How to Sublimate Mugs: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Sublimate Mugs: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Are you tired of mugs with dull designs? Do you want to make your daily cup of coffee a little more unique and creative? Well, sublimating mugs might be the answer you’ve been searching for. But be warned, the sublimation process can be daunting, and you might have a subpar result without the proper knowledge and tools. So, before you embark on this journey of sublimating mugs, ensure you’re prepared and equipped with the right information. This article will walk you through how to sublimate mugs to help you carry out the process like an expert.

Supplies for Sublimation Printing on Mug

How to Sublimate Mugs at Home

The simple steps to effectively carry out sublimation on mugs are given below.

Step 1. Choose Your Graphics for Mug Sublimation

Step 1 Choose Graphics

The first step for sublimation includes selecting the design to transfer on the mug. Creating a .jpg or .png (preferably) high-resolution graphic with background transparency would be best for high-quality output. I like to use my artwork for the project, so I usually design something original in PhotoShop. You can use other resources according to your need and convenience.

Refer to our top picks for the Best Sublimation Designs to explore the best websites to select sublimation designs.

Step 2. Print the Image on Sublimation Transfer Paper

Step 2 Print Image on Paper

When ready to transfer your selected artwork onto mugs, it’s essential to use premium full-size sublimation sheets for a flawless finish.

Alternatively, sublimation sheets come precut to fit a range of mug sizes, suitable for 9, 11, and 15-ounce mugs. A specialized sublimation printer is required to apply your design, ensuring it’s tailored for mug transfer with precision.

For accurate results mirroring the original design, it’s recommended to select the ‘mirror image’ setting during the print process. This critical step ensures the final product accurately reflects your visual intent. We also covered a topic on sublimating mugs in a convection oven.

Step 3. Trim the Sublimation Paper for Mug

Trim sublimation paper

Trim the excess paper as much as possible, leaving only 2-3mm hanging around the mug. Trim slowly and carefully to ensure you don’t cut or tear the transfer paper more than necessary. After you finish one side, flip the sheet and do it again. For the other side of the mug, repeat the process. Trim any small pieces that didn’t come off the first time around. Please don’t cut them flush against the mug; leave some extra paper for safety.

Step 4. Get Your Mug Press Ready for Sublimation

Get Heat Press Ready

Before using your press machine, you must set it to a certain temperature. The best temperature is 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pressure should be “medium-heavy” for 4-5 minutes. It would be best if you did this for a while so there is enough heat for the sublimation paper to print onto your coffee mug. It is best to read the instructions that come with transfer paper and find out what settings they recommend before printing onto your mug.

Step 5. Place the Mug into the Mug Heat Press Machine

Place Mug in Heat Press

Once your mug press is at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, place the coffee mug in it without wrinkles or folds. Using gentle pressure should be enough. If there are wrinkles in the paper, this will affect the design that transfers to the mug! When you close it, ensure you do not apply too much force so it does not break because of too much pressure on its hinges.

Step 6. Remove the Mug from Mug Heat Press

Remove Mug from Heat Press

After the hard heat time, the press is completed, open the press and be careful because it will be hot. Then take off the mug using heat resistant oven mitt. Take off the transfer paper carefully, and you can use your nail if it is sharp; otherwise, a small knife will be helpful to peel off the sublimation paper from the mug’s surface.

Step 7. Allow the Mug to Cool

Allow Mug to Cool

Your mug sublimation procedure is almost complete. You can see vibrant prints with great color accuracy and detail. Now allow the cup to cool, and your cup is ready.

Also, check out the article on how to sublimate on acrylic.


Sublimating mugs is a terrific way to personalize your morning routine. Following the step-by-step guide in this article, you can sublimate mugs like a pro and create stunning designs that will impress your friends and family. Remember that adequate planning and equipment are essential for attaining the greatest results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is sublimation mug printing?

Sublimation Mug printing is transferring an image onto ceramic mug surfaces. To do mug printing, you use mug sublimation paper and a heat press machine so that the sublimation ink will transfer from the transfer paper to your mug.

How do you heat the mug press to the correct temperature?

A mug press machine works best when heated up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can find out if your mug press is at this temperature if you look at the sublimation paper that states, “Press for six minutes or until mug feels warm to the touch.”

What is a mug transfer?

A mug transfer is an image printed onto mug sublimation paper, which looks like regular printer paper. You will need to mirror the image so that it prints correctly on the mug after you put them into your mug heat press machine.

How do you mirror the image?

If you use an image editing software like Photoshop, flip the mug transfer paper horizontally and then go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontally.

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