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How to Make Sublimation Tumblers for Beginners Step by Step Tutorial!

Learn all about how to sublimate a tumbler with two different materials! Sublimation tumblers are easy for beginners using a Cricut mug press.

I haven’t done a tumbler tutorial in a while and I knew once the Cricut mug press came out, I needed to figure out a way to make sublimation tumblers with it!

And it’s so fun and pretty easy! I actually made two different kinds of sublimation tumblers and so I’m going to show you how to sublimate a tumbler with sublimation printing and also Infusible Ink. The ink actually infuses into the tumbler so that it will never fade or peel off or need to be sealed!

I did make a few of these 20 oz skinny sublimation tumblers as gifts, but I think I’m going to keep a couple too! Tumbler sublimation is just so pretty!

If you are new to sublimation, make sure to check out my full detailed tutorial on sublimation printing and how to convert a printer to use for sublimation.

sublimation tumblers pinterest

Ok, this is going to be another long and detailed post since I will be explaining how to use the two different materials, but how I used the Cricut mug press to apply the sublimation is the same.

I do also have a quick video of the sublimation process that will either play near the top or down under the video heading (it moves around depending on what device you are viewing this on!). Plus I will have the link to my full YouTube video tutorial on how to sublimate a tumbler at the bottom.

What kind of tumblers can you use for sublimation?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Awin, Shareasale, and Amazon.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Unfortunately you can’t just use any tumblers for sublimation. As with all the other sublimation projects, you need to use compatible sublimation blanks that contain a specialized poly coating that interacts with the sublimation dye when heat is applied.

You probably won’t find blank tumblers for sublimation at any store and they were a little expensive on Amazon(check them out here), but Etsy has plenty!

I purchased the four 20 oz skinny sublimation tumbler blanks from Etsy here. They were reasonably priced and the company had a few different metallic colors plus the white sublimation tumbler blanks.

blank sublimation tumblers

There are also different types of sublimation tumblers. I used the straight wall ones so that my Cricut mug press would give an even press on each side. I haven’t tried it with the tapered ones, so take caution if you end up getting those.

The template is a little bit trickier with the tapered tumblers too, so if you are a beginner, you might want to stick to the straight sided sublimation tumblers.

You can also look into finding wholesale sublimation tumblers. Check out dhgate.com for some good prices.

What can you apply to sublimation tumblers?

This is where the fun part comes in! You do need to use ink or dye that is specific for sublimation, but that doesn’t limit to what you can print out and add to a tumbler permanently.

If you have a sublimation printer or converted one as I do, then printing anything out at home is easy peasy. But you can also order specific sublimation prints from Etsy. Check out all the cool sublimation tumbler prints they have here!

For just a few dollars you can instantly download a template or even have a printed sublimation sent to your house. There really are tons of ways to get a sublimation tumbler made!

You can also use Cricut Infusible Ink since it is a sublimation ink. I love my Cricut and the majority of my tutorials include my Cricut, including this one! You can learn all about the amazing Infusible Ink on this post.

diy infusible ink tumblers

How do you press a sublimation mug?

When making sublimation projects, you need a high consistent heat source. We are talking 400F!

I have seen a lot of tutorials making sublimation tumblers in convection ovens, but I didn’t want to buy a separate oven to make them. Plus now that I have the Cricut mug press, I knew I could figure out how to press a tumbler with it!

I’m sure you can also use heat presses that have mug accessories, or a mug press, but I don’t have either so I can’t say for sure how to use those!

In this sublimation tumblers for beginners tutorial we will be only using the Cricut mug press.

 cricut mug press

How to Sublimate a Tumbler

Ok, let’s get to the good stuff. First let’s look at how to make sublimation tumblers with a printed sublimation sheet.

Materials Needed for Sublimation on Tumblers

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Awin, Shareasale, and Amazon.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

You can always shop my Amazon storefront of my favorite sublimation supplies too!

sublimation tumblers diy

Applying Sublimation Prints to Tumblers

Design whatever you want to be on your tumbler in your favorite software. I like canva.com, befunky.com or adobe illustrator or photoshop.

With in canva.com, I opened a project by setting custom dimensions. For the 20 oz skinny straight edged tumbler, the template should be 9.3 inches across by 8.2 inches high. If you have a different size tumbler blank, measure the circumference and the height.

custom dimensions canva
sublimation tumbler template

Now you have a blank template to design whatever you like. Add pictures, logos, downloaded designs, etc.

template for oz tumbler

Just remember that if there are words or anything directional, you’ll want to flip it (or mirror it) before you print it. That can be done in your photo software or printing software.

flip horizontal canva

Then I save mine as PDF Print (high quality) to print on my sublimation printer.

pdf print for sublimation

Once everything was designed, I printed out my sublimation tumbler design on sublimation paper.

printing sublimation tumbler

This is the print for the photo sublimation tumbler I made in my YouTube video (link at the bottom!)

sublimated photo printing for tumbler

Sorry, my light is so wonky! Everything with words I flipped and I found a glitter PNG file on Etsy also.

printed glitter

Since the sublimated glitter print is not going to be a full wrap I cut the sections apart.

sublimation printed glitter

I always lint roll my tumblers and mugs before adding sublimation. Any little hair or dust can cause the ink to not sublimate at that spot!

lint roll tumbler

Roll the sublimation paper around the tumbler as tight as possible and then use heat resistant tape to tape it down well.

wrapping sublimation print on tumbler
taping sublimation print on tumbler

Just to be on the safe side to protect my tumbler and press, I cut two pieces of butcher paper and wrapped it around the entire tumbler. I made it so my butcher paper overlapped and the tape was on over my logo so I knew exactly which section I needed to press on the top half of the tumbler.

wrapped tumbler

I put on the tape with the gloves on and got some lint under my tape, lol!

Tips on using the Cricut Mug Press to Sublimate a Tumbler

The 20 oz skinny tumblers are not wide enough to fully fit the Cricut mug press. So I used two Teflon sheets and folded them up and stuck them in the press with the tumbler so the press closes more snuggly. I tried to put my EasyPress mat in, but I was scared it would burn so I switched to the Teflon sheets.

By using the Teflon sheets, only 1/3-1/2 of the tumbler is really getting a good press (the part that is flushed against the teal cushion plate). With a full sublimation wrap, I press each section for 3 minutes and then rotate the tumbler three times for the bottom half of the tumbler, then flip it over and repeat for the top half. So the total time would be about nine minutes for the bottom half and nine minutes for the top, so a total of 18 minutes.

For sublimation designs like the one below that is not a full wrap on the top – I only have my logo- which only covers about 1/3 of the tumbler, I will only press that one section of the top.

So let’s go over these steps in action. For my first press, I am just pressing the part of the tumbler that has my logo and I know where that is from where I applied my tape. So I put the tumbler in the press upside down with the taped side up against the teal plate and put the Teflon sheets on the backside and pressed for 3 minutes.

how to sublimate a tumbler

You will notice the lights on the mug press do not light up because the mug press is thinking it’s not getting a good press since all the edges are not really snug. So don’t worry if that happens, it happened on all of mine!

Once the logo side was done, I opened the press then used my heat resistant gloves (it will be hot!! so make sure to have gloves!) to take the tumbler out and flip it over. Then I aligned the tape/butcher paper lines with the front edge of the mug plate. This is so I know what section I have pressed! I pressed again for 3 minutes.

diy sublimation tumbler tutorial

I want the entire bottom of the tumbler pressed. So after three minutes, I lifted up the lever and rotated the mug about 3 inches or so the tape/butcher paper lines are now on the other side near the lights. Press for 3 minutes again.

sublimation tumbler at home

After three minutes, I rotated about 3 inches again and did my final press. Again always using my heat resistant gloves!

sublimating a tumbler

After the final press, I removed the sublimated tumbler and let it cool a bit. It was just really hard for me to remove all the tape with the gloves so I had to wait until it was cool enough to use my fingers.

tumbler ready to sublimate

Now the reveal! Remove all of the paper and tape and see the sublimated design!

diy sublimation logo on tumbler

Because I used a metallic purple color for this sublimated tumbler, the colors are not quite as vibrant and all of the parts that were white on my image are now the color of the tumbler (since white doesn’t print!). So keep that in mind if you are using colored tumbler blanks!

sublimation tumbler diy

And here is the photo sublimation tumbler I made with the pictures I printed out. Again you can see how I made this sublimation picture tumbler on my YouTube video(link at the bottom!)

sublimation tumblers printing

Tumbler Sublimation DIY with Infusible Ink

Ok, so now let’s look at how to sublimate a tumbler with Cricut Infusible Ink. For this scripture tumbler, I used this Infusible Ink and a file I found in Cricut Access.

In Cricut Design Space, I added a square, unlocked it, and made it 9.3 inches wide by 8.2 in height. I centered the scripture I wanted and sliced out the words. (If the words don’t slice, make sure to weld them together first and then slice).

infusible ink tumbler design

Also, if you are new to CDS, make sure to check out my series of Cricut Design Space 101 tutorials to get started.

As with all Infusible Ink projects, make sure to turn on Mirror setting on the Prepare screen.

mirror image sublimation tumbler design

Cut the Infusible Ink transfer sheet out on either a Cricut Explore Air 2 or a Cricut Maker.

infusible ink being cut cricut

Once it cut, I weeded out all the letters since I will be using the ink to cover the entire tumbler and my letters will be white.

weeding infusible ink sheet
weeded infusible ink for tumbler

Once it’s all weeded, I trimmed the plastic backing edge off one of the sides so that they don’t overlap. I want the edges to line up but if there is plastic in the way it will cause problems.

edge of infusible ink

I lint rolled my tumbler and then put a piece of heat resistant tape on the side that had some left over plastic backing so that once I got them together I had tape ready to push down.

heat resistant tape on tumbler

I put the edges together as tightly as possible and then taped down the entire seam.

taping infusible ink on tumbler

Then I taped down and infusible ink transfer sheet to the bottom and the top of the tumbler.

taped off tumbler

Again, just to be on the safe side, I wrapped two pieces of butcher paper around the tumbler and taped it on.

diy sublimation tumbler

Following the same process as above, I put two folded up Teflon sheets in the the press with the tumbler blank and lined the tape up to the edge of the heat plate. Press it shut and set a timer for 3 minutes.

sublimation tumbler in mug press

After the three minutes, I rotated the tumbler about 3 inches with my gloves on and pressed down the lever again. Alexa, set timer for 3 minutes!

skinny tumbler cricut mug press

I rotated one more time with the bottom facing down and pressed again for 3 minutes. The entire lower half of the tumbler is now pressed.

Now to move on and do the same steps to press the top half of the skinny tumbler.

So I took the tumbler out, flipped it over and again lined the tape up with the edge of the plate.

rotating tumbler in cricut mug press

I pressed it for 3 minutes, rotated it about 3 inches, pressed for 3 minutes, then rotated one more time and pressed again. So three times total! Then I removed the tumbler and let it cool.

full tumbler wrap sublimation

Ohh la la, now it’s time to remove the tape and paper! I love this part, eek!

infusible ink on sublimation tumbler

Look how gorgeous and vibrant the infusible ink is sublimated into a tumbler!

infusible ink tumbler tutorial
sublimation tumblers
sublimation tumblers

I used this same Infusible Ink pattern to make sublimation ornaments.

sublimation tumblers

Since this Infusible Ink had a pattern and wasn’t seamless, there is a line in the back since the pattern didn’t line up. But I still love it! For a more uniform appearance, pick a pattern that is seamless or that repeats the same so you can line it up.

sublimation tumblers

And look how gorgeous the Infusible Ink looks on the metallic skinny tumbler blank that I made in my YouTube video. I think it stands out much more!

sublimation tumblers
sublimation tumblers
sublimation tumblers

Sublimation Tumblers Video Tutorial

There is a short video on this post of the process if that helps you to watch it in action! It will either be here or it oculd have floated up to the top or side of the page depending on what you’re viewing this on.

I also have a full-length YouTube video tutorial of making the Cactus makes perfect tumbler and the sublimation tumbler with pictures.

There you have it! Four different sublimation tumbler designs and two different materials to make them with. Which one is your favorite?

If you love sublimation, make sure to check out my post on how to sublimate on shirts.

sublimation tumblers

If you’d like to save this tutorial on making sublimation tumblers for later or share you can PIN It now! If you are on a desktop hover over the top left of the image below and if you are on a phone simply tap on the image and a PIN It button will pop up to click on!

sublimation tumblers diy pin
sublimation tumblers

How to Make Sublimation Tumblers with a Cricut Mug Press

Yield: 1 tumbler
Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Medium
Estimated Cost: $10

Make a custom sublimation tumbler with either sublimation paper or Infusible Ink and a Cricut mug press.

Materials

Tools

  • Cricut mug press
  • sublimation printer or Cricut

Instructions

  1. Design what you want on your tumbler. Use a photo software to design for sublimation paper or Cricut design space to use Infusible Ink. The size of a full wrap is 9.3 inches wide by 8.2 inches tall.
  2. Print out your design (flipped or mirror if there are words or directional images) on a sublimation printer with sublimation paper. Or use a Cricut to cut out Infusible Ink transfer sheet.
  3. Lint roll the sublimation blank tumbler. Turn on the Cricut mug press.
  4. Roll the sublimation paper (or transfer sheet) tightly around the tumbler and tape it down the seam (making sure they don't overlap). Tape around the top and bottom of the tumbler to ensure even sublimating.
  5. Tape on two pieces of butcher paper around the tumbler.
  6. You'll need to press the top and bottom half of the tumbler. I put the bottom side in the cricut mug press first. Add a few teflon sheets or cardboard to make the press snugger and press for 3 minutes.
  7. With heat resistant gloves on: Rotate the mug about 3 inches and press for another 3 minutes. Then once again, rotate the mug 3 inches and press again for 3 minutes so the entire circumference of the lower half of the tumbler is pressed.
  8. Repeat again for the top half of the tumbler, pressing three different times if you have a full wrap.
  9. Remove with heat resistant gloves and let cool on a mat or towel.
  10. Then remove the tape and papers and enjoy your new sublimated tumbler!

Notes

See post for full detailed tutorial for both methods.

Recommended Products

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!

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Paula

Thursday 11th of November 2021

Thanks for such an informative article! If you're looking for tumbler sublimation designs, check out my page: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SublimeTumbler

Cary

Monday 4th of October 2021

Hi I’m a newbie to sublimation and I total love the way you explain step by step but I seem to still have difficulties with my first project which I’m making as gift. I would feel more comfortable emailing you on the side with my issues I’m experiencing I’m so sorry to be a bother.

mel

Saturday 25th of September 2021

What's the darkest mug I can sublimate onto?

Sharon Burns

Tuesday 24th of August 2021

I love your step-by-step-step explanations and beautiful images! You have inspired me to try to make my own. Thank you!!

Leap of Faith Crafting

Saturday 28th of August 2021

You are so welcome!

V

Monday 10th of May 2021

So glad I found this. I saw a YouTube video saying you cannot do a full wrap on a tumbler that needs multiple presses with an infusible ink sheet, only with sublimation paper. Did you find any issue using infusible ink sheet to wrap the tumbler or some problem with the result?

Leap of Faith Crafting

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

No, I didn't. A lot of times with infusible ink you can get lighter colors if you press more than once. I didn't have any issues. I think because I had the sheets on the backside and it wasn't pressing each time because only about 1/3 of the tumbler was pushed all the way up against the heat plate.

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