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11 Best Mug Press Machines for Easy Custom Mugs

mug press machines

123RF.com (andreypopov)

Mug press machines expand your crafting capabilities so you can stun your friends and followers with professional-looking coffee cups and tumblers. Sublimation printing transfers your design to your mug seamlessly for a permanent image that is both microwave and dishwasher-safe, making it perfect for creative and personalized gifts.

A mug’s round shape means that flat t-shirt press machines won’t do the job so we’ve gathered the top specialized mug heat presses for both casual crafters and professionals alike.

What Are the Best Mug Press Machines?

White Cricut mug press Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Trusted brand
  • Automatic one-button machine
Price: $189.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Large t-shirt press with accessories Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Mugs, clothes, hats, and more
  • Great for business start up
  • Good value for price
Price: $229.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Heated printing machine for mugs with mug examples Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Different size options
  • Digital heating and timer
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Pink Sublifun heat press machine Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Prints tumblers up to 30 oz
  • Can print mugs as well
  • Solidly built
Price: $439.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Yellow and white MUGUM heat press Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very compact
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Beginner-friendly
Price: $149.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Yellow portable mug printing press Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Can handle many size mugs
  • Portable
  • Affordable
Price: $99.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Red case with 12 sublimation mugs for printing Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 12 mugs at once
  • Can also print flat objects
  • Built-in air filter
Price: $679.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Unqwin black automatic heat press Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Automatic compression
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable temperature
Price: $129.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Red mug press machine Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy to use lever
  • Good price point
  • Adjustable temp
Price: $159.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bright green mini cup press Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable temp and timer
  • Weighs less than 3 pounds
Price: $75.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
green silicone mug wraps Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • For printing in the oven
  • Three sizes included
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. EDITOR’S CHOICE: Cricut Mug Press

    • Practically foolproof design
    • Easier to store than others
    • Lever is easier to close
    • Fits up to 15 ounce mugs
    • Pricier than some
    • Not for tall tumblers
    • Plastic casing isn't as durable as metal

    Cricut is the DIY industry gold standard and their Cricut Mug Heat Press is just one more reason why. Their mug printing system is hands-down the most beginner and user-friendly version. If you’re looking for something a little more foolproof than others, then this one-button, automatic timer machine is the way to go. 

    Cricut provided me with one of their mug presses to test out–no strings attached. I was clear from the beginning that I would not be obligated to provide a positive review of the machine or a review at all if I decided not to include it in my content. My take on this press is strictly influenced by my experience using it and nothing else. 

    All that said–I love this thing. I really do. I’m a little obsessed with it to the point that I had to buy a second mug rack because we ran out of space but couldn’t stop printing mugs. We gave some as Christmas gifts and they couldn’t believe that we made them ourselves. 

    I love that it’s so easy to use that people who aren’t especially tech or crafting-savvy can still create a professional-looking end result. The machine has a single button to turn it on and a light will indicate when it has preheated. The lever on the side lifts up to open the press and, once you have prepped your mug, as you would for any press, all you have to do is place it inside the press, keeping the handle centered, and lower this lever to press the mug.

    Lowering the lever automatically starts the timer and the machine will alert you when your mug is ready. There is no temperature you need to adjust or anything. It’s all automatic. Some cycles might take longer than others because the machine has a sensor so it can tell when the mug is hot enough. The absolute hardest part about using this press is waiting 15 minutes before you peel off your tape to see how your design turned out.  

    I have tested the machine with both 12-Ounce Cricut mug blanks and off-brand 15-ounce sublimation mug blanks from Amazon (because Cricut doesn’t have an insulated mug option) and they both printed beautifully. For reference, I stuck with Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets (some included with the media sample and some I bought with my own money) and Cricut’s Infusible Ink Marker Sets (bought with my own money). I don’t own an expensive, super-fancy sublimation-dedicated inkjet printer to test that out but I’m not a professional and I was perfectly happy with all the fun designs I could do with these sheets and markers.  

    A huge plus for me is that the Cricut press is nice and compact so it’s easy to store in my limited crafting space. There are no huge levers to deal like other machines with and it doesn’t take a lot of strength to press the lever down. 

    I also really like that the machine doesn’t get hot on the outside and doesn’t radiate a load of heat while it’s working. I’m clumsy as anything so if you can burn yourself on something there’s a 100-percent chance I’m going to do it, but I had no issues in all the time I spent working with this machine. 

    One thing that the woman in the review video below commented as an issue she had with the Cricut was that the Infusible Ink stained the barrel of the press, but Cricut’s Infusible Ink comes with butcher paper for a reason. If your transfer sheets have a lot of excess at the top like hers or you’re using the markers on printer paper which won’t have a backing like the transfer sheets, you need to wrap the mug in a sheet of butcher paper before printing to keep the ink from staining. I will admit, I did mess this up the first time and had a big oops moment, but after multiple uses, that minimal staining has faded so much you can’t see it. The sheets do come with butcher paper but I bought a cheap roll for myself because the markers don’t.

    If you’re waffling, I will say that my honest opinion is that this press is worth every penny. They even offer bundles that come with mug blanks and Infusible Ink included. Just get it. 

    These would also make for great gifts for crafters.

  2. 2. 5-In-1 Heat Press Set by CO-Z

    • For those who want options
    • Can heat press just about anything
    • Swing away press
    • Adjustable automatic pressure
    • Not for if you only want mugs
    • Not as durable as industry models
    • Too big for some
    • Not for larger mugs

    If you’re looking to get into printing and don’t want to stop at just mugs, consider getting a press that can do it all, like the CO-Z 5-in-1 Heat Press Set.

    This professional-sized press has a main flat press surface measuring 12-by-10 inches, great for clothing, fabric, bags, ceramic tiles, mousepads, or even jigsaw puzzles. I featured this press set in my Best T-Shirt Press Machines article.

    But we’re here for mugs, right? The set includes four other heat press attachments including a mug press, hat press, and two smaller disc presses (diameters of six and five inches) that are great for plates, coasters, and other small items. 

    The mug press portion is sized for 11-ounce mugs and is simple to operate with digital heat controls and an adjustable timer. This press can get up to 430-degrees Fahrenheit which should be plenty enough for your mug needs.  Do keep in mind that larger mugs will not work for this press, but if you’re fine with standard diner-size mugs, this is a great deal for the amount of press you get.

    It’s certainly a lot larger than stand-alone mug presses, but if you’re looking to start cranking out custom printed item and you have room in your crafting space, it’s an investment that opens up a wider world of printing than just a mug press.

    I included a very similar set in my gifts for graphic designers article because there’s just so much you can do with a press like this.

  3. 3. BetterSub Mug Heat Press

    • Digital heat control up to 430F
    • Doesn't take up too much space
    • Attachments available
    • Good if you're on a budget
    • Original press only fits 11-ounce mugs
    • Not particularly attractive
    • Some have had issues with heating

    The BetterSub Mug Heat Press is a nice entry into mug printing because it accepts a wide range of attachments to work with different mug sizes and shapes. Most presses will only work with a couple sizes of mugs and that’s it, but BetterSub offers ways to expand your options.

    This base press comes with a standard 11-ounce mug attachment which might be all you need. It’s a user-friendly setup with a simple button and digital readout interface where you control the timer and temperature. Depending on your mug, you may need to adjust the pressure of your press using simple turn-screw. 

    This is the press that was compared to the Cricut in the above YouTube video and they detailed that while it did print nicely, it didn’t print Infusible Ink all the way to the edge as well and it was a lot harder than the Cricut to close the press, commenting that it felt like she was going to break the mug. 

    The cool thing about BetterSub’s press is that if you want to print on other types of mugs, the pressing part of the system can be switched out for a different size or shape. 

    Standard presses can’t print on flared mugs that are narrower at the base than at the rim, but you can pick up a conical press attachment for either 12-ounce mugs or 17-ounce mugs. 

    For a little extra cash, you can get a BetterSub press that comes with three different sizes off the bat.

  4. 4. Mug & Tumbler Heat Press by Sublifun

    • Can print mugs and tumblers
    • Can handle professional needs
    • User-friendly control panel
    • It's very, very pink
    • Not for built for flared cups
    • Uses manual pressure

     If you can’t give up your travel tumbler for ice coffee, tea, or infused water, that doesn’t mean you still can’t get in on the sublimation fun with the Sublifun Heat Transfer Press for Skinny Tumbler Cups. Everyone pretty much always wants a new insulated tumbler and that’s great news for artists looking to sell as well as for crafters coming up with gift ideas. But standard mug presses can’t handle these taller and thinner cups so you need to opt for something a little more specialized.

    I love that it can handle everything from 11-ounce coffee cups all the way up to tall and skinny 30-ounce tumblers. If you can drink from it, there’s a good chance this press can print on it. The digital control panel makes operating the press simple and it has a heat range all the way up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a sturdy model coming in at just over 20 pounds so it’s a good choice for perfectionists, professionals, and all of us who are both.

    If this model is just plain too pink for you, PYD makes a similar-looking machine in light blue.

    Just make sure when you’re buying tumblers for printing that they are marked as sublimation blanks.

  5. 5. MUGUM Compact Mug Heat Press Starter Kit by OFFNOVA

    • Comes with supplies
    • Affordable
    • Compact lever and case
    • Temp and timer can be adjusted
    • No mugs over 14 ounces
    • Not for professionals
    • Plastic is not as durable as metal

    This MUGUM Starter Kit is OFFNOVA’s take on a compact station-style press and comes with one mug blank, a pack of six sublimation ink markers, and six sublimation transfer images to get you started in your mug printing journey. I love that they include materials to start printing right out of the box and because you’re getting the press, mug, and markers, this is a really good deal for the price.

    The mug press machine itself is significantly smaller than others so it takes up less space in your crafting room. For comparison, Cricut’s is 13 inches by eight, Unqwin’s is 11 inches by six, and the MUGUM is only 8.6 inches by six. Because it’s so much smaller, the size of the mugs that fit inside is reduced to mugs from 11 ounces up to 14 ounces. 

    Proper compression is achieved by the yellow lever on the side of the press. I like that when you’re not using it, the level stays nice and flush against the press so it’s not just hanging out there like the handles in larger machines. 

    Its LCD interface uses one button to make all your selections as the timer and temperature is adjustable. The heat goes up to 340 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    Plus the colors are adorable.

  6. 6. Portable Mug Press Machine

    • Mugs and tumblers
    • Easy to store
    • Adjustable temp and timer
    • Simple controls
    • Not for larger mugs
    • Not as long-lasting as others
    • Not for professionals

    For casual users who only need a press for a specific project or event and don’t want to invest in a bulky machine, go for this BIZK Portable Mug Heat Press.

    It has a simple, clam-shell design, similar to some hot stone massage heaters, to surround the mug with even heat on all sides. You can adjust the pressure and size-fit manually by tightening or loosening the large bolt on the side. Just be sure to size your mug and make adjustments before turning the heat on so the press is the right tightness when it comes time to print. 

    I love that this open end design allows the press to work with longer skinny tumblers as well as coffee mugs up to 13 ounces but the heating elements won’t fully cover a tall tumbler.

    There are three temperature settings (320 degrees Fahrenheit, 356 degrees Fahrenheit, and 392 degrees Fahrenheit) as well as two timer settings to choose from (three and a half minutes or five minutes). There are only two buttons, one for power and to select the heat and the other to select the timer. That keeps it nice and unintimdating for people who are looking to keep this beginner-friendly.

    All that said, this is certainly not the model for people looking to work professionally, looking to turn out a lot of volume, or someone who wants the highest, most pristine end result. This certainly gets the job done and is a good choice for people who have limited printing needs or are looking to see if they enjoy the process before investing in a higher-quality machine.

  7. 7. INTSUPERMAI Vacuum Heat Press for 12 Mugs at Once

    • Can print nearly anything that fits
    • Filters out sublimation smell
    • A dozen mugs at the same time
    • Includes rubber clamps
    • Too big for casual crafters
    • No heat range given
    • Red or black color is random

    The INTSUPERMAI Vacuum Heat Press has a completely different take on the heat press process than we’ve seen so far. Sublimation printing requires heat and a strong seal between the blank and your sublimation ink. Most machines achieve this by adding manual or pneumatic pressure to press the image tightly against the mug, but this one uses a vacuum instead.

    Removing all the air from the heating chamber effectively removes anything that could be between the blank and the ink. The sublimation ink image is held in place by rubber clamps to get it started and the set includes three 11-ounce clamps, three tapered 12-ounce clamps, and three 15-ounce clamps.

    This gives you tons more freedom in shape, size, and quantity. This machine is built to print up to 12 mugs at the same time. It can also print nearly anything that fits into the box like tee-shirts, pillowcases, coasters, and plates. Dual heating plates on the top and bottom of the chamber help to distribute heat evenly.

    It may sound complicated compared to just squeezing the mug like others, but the whole thing is automatic. All you need to do is set a temperature and a time and the vacuum kicks on and releases the vacuum when it’s done. 

    This vacuum technology is the same process used in autoclave sterilizers to prevent air from getting between the object and the sterilizing heat. Screenprinting.com breaks down the pros and cons of vacuum printing versus compression (pressure) printing.

  8. 8. UNQWIN Automatic Heat Press

    • Can choose temperature and timer
    • No levers to force
    • Similar design to popular brand
    • Mugs up to 15 ounces
    • Temp and timer selection is tricky
    • Can't fully print tumblers
    • Automatic isn't always better
    • Timer doesn't seem long enough

    If the Cricut press is a little out of your reach budget-wise, other manufacturers have taken note of their design and come out with their own versions. The BIZK Automatic Mug Heat Press has a similar compact, rounded design and plastic casing that protects your hands from the heated elements but with a few key differences. 

    Unlike the Cricut system which has a beginner-friendly one-temperature setting and single timer setting, this BIZK press lets you choose between five different temperature settings and five timer settings. The temperatures range from 356 degrees Fahrenheit up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit. I love my Cricut model because I don’t have to mess with this and tend to use Cricut Infusible products, but I can fully understand wanting to have more control over your temperature if you’re using different brand sheets or printing your own sublimation images and so would want to match your temperature to what your ink requires. 

    The timer has five options from 60 seconds to 100 seconds and I really just don’t think 100 seconds is long enough. The average press time of the Cricut, according to their website, is six minutes though the machine will adjust depending on how quickly the mug gets up to temp. Compared to that, a high setting of under two minutes seems low to me. 

    Unlike most mug heat presses that require some physical strength to push down on a lever to close the press, I really like that this design is automatic. It senses when the mug has been placed into the press and automatically closes around the mug. This does take away some of your ability to get the mug placement just right before starting the press but for many, that’s a good trade-off for not having to deal with the lever.

    It has a one-button interface which is usually a good thing, but when you need to select the temperature and timer using a single button, it can be annoying and finicky to hold the button down for a specific number of seconds to select temps and different length of time to select timers. I’ve personally gotten too spoiled for that but again, depending on your priorities, this might be the best of both worlds for you.

  9. 9. Mug Printing Press Machine by Interbuying

    • Higher temperature range
    • Pressure is manually adjustable
    • Attractive red color
    • Can print 11 to 15-ounce mugs
    • Temperature is not consistant
    • Some have complained of wiring issues
    • Timer is not automatic

    This Sublimation Mug Heating Press has a unique handle that’s designed more like an emergency brake lever and allows you to get better leverage compared to some other models. This is good for people who have less arm strength or chronic pain issues involving their wrists or hands. I have an autoimmune disease that affects my hands so I appreciate models like this one or my Cricut design where I can lean my body weight on the lever without needing to torque my wrist or get a strong grip on a handle.

    Otherwise, it’s a fairly standard press. The compression is adjustable via a manual screw and, again, you’ll want to get all that figured out with your mug before you turn the heat on. The temperature and timer are adjustable using the large LCD interface and the press can work with up to 15-ounce mugs. 

    This one gets hotter than most presses with a range that goes up to a whopping 482 degrees Fahrenheit. You could cook a tiny pizza in this thing. (Don’t though.) That said, at this price point, you’re not looking at the highest craftsmen work in the biz, so this model is not known for properly holding the correct temperature. 

  10. 10. Mini Cup Press by MK.Bear (3rd Gen)

    • Much cheaper than others
    • Small and easy to store
    • Electric heat press made small
    • Only for small mugs
    • Hard to close
    • Won't print as well
    • Not durable

    This Mini Cup Press by MK.Bear is a good affordable option if you are only looking to do smaller mugs (10 to 12 ounces) and want something so compact (under three pounds) it could be considered portable. 

    It has all the same features as a large press with a mug-shaped heating element and digitally controlled adjustable temperature and timer. The pressure is applied by closing the case and setting the latch in place around the mug.

    This is where people can run into some problems. Because there’s no lever or adjustability of the closure, you really have to force this thing shut to provide the pressure. The compression the mug needs is supplied by your brute force to get this plastic latch in place and some people report struggling with not being able to do that. Since the press is for 10-ounce mugs and 12-ounce mugs but is only one size with very little give, the 12-ounce mugs are going to be harder to close around than the 10-ounce mugs. The latch is plastic, like the casing, and I worry that over time it could break or snap with repeated use.

    While I love the idea of this little press being so lightweight at under three pounds, that does speak to how much of this plastic and not metal so don’t count on this being durable for long-term use. 

    Will it print? Yes, it will. Is it maybe a bit more of a hassle to use compared to larger, more sturdy models? Yes, it is. But your budget and needs might make that worth it.

  11. 11. 3-Piece Manual Silicone Mug Wrap Presses

    • These and oven replace traditional press
    • A great cheap first step
    • Simple to store
    • Includes three rolls of tape
    • Not as much pressure as electric press
    • Oven heat will never be as good
    • Oven heated mugs are very hot to touch

    I get it, you can’t buy these electric presses with pocket change and many of them are bulky to store. If you’re strapped for cash or just want to make a mug or two, give these manual silicone mug wrap presses a shot. 

    It’s important to note right off the bat: these do not provide the heat needed to sublimate. The silicone wraps take the place of the pressure applied by typical presses, holding your design flush to the mug so the sublimation ink goes into the ceramic instead of just gassing out into the air. 

    The heat has to come from elsewhere. They can be used as an extra layer of protection to keep ink in place while used in some styles of electric presses or you can DIY it and use these to put your mugs directly in your oven. 

    You’ll want to make sure that your oven is set to the temperature your sublimation materials require and that your oven is actually that temperature. Most ovens aren’t particularly accurate. Mine runs 10 to 15 degrees hotter than I set it. You can get a cheap oven thermometer that hangs from one of the oven racks so you always know the true temperature of your oven.

    Will the results in an oven be as professional-looking and consistent as an electric press? No, but if you can’t afford one, this is way better than nothing and you can get results in an oven. 

    The set comes with three silicone wraps. One for an 11-ounce mug, one for a conical 12-ounce mug, and one for a 15-ounce mug. You also get three rolls of heat-resistant tape–the real hero of sublimation in my humble opinion. Sure, the wrap will provide needed pressure but still tape that design onto that mug within an inch of its life and thank me later. 

    If you want to print on tumblers, they make silicone sublimation sleeves for them as well.

How Do You Use a Mug Heat Press?

A mug heat press is designed to uniformly apply heat and pressure to a coffee mug to transfer a design the same way a t-shirt press applies heat to transfer a print to a shirt.

Because a mug is round, you can't use just any old flat press and this is where these specialized presses come in. 

The printing process varies depending on the press but essentially you wrap the mug in your sublimation ink carrier of choice (making sure it's good and flush to the surface) and apply heat with the press. That's it.

How Does Sublimation Prinking Actually Work?

It's pretty neat. Let's use t-shirts as an example. Heat transfer vinyl and even standard iron-on sheet all transfer and image to the top of the fabric and adhere it there tightly.

In sublimation, the heat actually turns solid ink into a gas. As a gas, the pigment can permeate deep into the fabric and then become solid once it cools. 

This makes the ink completely integrated into the fabric. It's been described as the difference between a drawing on your skin with markers and getting a tattoo. 

It's the same with mugs. The heat forces the ink to turn into a gas so it can penetrate the surface of the mug and stay there forever. 

Is Mug Printing Hard?

Surprisingly, no. I would call myself crafty but I'm not necessarily skilled and I have printed some really great-looking mugs for home use and to give as gifts. 

Without a doubt, the hardest part of printing mugs is waiting those long 15 minutes after printing until you can remove the sublimation sheet and get your first look at your creation.

How Long Will the Printed Image Last on a Coffee Mug?

Basically until your drop and break the mug. Sublimation ink fuses completely to the mug surface. This isn't like "permanent" vinyl where you can still feel the raised edges of the sticker. It's entirely smooth, just like mugs you would buy at a store. 

I've been using my sublimation mugs daily for months and haven't had any fading at all.

Are Sublimation Ink Mugs Dishwasher-Safe?

If your mug was dishwasher or microwave safe before printing, they will be dishwasher or microwave safe after printing. How great is that?

I use mine daily so they end up in the dishwasher a lot but they still look as great as they did when I printed them. (If your mug is insulated, you'll have to handwash.) 

What Sort of Ink Do You Need to Print on Mugs?

You need sublimation transfer sheets or special sublimation ink markers.

These transfer sheets are like heat-transfer vinyl sheets but specifically for sublimation. Once you've created your design with the sheet, you affix it to the mug and run it through the press.

The ink is also available in marker form so you can draw on either sublimation paper or inkjet printer paper and use that as your transfer sheet. If you aren't an artist (I can't draw to save my life) the markers fit into the Cricut Explore Air marker housing and the Cricut Explore Air can draw your designs or text for you.

I used cheap inkjet paper and it worked fine for me but be sure you insert a piece of butcher paper between your design and the press to keep the ink from staining the barrel of the press with printing.

If you're looking to go fully professional or you've to money to burn, you can also print your own sublimation designs on a dedicated Epson sublimation printer using specialized sublimation ink. I don't have that sort of cash to throw around but I've been happy using sheets or markers.

Can I Print On Anything?

No. Not all mugs will work with sublimation ink. When you're shopping you want to look for mugs that are specially marked as sublimation blanks, meaning they are ready to be printed.

You can find both ceramic and coated metal mugs as well as tumblers and stemless wine glasses.

I've personally bought and printed on insulated metal mugs and ceramic mugs.

You also will only find white or light-colored blanks because, as InkwellNation explains, this process doesn't work as well on dark colors.

Sublimation also works on a variety of other materials like polyester fabrics but those require a flat press.

What Other Materials Do I Need?

Other than a press, blanks, and your ink of choice, you can make it work with just those basics but the result might be a little rough. 

One cheap item I would never print without is heat-resistant tape. I use an excessive amount of tape to hold my design in place and it pays off.

If you're looking to create truly stunning mugs, you'll want a digital cutting machine that can cut out precise designs better than you could ever do by hand. 

I have a whole article on Die Cutting Machines, but I highly recommend springing for a Cricut. I use the Cricut Explore Air 2 that I got as a media sample and can't imagine being without one. It can cut intricate designs as well as draw uploaded designs with sublimation markers using the included attachment.

They recently came out with the Cricut Explore 3 if you like all the bells and whistles like not needing a cutting mat, faster processing, and faster cutting.

Some other things you might need are butcher paper if your ink doesn't come with it, to prevent the ink from staining your press, and a lightbox if you're using markers so you can trace your image easier.

What Are Some Sublimation Printing Troubleshooting Tips?

  • * The biggest cause of human error is not having the ink pressed tightly enough against the mug. You want to make sure your design is completely flush against your printing surface without any gaps or bubbles that might allow the ink to spread, creating what is called ghosting. This is a big one and even mentioned on the website for JD, one of the top sublimation transfer sheet makers in China.

Don't be afraid to use an ungodly amount of heat-safe tape to really plaster your design in place and press out any bubbling or gaps.

  • * Another thing to be aware of is that it's going to smell bad while the heat press is running. Don't be alarmed. That's normal for sublimation. Once the process is done, your mug, coaster, or clothing will not continue to smell at all.

* Presses can only get so close to the handle, so when you're making your design, be sure it doesn't need to be within an inch or so of the handle. 

  • * From personal experience, I can say that sublimation transfer sheets are thicker than you expect, and if the digital cutter doesn't solidly go through, you'll end up struggling to weed out your design for way too long and then get a messy, ragged image in the end. Increase your cutting pressure or switch to a fresh blade when dealing with these sheets. 

* Speaking of transfer sheets, when you're weeding out all the patterned sections you don't want as part of your design, it's okay if the whole section isn't removed as long as the ink section is.

If there is that stubborn thin film of white backing paper that's just stuck there good, it can stay there. That's not an issue as long as the pigmented layer on top of it is removed. This is great to know for when you have the issue above where the blade doesn't quite cut all the way through the sheet. I've done this and it saved me a lot of time.

Will All Mug Presses Work As a Tumbler Press?

Unfortunately, no. Not all presses are tall enough to print on a tumbler. Some are or are built specifically for tumblers and I have noted this in their review.

Is a Sublimation Press for Mugs Worth It?

Yes, very much so. I've had such a blast with mine and I now own way more coffee mugs than might be legal in my state for one person. I may or may not have more blanks on order from Amazon right now. It's a great time.

Plus, if you're business-minded, you can sell your custom designs as well,

Can You Use Sublimation Without a Press?

Yes, but results will vary. There are some kits out there that use an oven to heat your mugs to the right temperature to sublimate ink but the designs need to be shrink-wrapped onto the mug to provide any sort of pressure.

If you mostly want a nice small press for mugs but wish you could print one or two tumblers, this is what I would turn to, but it's not going to be as easy or simple

What Is Sublimation Anyway?

Good question since I've been talking about it for an hour. According to the United States Geological Survey website, sublimation is the process of a solid turning into a gas while skipping the liquid step altogether. A common example of sublimation is dry ice which goes from a solid to a foggy gas. You can also see sublimation in snowbanks that slowly shrink without ever seeing them melt.

Fun fact, the opposite of sublimation is deposition, where a gas becomes a solid without becoming a liquid first--which is how snowflakes are formed. 

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