A beginner-friendly tutorial to show you everything you need to know about how to personalize mugs with Cricut using Vinyl or MugPress.
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Do you want to make a personalized mug with your Cricut but you have no idea where to start?
As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to figure out exactly how to go about customizing the mug. There are SO many tutorials out there.
I have you covered.
Do you need a MugPress to make mugs with Cricut? The answer is no. You can also make mugs using vinyl.
There are two ways you can make mugs with Cricut. They each have their pros and cons.
- Using vinyl
- Using the MugPress and Infusible ink
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How to Make Vinyl Mugs With Cricut
Using vinyl to personalize mugs is a great way to get started with custom mugs.
The advantages of using vinyl to personalize mugs are-
- It is easy and a great beginner project
- You only need a Cricut cutting machine and vinyl
- You can customize any size/shape/type/color of mug
- Permanent vinyl on the mugs – if applied the right way – is dishwasher safe!
The disadvantage of using vinyl is –
- You have an “edge” on the design since it is vinyl on the mug.
- Mugs made with vinyl are not microwave-safe.
What Vinyl Do You Use for Coffee Mugs?
The best vinyl to use for mugs is permanent Cricut vinyl. This is also available as Smart Vinyl (Permanent). Permanent Cricut vinyl is dishwasher safe and can be cut on any Cricut machine and easily applied using basic Cricut tools.
Step 1 – Design the mug
- Open Cricut Design space and design the mug. Be sure to take into account the size of the mug and adjust the design accordingly.
In this example, I am using a black mug I picked up at Target.
The Design Space library has a huge collection of artwork and designs you can choose from.
The Cricut Design Space is an essential part of using the Cricut. It is free to sign up and get access to a LOT of free images and fonts. Plus you can use your system fonts as well as import your own images.
However, there are many images and fonts that are available for a nominal fee. You do have the option to sign up for the Cricut Access membership which gives you access to over 100,000 images and 400 fonts!
Step 2 – Cut design on Cricut
- Load the permanent vinyl on the StandardGrip mat and load the mat into the machine.
If using Smart Vinyl, you do not need the machine mat.
- Send the design to your Cricut machine and cut it out.
Step 3 – Prepare design
- Carefully weed out the design to remove all the negative space.
- Remove the vinyl backing to transfer the design onto the transfer tape.
Step 4 – Apply design on the mug
- Wipe down the mug with a towel dipped in isopropyl alcohol. This ensures that there are no oils or other residue on the mug.
- Align and place the design when you intend for it to be.
- Burnish the design onto the mug and peel the transfer tape away.
That is it!
The custom mug is ready!
The best part about vinyl is that you can make any color, shape, or size of mug. The only thing you want to make sure of is that the surface is smooth.
Mugs made with vinyl are dishwasher safe provided –
- the mug is clean before application of the vinyl.
- you use the correct vinyl – outdoor Smart Vinyl or Permanent vinyl.
While making mugs with vinyl is pretty straightforward, you can achieve much more professional results with a MugPress.
How to Customize a Mug With a Mugpress
The MugPress is essentially a heat-press specifically designed to transfer designs onto sublimation mugs.
I have a detailed article talking all about the Cricut MugPress, how it works, and all of its features.
Advantages of Cricut MugPress –
- The design is infused into the mug resulting in a professional finish.
- The mugs are dishwasher safe and microwave safe.
- You can also transfer hand-drawn designs onto mugs expanding the possibilities!
Disadvantages of Cricut MugPress –
- You do need the Cricut MugPress which can be an additional investment.
- Only works with Infusible ink compatible mug blanks.
Step 1 – Design the mug
- In Cricut Design Space, look for “mug design” and pick the mug template that works for you.
- Add any designs you like. The monogram maker is a great option as well.
Step 2 – Create the design
- If using infusible ink sheets, cut them out on the Cricut machine of your choice and weed out the negative space. I use the Cricut Maker but any other Cricut machine works as well.
- If using infusible ink pens or markers, load the copy paper on the LightGrip mat and make the design. You can also cut out the template and use an infusible ink marker to hand draw a design.
Step 3 – Apply the design to the mug
- Heat up the MugPress by pressing the power button.
- Carefully clean the mug to remove any dust or dirt. I like to wipe the mug with rubbing alcohol followed by using a lint roller to get all the dirt off.
- Wrap the design around the mug carefully centering it. Apply heat-resistant tape to hold the design in place. If using infusible ink markers and pen, also wrap 3 layers of butcher paper onto the design.
- Carefully place it in the MugPress and press the lever down.
- The machine will automatically count down.
- Once complete, it will beep.
- Lift up the handle and carefully remove the mug. The mug will be very hot.
- Once the mug has cooled to the touch, you can remove the transfer sheets and enjoy the design.
That is it!
Simple and easy. The mugs made with this technique definitely have a much more professional finish since the design is infused into the mug.
Personalized mugs are the perfect gift – whether it is your mom, dad, teacher, friend, or anyone in between!
It is the perfect way to help capture the personality of the person you are giving the mug to AND to have them remember you every time they use the mug!
In summary, making custom mugs with Cricut is very easy – whether you are using vinyl or the MugPress. They both result in beautiful creative mugs that make the perfect addition to your coffee mug collection or the perfect gift!
Which mug will you make?
I can’t wait to see it!
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Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"