Hi Friend! Are you thinking about making tumblers, mugs, and glass cans but not sure what equipment works best? I’m here to compare the Tumbler Press or Sublimation Oven to help you decide, so let’s get started!
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As you can imagine, sublimation can open a whole new world of crafting for you. If you’re a hobby crafter or a small business owner, sublimation is a technique worth consideration. Before we dive into the different ways you can sublimate mugs, tumblers, and more with either the Tumbler Press or a Sublimation Oven let’s go over the basics.
What is Sublimation?
Sublimation by definition 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.
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. You will also need heat transfer tape, butcher paper to protect your presses, and a good heat-resistant glove.
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.
Tumbler Press or Sublimation Oven – Which is Best?
I recently compared the Cricut Mug Press and Sublimation Oven, if you missed that review you can find it HERE. Now that I have a couple of Tumbler presses, I feel I can share a fair comparison of the Tumbler Press and Sublimation Oven
The tumbler press might be the most popular choice for sublimating tumblers etc., in the crafting world. I have a 2 in 1 PYD Tumbler press, let’s go over the specifications per the PYD website:
- The tumbler press machine is 750 W,110 V.Temperature range is 0-482 F.Time range is 0-999 S.
- Two Heat Press Attachments: It comes with 2 heat press attachments, one is the same as V3.0 30 oz heat press attachment, and the length is 27 CM/10.6 Inch. Another one is for the new glass tumblers, glass cans, and kids’ water bottles. The length is 10.6 Inch
- 30 OZ Heat Press Attachment: It can sublimation print the 11 oz or 15 oz sublimation ceramic mugs (2 at a time), and it can print the straight sublimation tumbler in various sizes. The diameter range is 2.83-3.43 inch.
- Slim Heat Press Attachment: It can sublimation print the 17 oz and 20 oz straight glass tumblers,13 oz glass cans 2 pieces in one time,12 oz kids tumblers, and 17 oz cola-shaped sublimation water bottle. The diameter range is 2.36-2.8 inches.
- Easy to Use: It is an integrated tumbler press machine and does not have an extra control box. It’s easy to use and replace the heater, portable, and just needs a small workspace.
With the tumbler press, you can sublimate most tumblers in under 2 minutes. So it’s a definite time saver. I’ve used my Tumbler presses several times, and I will say that there is an unpleasant fishy odor when you first start it up. But it does fade the more it’s used. You can see my full review of the Tumbler press HERE. The 2 in 1 tumbler can sublimate several styles, but you will need to purchase additional heat attachments to sublimate larger tumblers.
Now that we’ve talked about the Tumbler Press and the different substrates 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.
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 walk through all the pros and cons of both machines in the video below, so check it out…
I hope my video and this information are helpful in your decision process for diving into sublimation. As I mentioned, the sublimation oven is a bit pricier at first, 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 to just make tumblers, glass cans and mugs, the Tumbler is a good option. Just keep in mind you may need to purchase additional attachments for larger or tapered tumblers. Whether you decide to invest in the Sublimation Oven or Tumbler Press, I hope you consider giving sublimation a serious thought, it really does open up a lot of crafting possibilities!
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