How to Sublimate a Tumbler | Tested Methods

The urge in sublimation artists to sublimate literally everything has gone so far that now you can sublimate even the tumblers! And trust me, Sublimation tumblers are perhaps one of the most on-point artworks which insisted me to write this article showing you how to sublimate a tumbler covering all the odds and ends regarding it.

How To Sublimate A Tumbler

Here to start with a few basic facts about sublimation tumbler ideas, tumbler sublimation is slightly different from how you used to sublimate on polyester, sublimation blanks, etc. Though the change is the use of the Cricut mug press instead of the heat press which changes the whole process. Whereas, for the tumblers too, unfortunately, not all kinds of them can be sublimated, and thus, we have to get to the details to find what is the science behind sublimating tumblers and what tumblers to use.

How To Make Sublimation Tumblers? Sublimating a tumbler:

Sublimating a tumbler

Depending on the heat source, you can use three methods for sublimating the tumbler. The first one is very popular and easy that is using the sublimation printer. Using infusible Cricut ink is the 2nd best method for tumbler sublimation. And finally, there are ovens with which you can perform tumbler sublimation at a budget. 

Note: Simple tumblers cannot absorb the sublimation ink and your entire efforts will go in gain. So, what kind of tumblers can you sublimate on? Well, there are specialized sublimation tumblers, therefore, before you start the process, double check your tumbler as it must have the “polyester coatings” on the outside. You can simply get the plain sublimation tumblers from any store or online. 

Sublimating tumbler with the sublimation printer:

List of tools: 
Sublimation printer
Sublimation sheet 
sublimation tumbler blank
Heat tape 
Butcher paper 
Lint roll 
Heat glove 

Using a sublimation printer is by far, the easiest and less hectic method (only if you have a good sublimation printer). The first thing, as usual getting the design ready and printing it on the sublimation paper for the tumbler, making the tumbler prints ready. Now, lint roll the tumbler to make sure there are no dust particles on the surface. 

Now comes the actual task. Here you will turn on the Cricut mug press and preheat it as we used to heat the heat press machine. Since it’s not a one-time process meaning that you have to do the press eight times on the same tumbler with intervals to get it printer in a wrap-around. 

So, the first thing getting the sublimation sheet wrapped around the tumbler and tape it all over using the heat tape. Make sure you are not overlapping it. Now, cover it with butcher paper. As you begin pressing the bug, you have to divide the tumbler into 4 sides by the circumference and 2 by the top and bottom so it’ll be 8 sides as a whole for 3 minutes each. Now from the bottom do ¼ followed by 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, and then repeat it for the top as well till you get the sublimated tumbler. Now, remove the gloves and let the tumbler cool before you wrap off the sheet and tapings. 

Sublimating tumbler using Cricut infusible ink transfer sheet: 

List of tools: 
Cricut infusable ink transfer sheet
Cricut machine 
Blank Tumbler 
Heat tape 
Butcher paper 
Lint roll 
Heat glove 

Cricut infusible inks are a great option for sublimating the tumbler. All you have to do is to choose the design you like in the Cricut design software. Here the process is quite similar to sublimation with HTV where we just cut the vinyl and weed. In the same way, we’ll cut and weed the excessive sheet and then wrap it around the tumbler to get it sublimated under the Cricut mug press or tumbler press.

Wrap the butcher paper over the design and then heat it. Though, heating the tumbler will be the same as we did above. Dividing the sides by four and length in 2 and in 8 intervals with three minutes on each side, the tumbler will be ready.

Sublimating tumbler using the oven:

List of tools: 
Sublimation printed sheet 
Blank Tumbler 
Sublimation shrink wraps 
Heat gun 
An oven 
Heat glove 

If you don’t a pressing machine, don’t be stressed! You can simply do it with your convection ovens now. However, you will be needing extra materials such as sublimation shrimp wraps and a heat gun to make a perfect DIY sublimation tumbler. So, how to sublimate a tumbler in a convection oven? Well, you can have the printed sheet or infusible sheet and instead of using heating it on the press, you can use the oven.

The only twist here is, that you have to wrap the tumbler with the sublimation shrink wrap as we mentioned above, and with the heat gun, we’ll shrink it to get completely fixed to the tumbler. In the next step, we’ll put the covered tumbler in the oven. You can use a convection oven, toaster oven, or the traditional what is available to you to print tumbler wraps.

However, the point of focus is the time and temperature of the convection oven as a traditional one would require 15-20 minutes at 400 F whereas the toaster oven would get it done in 10 minutes hardly. So, be aligned with the temperature of your oven and don’t overheat to have decent colors.


As explained above, not every tumbler supports sublimation because of the non-plastic coating. The tumblers designed for sublimation come with a special polyester coating which allows the ink to get absorbed within.

Your tumblers will most probably get dull if you heat them too much or the ink you have used is simply not up to the mark. For all the methods, you must the temperature settings for the heat source you are using.

You have to use heat transfer vinyl using a heat press to sublimate the tumbler. Heat press usually doesn’t support circular objects so they are the least suggested to b pressed under heat-pressed because of their shape.


So, this is exactly how you will sublimate the tumbler. Remember getting the tumblers with plastic coating. Though there are various methods that you can choose to sublimate the tumblers depending on what equipment are available to you. Whether you are using the Cricut infusible or sublimation printer method, the results will be 100% success just by following each and every step correctly. Good luck and enjoy sublimating tumblers with your favorite designs!


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