How to decorate a mug with a cute design or saying
Let’s do a super fun and easy craft today!
Everybody has mugs at home. Drinking your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate from a personalized mug is so much better than from a plain cup.
Adding a personal quote, mandalas, or a cute animal face to a ceramic mug is fairly easy. Plus, it’s a perfect gift to any family member and friends.
While making a cute mug is easy, there are many options you can choose from, and you might find yourself questioning if you chose the right materials and tools.
Today I want to show you how to use infusible ink sheets on ceramic mugs to get perfect results and a long-lasting design.
How to make mugs supply list
- A Cricut machine. I love my Maker, but you can use the Explore and the Joy too.
- Infusible ink transfer sheets. I chose the black one with my design, but you can really customize a mug with patterned sheets.
- Basic toolset for weeding and scraping.
- Standard grip mat.
- White Sublimation Blank Coffee Mug. Only sublimation-coated mugs will work for today’s project.
- Silicone Mug Clamp. This one comes with heat transfer tape too. We will use them for baking our personalized mugs in the oven.
- #7 “I’ll be kind in a bit” mug SVG file from my library. Or choose one from my shop.
Why use infusible ink sheets on mugs?
Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets work as dye sublimation. In the heating process, the solid ink on the sheet changes to gas and will infuse into the material, in today’s case in the mug.
Why do we like it? Because the ink becomes part of the material and it is washable and won’t peel over time like its sisters, the iron-on and permanent vinyl.
The transfer sheets are kind of dull-looking, but your final projects will be vibrant. The colors really pop after the Infusible Ink is transferred.
What kind of mugs will work with infusible ink?
To make sure the infusible ink will transfer to the mug, make sure you purchase a ceramic mug with a sublimation coat on it.
Choose a white or very light-colored mug because the infusible ink is most vibrant on white materials.
The other thing that I find useful is the shape of the mug. If you are a beginner and didn’t get comfortable working with infusible ink sheets yet, choose a flat surface mug. So, you don’t have to deal with the curves.
How to make mugs step-by-step instructions.
All right! Now that you choose the best materials and tools for this project, let’s dive in and go through the process.
I assume you have a Cricut machine, and with that, you already set up the Cricut Design Space on your computer.
You can use any other cutting machine, but in this tutorial, I walk you through the Design Space steps.
1. Upload and adjust the design.
If you’re new and need a tutorial on Design Space, check out these helpful videos.
After saving your file on your computer, open up Cricut Design Space.
- Click on New Project.
- Click on Upload an image.
- Click on Browse and look for the SVG file you saved on your computer for this project.
- Click on Save.
The SVG file is uploaded in the Design Space now.
Once you go through the above steps, it will appear under “Recently uploaded images.”
- Click on the uploaded SVG and click on insert images. You’ll find it in the lower right corner. (This will bring you to a new window with the mat and your design).
If you choose to use my SVG file, it is already sized well, and you don’t need to make any adjustments. I included two designs—one with the saying and one with a cute little bee.
You can Ungroup them by clicking Ungroup on the right top of the layers panel and delete the one you won’t use today.
So, an 11 oz mug is around 4 inches tall. That means your design shouldn’t be more than 3.75 inches. If you would like to see the whole design on the side of the cup, you don’t want it to be wider than 4.5 inches.
- Click on the design. You’ll see a box around it. On the left bottom corner, there is a little arrow.
- Click and drag to resize.
2. The cutting process
I want to share a couple of important notes with you before you send the personalized mug design to cut.
Once you adjusted your SVG file, click on “Make It” in the top right corner.
- Important to MIRROR your image since we are using infusible ink today. On the Prepare screen, click on the little toggle on the left side until it turns green, just like I show you in the above picture.
- Click continue.
- On the next screen, choose infusible ink transfer sheet as your material.
- Make sure your fine point blade is clean and installed in the machine.
3. Prepare the standard grip mat
Place the infusible ink transfer sheet on the mat. The color is up, and the carrier sheet is on the bottom.
It is important that you wash your hands before handling infusible ink sheets. The ink is very sensitive, and any oil or dirt will damage the ink. Once that happens, you might see faded spots or missing parts on your final design.
- Load your mat into the Cricut. The arrow on your machine will blink. That’s when you tap on it.
- Press the make it button.
- Cricut Design Space will tell you when it finished the project.
4. How to weed infusible ink sheets
Once the cutting is done, unload the mat by pressing the blinking button on the Cricut machine.
- Flip the mat upside down.
- Peel the mat away from the infusible ink sheet.
- Weed the mug design.
An infusible ink transfer sheet works a little differently than a vinyl.
- First, roll and bend the design up and down. This will cause the edges of the design to lift from the carrier sheet.
- Using your fingers, you can weed the smaller pieces.
I try to avoid the weeding tool with infusible ink sheets because they can sometimes damage the paper. However, some stubborn bits call for the weeding tool. Use it carefully if needed!
Remember, handle the sheet with clean hands!
5. Clean the mug’s surface
- Clean the surface of your mug with 91% isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth.
- Let it dry.
It is important to remove all dirt, lint, and oil to make sure the infusible ink transfers perfectly to our mug.
The ink will not infuse into the material if any oil is left.
Leftover lint can turn into blue little spots. Unfortunately, it is permanent. So make sure your mug is as clean as possible.
6. Secure the design on the mug
In this step, we want to make sure that all of our design is touching the mug and won’t move while baking.
- Position the design where you want it to be shown. Usually, the mug design will face forward. If you are right-handed, place the handle to the right, and now you know which side will be the front of the mug.
- Make sure you press the carrier tape on the mug. We need to push out all the bubbles.
- Once the design is nice and secure on the mug, you can use heat-resistant tape. This is optional but certainly helps to keep the design in place.
Extra tip. If you choose to use heat-resistant tape, avoid covering any part of your mug design.
7. Prepare the mug for baking in the oven
We are almost there! Let’s preheat the oven for 400 degrees.
- Wrap your mug in the silicone mug clamp. These funny-looking clamps hug the mug and ensure that each part of your design is in tight contact with the mug’s surface.
- Place the mugs on a baking sheet or cooking dish and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
Extra tip: make sure that the edge of the silicon clamp is sitting aligned with the mug. This way, your mugs will stand securely.
Some people are concerned that the fumes from the infusible ink are toxic. I smelled it a little bit, but it wasn’t overwhelming at all.
However, consider placing your mug into a sealed oven bag to ensure your cooking surface does not get contaminated.
8. Let it cool and take off the infusible ink sheet
Once the 15 minutes are over, remove the mugs with oven mittens and let them cool for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove the silicon clamps.
- Gently peel back the tape and the infusible transfer sheet.
Wow! Can you see how vibrant and sharp the color is? From a light brown sheet, you got a nice black mug design!
Admire your perfect customized mug!
How to make mugs experience
OMG! This was sooo much fun! Now I have to make a customized mug for my mom, sister, friends, and other family members.
It is truly amazing how beautiful these infusible ink mugs turned out.
Aaaand they are dishwasher and microwave-safe products made by you.
Couple of things to remember:
- Try to use a white mug for the best results and vibrant colors with infusible ink transfer sheets.
- Make sure you purchase a sublimation-coated mug.
- Please don’t get scared when you see how faded the infusible ink is when you open it. It will come to life once you infuse it in the mug.
- Clean the mug with alcohol to avoid blue spots from lint.
- Clean your hands before handling infusible ink sheets.
If you follow the steps in this tutorial, you’ll be done in no time. Then you’ll be hooked and want to make more mugs and create new designs. 😉
Other cute Cricut crafts you want to check out:
- Get organized with handmade vinyl labels.
- Make cute banners for birthdays and special occasions.
- Make custom-designed shirts with iron-on vinyl.
- Choose the right size for shirt decals.
As always, don’t forget to PIN it so you can come back and make a lot of mugs for your loved ones.