The internet is buzzing about the new Cricut Mug Press, for Infusible Ink mugs, debuting this Thursday, March 11th. It looks clean and simplistic compared to other mug presses on the market. However, I’m sure many people are on the fence about the $199 price tag. If you’re a hobbyist and you’re wondering if you can make mugs without the $199 investment, the answer is yes! A mug press will be the easiest, most straightforward method, but there is a way to do the same for a lower cost + added effort. I also think it’s worth trying the cheaper option to see how you like it before investing money and craft room real estate in a crafting appliance.
I recently did a tutorial on a wine tumbler with Infusible Ink. Today, let’s revisit that and make a mug using the same method, and compare our overall costs.
First, pick a design and the Infusible Ink color of your choice. I’m using the Watercolor Splash pattern today. I’m using these mugs that I found awhile back on Amazon. The key here is that you cannot use just any mug, it must be one made specifically for sublimation. I’ve noticed that even searching for “sublimation mugs,” I get a lot of non-poly coated mug results, so read the description carefully!
When choosing a design, keep in mind that infusible ink is a fairly thick material. Designs with a lot of small detail will be difficult to cut and weed compared to bolder designs. For the Mordor Fun Run mug above, I had to try a couple of fonts for the “#onedoesnotsimplywalk” text because it was difficult to cut and weed well. For today’s mug design, I’m inversing the negative space so I weeded it like I would for a stencil. *Remember to mirror your design!*
I’ve saved my Infusible Ink settings in my user materials in Silhouette Studio for handy reference for future projects. The settings that work the best for me are the following:
Blade Depth: 5
After you weed your design, use heat resistant tape to tape it snuggly to your mug. Tape the white transfer butcher paper (included with infusible ink package) over the top. I then put a silicone sleeve over all of that. Preheat your convection oven to 400*F. I also place the whole assembly into an oven safe roasting bag and tie it shut with baking twine. The ink is probably outgassing as it’s sublimating and I don’t want that to mix with my food.
I baked this mug for 20 minutes. Before I remove the transfer paper and transfer tape, I very carefully (HOT mug!) peel a corner back to check to see if all of the ink has sublimated. Your infusible ink sheet should transfer the color to your mug, so the infusible ink sheet should be very mute or almost white. I could have baked this one maybe just a little longer, but I was so excited to see the mug. Here’s what my infusible ink looks like after 20 minutes of baking:
Here’s the other side of the final product! I love it! It’s so vibrant!
The silicone sleeve/oven method works well. If you have a business, a mug press is the way to go. If you’re making infusible ink mugs as gifts here and there, this method takes up less space and has a lower cost to entry. Both require infusible ink, mugs, and heat resistant tape so those are not listed below.
Silicone Sleeve Method Supply Cost: $12.88 (silicone sleeve) + $1.78 (oven bag) = $14.66
Mug Press: $199
I hope this helps if you’re on the fence. There’s no wrong answer! But if you don’t have space or $200 for a mug press, I hope this helps you still create the items you want!