shhh, I'm busy solving tv crimes mug

Sublimating A Coffee Mug

Sublimating a coffee mug cup is a fun way to express your personality. Want the coolest coffee cup in the building? If you have a sublimation setup, there’s no end to the different cups you can create. There’s no need to break the bank to express yourself, just grab a sublimation coffee mug and sublimation supplies, and you have the tools necessary for a wide variety of coffee mugs to sell or keep! Sublimating a coffee mug is an excellent way to showcase your creativity and personality, and by the end of your crafting session, you’ll have a unique, functional item that lets your true self shine through.

If you are new to sublimation, start with sublimation for beginners post.

Supplies Needed:

  1. Design/Electronic Image – I use Creative Fabrica for most of my designs
  2. Sublimation-ready coffee mugs can be found on Amazon or
  3. Sublimation Printer, I use a converted Epson 15000, with sublimation ink
  4. Or Sawgrass Printer
  5. Transfer Paper, I use Crafting Besties 13X19 sublimation printer paper
  6. Heat Resistant Tape
  7. Heat Resistant Gloves
  8. Dedicated Toaster or Convection Oven

Measure Your Mug

Before you sublimate on the coffee mug, make sure you measure the blank. 11 oz mugs typically measure 10.25″ X 3.75″, but measure yours to ensure you pick the correct design.

Picking a design

Your design can range from a couple of images on the mug, to a full cup design that covers the entire mug. Creative Fabrica has a wide range of images and I usually turn to them when looking for a specific image.

Full Cup Design

The full cup method is more difficult than the separate image method, and you need to be more precise in placements. Full cup designs usually involve a lighter background image with a darker main image in the foreground. Full cup designs are more difficult because you have to adjust the transfer paper around the handle. I usually do not sublimate the handle and I usually purchase mugs that have colored handles.

Sublimating a coffee mug Finished mug One Loved Mama

Full Mug Design


For an 11 oz mug, I usually size the background 12″ X 4.25″ so there is some overlap. I choose an abstract background and set the opacity from 25% – 50%, enough so you can see the background, but not enough to take away from the main image. I try to have the background image meet under the handle.

Sublimating a coffee mug. One loved Mama background



For this mug, I have chosen a combo Mother’s Day/Valentines Day themed image.

Separate Images Design

The most popular mug I sell is the “true crime enthusiasts” mug (believe it or not), and the separate images method works best for these mugs. This method is easier than the full cup method, and depending on the image, (hand print and blood splatter), the image doesn’t need to be centered.

Shhh I'm busy solving tv crimes; sublimating a coffee mug
bloody handprint; sublimating a coffee mug
Blood Splatter; sublimating a coffee mug

For right-handers, with the face of the mug facing me, with the handle on the left, I place the main image, the Shh I’m solving TV crimes image on the display side.

Blank coffee mug; sublimating a coffee mug
Taped Image on mug; sublimating a coffee mug

Right Handers main image placement


Print Settings for Epson ET-15000

For the converted Epson 15000, using Cosmos Ink, change your printer settings as follows:

  • Click on Print/Printer Icon
  • Highlight your printer
  • Click on the preferences tab
  • Set Paper Source
  • Set Document Size (I set this to Super B 13X9)
  • Set Paper Type to Premium Presentation Matte
  • Set Quality to High
  • Select the Options Tab
  • Uncheck High Speed
  • Check the Mirror Image
  • Color Correction, click on Custom, Advanced tab, Color Management, Color Controls, click on Adobe RGB, then set Gamma to 2.2. Click on OK
  • Printing Presets, select Add/Remove Presets, Name your settings, select OK, Apply

Print the images on Sublimation Transfer Paper, and make sure the image is mirrored when it is printed out.

Printed Transfer Paper; sublimating a coffee mug

Prep the Mug

Clean the Mug with an alcohol wipe

Cleaning mug with alcohol wipe; sublimating a coffee mug

Wipe Mug with an alcohol wipe to ensure a clean surface before applying the transfer paper

Applying Transfer Paper, Sublimating a coffee mug

The next step in sublimating a coffee mug is to apply the printed transfer paper. Line up the transfer paper on your cup, taking care to have the end of the image cut to the background so you won’t have a white line. Have the background meet underneath the handle and cut the transfer paper to accommodate the handle. Make sure the centered image is centered on the cup.

Applying transfer paper One Loved Mama; sublimating a coffee mug
Applying transfer paper to mug; sublimating a coffee mug
fully taped individual images; sublimating a coffee mug

Line up and tightly attach the transfer paper.

Adhering the image can be done two ways

Heat Tape Only

Full Image fully taped mug
Fully Taped bottom of mug
Fully taped top edge mug
Fully taped handle side

Wrap the transfer paper tightly around the mug, and very tightly wrap the heat tape around the mug covering the entire mug. Take special care at the top and the bottom of the mug and double-tape those areas.

Sublimation Shrink Wraps

Slip the sublimation shrink wrap over the mug, using a heat gun, heat up the shrink wrap until it tightly adheres to the mug. If you don’t have a heat gun, you can put the mug in the heated convection oven until the shrink wrap is tightly adhered to the mug. If the shrink wrap rips or is not tight on one of the images, use heat tape to secure the image.

Sublimation Shrink Wrap
mug wrapped with sublimation heat wrap
Sublimation heat shrink wrap split
Mugs in convection oven 5; sublimating a coffee mug

Heating the Mug

Preheat the dedicated convection or toaster oven to 360 degrees

Insert the mug into the oven for nine (9) minutes, turning every three (3) minutes.Using heat-resistant gloves, remove the mug.

Mugs in convection oven 1; sublimating a coffee mug
Mugs in convection oven 2, sublimating a coffee mug
Mugs in convection oven 5; sublimating a coffee mug

Once the mug has cooled, remove the transfer

Finished mug One Loved Mama; sublimating a coffee mug
Back of One Loved Mama mug; sublimating a coffee mug
Shhh I'm busy solving tv crimes mug; sublimating a coffee mug
Back of shhh I'm solving tv crimes musublimating a coffee mug;
Back of shhh I'm solving tv crimes msublimating a coffee mug;

Enjoy your sublimating a coffee mug creation.

What is sublimation printing, and how does it work?

Sublimation printing is a unique and vibrant way to add personality to anything! It captures bright and long-lasting ink, making it the perfect choice for fabric printing. It uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as polyester or polymer-coated substrates.

Paper forms a part of this process too; a special type of sublimation paper absorbs the ink and then releases it when heated up against the material receiving the design.

Why choose sublimation over other methods?

Sublimation is a great choice if you want to make long-lasting, professional-quality products that stand out. Sublimation offers the benefits of durability, affordability, scratch resistance, vivid colors.

How to get started with sublimation printing?

Check out my Dye Sublimation for beginners blog here.

What materials do you need for sublimation printing, and where can you find them?

Some of my favorite sources



Conversion Kits and Ink

Transfer Paper

Sublimation Coatings (For Cotton Products)


This post contains affiliate links to help support my crafting habit

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