Hey crafty friends! Are you just starting your sublimation journey and wondering where to start? I’m here to help! Let’s begin by comparing a Sublimation Oven and the Cricut Mug Press, so let’s get started!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links, at no additional cost to you.
Sublimation Oven Or Cricut Mug Press – Which is Best?
Sublimation can open a whole new world of crafting for you. If you’re a hobby crafter or an entrepreneur looking to expand your small business, sublimation is a technique worth investigating. Before we dive into the different ways you can sublimate mugs, tumblers, and more with either the Cricut Mug Press or a Sublimation Oven let’s go over the basics.
What is Sublimation?
Sublimation by definition is is a digital computer printing technique that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as plastic, card, paper, or fabric. Sublimation can be a costly investment since it does require a special printer, ink, and paper to print your designs, plus the blank substrates needed to create your product catalog. Sublimation can be used to design anything from Tumblers to T-shirts to Ceramics. You can sublimate ornaments, coasters, mugs, dog bowls, earrings, and almost any polyester garment, just to name a few! If you aren’t ready to invest in a sublimation printer, you can create designs with your Cricut machine and Cricut Infusible Ink and just a heat press on polyester fabrics and smaller ceramic items like ornaments and coasters. It’s a good way to try your hand at sublimation without a large investment.
@michellespartyplanit Woohoo! I can’t wait to share sublimation ideas with you! #epson #sublimation #crafttok #fyp ♬ It Came – Isaiah Takahashi
I use an Epson F170 Sublimation Printer and Epson Sublimation Ink. My preferred paper is A-Sub Brand, it seems to give the most vibrant colors and releases the most ink in my experience. I did a non-scientific comparison in the video below…
@michellespartyplanit Not sure which sublimation paper is best? Let’s test a few together to see which one performs best overall! #sublimation #sublimationprinting #crafttok #howto #tutorial #productreview #sublimationblanks #sublimationpaper #epsonprinter #htvront #epsonsublimation #asubpaper #cricut #autopress ♬ 10 minutes BGM for light training such as yoga(845880) – kakumaru
Now that we have gone over the basics of sublimation, let’s explore a couple of options you have for making rigid substrates. To sublimate fabric, you’ll need a heat press. Check out this post for a fun tie-dye technique with sublimation.Also check out my review of the Cricut Auto Press and HTVRONT Auto Heat Press for some Heat Press options.
Cricut Mug Press
The Cricut Mug Press is a great affordable option for sublimating mugs and some tumblers. Let’s check out the specs for the Mug Press…from the Cricut Website:
Designed to use Cricut Infusible Ink materials, the Cricut Mug Press requires no manual temperature or pressure settings, it’s easy to customize Infusible Ink compatible mugs* with one-of-a-kind art or text. A patent-pending heat plate with zone heating creates excellent, consistent results. Perfect gifts for family, friends, teachers, neighbors, and coworkers have never been this easy. Optimized for Infusible Ink products, this unique mug press is the perfect complement to any Cricut cutting machine. (Note, you can use infusible ink products in both the Sublimation Oven or Cricut Mug Press)
Although the Cricut Mug Press is designed for Cricut Mugs and Infusible Ink materials, generic mugs labeled “sublimation compatible” are likely to work with Infusible Ink and Cricut Mug Press, but Cricut cannot guarantee results with non-Cricut blanks. When using non-Cricut blanks, look for poly-coated, sublimation-compatible products that meet the specifications below from the Cricut FAQ page:
- Capacity of 10 – 16 oz (295 – 450 ml)
- Drinkware with smooth, straight pressing area only; avoid placing the design on curves, bevels and textures
- Diameter between 3.2 in – 3.4 in (82 – 86 mm)
- Maximum height of 4.72 in (120 mm)
With that being said, there are several hacks that you can do to sublimate larger tumblers such as the 20-ounce Skinny Tumbler and the 22-ounce Travel mug. Also smaller tumblers like the 13-ounce mini tumbler, frosted glass mugs and 16-ounce Mason Jar. Check out the videos below where I demonstrate how you can make each of these variations with the Cricut Mug Press.
20 Ounce Skinny Tumbler
@michellespartyplanit Working on my Christmas list and I hope my niece loves this special tumbler! #cricutmade #howto #tutorial #mugpress #sublimation #crafttok #tumbler #diy ♬ Christmas Music(863539) – Draganov89
22 Ounce Travel Tumbler
@michellespartyplanit My stepdad is going to love this tumbler! @pydlifeblanks 22oz tumbler in the Cricut Mug Press for 90 seconds! AD #cricutmade #howto #tutorial #crafttok #sublimation #tumbler #crafttiktok #mugpress ♬ The X Files Theme – John Beal
13 ounce Mini Tumbler
@michellespartyplanit Let’s sublimate a @pydlifeblanks 13 oz tumbler in the Cricut Mug Press! 90 seconds then turn and press for 90 seconds more. These are super cute, I love the size!! #cricutmade #mugpress #howto #tutorial #crafttok #crafttiktok #sublimation #sponsored ♬ I Can Feel It (Christmas Instrumental) – Nick Sena and Danny Echevarria
16 Ounce Mason Jar Tumbler
@michellespartyplanit I think these little mason jars may be my new favorite for sublimation! 90 seconds in the Cricut Mug Press. @pydlifeblanks #cricutmade #sublimation #howto #tumbler #tutorial #ad #crafttok #crafttiktok #cricut ♬ I Can Feel It (Christmas Instrumental) – Nick Sena and Danny Echevarria
Frosted Glass Mugs can also be sublimated in the Cricut Mug Press as I shared in this step-by-step Sublimation Tutorial.
PYD Sublimation Oven
Now that we’ve talked about the Mug Press and different materials you can sublimate with it, let’s get into the Sublimation Oven features, per the PYD website:
- 360°unique air heat circulation
- Four heating tubes in up and bottom, fast and evenly heating
- Light bulb inside for lighting
- Ceramic Enamel Interior
- Highly efficient cooling system
- Large display with easily operated control pole
- Beep when time reaches the target one, beep when finished
- Door fully opens to prevent the heat from directly hitting the face, safe and anti-scalding
- Lightweight and available in a fashionable color
The sublimation oven works like a traditional kitchen tabletop convection oven. But is designed for the sole purpose of sublimation.
@michellespartyplanit Santa came early! Can’t wait to share projects using my new sublimation oven! #sublimation #unboxing #sublimationtutorials #howto #tutorial #tumblers #crafttok #craftroom #crafttools ♬ Supermassive Black Hole – Muse
What can you sublimate with a sublimation oven? Everything from small items like ornaments and coasters to larger tumblers and dog bowls. You can sublimate multiple tumblers and mugs at a time with no rotation or flipping needed. The 360-degree heat circulation provides an even bake. You will need additional supplies such as shrink wrap and a heat gun to apply the needed pressure on the sublimation print, but I personally find that the results are worth the extra costs.
I’ve created several tumblers in my Sublimation Oven and each of them came out AMAZING! I created a few videos to show you the simple process, so let’s check them out…
20 Ounce Skinny Tumbler
@michellespartyplanit Oh my goodness, what a game changer! I’m loving my new sublimation oven!! No turning or flipping! Baked to perfection in 6 minutes! 🥰😍 @michellespartyplanit #crafttok #crafttiktok #craftroommusthave #howto #tutorial #sublimation #tumbler @pydlifeblanks ♬ Funk Rave – Don´t Let Me Down 140 Bpm – kirtap
Frosted Glass Can
@michellespartyplanit Let’s try sublimating a frosted glass can in my new sublimation oven! #sublimation #howto #tutorial #crafttok #crafttiktok #tumbler #craftroommusthave ♬ Christmas Music(863539) – Draganov89
20 Ounce Skinny Tumbler – Black Ink
@michellespartyplanit Everyone is getting a tumbler for Christmas! 😂 This one is for a big Avengers fan! 🥰 #howto #tumbler #crafttok #sublimation #sublimationoven #tutorial #crafttiktok ♬ The Avengers (From “Avengers Assemble”) – London Music Works
@michellespartyplanit My Secret Santa loves Star Wars and Fishing so this mash up tumbler is sure to be a hit! @pydlifeblanks #ad #howto #tutorial #sublimation #HolidayOREOke #crafttiktok #crafttok #tumbler #sublimationoven ♬ Star Wars – The Imperial March Theme – Geek Music
Travel Mug with Top and Bottom Sublimation
One of my favorite things you can sublimate with the oven vs. a mug press is that you can sublimate both the top and bottom areas of the travel mug. Super easy and they come out perfectly!
@michellespartyplanit When your son loves Back to the Future you make him his own tumbler! #sublimation #howto #tutorial #crafttok #tutorial #crafttiktok #tumbler #80smovies AD @pydlifeblanks ♬ The Power Of Love – Huey Lewis & The News
I hope this information is helpful in your decision process for diving into sublimation. As I mentioned, the sublimation oven is a bit pricier, but I really do love its diversity. Some tumblers take longer, but the upside is that you have a more uniform bake and you don’t have to flip or rotate anything. If you have the funds and storage area, the sublimation oven is my recommendation. But if you are looking for a more affordable option and are not needing to sublimate large quantities, the Cricut Mug Press is a great value! Whether you decide to invest in the Sublimation Oven or Cricut Mug Press, I hope you consider giving sublimation a serious thought, it really does open up a lot of crafting possibilities!
Do you have more questions? Drop them below or reach out to me on social media, I can be found at @michellespartyplanit on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
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