blank, sublimated mugs and design the insides. Some people have said that I have to make sure the inside is sprayed/coated and I’m just wondering if I can assume sublimated mugs are coated all over, or just the outside. Thank you!

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