How to Sublimate Mugs | Mug Sublimation in 2 Ways

Going to a store, selecting the mug type, spending hours explaining, and above all, paying them a hefty amount just for single mug customization. Ugh! Ain’t not more! Now you can customize your mugs with materials available at your home. All you need is to learn how to sublimate the mugs that we are going to provide you in this article.

Basically, there are two methods through which you can sublimate or customize mugs. One uses specialized tools while the other is a budget-friendly method. So whether you are turning your morning coffee mugs sublimated with your favorite designs, your pictures, or brand logos or doing it commercially for hundreds of your clients, we have an easy solution for you all. So, without further ado, let’s see what you need.

How to Sublimate Mugs:

Method#1 printing the design on sublimation paper followed by wrapping it around the mug. Then, secure it with the heat-resisting tape and get it pressed under a mug press for a specific time period (as shown in the picture below).

Sublimating design on a mug

Method#2 wrapping the printed design from the sublimation printer, covering it with sublimation wrap followed by heating it under the oven, and finally sealing the colors with the heat gun.

Sublimation of mugs using the first method:

First, we’ll go with method 1. Here’s the list of supplies you’ll need with this:

  • Sublimation printer
  • Sublimation paper and ink
  • Mug press
  • Blank mugs
  • Heat resistant tapes
  • Heat resistant oven mitt
  • Scissors
  • Knife or tweezers

In this method, we are using a converted Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7820 with Hippo sublimation ink and papers (size: 8.5 x 11). The mug press is from Cricut which has the easiest one-touch settings to sublimate the mugs. Besides, we have two mugs that we are customizing in this press.

Process of sublimating the mug (step by step): 

  1. Create your design from sublimation design software. You can also send your pictures, image, logo, or anything your want to get printed on a mug to the printer. Make sure the design size fits perfectly to your mug.
  2. Get the design printed (mirrored) on sublimation paper and trim it to wrap around the mug.
  3. Now wrap the paper tightly around the mug. Secure it with heat-resistant tape and make sure no air could pass through it.
  4. Heat the mug press for up to 400 Fahrenheit. Though mug press settings vary depending on the brand as well as on the sublimation paper so keep in contact with the instructions of your paper and mug press settings.
  5. Adjust the pressure to medium-heavy and place your mug in the mug press.
  6. Heat the mug for 6-7 minutes. Again, the timing varies with your setting.
  7. After the mug is heated, wear your heat-resistant oven mitts and take the mug out of your heat press.
  8. Instantly remove the transfer sheet. You’ll need a kitchen knife to remove the tapes first.
  9. Let the mug cool down before you make use of it
wrap the design on coffee mug

Here are a few things to remember.

  • Mirror the design before printing it.
  • Wrap the design firmly and tightly.
  • When placing the mug in the press, be very careful to not let any side wrinkle.
  • Use ceramic mugs only. Plastics are not recommended.
  • Use the temperature and pressure prescribed by the manufacturer.
  • The minimum heating time should not be less than 6 minutes.
  • Remove the sublimation paper as soon as you take out the mug.
  • Do not use the mug before it is cooled down.

Let’s see what the second method has to offer for mug sublimation: 

Well, the first method is pretty much easy and gave incredible results. However, we are yet to try the second one. So, let’s sublimate the mug using the second one and then give you our final verdict.

List of supplies:

Process of sublimating the mug

Step by step process:

  1. Get the design printed on a sublimation printer the similar way we did above.
  2. Wrap the design around the coffee mug and secure it tightly with heat resistant tap.
  3. Dampen the paper using a thick cloth.
  4. Cover the mug with sublimation wrap and shrink it using the heat gun,
  5. Cut all the excessive wrap and secure it with heat-resistant tape.
  6. Preheat the oven.
  7. Place the mug inside the oven for 12-15 minutes at 425 Fahrenheit.
  8. After heating, take out the mugs and remove sublimation wraps and paper.
  9. Use a heat gun or hairdryer to ensure the color’s permanency.

Important instructiuons:

Hang on, remember the following tips to get the results as good as you have expected.

  • Use oven. Microwaves and hot pots are not recommended.
  • Don’t wet the paper entirely. It needs to be moisturized only.
  • Always preheat the oven before placing the mugs.
  • Be gentle while wrapping the sublimation wrap around the mug.
  • Use the temperature setting as per the sublimation paper guidelines.

Using Mug Press Vs Oven For Mug Sublimation:

Now we have the results of both the methods. Let’s give the perks and downsides to each method.

Using a Mug press is a more accurate and versatile method. The reason is the easy and predictable temperature and pressure settings. The machine is predominantly made for mug and tumbler sublimation that’s why there’s comparatively less chance of errors and messy designs. In addition, the time it takes is comparatively less than that of the oven.

However, the biggest drawback of the mug press is that it only entertains one mug at a time. Whereas, you can heat up as many mugs as you want in one-time heating in the oven. In addition, sublimating the mugs in the oven also saves from investing additionally in a mug press. (Though, the use of mug press is only limited to mug/tumbler pressing so it doesn’t worth 200$ for home use).

oven sublimation vs mug press sublimation

This is the reason, why bulk mug sublimation is done using ovens instead of mug presses. Although, it needs professional handling of setting up the time and temperatures. Many beginners cannot make hitting customization with the oven due to the unsure temperature setting varying from oven’s brand to brand.

Conclusively, it all comes down to the usage and your convenience plus experience. The mug press will give you an edge for accuracy and successful results, while the oven is really timesaving and budget-friendly for entertaining multiple mugs at once. So, the choice is yours as to which factor you prioritize the most. In addition, follow the guidelines of keeping the sublimated mug. dishwashers tend to affect the prominence. However, in case of errors, you can alternate these to retrieve the blank mug. Here’s how you can remove sublimation ink.

Final verdict:

So these are the entire ins and outs of how to sublimate mugs and we hope you got the right direction to customize your mugs now. Depending on what materials are within easy reach, you can start sublimating your mugs now. Whether you buy a mug press and stick to your oven, the success really comes to following the procedures correctly, so be certain to not make mistakes across any step and you’ll definitely have an incredible-looking mug in vibrant colors at the end!

Because your classy personality deserves to have a classic-looking mug in your hand every day to give you caffeine as well as a confidence boost! Sending luck to your new sublimation products. See you again!

Emily

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