The Cricut Mug Press makes making fun, personalized DIY mugs and cups easy. Here’s everything you need to know about the mug maker before you buy it (and some great hacks!)
I love making DIY gifts. My DIY gift giving game went up a huge notch this season (exponential notches, actually) with the mugs I made with my Cricut Mug Press. I’ve been making lots of mug gifts lately and every time I peel off the infusible ink liner I’m still blown away by the amazing results.
Using Cricut Infusible Ink for projects is definitely my favorite material (learn more about it here). It always makes DIYs look so professional and seamless. And I seriously love that now I can get those same kind of results with the Cricut Mug Press!
What is sublimation printing on mugs?
Sublimation is the process of infusing a design into a material (in this case, a ceramic mug) through the use of ink and heat. Traditional heat transfer vinyl applies a design on to the material as opposed to in to it. Infusing the designs into the materials gives the projects a polished and professional outcome that is very durable through washing and heavy use. Mugs, shirts, tumblers, keychains and pillow covers are some examples of popular projects to make with sublimation/Infusible Ink. There are dozens more blanks that can be used with sublimation.
What supplies do you need for the Cricut mug press?
In order to make Infusible Ink mugs with the Cricut Mug Press, you’ll need the following supplies and equipment:
- A Cricut Maker, Explore Air or Cricut Joy (any Cricut machine will work)
- A laptop or desktop computer for initial setup only (the mug press has to be plugged into a computer via USB in order to set up the machine)
- Cricut Ceramic Mug Blanks
- Lint roller
- Heat resistant surface (the EasyPress Mat is ideal for this)
- Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and/or Infusible Ink Markers/Pens (Cricut even came out with mug size Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets that are the perfect size for mugs).
- Butcher Paper (for use with Infusible Ink Markers or Pens)
- Laser copy paper
- Cricut Heat Resistant Tape
- Oven glove
How much does the Cricut Mug Press cost?
The mug press retails for $199. If you want one, I recommend signing up for Cricut emails so you get alerts when they go on sale! There are also Cricut Mug Press bundles to get you everything you need to get started making mugs with big discounts.
Can you Use Any Kind of Mug with the Cricut Mug Press?
Unfortunately, no. I mean, wouldn’t it be great to just buy up all of the mugs at Dollar Tree and whip out a shop’s worth of mugs with your Cricut and Mug Press? The Cricut ceramic mug blanks are finished with a special coating which allows the ink to be “infused” into the mug. If you can’t find the Cricut mug blanks, you can use mugs that are for sublimation (just make sure they have good reviews and are compatible).
What size mugs can you make with the Cricut Mug Press?
The Cricut ceramic mug blanks come in 12 oz and 15 oz. They just recently launched adorable stacking mug blanks as well. The mugs come in packages of 1 up to a package of 36 mug blanks. While the Cricut mug’s coating is optimized to work best with Infusible Ink, you can also use sublimation compatible mugs in these sizes and specifications:
- Capacity of 10 – 16 oz (295 – 450 ml)
- Drinkware with smooth, straight pressing area only; avoid placing design on curves, bevels and textures
- Diameter between 3.2 in – 3.4 in (82 – 86 mm)
- Maximum height of 4.72 in (120 mm)
Since the Mug Press and Infusible Ink have been tested exclusively with the Cricut mug blanks, they can’t guarantee that other brands sublimation mugs will work. If you’re going to try another brand, make sure you do some research and read the reviews before trying them.
Can you use both Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and Infusible Ink Markers or Pens on the same mug?
Yes! For my first projects with the Cricut Mug Press I really wanted to combine the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets with Infusible Ink markers. I saw that when using the markers or pens that you have to use layers of butcher paper to wrap around the mug. This ensures that the ink from the Infusible Ink markers or Infusible Ink pens doesn’t bleed onto the inside of the mug press plates.
However I also saw that you should not use butcher paper if you are using Infusible Ink transfer sheets. The infusible ink backing sheet in addition to the butcher paper would prevent the full heat of the mug press to transfer the design as vividly onto the mug.
Well, I found a workaround! I simply placed my design made with Infusible Ink markers (my 3 yo’s scribbles!) on the inside of the Transfer Sheet liner. It worked perfectly. (I’ll show you how I did it in my tutorial below).
Can you use sublimation designs with the Cricut Mug Press?
Yes. There are sublimation printers that you can get to print out your own designs and upload them into Design Space for use with one of the mug templates.
Do you need a mug press to make mugs with Cricut?
For infusible ink, yes. You can make mugs with permanent vinyl (like these and these), however they will not have the seamless, professional look that mugs made with Infusible Ink and the mug press will yield.
Are mugs made with the Cricut Mug Press Dishwasher Safe? What about microwave safe?
Yes and yes! Cricut mugs are dishwasher-safe. The design will not fade of fall off since the design is infused into the ceramic mugs. Cricut mugs are made of food grade, heat safe high quality ceramic so they are also safe to use in the microwave.
How to Create a Custom Professional Mug with the Cricut Mug Press
Creating Your Mug Designs
The Mug Press is super easy to use. It does need to be hooked up to a laptop or desktop to set it up and register it before use.
Once you have it set up, you’re ready to start making professional looking, customized mugs! Choose your mug design (or create your own) in Cricut Design Space. You can search for mug designs in images or projects. Make sure you select the design for the size of the mug blank you’ll be using. Many of the mug designs and projects are free with a Cricut Access subscription. You can also design your own mug with the templates in Design Space.
Using Infusible Ink Pens and Markers with the Mug Press
You can use Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets with the mug press as well as Infusible Ink pens and markers. If you’re using the pens or markers, you will need copy paper to create your design.
For the mug designs I created, I wanted to have some my daughter’s original “artwork”. I simply had her scribble on copy paper with infusible ink markers.
Cutting Your Mug Materials
Once you’ve selected your design, you’re ready to cut your material. Just like when using iron-on vinyl, the mug designs you will use with your Cricut Mug Press must be mirrored before cutting. I added the year to the bottom of the heart design in marker.
Weed away excess from your design.
Now for the magic Cricut Mug Press hack for using both infusible ink sheets with markers! Simply place the copy paper with the infusible ink marker or pen design onto the transfer sheet liner with the ink side up. That’s it! No butcher paper or special mug wrap needed!
Next ensure that the mug is completely clean and dust-free by running over it a few times with a lint roller. Wrap the design around your mug. It’s easiest to do this with the mug sitting in front of you at eye level and the handle facing you.
Pressing Your Mug
Place the Cricut Mug Press on a heat resistant surface (a Cricut EasyPress Mat works perfectly) in a well ventilated room. Press the power button and lift the mug press lever. The power button will turn green and the machine will beep when it’s ready to use. You don’t have to worry about setting the temperature… the mug press is smart and knows exactly how long to press your mug. It even takes the climate in the room where you’re pressing into consideration. Once it’s ready, insert the wrapped mug into the press with the handle centered at the opening and press the lever of the mug press all the way down.
It takes about 6 minutes for the sublimation process from start to stop. The mug press will be beep when it’s done and you will see the white lights adding on as it gets closer to finishing.
Once the mug is done, lift the mug press handle and turn off the power. Using an oven glove or other heat resistant glove, carefully pull the mug out of the press by the handle. Do not touch any other part of the mug, it will be EXTREMELY hot. Sit it down on the EasyPress mat and allow to cool for 15 – 30 minutes (until completely cool to the touch).
It was so fun to be able to make special custom mugs with Brighton’s artwork this year!
So what do you think? Are you going to add a Cricut Mug Press to your crafting arsenal? Hit reply and let me know if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I bet you will 😉