How to Sublimate Ceramic Mugs? – A Comprehensive Guide

complete process to sublimation on coffee mugs

Seeing a coffee mug sublimation with your favorite photo, text, or graphic is precious for anyone who loves to have customized belongings. Whether you are artistic and want to sublimate ceramic mugs for yourself or plan to start an online business of sublimation mugs, You are on the right track.

Customized sublimation coffee mugs make a unique treat for coffee lovers, whether they’re workaholics or homebodies. They’re also a great gift for friends who love coffee or tea. If you’re considering starting a sublimation coffee mug business, don’t hesitate – you only need a few pieces of printing equipment to get started. This guide is for you if you’re interested in pursuing this idea.

How Do We Define Sublimation?

Sublimation is defined as transforming a solid particle into a gaseous state. The heat press warms the gas dye, permanently pressed into the substrate’s surface. Sublimation can open up a plethora of transferring possibilities for both craftsmen and business owners. Drinkware made of porcelain, metal, or glass can be personalized with a bright image of your friends or family, your or others’ artwork or photography, or even your company’s work or logo! For a detailed guide about sublimation, read this post.

Can You Sublimate on Any Ceramic Mug?

Yes, ceramic is a popular choice for sublimation crafting because it’s relatively easy to get it perfect, and you can always have a few coffee mugs. You’ll also need a sublimation printer and a heat source that can reach at least 385°, regardless of the type of ceramic blank you choose. Keep in mind that any ceramic cup or item will not suffice. For the ink to transfer, it needs to be adequately coated with a poly-coating—look for something labelled “sublimation.” one more exciting thing is that you can also sublimate color-changing mugs.

Coffee Mug Sublimation Complete Guide:

sublimate on coffee mug complete process

What do you need to conduct the sublimation process on a coffee mug?

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary supplies for dye-sublimation printing, use a mug heat press machine or Cricut easy press to print a high-quality image on your ceramic mug. This guide will let you know the sublimation process using both heat press and Cricut easy press.

Let’s sublimate our mug:

1. Choose a suitable mug

Select a mug of suitable size and make sure that it is poly-coated. Using a lint roller, clean the cup. Any lint or dust particles can sublimate and leave marks on the cup.

2. Create Your Graphic Or Choose One

Remember that the average 10 or 11-oz cup is 39.5 inches tall when picking the size of your sublimation graphics (3 inches high, nine wide). Also, while printing complete bleed over the top and bottom edges of the cup is possible, safe mugs include a tapper that can make this challenging to transfer.

If you’re printing on tapered ceramic mugs (at the top or bottom), you should print around 14 inches away from the top and bottom edges.

You may use the following software to create your graphic:

There is plenty of software available to make sublimation designs.

If you’re a design lover and find it difficult to make a design, there is no need to worry, you can get many designs from Creative Fabrica according to your mood and appetite.  

Protip: Reduce printing expenses and increase production efficiency by copying and pasting your selected design numerous times on a single piece of paper.

3. Print Your Chosen Photo/Graphic

You can select to print on full-size transfer paper (8.5″x11″) when you’re ready. There are also transfer sheets specifically developed for mugs that you can use. Make sure you’ve selected the suitable printer settings for mug sublimation graphics, such as ticking the “mirror image” option and using a resolution of no more than 300 DPI (any higher amount will be a waste of ink and take longer than necessary to print). Ensure that your printer is equipped with sublimation inks and transfer paper.

Also, double-check that you’re printing on the coated side of the paper!

Also Read:

4. It’s Time to Trim the Paper Now!

Because wholesale sublimation mugs come in various sizes, you must verify that the paper is cut to the proper dimensions. Trim the edges and double-check that you can easily wrap the piece around your cup. Turn the transfer paper over so that the picture faces the mug. Wrap the paper around the mug tightly. Make sure the paper is firmly placed against the mug’s surface. Secure the transfer paper using heat-resistant tape at each end of the printed transfer. Using heat-resistant tape, adhere your patterns to your cup. You want the drawings to lie as flat against the mug as possible; any gaps will result in an uneven transfer. Tape the bottom edge so nothing moves when entered or removed from the mug press.

Protip: Before pressing, wrap your cup in two pieces of butcher paper and tape it down. It helps protect your mug press from receiving any undesired sublimation ink itself.

5. Select Your Desired Settings

Set the mug sublimation temperature, i.e. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). Set the timer for 4-6 minutes and adjust the pressure to “medium-heavy.” 

To sublimate ceramic mugs with the best results, you may need to experiment with duration, temperature, and pressure (depending on your mug press).

Note: The exact time will vary depending on the heat press and blank mug maker.

6. Place Your Mug Carefully into the Machine

When the mug heat press reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius), you can begin the sublimation process by placing the mug in the press without wrinkling or folding the transfer paper. It’s essential to avoid any folds in the paper, as they may cause the design to be distorted or ruined. Gently close the press, ensuring that it snaps shut tightly but without applying too much pressure that could break the mug.

7. Take Your Mug Out of the Heat Press

After the timer goes off, use a heat-resistant oven mitt to remove the hot mug from the press safely. Quickly and carefully remove the transfer paper attached to the mug by taking off the tape.

8. Wait For Your Mug to Cool Before Handling It

The sublimation process for your mug is nearly complete. Take the hot mug off the heat source and place it aside to cool for some time. Avoid touching it until it is no longer hot to the touch, or use a low-speed fan to cool it down faster.

Sublimation Mugs Trend Last 12 Months

Sublimation mugs have been a popular trend for several years now, and the demand for personalized and customized products has only continued to grow. With more public spending time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, personalized products like sublimation mugs have become even more popular for gifting, home decor, and personal use. Online marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon, and Walmart have also seen increased demand for sublimation mugs, with various designs and styles available to consumers.

What are Common Errors in Sublimating the Ceramic Mugs, And How to Fix Them?

Here are some common errors that can occur during the sublimation process for ceramic mugs and how to fix them:

  • The poor coating on the mug can lead to poor image quality, with colors appearing dull or faded. To fix this, it’s best to use high-quality ceramic mugs with a smooth and even coating before starting the sublimation process.
  • Low-quality ink can result in poor color vibrancy, blurry or distorted images, and even ink bleeding. Ensure you use high-quality sublimation ink designed to work with your specific printer and mug type.
  • After the complete sublimation process, removing the wrap from the mug is essential. Leaving the wrap on too long can cause the ink to transfer unevenly, leading to image distortion or smudging.
  • If the pressure is not even during the sublimation process, it can result in the irregular transfer of the ink. To fix this, make sure the mug is secured tightly in the heat press, and the pressure is evenly distributed across the entire surface of the mug.
  • If the temperature is too high or too low during the sublimation process, it can result in image distortion, discoloration, or even melting of the mug. Ensure to follow the recommended temperature guidelines for the specific mug and sublimation ink.

Sometimes mugs don’t sublime from the bottom. To solve this puzzle, you can read discuss from this thread.

Why does my mug press keep making the bottom of the design to be faded and the wrong colors!!!!!!!!!! This is really infuriating. I’ve done it at 400 for 4 minutes- 350 for 3:40- and 350 for 3:00
by in Sublimation

Sublimation Mugs Vs Regular Mugs – Which is Better for Sublimation.

Sublimation mugs are better suited for sublimation printing than regular mugs. They have a special coating that is receptive to sublimation ink, which allows for high-quality, long-lasting prints. Regular mugs lack this coating and may be damaged by the heat and pressure used in the sublimation process, resulting in poor-quality prints. Therefore, sublimation mugs are the recommended option for sublimation printing.

Some regular mugs you may find in the market includes;

  • Sweese Porcelain Mugs
  • DOWAN Coffee Mugs
  • Libbey Crystal Coffee Mug
  • Gibson Elite Soho Lounge Mugs
  • Corelle Coordinates Mugs
  • Mikasa Italian Countryside Mugs
  • Fitz and Floyd Nevaeh Mugs

Where You Can Find Cheap Sublimation Mugs

There are various online marketplaces and retailers where you can find cheap sublimation mugs, including:

  1. Alibaba: A popular online marketplace that offers a wide range of sublimation mugs at low prices.
  2. Amazon: A well-known online retailer that offers various sublimation mugs at affordable prices.
  3. eBay: An online auction website that offers both new and used sublimation mugs at low prices.
  4. AliExpress: A retail service that offers a variety of sublimation mugs at very low prices.
  5. DHgate: A Chinese online marketplace that offers sublimation mugs at wholesale prices.

It’s important to note that when buying cheap sublimation mugs, it’s crucial to consider the quality and durability of the mug, as some low-priced mugs may be of low quality and may not provide a long-lasting print. Therefore, it’s always recommended to read reviews and compare prices from different sellers before purchasing.

Sublimation Other Ceramic Products

We can also sublimate other ceramic products, including;

What kind of Paper are Best for Sublimation Mugs

The best paper for mugs is the sublimation transfer paper. It is coated to receive sublimation ink and releases the ink onto the mug’s surface during the sublimation process. Light-coloured paper is suitable for printing on white or light-colored mugs, while dark-colored paper is suitable for printing on dark-colored mugs. Choose a high-quality paper that can withstand high temperatures and pressures for the best results.

Follow These Point Before Sublimation Ceramic Mugs

  • Keep your design away from the mug’s edges (top, bottom, and handle) to avoid uneven pressure from the heat press and poorer image transfer in these areas.
  • Try to keep 5-10mm away from all edges of the mug due to the slight taper at the top and bottom and the weaker heating element at the edges of the mug.
  • Preheat the mug before sublimating it by pressing in the mug press, filling the mug with boiling water and leaving it for 1-2 minutes, or soaking the mugs in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Use high-quality sublimation transfer paper to withstand the high temperatures and pressures required for sublimation printing.
  • Make sure the design is printed in a mirror image and properly aligned with the mug before sublimating.
  • Set the temperature and time correctly on the heat press machine as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • After sublimating, remove the mug from the heat press carefully using heat-resistant gloves to avoid burning yourself.



Customized mugs, clothes, and other goods are all the rage at online businesses. It’s all thanks to a popular printing method known as sublimation or heat press printing. What is the mechanism behind it?

A sublimation printer creates sublimation ink on paper, and a heat press converts the picture from a solid to a gas state without ever becoming a liquid. When the ink on the transfer product cools, it properly bonded and solidifies, resulting in long-lasting designs that can be washed in the dishwasher.

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