How to Design Smarter on Vinyl on Cups, Tumblers, and Mugs

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I’ve mentioned on the Cutting for Business blog before that I really don’t think that vinyl on a mug is the best product to sell. I know that some sellers have had a great luck doing them – while others get customers complaining that the vinyl is simply a “sticker” or that it peels off easily. Instead, I would rather see everyone doing sublimation on mugs which makes the design permanent, washable, and able to withstand the microwave. If you don’t know how mug sublimation works, head to this post.

How to Design Smarter on Cups and Mugs

If you do want to do vinyl on mugs, you just need to learn to design smarter. Let’s look at an example – which mug is a smarter design?Vinyl on Mugs - Designing Smarter with Your Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore - by cuttingforbusiness.comVinyl on Mugs - Designing Smarter with Your Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore - by cuttingforbusiness.com

These two sayings are the same, however, there are big differences. Here’s why the second one is a better design choice: Vinyl on Mugs - Designing Smarter with Your Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore - by cuttingforbusiness.com Vinyl on Mugs - Designing Smarter with Your Silhouette Cameo or Cricut Explore - by cuttingforbusiness.com

When designing (or shopping for designs) to put on cups, mugs, and tumblers using vinyl you can make smarter decisions by looking for designs that are one piece and those that have thicker or chunkier letters. When you have more surface area of adhesive against the blank – the better the design will stay on. For maximum design life, don’t forget to follow the vinyl manufacturer’s recommendations for curing time before use.

Remember, better designed products lead to happier customers – and more money in your pocket!

Need care cards to include with your mugs, cups, or tumblers? Download them free here.

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How to Make Your Vinyl Designs Last Longer on Cups and Mugs - A great read read for Silhouette Portrait or Cameo and Cricut Explore or Maker - by cuttingforbusiness.com

21 thoughts on “How to Design Smarter on Vinyl on Cups, Tumblers, and Mugs”

  1. I personally bought a coffee mug with vinyl on it last year (although I thought it was printed or permanent sublimation) that is now a $15 plain white mug! 🙁 . After gently hand washing it about 5 times, the vinyl completely came off. Yes, I agree, a bit of a hefty price for buyers when you can not put it in the microwave or dishwasher and for a design that will not last. Sad, because I really love the design on it. Thanks for sharing.

      1. I have an acrylic stemless wine glass that I used glitter vinyl on over 2 years ago. I believe it was HDC ultra metallic. It goes through the dishwasher at least once or twice a month and I have never had any issue with it even peeling! Makes me wonder if they did use the proper type of vinyl.

    1. Wow! There HAD to be something wrong in this situation! I agree, I would only tell customers to hand wash but i have a mug I did a lot of letters on, have been putting in dishwasher for about two years now and it looks brand new! I even had a letter rip before I put it on and because it was for me, said what the heck and you can’t notice it. That letter is perfectly intact, also. I have been leaving in the dishwasher now for every load just to see how long it will hold up. No problem yet. I can’t be bothered with hand washing a mug and wouldn’t buy one as a customer. i did buy a sub printer but it will be a while before I have time to get that all up and running.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have been interested in sublimation and I have the attachment on my heat press for mugs. I will be trying it now. 🙂

  3. I have found that if you want to use vinyl on mugs or cups the best to use is oracal 751. It is actually rated as car vinyl. I have mugs and cups that have been washed for well over a year and the vinyl still looks brand new. The quality of vinyl matters!

  4. I agree that sublimation is best. Personally, I had bad luck getting the colors as vibrant as I’d like so now I sub-contract any sublimation work. But when I have a customer that understands the pros and cons yet still wants vinyl on a mug there are 3 things I do in addition to the recommendations Christine has made.
    1. I wash the mug with warm soap and water and then wipe the area with 99% isopropyl alcohol to remove any oils.
    2. I use 671 or 691 (Marine-grade) Oracal adhesive vinyl. They are thinner, stretch a little and are rated 7+ years in a wet environment. And I only use quality mugs – no dollar store porous crap. Using the best quality products (vinyl and mugs) helps insure success.
    3. I also finish the design off by heating with a blow dryer (heat guns are a little too hot for this) and then gently wipe the design to insure it’s adhered completely.

  5. Yes sublimation is great but you are so limited because you can’t just dye sub any surface, you have to buy the special dye sublimation blanks. That makes it tough. For instance you want to purchase a quality brand stainless steel water bottle and put a saying on it. I’ve purchase dye sub stainless steel water bottle that doesn’t keep drinks as cold as a brand name one.

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