Becoming a Pro in Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation: 5 Easy Steps

Becoming a Pro in Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation: 5 Easy Steps

Choosing an ideal present for Father’s Day might occasionally seem like a challenging endeavor. However, imagine if you could craft a present that is not just practical but also profoundly individualized. Welcome to the world of custom gifts where you can craft every detail to match Dad’s unique interests. Elevate your gift-giving this year by opting for the Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation. Imagine giving your dad a beautifully crafted stainless steel tumbler that not only maintains his drinks at the ideal temperature but also features designs that hold special meaning for him.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the exciting process of designing a one-of-a-kind, two-sided 10-ounce low-ball tumbler that will be a treasured keepsake for years to come. Using the versatile Cricut Design Space for your creative designs and the advanced technique of sublimation printing for the transfer, you’ll discover how easy it is to make a Father’s Day gift that truly stands out. If you are seeking a remarkable gift, you have arrived at the appropriate location. Let’s get started!

Why Personalized Tumblers Make Great Gifts

Personalized gifts have always held a special charm; they convey thoughtfulness, care, and a deep understanding of the person you’re gifting. When it comes to functional yet heartfelt gifts, a customized tumbler hits the sweet spot. Through stainless steel sublimation, you can infuse high-quality images, text, or designs directly onto the tumbler’s surface, ensuring durability and a polished finish. The stainless steel material keeps drinks hot or cold for extended periods, making it an everyday essential for busy dads on the go.

Now, let’s say your dad is a sports enthusiast. Imagine his joy when he receives a tumbler adorned with his favorite sports themes, perhaps a distressed basketball image or his name styled in a font that resembles the ESPN logo. Every time he takes a sip from his custom tumbler, he’s reminded not just of his love for sports but also of the love and care you put into creating a gift that aligns perfectly with his interests. In essence, a personalized tumbler isn’t just a vessel for beverages; it’s a container for cherished memories and meaningful connections.

Initial Preparation and Materials Needed

Taking on a project like stainless steel tumbler sublimation requires some initial preparation and a checklist of essential materials. Ensuring you have all the required items on hand will streamline the process and help you focus on the creative aspect. What are the necessary requirements for you to begin?

Material Needed

  • A 10-ounce lowball stainless steel tumbler: In this guide, we sourced ours from Johnson Plastic Plus, which offers high-quality options perfect for sublimation printing.
  • Sublimation Printer: An Epson ET-2850 printer that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials like our tumbler.
  • Sublimation Ink and Paper: Hiipoo ink and paper are essential for ensuring a quality transfer.
  • Heat Press: A Cricut Mug Press to apply heat uniformly for transferring the design.
  • Heat-Resistant Tape: To securely fix the design in place during the heat process.
  • Measuring Tape: Accurate measurements of the tumbler are critical for designing to scale.
  • Software for Cricut Design Space: For creating any other graphical elements, text, or images that are unique to you.
  • Computer: To run Cricut Design Space and manage your design files.
  • Optional: Fonts and images from external sources, like, if you are looking for something specific that’s not available in Cricut Design Space.

The measuring tape isn’t just a filler item on this list; it’s crucial for the project. Knowing the exact dimensions of your tumbler will inform your design scale, ensuring that your final print aligns perfectly with the tumbler’s surface. This can be especially important if your design includes text or intricate details that need to fit precisely within a particular space on the tumbler. So before diving into the creative process, take a moment to measure your tumbler and plan your design accordingly.

Step-by-Step Guide for Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation

Using Cricut Design Space: Side One

Using Cricut Design Space: Side One

Creating a personalized stainless steel tumbler sublimation project becomes a whole lot easier with Cricut Design Space. This versatile software allows you to unleash your creativity, particularly when you’re working on a thoughtful gift like a two-sided, 10-ounce lowball tumbler for Father’s Day. The steps to help you design Side One of the Tumbler are listed below.

Step-by-step guide on how to upload a distressed basketball image:

  1. To transfer your shattered basketball image, open Cricut Design Space and select “Upload”.
  2. Click on the picture file to upload it to your canvas from your computer.
  3. Drag and adjust the uploaded basketball image to your preferred orientation and size.

Details on adding Dad’s name with a font that resembles the ESPN font (SF Sports Night from

  1. After uploading the distressed basketball image, click on “Text” to add a text box.
  2. Type in “Dad” or any name you choose.
  3. Navigate to the fonts list and search for “SF Sports Night,” which you should have downloaded from Select it to change the text font.

Walkthrough on aligning, offset settings, and flattening the image for print then cut:

  1. Select both the basketball image and the name text box.
  2. Navigate to the “Align” option and choose “Center Vertically” to align the text with the basketball image.
  3. Now, select only the text and go to the “Offset” settings. Input 0.050 to create a thin rim around the name.
  4. Click “Apply” to finalize the offset.

Finally, select both elements and click on “Flatten” at the bottom of the layers panel. This will prepare your design for the “Print Then Cut” function, making it ready for sublimation printing.

By following these detailed steps, you’ll create a heartfelt, customized tumbler design on Side One, just waiting to be sublimated.

Using Cricut Design Space: Side Two

Using Cricut Design Space: Side Two

Designing the second side of your Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation project is an opportunity to add an emotional touch. Engaging your children in this part of the project not only makes it more special but also provides a heartfelt message that any father would cherish. Here’s how to proceed:

Involving Your Kids in Defining “Dad”:

  1. What does “Dad” mean to your children? This can be a fun and meaningful activity. Write down their definitions.
  2. Use these authentic, kid-created definitions as the central element for Side Two of the Tumbler.

Choosing a Complementary Font for the Text and Definition:

  1. For this side, we’ll use a different font to keep things interesting yet cohesive. Navigate to Cricut Design Space and select the “Text” tool.
  2. Type out the word “Dad” and the definition given by your kids.
  3. Go to your fonts list and select “Plain Crash,” downloaded from This font offers a distressed look, complementing the basketball image on Side One.

Adding Lines or Grids for Visual Interest:

  1. To make the design pop, add lines or grids around the text. Use the “Shapes” tool to create these lines.
  2. Align the lines so they frame your text and definition appropriately. This gives your design more visual intrigue and balance.
  3. Once you’re happy with how each element is positioned, pick them all.
  4. Click the “Flatten” option to prepare your design for the “Print Then Cut” function, essentially locking in your design for sublimation.

By incorporating your children’s views and adding visually captivating elements, you create a multi-dimensional gift that’s far more than just a drinking vessel—it’s a keepsake.

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing is a cutting-edge technique that transfers a design from paper onto a surface through heat and pressure. Unlike other methods that layer the ink on the surface, sublimation infuses the ink into the material, ensuring longevity and vibrant colors. For this Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation project, it’s an ideal choice. Not only does it produce high-quality, durable images, but it also enables complex designs and a variety of colors to be effortlessly transferred.

Steps to Print the Designs:

  1. Send your finalized design to your sublimation printer from Cricut Design Space. Make sure to use sublimation paper for optimal results.
  2. After printing, carefully cut out the design. You can either use the Cricut machine’s “Cut” function or do it manually.

Preparing for Sublimation:

  1. Using heat-resistant tape, firmly attach the cut-out pattern to the tumbler to ensure it stays in place.
  2. The design can be put onto the tumbler using a heat press or a sublimation oven. Remember to set your sublimation equipment according to the recommended temperature and time.

Sublimation printing brings your custom designs to life in a long-lasting, vibrant manner, making your Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation gift not just functional, but also a sentimental keepsake.

Sublimating the Tumbler

Sublimating the Tumbler

Sublimating your design onto a stainless steel tumbler requires precision and a bit of know-how, especially when sublimating using a heat press. This is a crucial step in the Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation process where the heat activates the ink and transfers your design onto the tumbler.

How to Safely Use the Heat Press:

  1. Preheat your heat press or sublimation oven according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Secure the tumbler in the press, making sure it is perfectly aligned to prevent any design mishaps.
  3. Lower the press and start the timer. Typically, a heat setting of 375–400°F and a time range of 60–75 seconds work well for stainless steel.

Tips for Ensuring a Perfect Design:

  1. Use heat-resistant tape to firmly secure the design to prevent any movement or sliding during the sublimation process.
  2. For 10-ounce lowball tumblers, you may have to turn the tumbler halfway through the process to ensure the design is evenly transferred all around.
  3. Remove the sublimation paper from the tumbler after it has cooled fully. As a result, there will be less chance of smudging and the design will set correctly.

By taking these steps into account, you can achieve a flawless design that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable, making your Stainless Steel Tumbler Sublimation project a resounding success.

The Final Reveal and Care Tips

The Final Reveal and Care Tips

Behold, the end result of your labor— a personalized stainless steel tumbler that reflects all the thoughtfulness you’ve poured into creating it. It’s more than simply a tumbler—it’s a sentimental and artistic creation.

Care Tips:

  1. Hand-Wash Only: Steer clear of the dishwasher if you want to preserve the vivid colors in your design.
  2. Avoid Abrasive Sponges: Use a soft cloth or sponge to clean the inner and outer surfaces to protect the design.
  3. Keep Away from Microwaves: Stainless steel and microwaves don’t mix well, so it’s best to keep your sublimated tumbler out of there.
  4. Lid Maintenance: Clean the lid separately using mild soap and let it air dry.

With the right care, your sublimated stainless steel tumbler will remain a lasting keepsake, perfect for savoring beverages and memories alike.


The joy and value of creating a personalized gift can’t be overstated, especially when it comes to something as practical and heartfelt as a stainless steel tumbler for Father’s Day. Using stainless steel tumbler sublimation, you not only endow a daily-use item with personal sentiment but also add a touch of artistry that makes it uniquely yours. 

Imagine the delight on your father’s face as he sips his morning coffee or enjoys his evening tea from a tumbler designed just for him. This project, though easy to execute, delivers endless warmth and function, making it a gift that keeps on giving. So why wait? Dive into this rewarding creative journey and make a keepsake your father will treasure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Does Sublimation Require a Special Printer?

A: Yes, a sublimation printer is needed to print out the designs on sublimation paper. These printers are made specifically to employ sublimation inks, which are heat-resistant and necessary for the procedure.

Q: What Advantages Does This Project Offer by Using Cricut Design Space?

A: Cricut Design Space allows for detailed customization, letting you upload your own images and text to create the design. Its features like aligning, offset settings, and print then cut functionalities make it ideal for a project like this.

Q: How Durable is the Design on a Sublimated Stainless Steel Tumbler?

A: The design should be very durable and long-lasting because it’s not sitting on top of the material but has been absorbed into it. However, longevity can be improved with proper care like hand-washing.

Q: Can I Include Metallic or Glitter Elements in My Design?

A: Cricut Design Space does allow for a wide range of creative elements, including metallic or glitter features, but the effect will depend on how well the sublimation printer can reproduce these elements.

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