How To Sublimate A Tumbler – Indepth Guide

Last Updated on October 22, 2022

There is nothing I love more than sublimation crafts! My favorite part about sublimation projects is that they are permanent and appear so professional, in addition to the fact that you can create so many different crafts! There are a wide variety of options available in addition to what is available on the Cricut aisle. As a sublimation crafts artist, I have created almost everything from tumblers and mugs to baby onesies, t-shirts, and shirts.

My involvement in addictive crafts for the last three years has led me to observe that stainless steel tumblers make great gifts and can serve as a good product for markets and craft shows. Now that sublimation crafts are becoming increasingly popular, it is the perfect time to learn How To Sublimate A Tumbler with a Cricut Mug Press or an oven. Making sublimation tumblers for gifts or as a small business is an excellent craft for beginners as well as experienced crafters.

In the early days of sublimation printing, I was most enthusiastic about making sublimation tumblers. In order to stay hydrated while out and about, I always carry a water bottle with me. In search of beautiful tumblers that can be customized according to the season and holiday, I learned how to make a sublimation tumbler.

What is a Sublimation Tumbler?

Stainless steel or tumblers made of another material, such as glass, are sublimation tumblers, which have been printed with a form of ink transfer known as sublimation. The process of sublimation printing involves converting solid ink into gas and embedding it into a polyester substrate.

Consequently, you will have a high-quality, permanent, and peel-resistant design permanently embedded in your tumbler material. The result is a finished product that looks professional and gives people the impression that you have purchased it! Therefore, sublimation tumblers are an excellent gift item or even a good choice for small businesses.

Supplies You Need to Make Sublimation Tumblers

  • Tumbler blank for sublimation
  • Sublimation Ink
    • Sublimation Ink for Printers
    • Sublimation Markers
    • Infusible ink pens will eliminate need for any cutting machine
    • Cricut infusible ink transfer sheets
    • You can also opt to buy pre-printed sublimation transfers
  • Sublimation paper or laser paper.
  • Heat Source
    • Convection Oven (If you are using an oven for sublimation purpose, you are advised to never use it again for domestic purposes.
    • Tumbler Press
    • Cricut Mug Press
  • Butcher Paper
  • Heat Resistant Tape
  • The tumblers you are making will require Sublimation Shrink Wraps if you are using an oven.
Supplies You Need to Make Sublimation Tumblers

How to Make a Sublimation Tumbler?

It takes a great deal of patience, trial and error to make tumblers. Almost every question can be answered in a variety of ways. Throughout the process, you will have to determine what works best for you. However, keep in mind that what might work for one person may not necessarily work for another. If you use us as a guide rather than the final word, you will find YOUR way.

Create Tumbler Design

Create Tumbler Design

Sublimation prints are available for purchase, but I would rather make my own. In my opinion, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Procreate are the best tools to create sublimation designs. If you are looking for graphics to use with sublimation, please note that almost any design can be used.

An inkjet printer can be converted to a sublimation printer so that photos, graphics, and other items can be printed. Using Silhouette Studio Free or Cricut Design Space is the best way to cut SVG files for transfer sheets, and DXF files for Silhouette Design Space.

I recommend that you use Adobe Photoshop to design your tumbler for printing. The color conversion of this software is the best in the industry.

Transfer Design to Blank Tumbler

We are now getting to the fun part! The ink or dye must be specific for sublimation, but there are no limitations to what can be printed out and permanently added to a tumbler. A simple process involves creating a design in a program such as Procreate, Photoshop, or another similar tool, and then printing the mirrored design onto Sublimation Paper.

Mirroring sublimation transfers is always recommended. Mirroring your design is not necessary if it does not contain words, however it is a good habit to develop.

In order to prepare for heating, attach tightly with heat-resistant tape to the tumbler. Ensure that the design extends all the way to the edge of the tumbler. I really enjoyed using skinny tumbler!

Transfer Design to Blank Tumbler

Place Tumbler Inside Heat Source (Oven in my Case)

Place Tumbler Inside Heat Source (Oven in my Case)

Make sure your tumbler is enclosed in the shrink wrap sleeve. It should be centered as much as possible inside the sleeve. 

As soon as the oven had heated up, I placed the tumbler inside. The timer should be set for six minutes (or the time recommended by the manufacturer of your blank). In my oven, I have not found it necessary to flip the tumbler halfway through. However, if your transfer is uneven, you may wish to include this step.

Remove the tumbler from the oven as soon as the timer beeps. Cut away the shrink wrap and transfer sheet carefully while wearing your heat resistant gloves. In order to prevent damage to the transfer sheet, you should remove the shrink wrap as soon as possible. In the first place, it prevents ghosting of your image, and in the second place, removing shrink wrap is so much easier when it is warm.

sublimation a tumbler process

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of tumbler can I use for sublimation?

During the sublimation process, polyester coating on tumblers must be applied so that the ink can be adhered to the surface. This has resulted in rather high prices and difficulty in obtaining blank tumblers for sublimation. There is no dollar store where you can purchase tumblers as you can at other DIY shops. It is, however, well worth the effort in the end.

Do Sublimation Tumblers Need to be Sealed?

No! Sublimation-printed tumblers do not require sealing. During the heating process, the sublimation ink embeds in the tumbler’s material.

Can I Use My Sublimation Oven for Food?

Not at all! A portion of the ink is emitted into the oven during the sublimation process. There is a risk of food contamination. Sublimation convection ovens should not be used for cooking.

Can You Put a Sublimation Tumbler in the Dishwasher?

A stainless steel tumbler (sublimation or not) should not be placed in the dishwasher, unlike sublimation mugs. A stainless steel tumbler (sublimation or not) should not be placed in the dishwasher, unlike sublimation mugs. If you are using stainless steel sublimation mugs, I recommend hand washing them.

Can I Use an Air Fryer?

YES! I use an air fryer as my convection oven. The cooking process is technically the same for both. Air fryers can look like convection ovens, or they can be shaped like shiny round spaceships.

Due to the fact that it does not leave any heat marks on my tumbler, I really enjoy using the air fryer basket in my oven.

Can You Epoxy Over a Sublimation Tumbler?

The answer is yes! The glitter and epoxy can be added to your sublimated tumbler once it has cooled. The process is similar to that of making a regular glitter tumbler. In areas without designs, you should use opaque color glitter or clear glitter to avoid covering up the sublimated image.

Can I Use Cricut Infusible Ink?

Yes! You can use your Cricut to cut Infusible Ink transfer sheets and apply them to your tumbler in the same manner.

What temp do you press a sublimation tumbler?

Apply medium pressure for 80-100 seconds at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It is recommended that the tumbler be rotated and pressed for another 80-100 seconds if the design wraps around the tumbler. Once the press has been completed, remove the product from the press immediately and peel it hot. It is important to exercise caution when handling this item due to its high temperature.

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