What are Sublimation Tumblers
What are Sublimation Tumblers

What Are Sublimation Tumblers: The Ultimate DIY Guide

Are you curious about the latest trend in personalized drinkware, like sublimated tumblers and water bottles?

In recent years, there has been an increasing trend in the crafting and DIY community surrounding sublimation tumblers.

With the introduction of the Cricut Mug Press, crafters now have an easier way to sublimate their designs onto cups using infusible ink.

Crafters and enthusiasts are embracing the Cricut Mug Press, an innovative technique that allows them to add their personal touch to mugs using Infusible Ink and sublimation designs. But what exactly are sublimation tumblers?

In this tutorial, we will discuss the process of using a tumbler heat press to sublimate paper with cricut.

We will cover sublimation transfers, as well as other essential tools like transfer sheets and heat guns. Get ready to unlock your creativity as we uncover the exciting world of sublimation tumblers with the Cricut Mug Press.

Use infusible ink and paper to create stunning designs that transfer seamlessly onto your tumbler. Finish off your masterpiece with a shrink wrap for a professional and polished look.

What are Sublimation Tumblers?

Sublimation tumblers are double-walled insulated containers that have been coated with a special polymer layer for infusible ink printing. These tumblers can be customized using the cricut mug press and sublimation paper. The process involves transferring the design onto the tumbler using heat and pressure, similar to a convection oven.

PhotoReal sublimation tumblers 1
sublimation tumblers

They offer a unique and creative way to personalize your drinkware while enjoying your favorite beverages with epoxy sublimation tumblers. You can easily create customized designs using a mug press or a tumbler press.

Additionally, you can use a cricut to add extra flair to your creations. These tumblers allow for high-quality, full-color designs that can be transferred onto the surface using a mug press and infusible ink through a process called sublimation.

With the help of a cricut, the design is printed on paper and then transferred to the tumbler.

Double-walled insulated containers

One of the key features of sublimation tumblers is their double-walled insulation, which helps to ensure even heat distribution during the convection process.

This makes them perfect for use with a mug press or in an oven when using infusible ink. This design helps to keep your drinks at the desired temperature for longer periods, whether it’s hot coffee in the morning or an icy cold beverage on a hot summer day.

With the use of a mug press and oven, your drinks will stay at the perfect temperature for minutes. The convection feature ensures even heating and cooling. The double walls of the paper mug help to prevent condensation from forming on the outside, keeping your hands dry and comfortable while enjoying your hot beverage.

Coated with a special polymer layer for sublimation printing

The outer surface of sublimation tumblers is coated with a special polymer layer that allows for vibrant and long-lasting prints using infusible ink.

This process involves transferring the design from paper onto the mug, and then heating it in an oven for a permanent bond.

This infusible ink coating acts as a canvas for your designs on paper, ensuring that they adhere seamlessly using a Cricut and withstand regular use without fading or peeling off. Plus, it can be set in an oven for added durability.

The paper used in the Cricut mug press provides a smooth and even surface for the sublimation ink to bond with, resulting in sharp and detailed prints.

Allow for high-quality, full-color designs

With sublimation tumblers, you have the freedom to create high-quality designs on a mug, using a cricut and paper, that truly stand out. Plus, you can easily transfer your design onto the mug using an oven.

Whether you want to showcase your favorite sports team logo using a Cricut machine, add personalized text or graphics on paper, or create intricate patterns and artwork, these tumblers can bring your vision to life. You can even use an oven or press to enhance the design.

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The dye-sublimation process, using a Cricut, allows for unlimited color options and ensures that every detail of your design is accurately reproduced. Whether you’re using a heat press or an oven, the Cricut makes it easy to create vibrant and precise designs.

Suitable for both hot and cold beverages

Sublimation tumblers are versatile drinkware options suitable for both hot and cold beverages. These tumblers can be customized using an oven and a press for personalization.

The double-walled insulation not only keeps hot drinks hot in the oven but also prevents heat transfer to the outer surface, allowing you to hold the tumbler comfortably while using a press.

Similarly, it helps to keep cold drinks chilled in the oven for longer periods without causing condensation on the outside. Additionally, using a press can enhance the taste of your drinks.

Materials Needed for Sublimating Tumblers

To successfully sublimate tumblers, you’ll need a few key materials such as an oven and a press to ensure the process goes smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at each of these materials in the oven and press.

Sublimation Tumbler Blank

First and foremost, you’ll need a sublimation tumbler blank. This is essentially a plain tumbler made of stainless steel or other suitable material that can withstand high temperatures, such as an oven or press.

The blank press serves as the canvas for your design and allows the ink to transfer during the sublimation process in the oven.

Sublimation Printer and Ink

Next up, you’ll require a sublimation printer and ink. These specialized printers, also known as sublimation printers, are designed specifically for sublimation printing and use special inks that turn into gas when heated in an oven or press. The gas then permeates the surface of the tumbler blank and enters the oven, resulting in vibrant, long-lasting designs. The press is used to apply pressure during the process.

Heat-Resistant Tape

Heat-resistant tape is an essential tool for securing your design onto the tumbler blank during the sublimation process.

It ensures that your design stays in place while it is being transferred to the tumbler in the oven and under pressure.

This tape is specially formulated to withstand high temperatures in the oven and press without leaving any residue behind. It ensures that your design stays in place while allowing heat from the oven to transfer evenly across the entire surface when using a press.

Heat Press Machine or Convection Oven

To apply heat and pressure during the sublimation process, you have two options: a heat press machine or a convection oven.

A heat press machine uses controlled temperature and pressure settings, similar to an oven, to effectively transfer the ink onto the tumbler blank.

On the other hand, if you opt for using a convection oven, make sure it has precise temperature control capabilities to achieve optimal results in the press.

Protective Gloves and Mask

When working with high temperatures and potentially hazardous substances like ink, it’s crucial to prioritize safety, especially when operating a press.

Wearing protective gloves will shield your hands from burns or injuries during handling, making it safer for you to press objects. Wearing a mask helps prevent inhaling any fumes or particles that may be released during the sublimation process, which is crucial for safety and health.

This is especially important for those working in the press industry.

Now that we’ve covered the essential materials needed for sublimating tumblers, you’re well on your way to creating stunning customized designs that will impress the press. Remember to gather all these materials, including the press, before starting the sublimation process to ensure a smooth and successful experience.

Step-by-Step Guide: Making Sublimation Tumblers

To create stunning and personalized sublimation tumblers, follow these simple steps. First, gather all the necessary materials including a sublimation press. Next, prepare the design or image that you want to transfer onto the tumbler.

Then, use the press to apply heat and pressure to the tumbler, allowing the sublimation process to take place.

Finally, remove the tumbler from the press and admire your beautiful creation. With the help of a press, you can easily achieve professional-looking results for your sublimation tumblers

You can also watch this full step-by-step video on how to make sublimation tumblers for the press.

Prepare Design on Computer

Using graphic design software of your choice, start by creating or selecting the design you want to transfer onto the tumbler.

Once you have finalized the design, prepare it for press and proceed with the transfer process. This could be a logo, text, or intricate artwork.

To achieve the best results in press, make sure that the design is in a high-resolution format.

Print Design onto Sublimation Paper

Once your design is ready, it’s time to print it onto sublimation paper using a sublimation printer for the press.

Make sure to mirror the image before printing so that it transfers correctly onto the tumbler for the press. Sublimation ink is specially formulated for the press to turn into a gas when heated, allowing it to penetrate and bond with the coating on the tumbler surface.

Wrap Printed Design around Tumbler

After printing, carefully cut out your design from the sublimation paper using a press. Place it around the tumbler in the desired position and secure it with heat-resistant tape. The tape ensures that the design remains in place during the heating process.

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Apply Heat and Pressure

With your wrapped tumbler ready, it’s time to apply heat and pressure for sublimation to take place. There are two common methods for this: using a heat press machine or a convection oven.

If you have access to a heat press machine specifically designed for sublimation purposes, follow its instructions for temperature and timing settings. Place your wrapped tumbler inside and close the machine, allowing heat and pressure to work their magic.

Alternatively, if you’re using a convection oven, preheat it according to manufacturer guidelines. Carefully place your wrapped tumbler inside while ensuring that it won’t come into direct contact with any hot surfaces or racks. Leave it inside for the recommended time until sublimation occurs.

Final Touches

Once the sublimation process is complete, remove the tumbler from the heat source and let it cool down. Then carefully peel off the tape and sublimation paper to reveal your vibrant design transferred onto the tumbler.

To protect your creation and ensure its longevity, consider applying a clear coat or epoxy resin over the design. This will provide an extra layer of protection against scratches and fading.

And there you have it! Your very own personalized sublimation tumbler created through a simple step-by-step process. Whether you’re making tumblers for personal use or as gifts for friends and family, this method allows you to unleash your creativity and showcase unique designs on a functional item.

Types of Tumblers Suitable for Sublimation

Stainless Steel Tumblers with Polymer Coating

Stainless steel tumblers with a polymer coating are one of the most popular choices for sublimation. These tumblers provide a durable and sleek surface to showcase your sublimation designs. The stainless steel construction ensures that the tumbler is resistant to rust and corrosion, making it suitable for long-term use.


  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Resistant to rust and corrosion
  • Provides a smooth surface for sublimation prints


  • Polymer coating may wear off over time with regular use
  • Limited color options due to the metallic surface

Aluminum Tumblers with Polymer Coating

Another option for sublimated tumblers is aluminum tumblers with a polymer coating. These tumblers offer a lightweight yet sturdy construction, making them perfect for on-the-go use. The polymer coating provides an excellent base for vibrant and detailed sublimation prints.

Lightweight and portableLess durable compared to stainless steel tumblers
Excellent heat conductivityMay dent or scratch easily if not handled carefully
Wide range of color options available

Ceramic Tumblers with Polymer Coating

For those looking for a more traditional look, ceramic tumblers with a polymer coating are an excellent choice. These tumblers combine the classic appeal of ceramic with the versatility of sublimation printing. The polymer coating ensures that your designs adhere well to the surface while providing durability.

Classic and elegant appearanceMore fragile compared to stainless steel or aluminum tumblers
Excellent print quality on ceramic surfaceLimited insulation properties
Dishwasher safe (depending on specific product)

When choosing the right type of tumbler for your sublimation needs, consider factors such as durability, color options, and the desired aesthetic appeal. Stainless steel tumblers are a popular choice due to their durability and resistance to rust. Aluminum tumblers offer lightweight portability and a wide range of color options. Ceramic tumblers provide a classic look but may be more fragile.

Remember to select tumblers that have a polymer coating specifically designed for sublimation. This coating ensures that your designs adhere well and result in vibrant and long-lasting prints. With the right tumbler, you can create personalized and eye-catching sublimated drinkware that stands out from the crowd.

Epoxy vs Sublimation Tumblers: Understanding the Difference

Epoxy tumblers and sublimation tumblers are both popular choices for creating personalized drinkware. However, there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of before making a decision. Let’s dive in and explore what sets them apart.

Epoxy Tumblers: Additional Steps Required

Epoxy tumblers involve an extra step after sublimating the design. Once you have applied the desired design onto the tumbler using sublimation, you will need to apply epoxy resin to seal and protect the design. This process creates a glossy finish and provides durability to your tumbler.

Pros of Epoxy Tumblers:

  • Offers a glossy finish
  • Provides added protection to the design
  • Enhances durability

Cons of Epoxy Tumblers:

  • Requires additional time and effort for applying epoxy resin
  • Can be messy if not done properly
  • May require some practice to achieve desired results

Sublimation Tumblers: Permanent and Durable Designs

On the other hand, sublimation tumblers offer a permanent and durable design without the need for epoxy. The sublimation ink is directly infused into the coating on the tumbler, resulting in a vibrant and long-lasting image or pattern.

Pros of Sublimation Tumblers:

  • No additional steps required after sublimating
  • Quick and easy process
  • Design is permanently embedded into the coating

Cons of Sublimation Tumblers:

  • Limited options for glossy finishes compared to epoxy tumblers
  • May fade over time with exposure to harsh conditions (e.g., excessive sunlight or dishwasher)
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Making Your Decision

When deciding between epoxy tumblers and sublimation tumblers, consider your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize a glossy finish, added protection, or enhanced durability, epoxy tumblers might be the better choice for you. However, if you value simplicity, ease of use, and a permanent design that won’t require additional steps, sublimation tumblers are a great option.

It’s also worth noting that epoxy tumblers can offer more customization options in terms of finishes and effects. With epoxy resin, you can create unique textures or even add glitter or other embellishments to your tumbler. On the other hand, sublimation tumblers provide a smooth and seamless design without any added texture.

Sealing Sublimation Tumblers: Do’s and Don’ts

To ensure the longevity and quality of your sublimated designs on tumblers, proper sealing is crucial.

Do use FDA-approved sealants to ensure safety when sealing sublimated designs.

Using FDA-approved sealants is essential. These sealants have been tested and approved for direct contact with food and beverages, ensuring that they are safe for use on tumblers that may come into contact with lips or mouths. By using FDA-approved sealants, you can have peace of mind knowing that your customers can safely enjoy their drinks without any concerns about the integrity of the sealant.

Some benefits of using FDA-approved sealants include:

  • Safety assurance: FDA-approved sealants undergo rigorous testing to ensure they meet strict safety standards.
  • Non-toxic properties: These sealants are formulated to be non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals.
  • Durability: FDA-approved sealants are designed to withstand regular use, including washing and handling.

Don’t use regular craft sealants that may not withstand high temperatures.

While regular craft sealants may work well for certain projects, they may not be suitable for sealing sublimation tumblers. Regular craft sealants often cannot withstand high temperatures, which can lead to issues such as peeling or cracking over time. To avoid these problems, it’s important to choose a sealant specifically designed for sublimation applications.

Here are some drawbacks of using regular craft sealants:

  • Lack of heat resistance: Craft sealants may not be able to withstand the high temperatures involved in the sublimation process.
  • Reduced durability: Regular craft sealants may deteriorate quickly when exposed to moisture or repeated washing.
  • Potential health risks: Craft sealants may contain chemicals that are not food-safe, posing a risk to consumers.

To ensure the best results when sealing sublimation tumblers, consider using shrink wrap sleeves. Shrink wrap sleeves provide a secure and professional finish while also offering added protection to the sublimated design. These sleeves can be easily applied by using heat to shrink them tightly around the tumbler, creating a seamless and durable seal.

Where to Buy Sublimation Tumbler Blanks

If you’re looking to get your hands on some sublimation tumbler blanks for customization, there are a few different options available. Let’s explore where you can find these blank tumblers and start creating your own unique designs.

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and Alibaba offer a wide range of options. These platforms provide a convenient way to browse through various sellers and compare prices, allowing you to find the best deal that suits your needs.

  • Amazon: As one of the largest online marketplaces globally, Amazon offers an extensive selection of sublimation tumbler blanks from different sellers. You can choose from various sizes, materials, and designs based on your preferences.
  • Etsy: Known for its handmade and unique products, Etsy is another great platform to find sublimation tumbler blanks. Many independent sellers on Etsy offer customizable options, allowing you to add your personal touch to the tumblers.
  • Alibaba: If you’re looking for bulk orders or wholesale prices, Alibaba is an excellent option. This platform connects buyers with manufacturers and suppliers directly, providing a wide range of choices at competitive prices.

Specialty Sublimation Suppliers

In addition to online marketplaces, there are specialty sublimation suppliers that focus specifically on providing high-quality tumbler blanks for customization. These suppliers often have a deep understanding of the sublimation process and can offer expert advice on achieving the best results.

  • Sublimation101: Sublimation101 is a popular supplier that specializes in sublimation products. They offer a variety of tumbler blanks made from different materials such as stainless steel or polymer. Their products are known for their durability and suitability for the sublimation process.
  • Heat Press Nation: Heat Press Nation is another reputable supplier that offers a wide range of sublimation tumbler blanks. They provide options in various sizes and styles, ensuring you can find the perfect match for your customization needs.

When purchasing from specialty suppliers, you can often expect higher quality products specifically designed for sublimation printing. These suppliers may also offer additional resources and support to help you get started with your customization journey.


Can I use any type of printer for sublimating tumblers?

Yes, you will need a special printer called a dye-sublimation printer that uses heat to transfer ink onto various surfaces, including tumblers. Regular inkjet printers won’t work for this process.

Do I need any special software for designing my tumbler artwork?

While there are many graphic design software options available, you don’t necessarily need anything fancy. Basic programs like Adobe Photoshop or even free online tools like Canva can be used to create stunning designs for your sublimation tumblers.

How long does it take to complete a sublimation tumbler?

The time required depends on various factors such as the complexity of your design and the drying process involved. On average, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours per tumbler.

Are sublimation tumblers dishwasher safe?

Yes! One of the great benefits of sublimated designs is their durability. Sublimation ink becomes a part of the surface, making it resistant to fading, peeling, and even dishwasher cycles.

Can I use sublimation on any type of tumbler material?

Sublimation works best on materials with a polymer coating, such as stainless steel or aluminum tumblers. Make sure to choose tumblers specifically designed for sublimation to achieve the best

Final Words

Congratulations! You are now equipped with all the knowledge you need to dive into the world of sublimation tumblers. From understanding what sublimation tumblers are to learning how to make them step-by-step, we’ve covered it all. Now it’s time for you to unleash your creativity and start creating stunning personalized tumblers that will leave everyone in awe.

But before you go, let me remind you of the endless possibilities that sublimation tumblers offer. Imagine sipping your favorite beverage from a tumbler adorned with a cherished memory or a beautiful design that reflects your personality. With sublimation, you can turn ordinary tumblers into extraordinary pieces of art.

So, grab your materials, follow our guide, and let your imagination run wild. Start making unique sublimation tumblers today and showcase your creativity to the world!

Bella Williams

I'm Bella, a mom of 3 cuties. With 7 years of sublimation experience, my blog dyethrive.com focuses on all things sublimation and printing. Join me for tips, tutorials, and inspiration to enhance your sublimation journey. Let's create and thrive together!
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