Have you been looking at the Cricut Mug Press, or have you recently bought one? I love mine! I’ve been making mugs like crazy with special saying for my friends and family. They are so much fun!
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Today, we’re going to learn how to use the Cricut Mug Press with Infusible Ink. I’m going to show you how to find the coolest mug designs in Cricut Design Space and how to use Cricut’s Infusible Ink to make those mugs!
Can’t see the video? Click here or follow along below for even more information.
What is Cricut Mug Press?
The Cricut Mug Press is this amazing little machine that will have you making custom designed mugs in a heartbeat. Everyone will want a one-of-a-kind mug from you. You can even sell them! Come up with your own phrases and designs, or create your own monograms. Or use the mug designs available in the Cricut Library. You can even use the hundreds of thousands of images, phrases and monograms available to you through Cricut Access!
What’s cool about Infusible Ink on mugs is that the ink is actually infused into the mug, unlike vinyl, so it feels smooth. And it’s also dishwasher and microwave safe. You use Cricut’s Infusible Ink, and there are so many patterns and colors to choose from!
The mug press is amazingly simple to use too. If you were worried about the complexity of using a convection oven and shrink wrap to make mugs, brush those aside. The Mug Press is super easy. It has a one-touch design that automatically determines the temperature and time needed to heat and press the mug. All you need to do is press the On/Off button and close and open the handle door.
You can use more than Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and Infusible Ink pens with the Cricut Mug Press. You can also use sublimation ink designs. So, if you decide to dabble in sublimation, you can print and use those designs on mugs as well. Learn more about sublimation in Everything You Need for Sublimation.
About Infusible Ink
Infusible Ink is a Cricut product. It comes in two varieties: sheets in solid colors and designs, and pens. Infusible Ink works similarly to sublimation ink. It sublimates using heat onto a poly-coated surface or into polyester fabric. This means that the object (blank) that you sublimate will feel like it “is one with” the Infusible Ink once it has been pressed.
You won’t feel the design sitting on top of the mug like vinyl feels; it will feel like the design is a part of the mug. If you press Cricut Infusible Ink onto a polyester t-shirt, it will be a part of the fabric and will feel like it, unlike vinyl which sits on top of the fabric.
Each blank that is used (mug, t-shirt, coaster) needs to be white since Infusible Ink and sublimation “blend” with the base color. For example, if you use pink Infusible Ink on a black shirt, you can’t see the pink because the black overpowers the pink color.
Cricut Infusible Ink last longer on garments and is dishwasher and microwave safe on mugs.
What do I need to Make a Mug?
Cricut Mug Press
Cricut Sublimation Mugs (12 oz. or 15 oz.)
StandardGrip or LightGrip Mat
Cricut EasyPress Mat or heat resistant mat
Heat Resistant Tape
Heat resistant gloves (optional but recommended)
Tools such as a brayer, weeding tool or weeding pin pen (optional), scissors or craft knife and XL Scraper (optional) for cleaning pieces off mat
Registering Your Cricut Mug Press
You need to register your Cricut Mug Press before you can use it. This will let Cricut know you own a Mug Press and will download all the fabulous designs and templates for you to use in Cricut Design Space.
Your Mug Press comes with a USB cord. You will need it to connect the Mug Press to your computer for registration. Be sure to keep it in a safe place for later, as you may need it to update the Mug Press too.
- To register your Mug Press, go to https://design.cricut.com/#/setup.
- Plug your Mug Press into your computer via the connection on the back and turn it on and follow the directions on your computer from there.
- Remove the cable connection from the computer. The Mug Press should have turned off. If it did not, turn it off via the on/off button on top.
How to Use Cricut Mug Press
Step 1 – Select the Design
The first thing we want to do is select our design. We will use Cricut Design Space for this. Today we will use a free design provided by Cricut, but if you have Cricut Access, there are many different designs to choose from. I am using Cricut Design Space version 7.10.163 on Windows 10. If you are using a later version, things may be different.
If you don’t have Cricut Access, consider getting it. You will have access to hundreds of thousands of images, projects, templates, phrases, and monograms that you can use for personal and commercial projects. They are awesome and save time! You can customize them and put your own spin on them.
You can also find Infusible Ink mug designs at Creative Fabrica like this cute cow mug design or this retro design bundle.
If you’re not already in Cricut Design Space, go ahead and open it on your computer or mobile. You can create your mug design on either the computer/laptop or mobile version.
I will be using a specific mug design today, and I will show you how to get to it in a minute. But first, I’d like to show you how to find mug designs in Cricut Design Space. There are several ways.
The first is to look at the Projects included with Cricut Access. Select Projects on the left hand column. In “Search Projects”, type “Mug”. Now you can see a number of pre-designed mug projects to select from.
Another way is to find them in Images. Deselect Projects and select Images. There are two ways we will search.
For the first, select “Infusible Ink” under “Material”. After, type “mug design” in the search box. You will see a list of mug designs available.
For the second, clear all the filters and remove the search term. Under Project Type, select the mug size you would like to show mug designs for. If you don’t see Mug Sizes under Project Type, make sure you have registered your Mug Press correctly.
Finally, if you’d like to create your own from scratch, there are two templates available under Projects. The first, called “Mug Design Setup”, is used when the negative weeding are the words and designs. This is for when you want to weed words and shapes out of the Infusible Ink and have the ink wrap around the mug. The second, “Drawn Mug Design Setup”, is used when the negative weeding is around the words and designs.
For each of the above searches under Images, you will find some overlap and some different mug designs. And in the Projects, you will see some duplicates from Images and some that are not in Images. And finally, you can create your own by selecting the mug template under “Mug Design Setup” or “Drawn Mug Design” templates and adding images, text, phrases or monograms to the template.
If you are using a Cricut Mug or sublimation mug the same width and height as a Cricut Mug, do not resize the template or the mug design. It is set up specifically for the Cricut Mug size.
I’m going to use the free Personalized Monogram Mug design found under Projects. In order to do that, we need to find the mug design.
- Go to “Projects” on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Type “personalized mug” in the search box.
- Click on the “Personalized Monogram Mug” design.
- Select the finished size of your mug.
- Select “Customize” on the bottom-right of the screen.
Left-handed & Right-Handed Mugs
If you want your design or words to show for a right-handed user on a mug, the design needs to be on the left-hand side of the template after mirroring. If you want your design or words to show for a left-handed user for a mug, the design needs to be on the right-hand side of the template after mirroring. When the template is mirrored, in most cases it will change sides for cutting but will show correctly after pressing.
Step 2 – Modify the Monogram
- Double-click on the monogram letters.
- Type your initials.
- Click, hold and drag across all the objects. Select everything.
- On the toolbar at the top, select “Align”, “Center Vertically”.
- With everything still selected, click on “Attach” on the bottom-right of the screen.
Step 3 – Prepare the Mat
Apply the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet to your mat in landscape (long side across, short side down), or apply the entire sheet for a large sheet, on a sticky LightGrip or a StandardGrip Cricut mat. Try not to touch the infusible Ink much with your fingers to keep the oils off it. Use a brayer to tack it down well.
Infusible Ink Colors
Infusible Ink colors are muted before being pressed, the way sublimation print colors are muted after they are printed. After the mug is pressed, the colors will be much more vibrant and match the colors on the outside of the Infusible Ink box.
Step 4 – Cut the Design
- Select the correct Cricut Machine at the top right of the Design Space screen if you have multiple machines. I will be using my Cricut Explore Air 2 for this mug, but you can use the Cricut Maker series or Joy machines too.
- Select “Make it”.
- Select “On Mat”, then “Continue” since Infusible Ink will need to be placed on a mat. (For Maker series and Cricut Joy users).
- Select “Mirror”. The design needs to be mirrored as the design is cut ink-side up and will be placed ink side against the mug.
- Select “Continue” at the bottom right.
- Make sure your Cricut machine is turned on and connected.
- Click on “Browse all Materials”.
- Type “Infusible Ink” in the search box.
- Select “Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet”, then click “Done”.
- Depending on how your machine cuts, select desired pressure.
- Load your mat into your Cricut Machine by pressing the blinking arrow button. Press the “Go” button when it starts blinking.
- Unload the mat when the cut is completed by pressing the arrow button when it is done and starts blinking again.
Step 5 – Weed the Design
Weeding Infusible Ink is a little different. It is like a stiff paper, and does best when weeding by hand. You might need a pick or pin pen every now and again, but it’s best to use a roll and crack method.
- Remove the Infusible Ink surrounding the mug design. Next, remove the mug design from the mat.
- Roll and curl the Infusible Ink. You will hear the Infusible Ink crack a bit, and see some of the pieces lift a bit.
- Weed the negative pieces with your hands. I recommend a small weeding pick or pin pen for the pieces that remain stuck.
Step 6 – Preheat the Cricut Mug Press
- Plug in your mug press.
- Turn Mug Press on via the On/Off button on top. It should take approximately 4 minutes to heat up.
- The Mug Press On/Off button will beep and turn green when it is ready for use.
Step 7 – Prepare the Mug for Pressing
- Lint roll the mug to remove any lint and debris that might get in the way of pressing.
- Wrap the design on the mug and cover with Butcher or Kraft paper. The Infusible Ink carrier sheet is sticky, which helps it stay attached to the mug. See More Info.
- When attaching the mug design, try to make the ends even near the handle. Keep the mug upright so the design is flat against the bottom. This will help align it.
- Use heat resistant tape to secure the design well across the top, bottom, and behind the handle. Use plenty of tape. The tighter it is the better. Use tape with across the bottom and top with the butcher paper as well. Do not use a Teflon sheet instead of Butcher/Kraft paper as it does not absorb ink. See More Info.
Step 8 – Press the Mug
- Place the mug in the Cricut Mug Press. Make sure the handle is properly placed in the opening so that the entire design is covered by the mug press plate when pressing the “handle” down. I recommend using a heat resistant glove as the mug press plate is very hot.
- After closing the Mug Press, if the design isn’t completely covered, pop the Mug Press handle up to open it and reposition the mug. Pulling the mug handle to the left a little bit before closing it will help.
Open a Window
Sublimation produces gas that can be overpowering. It is recommended to open a window or provide ventilation while pressing with the Cricut Mug Press.
- Wait approximately 5-7 minutes while the mug press presses the mug. The lights on top will blink across as it progresses. When complete, all five lights will blink and the mug press will beep.
- When the Mug Press beeps, pull up on the Mug Press handle and remove the mug. Place it on a heat resistant pad or trivet. I recommend using a heat resistant glove when removing the mug as it and the plate will be very hot. Wait for the mug to completely cool before unwrapping it. This should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the mug is completely cooled, peel the heat resistant tape and Infusible Ink transfer sheet from the mug and gaze upon your brilliant design. Take pictures and share with the entire internet! Your mug is microwave and dishwasher safe!
Infusible Ink is a form of sublimation. Sublimation ink and Infusible Ink can seep through its paper and stain the Mug Press Plate. Therefore, you must use Butcher or Kraft paper when sublimating or using Infusible Ink. It will absorb any Infusible Ink or sublimation ink that seeps through and protect the Mug Press plate. Do not use a Teflon sheet as it does not absorb ink.
Butcher and Kraft Paper: If you plan to use a lot of Infusible ink, do sublimation, or generally do a lot of arts and crafts or Cricut work, consider buying Kraft or Butcher paper in bulk and attaching it to your wall for easy access and best usage. It’s much more cost effective as well.
Infusible Ink and Heat resistant tape: Infusible Ink has a carrier sheet, which is sticky. This allows for placement on shirts, mugs, coasters, etc. When placing the design on a mug, the carrier sheet helps it stick in place. You will still need plenty of heat resistant tape to keep the design tight against the mug for pressing, however.
Teflon sheets: Teflon sheets are great for disseminating heat evenly. They can be used with Iron-on/HTV, sublimation and heat transfers. However, they can’t be used in place of butcher paper. Sublimation ink and Infusible Ink use the process of sublimation to infuse its ink to a blank. During that process, the ink can bleed through the sublimation and Infusible Ink paper. Butcher paper absorbs the ink that seeps through and protects the heat plate of your mug press. Teflon sheets will not absorb this ink. So be sure to use butcher or craft paper outside of your Infusible Ink sheets and sublimation designs.
Mats: You can use either a sticky LightGrip Mat, or a StandardGrip mat. For the Cricut Joy, use the Joy StandardGrip mat.
Sublimation mugs: You can use other brands than Cricut for sublimation mugs. They needs to be able to fit in the Cricut Mug Press, however. The 12 oz. Cricut mug is 3 3/16” W x 3.75” H and the 15 oz. mug is 3 3/16” W x 4.5” H.
What about tumblers? Some have successfully made tumblers in the Cricut Mug Press with caveats and workarounds. In order to get the fullest press and most professional look, a traditional mug/tumbler press or a convection/toaster oven (separate from the one you cook in) is the best solution. If you plan on making mugs or tumblers in bulk, or tumblers on a regular basis, I recommend getting a convection oven. There are many types in all price ranges. You can learn all about the best ones in The Best Convection Ovens for Sublimation.
Making your own designs: When you make your own designs, be aware of the size of your text. Just like with vinyl, which font, and the size of the text can make a difference. Bigger can be better. Also, I have found font size to be fine when punctuation has not. In those cases, I have created separate punctuation and placed it within the text. Your mileage may vary.
We’ve covered a lot of information about the Cricut Mug Press, Infusible Ink and how to press a mug. I love hearing from y’all, so if you have any questions or comments, please be sure to comment below. Until then, happy, happy crafting!
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