How to Make Sublimation Tumbler (Oven and Cricut Mug Press)

Last Updated on April 1, 2022 by Andrew Chapman

Tumblers are actually flat sides drinking glasses with no stem and the material used for the tumblers are plastic and metal. And sublimation is the most attractive and admired process which makes the material more beautiful than the blank medium. The tumbler is one of the materials is used for the sublimation that gives an amazing look to the tumbler. It also gives a colorful feeling to the drinker as it is used for drinking cold drinks.

All the materials that will be required are mentioned to overcome your hassle while finding them to complete this process. And the two easiest ways have been told to sublimate on tumblers. You just need to make sure that you are going to follow all the steps in the right direction for a successful sublimation process.

how to sublimate a tumbler

We have sublimated and prepared many kinds of materials but got a different experience while sublimating on the tumblers. As you learn differently when working on different materials. Because the process sometimes gets changed as well as the material.

Sublimation to any kind of polyester material is easy. And sublimating the tumblers is also easy until you get the right accessories and follow the right guidance. To make your sublimation process successful, all the equipment for this process should be of good quality. Because without having quality accessories, you can’t get accurate results whether you follow all the steps accurately.

Material List for Sublimation Process

  1. Sublimation design software
  2. Sublimation printer
  3. Sublimation ink
  4. Sublimation paper
  5. Sublimation tumbler blanks
  6. Convection oven
  7. Cricut mug press
  8. Heat gloves
  9. Shrinkwrap sleeve
  10. Lint roller
  11. Teflon sheets
  12. Butcher paper

Let’s talk about the functions of the mentioned materials to understand them easily. And start your process without searching and finding the functions of the equipment. Because all these types of equipment can make your print valuable or not. Also, the right strategy has as much importance as the material. Because it can burn your material, paper while turning the temperature and leaving it for more time than recommended.

1. Sublimation Design Software

This is one of your initial requirements to start this process. Because the sense of the design matters a lot more than how the design will look on the tumbler. And you can make eye-catchy and attractive designs with this designing software. If you don’t know the right software for your design, you can read this article about sublimation design software. It will help you in choosing the right software for your required design.

If you want to play with the design and want to do some experiments, then you will have to purchase the premium plans. You can get the canvas premium plan because it has an easy and clean user interface with lots of ready-made templates. And that makes the designing so easy with just some editing or clicking the templates. But Adobe Design software is the king design maker because they make the monster design with a lot of features and options. But it depends on the design type, without knowing the design type, you can’t select the right software.

2. Sublimation Printer

By getting the best sublimation printer for printing the desired designs, 70% of the work is done. You won’t get the quality print until you don’t have the quality sublimation printer. Because the dull printers and old printer affects your print and you don’t get the best sublimation results. Our experience has been superb with the Epson printers and they generate the best results.

There are many kinds of printers that are not recommended for sublimation like brother’s printers, Home and office printers, cricut printers and Canon printers. Because they have got some issues regarding sublimation ink, no replacing cartridges, and all the other reasons that completely destroy the print. If you want to know about all those not recommended printers, you can read this article.

Related: Best Sublimation Printers for Mugs in 2022

3. Sublimation Ink

This also has to be made of high quality to look clean and smooth onto the sublimation paper. The sublimation ink turns into a gas without going through the liquid when heat pressure is applied. This ink remains longer on the material than the other regular inks. The other reason why sublimation ink is more important than regular ink? Because it doesn’t fade away over time and doesn’t wash off as well.

The sublimation ink transfers onto the material without smudging when the high temperature applies and allows the ink to transfer easily. And it’s highly recommended for polyester materials. If you use high-quality sublimation ink, you will have vibrant colors transfers and long-lasting print, and many more.

4. Sublimation Paper

Other equipment must be involved in this process. You can’t compromise on the quality of the sublimation paper for the tumblers. And rather you should not compromise on any single material if you want to have the best results. This paper will absorb and retain the sublimation ink to transfer successfully onto the material. There are some factors you need to keep in mind while purchasing the sublimation paper because it also depends on the sublimation ink.

Whether how much the capacity that ink has, the limits of the ink, and the pattern of ink. And the printing speed also matters a lot in the quality of the sublimation paper. Because lightweight paper is mostly produced for sharp printing while the thick paper is produced for slow printing.

5. Sublimation Tumblers

The sublimation tumblers are the tumblers that are printed with a particular design through the sublimation process is called sublimation tumblers. You can easily get the tumblers in the market and the sizes recommended for the sublimation are 16. oz or 20. oz skinny tumblers. But before purchasing, you should ask the manufacturer that are they suitable for sublimation and can bear the heat process. We have used the tumblers for two methods.

In the first method, we have sublimated the tumbler through the oven. In the second method, we have sublimated through the Cricut mug press. These two methods are almost the same, a few bit of material changes are there. Required all the procedure is same, it depends on you whether you have mug press or oven.

6. Convection Oven

That’s what I was discussing about the different experiences is using a convection oven for the tumbler sublimation. Make sure that you are using the oven must be dedicated and sublimatable and it shouldn’t be a toaster oven. In this process, you don’t need to purchase the standard heat press. You only need the convection oven or the mug press, it’s your choice. But we will transfer the print onto the tumbler through a convection oven. Because this oven suits more than the heat press to transfer design.

7. Cricut Mug Press

The mug press is another product of the circuit and it is used to transfer the design onto the tumbler. You will go with a temperature of 390 to 400 F because mostly polyester-coated tumblers are sublimated to this temperature. But you must ask your manufacturer that on which temperature it will be sublimated. Because a temperature change can burn your design.

8. Heat Gloves

Heat gloves are specially mentioned to protect your hands and fingers when the sublimation process gets done. And you can wear these gloves after every heat process and you get difficulty while holding particular pieces.

9. Shrinkwrap Sleeve

The shrink wrap sleeve has been used especially for the tumbler to protect it and also protect the Cricut mug press. And it provides the benefit to the printing effect and the sublimation onto the tumbler. You just simply shrink wrap the tumbler and place it into the oven. It is used when your product doesn’t get fit into the presses. And especially curve shapes products mostly used these shrink wrap sleeves to press the curved product properly.

10. Lint Roller

This should also be used because the lint roller cleans all the moisture or dust from the mug. So that you can get them cleaned and smooth transfer onto the tumbler. You must purchase this lint roller to prepare completely the tumbler for the sublimation to get desired results. But you can use another thing like the roller that also cleans the material properly.

11. Teflon Sheets

A stain-resistant Teflon sheet that keeps the tumbler and the mug press clean. It is actually made of Teflon material and it’s a non-stick that protects your valuable design from melting. And you don’t need to purchase it for every project because it’s reusable.

12. Butcher Paper

The butcher should be white, unwaxed, and uncoated. The main purpose of the butcher paper is used to absorb and release moisture from the tumbler. As both the tumbler and the mug press will be saved and the sublimation ink will be transferred properly to the sublimation place.

Now let’s go down to the easy step-by-step guide on how to do sublimation tumblers.

How to Make Sublimation Tumbler

Like on the other materials sublimation is easy, sublimation on the tumbler is also not a complicated process and can be done easily as we had sublimated the other materials. But here it will transfer the design through a convention oven, not through a heat press. Why you can’t choose the heat press? Just use common sense, when u will press through heat-press, the tumbler may get a break or get damaged while pressing. Let’s discuss how you can easily sublimate on tumbler.

Step 1 – Creating Design

First of all, you need to make the design that suits your tumbler to have a sensible design look on the tumbler. Designing is not as difficult as the name is, if you don’t know how to create a design, you can learn easily through online platforms. And you will be able to make an outstanding design. As I mentioned the recommended sizes, you can design with the dimension of 9.3 multiplied by 8.2 inches for a 20 oz skinny flat tumbler. But if you are gonna sublimate different size tumblers, then make sure that you have measured the dimensions for that particular size tumbler.

 There is much best software that generates amazing results. But the Canva is user-friendly with an easy user interface that can produce the best design for you if you have a little bit of design sense. Don’t worry, if you don’t have designing sense, you can create the design by watching an online tutorial. And you will be able to make a brilliant design within a few hours. So, always be sure to have a suitable size design according to the tumbler.

Let me tell you if you are beginning to design and sublimation, how you can create quality designs in a short time. You just need to open and after creating an account, click on create the design. Choose the custom size to put the dimensions for the tumbler. 

You will have a blank paper, where you will create your design. If you are using words in your design then before downloading in pdf print file, make sure to click the flip notion that will be in the menu portion. Whereas it’s a free designing tool but you get limited features and options. But if you get the pro plan, ready-made templates will be there and you can make brilliant designs with a little bit of editing.

Step 2 – Printing Through Sublimation Printer

Once the design is completed, you will need to print that design through the sublimation printer. Make sure the sublimation printer gives accurate results. It shouldn’t be a dull or old printer with no replacing of cartridges and the regular ink. Because many sublimation printers come with regular ink or other inks. So, you must know whether the printer you are using, is sublimation ink or not? If not then buy first quality sublimation ink.

On the other end, only a printer can’t produce the wanted results until you don’t have the best sublimation ink and paper. Because the kind of ink you are gonna use must give accurate, colorful, touchless results on the paper. Also same, you should have quality sublimation paper to absorb and holds all the ink and successfully transferred the ink to the tumbler.

Step 3 – Using Lint Roller to clean the image

When you have printed your design through the printer, most people forget or leave this step. I always prefer to clean your image through the Lint roller. What actually it does do? It removes all the moisture, dust, and sometimes while working on the tumbler, your hairs get stuck. To remove such things, a lint roller is used. Because a little bit of dust can make that place not sublimatable. So, I would say this step is as important as the other steps.

Step 4 – Rolling the sublimation paper around the tumbler

After cleaning the tumbler from each and every side, you will wrap the sublimation paper around the skinny tumbler. Make sure, the printed side is facing the tumbler and fixes it with heat-resistant tape. Because if we don’t fix the tape, the paper will not be stuck to the tumbler and the result won’t be good. The tape needs to be fixed to transfer the proper ink to the material. Now it’s time to use the shrink wrap sleeve by placing the skinny tumbler inside it.

Step 5 – Turning the oven to a suitable temperature

When all the things went good, now you will turn on the oven and heat it to 375 F. But it also depends on the material, your manufacturer knows better and follows his instructions when going through the process. And you should know which temperature your tumbler can bear while sublimation. You can only find out from where you have purchased it.

Step 6 – Now place the wrapped tumbler into the oven

When the oven is fully heated, you will place the wrapped tumbler into the oven. And you will leave it for six minutes but if you have different material, you will ask your manufacturer to tell the time for sublimation. And this is very important because if you increase the temperature, the print will turn yellowish. So, make sure you are heating it at the right temperature for the right time as well.

Step 7 – Using Heat gloves to remove the tumbler from the oven

After keeping the tumbler in the oven for six minutes, you will remove the tumbler from the oven. Here you will need the heat-resistant gloves to remove the shrink wrap sleeve and the sublimation paper as well. But remove all the things carefully to avoid any kind of disturbance or ghosting to the sublimated tumbler.

Step 8 – Design is ready

After removing the shrink wrap sleeve and the transfer paper, your design is ready to present as a gift or use for your home or business.

Till now, we have talked about the sublimation of the tumbler through the oven. Now let’s talk about another way to sublimate a tumbler and that is through the Cricut mug Press. And there will be some changes in the material like Teflon sheets and the butcher paper is used in this specific method.

How to Sublimate the Tumbler through Cricut Mug Press

1. Prepare the design

The design that you are creating through the designing software must be according to the tumbler. One more thing, I use the straight and flat sublimation tumblers because the Cricut mug press presses these tumblers on each and every side easily. So, the design properly press onto the tumbler and the tumbler must be sublimatable and you can clear this confusion from where you have purchased the tumbler. The purpose of choosing the canvas software is again and its easy and clean interface with tons of ready-made templates.

2. Printing the design

And you will need a high-quality sublimation printer. Again, the sublimation printer neither be dull nor old. Because this kind of printer can’t generate the expected results and even you will lose the sublimation paper and ink as well. So, be sure to have an efficient Sublimation printer.

Step 3 – Wrapping sublimation printed paper around the tumbler

After printing through the high-quality sublimation printer and make sure that the print that came onto the paper is purely clean and easily visible. Because without having the smooth and pure print on the paper, you won’t get the quality sublimation on the tumbler too. Rather I would say everything in this process matters a lot in making your process successful. And it can only be done when you will do the process by following the right guidance. Now you will roll the sublimation paper all around the tumbler and the paper should be suitable for the tumbler.

Step 4 – Using Heat resistant tape to stick the paper to the tumbler

In this step, you will fix the paper through the heat-resistant tape to place it properly. So that when the Circut mug press the tumbler, sublimation paper sticks to the tumbler, and all the design transfer successfully.

Step 5 – Using butcher paper to absorb moisture

We will use the butcher paper here just to make sure that the Circut mug press and the tumbler will be protected during the process. You will wrap the butcher paper around the tumbler. After that, you will put some tape onto the butcher paper to fix it too.

Step 6 – Adding Teflon sheets for properly fitting

Another thing that you will need to add is if your skinny tumbler isn’t the right size for the circuit mug press. You will add the Teflon sheets because I have used a 20 oz skinny tumbler. And our Cricut mug press was wider than this sized tumbler. If you are using the mug press, make sure you also have the right size tumbler and you don’t need to purchase the additional material. These Teflon sheets will be folded up with the tumbler and will be stocked into the Cricut mug press.

Why does this process need to be done? Let me tell you there will be no difference between the tumbler and the mug press and the tumbler will be pressed so closely. It will give you much better results rather than pressing not closely.

Step 7 – Pressing through the Cricut Mug Press

Another important thing you need to keep in mind is that the place on the tumbler you gonna sublimate should be covered by the Teflon sheets. And we have some written words that we have designed from the software onto one side of the tumbler and we will press only that specific section. You will press all those sections at 390 to 400 F where you want to sublimate through the mug press and each section will go for 3 minutes. If you have 6 sections, it will take hardly 18 minutes to be completed.

Step 8 – If facing light up issues

If your sublimation process is going well, you can judge by the upper lights of the mug press. If they are light up, it means your design is pressing well and the print will successfully transfer soon. But don’t worry, if you are a beginner and you are going through it, it would be fine. Because it happens to many of us who are related to this business.

Step 9 – Pressed that place three times more

I have pressed the same side three more times with a total time of 9 minutes to press it more. Because to get the best results, you always need to invest some time.

Step 10 – Use heat gloves to remove the tumbler

In the final step, you will need to wear heat-resistant gloves. Because neglecting safety can cause damage to your hands. And these gloves will save your fingers and hands. Well, don’t touch the sublimated tumbler until it doesn’t get cool. You will have to wait a little bit of time because it’s so hot touch with the gloves too. Now remove the sublimation paper and see the results you were waiting for.

One thing I would like to add is colored designs, and the tumbler color shouldn’t be matched. Because when you write white on the white material, does it make sense? Not at all. So, this should also be considered when going for sublimation.


If I conclude this all the guide in one step that we have sublimated the tumbler by the above two methods easily by this process we have mentioned. And you can also sublimate the tumbler by understanding and implementing all the steps carefully. But there is one thing that you should ask your manufacturer about the tumbler temperature for sublimation.

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