How to Put Vinyl on Mugs + Vinyl Test & Cute Designs!

How to Put Vinyl on Mugs + Vinyl Test & Cute Designs!

– Hello everybody, my
name is Jennifer Maker. Welcome to The Great Maker Show and Tell. (mellow ukulele music) Today we are putting vinyl on mugs. I received many requests
for this tutorial, and it’s really easy to see why. Personalized mugs are fun to have and to give as gifts, and they
are very on trend right now, and it’s quite easy to
add a name or saying to one of these mugs too,
but I also understand why I got so many requests for a tutorial. Despite their simple appearance,
there’s a lot of choices that go into putting vinyl on a mug. First, you need to know
what kind of mugs work best. Then you need to know what
designs are best for mugs, especially if you’re putting
it onto a curved mug. And if you do get a curved mug, how do you put your vinyl on
it without it creasing, right? And probably the biggest choice: what kind of vinyl do you use
so it will stay on your mug? And I can help with all of this. We’ll go over the types and shapes of mugs that work best for vinyl decals, we’ll talk about designs
that look best on mugs, and then we’re going to do a test of all the different types
of vinyl one can put on a mug from adhesive vinyl to
heat transfer vinyl, you know, the stuff you iron-on. No, I’m not kidding, we’re
going to do it. (laughs) And to top it all off, I
am going to put the mugs in my dishwasher so that you can see what is and is not dishwasher safe, ’cause this question comes up a lot. So for this project you’re
going to need some vinyl, and I am gonna tell you which
one I think works best later, plus some transfer tape
and some rubbing alcohol. Oh, and you also need some designs, right? I made some super cute designs that you’re welcome to
download on my blog. These have, these are Kawaii faces and they’re really easy to apply to mugs, great for beginners,
and they look adorable. I have a variety of faces and expressions including a unicorn, and
a kitty, and a puppy. Let’s first talk about mugs. So I have three standard mugs here. The first one has really straight sides. The second one has a gentle curve, though it’s still sort of rectangular. It’s still fairly flat more or less. The third one is very curvy. It comes down and it’s wide at the top, it’s curved both vertically
and horizontally. Of these three mugs, the
easiest one is going to be the one that’s the pink
one here on the left because it’s got straight sides. It has curves going in one direction only. The hardest is gonna be
the green one on the right because it’s very curvy. All right. Now let’s talk about the kinds of designs that you can put on mugs. I mean, technically you
can put anything on a mug, but is it gonna look good? So what you want to
look for when you think about putting a vinyl design on a mug is does it have arms? Does it have the ability to reach out and curve around a
surface without an issue? Now if you go with the
mug like the pink one with straight sides, you can typically use any kind of decal. So if you’re just starting out, look for that kind of mug. But if you have a mug that’s really curvy, you want a design that has the ability to also kind of bend
and curve with your mug. Now, let’s look at two different designs and so you can see how this works. So here I have my monogram. The one on the left has a circle around it and the one on the right does not, and there is a huge difference here. So let me first show you
cutting out the vinyl. Now, you’ll notice I have
four different types of vinyl on my mat here, four different kinds. So, if you’re curious
about what I’m doing here, this is a trick that I use to cut things out faster
and I talk about it in my floating ornaments video so if you want to go
back and check for that. Once you cut out your
vinyl, you want to weed it which means to remove all the extra bits that you don’t want to
transfer to your mug. You might be able to do
this with your fingernail, but you might want to use a weeding tool which I have shown here. Now, here we have our two designs. We need also a piece of transfer tape to transfer these to our mugs. So you just want to cut out
a piece of transfer tape that is roughly the same size, or at least the same size as your design. And then you take the backing
off of the transfer tape and you put it onto the
front of your vinyl decal. Start at the corner and move outwards so that you don’t get creases and bubbles in your transfer tape. So all nice and flat and straight, and we’re gonna do this for both of these, ’cause I’m gonna put these onto the mug so you can see the difference
in how these will apply and this will make a difference in what kind of decal you choose. So we take off the backing on the vinyl, and when you set this down on your mat, don’t put this down so
that it’s sticky side down ’cause that will just mess
with your vinyl’s ability to adhere to a mug. All right, so let’s take these two older white mugs I have here. And we’re going to clean the surface of both of these with rubbing alcohol. So I’m using 91% isopropyl alcohol, and we’re just gonna clean
off the surface of these so that any oil or dirt
or anything that’s on them is off and our surface
is clean as possible. We’re putting the decal on and
this will make a difference in how well it sticks. You know, we want our decals to stick as good as possible, right? It’s no fun putting something on and having it come right off. (laughs) And by the way these are both just, these are dollar store mugs, these are very inexpensive mugs. All right, so here’s our,
we’re gonna do our first decal with the circle around the monogram. So center it on your mug
where you want it to be. Starting in the center, you press down and then press outward. Okay, so always start from the center and then press outward. Now, because this is, this
design is all connected and has nowhere to go,
you’ll see it creases when it goes around the corners, when it goes around the curves. Because it can’t, it can’t
conform to the surface because it’s constricted by that circle that’s around it, right? Everything is connected in this design and we can’t change it. Now you can take a scraper, which you should always do anyways, and see if you can get
any of those creases out. I was unable to and so you can see here, there’s a crease right there. And one right up there. This is the kind of
design you want to avoid as much as possible. You just will not be able
to get those creases out without luck or a lot of work. This one on the other hand, will work, and what we’re gonna do is
we’re gonna make small snips around the edges of this design, and these snips are gonna
allow your transfer tape to bend with the curve of the mug and allow you to apply it on that curve without any creases. So we’re gonna center it just like before. There we go, so allow the vinyl to move where it wants to go naturally. Don’t force it into a position. Just smooth it all down, and because you cut that transfer tape, it will smooth, it will move into place. So even though we have
creases in our transfer tape, we don’t have creases in our vinyl, and that’s the secret to doing this. This is the secret to putting vinyl around a curved surface like this. So you have to pay
attention to your design and you need to pay attention to the way you cut your decal so that it will go around
the curved surfaces. So let’s take off all the transfer tape. And let’s see how it looks,
hold it up to the light. There we go, perfectly smooth and clear, no creases or anything like that. And that, removing that center circle makes all the different in the ability to have a nice, smooth decal on your mug. All right, so let’s talk about vinyl now. I went through my entire
collection of vinyl and I took out every single
type of vinyl that I had and we’re going to test them. I’ve created these little dots so that we can put them onto a mug and see how well they do. And, I made the dots like this because, for a couple reasons, one we have a fine circle
and we have a big area so we can see both types of things with each of these types of vinyl. And also, I wanted you to see that even though I couldn’t
put that big circle on my mug, I could, I can put these
smaller circles, right, because of the surface. So here is our first four vinyls. And we’re gonna put also a glitter, couple glitter ones on as well. And I will tell you, when
we’re done I will tell you exactly which vinyl I used
and which one worked the best. Okay, now, what about heat transfer vinyl? A number of you asked
about this technique. So some people have had some success putting iron-on vinyl on a mug. Your mug has to be fairly porous for the vinyl to melt into. And I first tried ironing
the heat transfer vinyl on with this little craft iron I had, but I decided it just
wasn’t getting hot enough, it was taking a really, really long time. But we’re just gonna give this
a try and see how it works. Now, note that I’m holding
the mug with a towel because it can get really warm, you don’t want to burn yourself, and I had to switch to my regular iron just to get it to adhere because it just wasn’t sticking. This process took a while. I had my iron at maximum temperature and I had to apply a
fair amount of pressure to get the heat transfer vinyl to stick. So, again I’m using a
variety of different vinyls. I have different brands, and
I have different finishes, so I did some glitter as well as regular. All right, so there we go. And you can see that just in doing, just applying the heat transfer vinyl, I messed up some of the adhesive
vinyl on the other side. So. (laughs) I’ll tell you which one that was. All of the adhesives applied
pretty much just fine without any issues. One of them started coming off when it got like agitated
from being turned over and doing the heat transfer ones. The heat transfer vinyls,
on the other hand, were difficult to stick to the mug. They took a long time to get it to stick and even then, I didn’t
feel entirely confident that I was really melting
that heat transfer vinyl in. Maybe my iron doesn’t get hot enough, but I have a pretty good iron, and you know, I can’t use
my EasyPress for this, so, not sure what other choices I have. So let’s go put this in the dishwasher. All right, so, I put this
mug in the dishwasher and I ran it five times. I wanted to see what would happen. So, this one down at the bottom of the adhesive vinyl started coming off. The rest of them look pretty good. The glitter one, the ring
came off of the glitter and the glitter also sort of washed away, it looks weird, it’s not
glittery at all anymore, see, it sort of just washed away. The holographic ones
looks a little bit weird. The heat transfer ones
were basically a fail. The top two came off entirely, the glitter ones stayed,
but their rings are missing. So, yeah, I’m not planning to use heat transfer vinyl in the future. Maybe I did it wrong. I don’t know what I would have done wrong. The only thing I can think of is maybe I should have allowed the vinyl to cure for more than, it was about a day that I let it sit, so maybe I
should have waited a few days, right, generally speaking
that’s good advice before you wash something
in the dishwasher. I needed to get this
tutorial done, however, so I didn’t have three days to wait. Now I’m sure you’re wondering
which vinyl did the best here. Okay, so the black circle,
that is ORACAL 651. And that is the vinyl that I recommend that you use for your mugs, and it’s also what most people recommend. It’s a permanent, outdoor-quality vinyl, and it’s going to last the longest. The second vinyl that you see here, which also did a good job, is Cricut Premium Vinyl, Permanent Glossy. It didn’t have any issues,
it looks great to me. Okay, the third vinyl, the blue one where the ring is coming off, that is EZ Craft and it’s also 651 so also a permanent vinyl, but
clearly it had some issues. I bought that off of Amazon last year. The fourth vinyl that you see here is a foil adhesive from Cricut, which did a great job, it
looks, and it’s really pretty, I love that, it’s copper,
one of my favorites. The glitter adhesive vinyl that came off, that was a Cricut glitter vinyl, it didn’t work so well, and the holographic one
is also a Cricut brand. I mean, it stayed on, it just
kind of buckled a little bit. For the heat transfer vinyls, the first one was Cricut
Stronghold iron-on vinyl and the second one was
Siser Easyweed vinyl, you know, also heat transfer vinyl. Those two came right
off in the dishwasher, so I would absolutely avoid those. The other two, the two glitters, gold one is the Cricut
vinyl, and the black one is a Siser heat transfer,
black glitter vinyl. So, those two lasted
longer in the dishwasher, but honestly they don’t feel, they don’t feel like they’re
gonna last long, right? I have the sense that they’re, you know, after a few more washes,
they’re going to go bye-bye. So I personally will be
sticking with adhesive vinyl, specifically I prefer, and
I recommend the ORACAL 651 which is permanent outdoor vinyl. So there you go, that’s
the results of my test. Now again, you know, that iron-on vinyl perhaps needed more time to cure, and I will do another
test where I let it sit for three days before
putting it in the dishwasher and if my results change, I will update my blog post so you know. But right now, I’m not
recommending heat transfer vinyl. Maybe I have the wrong kind of mug, maybe I have the wrong kind of vinyl, maybe I have the wrong kind of iron, but you might also, and I would hate to steer you down the wrong path by recommending heat transfer vinyl. I think that the ORACAL
651 does just fine. Okay, so now I made some
cute designs as I told you so I made these cute faces. And they’re both layered designs, so I thought I would
show you how to do them. So this first one is just
a really simple face. So first you wanna weed
your project, of course, and wipe down your mug with alcohol. Transfer your top layer
to a transfer sheet which is the black layer, and then you’re gonna want
to put your hearts on. I found it easier to
do those one at a time. So just like, just like that. Right, and then you wanna do
your snips around the edges to make sure that your
vinyl has the ability to go where it wants, and then you place it on
and you just smooth it from the outside on in, burnish it down, remove your transfer tape. Voila, you have a super cute mug! (laughs) Isn’t that adorable? Okay. How about the unicorn mug? So the unicorn mug actually uses four different types of vinyl, one of which is printable vinyl, that’s for the little wreath of flowers, I used, I made a printable design, and I cut it out on printable vinyl so that we could have multiple colors and instead of having to layer
lots of tiny little colors in vinyl because that did
not sound like any fun to me, so this here, this is the printable vinyl and I left it on the backing
so you could see that. So, again, we’re gonna need
a piece of transfer tape and you want it large enough
for the face and the horn, right, so even though you can’t, the horn is not with the face right now, so when you put your transfer tape on, make sure that you set it so that it’s plenty of space up there at the top for that horn to go onto. And then burnish it down with your scraper and peel off the backing
on the transfer tape. Now, the next layer, I think was probably going to be not the horn,
it’s going to be the, yeah, it’s going to be the pink layer. I’m gonna cut all these bits off here and, we just put them into place. In retrospect it probably
would have been better if I hadn’t cut those hearts in half, so that they were, you
know, but whatever, it’s, I was able to eyeball it, but you may want to just keep them in place. And then the little ear insides. And if possible, try not to let
your vinyl stick to anything ’cause it just makes it
less sticky for your mug. And then we do the flower crown, and it goes, kind of centers
in between the two ears. And then we do the gold glitter horn. By the way glitter vinyl is very, is notoriously difficult to
transfer onto your transfer tape and you might want to use
strong hold transfer tape and do that one separately. I was able to get it off of the backing onto my transfer tape, but only with patience. I had to get out my weeding tool and go one by one and it just doesn’t, the glitter doesn’t want to stick to the regular hold transfer tape. I did it, ’cause I wanted to
show you the layering process, but if you use glitter, you’re probably gonna want
to use the strong hold, but only use it for the glitter part. If you use strong hold transfer
tape for your regular vinyl, it’ll be really hard to get
it off and onto your mug. So in that case you’d wanna
do two different applications. But I wanted to show you what
it looked like with just one ’cause you might not use glitter, right? So here we go, here is
our layered vinyl decal. We’re gonna put it onto the white mug. So don’t forget to wash your
mug down with alcohol first. And this is, this mug of
course is in a tumbler shape so of course you might now be wondering, well what about tumblers? Could I put this on my YETI? So. The surface of other tumblers, like this one is ceramic so
it’s nice and shiny and smooth, but if there’s like a powder
coating on your tumbler you might find it very
difficult to get vinyl to stick. I did a little research when
I was preparing this video, and there were some people that
had great results with vinyl and some people didn’t, so I thought I would do
some more research on my own and do a different video for you in the future
about how to do tumblers and the various ways that
people successfully do them. And here is my sweet little unicorn face. Isn’t she cute? I adore this unicorn. And these files are on my blog and you’re welcome to use
them, personalize them, you could certainly put
a name on the mug there and that would be an awesome
gift for someone else or for yourself. So vinyl mugs are fun and easy
if you know the right way. Now, even though I did
the dishwasher test, I still tend to hand wash my vinyl mugs. It’s your choice, so go ahead and put your mugs in the dishwasher, but with the understanding
that after maybe that 10th or 100th time, they
might not look so great. But hey, you could always
remake it, right? (laughs) So tomorrow we’re going to
switch gears a little bit and I’m going to show you
how to paint furniture. Yes, you heard me right, and then we’re going to
stencil the furniture using vinyl cut on a Cricut. It’s a great way to repurpose
pieces that you already have. Now, be sure to send in your project ideas at You guys have got the
best ideas, I love them. And remember, if you can tell
me what you want to make, I can show you how to make it. Until tomorrow! (mellow ukulele music)

100 thoughts on “How to Put Vinyl on Mugs + Vinyl Test & Cute Designs!

  1. Thanks for the explanation about regular and strong hold transfer tape, and using glitter. I love the unicorn. So cute.

  2. I have one person I gifted a mug who says the thin lettering keeps falling off. I cleaned with rubbing alcohol and allowed time to cure.. they hand wash. I dont understand? I use oracal651.. Now Im scared to sell which I was really excited about because I love crafting with my cricut.

  3. I am new to the Cricut…in fact, mine is in the process of shipping 🙂 Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am soooo excited about my new machine.

  4. Thank you very much for this video. It answered every question I had about vinyl mug application all in one video. A+++++

  5. Hi, I'm new to cricut maker and want to make Nickelodeon themed nick jr. items for an upcoming baby shower. Can you tell me how I can find the nick Jr picture (the image of the big figure person called nick and little child figure called jr.) Into cricut access? I'd like to try to put the picture on vinyl for mugs, thank you cards, and/or pens?

  6. I don't understand how you got all those colours on the flower crown. I am a true novice to Cricut. I have an air explorer 2. Does the air explorer require a cartridge to add various colours to the vinyl?

  7. Thank you for this! I made an adhesive vinyl glass and it made it great through the dishwasher, but I've always wondered if I should have been using HTV. I'm happy to see that I don't need to. This was a great comparison and I wrote some notes down. Thank you!

  8. Thank you for this, you're a good helper. Just want to know on what king of paper do you print your images befor to transfer please. ( I am new)

  9. Hi Jennifer, Love your video. Thanks very much for sharing. The Unicorn is perfect to put on a mug for my grand daughter's 10th birthday. I noticed however that when I downloaded the Unicorn, the little pink ear insides weren't included. No biggie because I just didn't use them (she won't know that they are missing lol). Just thought you should know. Thanks again.

  10. I find the HTV is WAY better than any adhesive vinyl, but I also have a heat press and let it sit for 24 hours. They gone through so many washes and have never come off. However, my 651 vinyl all peel on the edges. Especially sharp cut shapes.

  11. I use Oracal 651 vinyl on all my mugs and wine glasses and I have a few tips: I heat treat my mugs after applying the vinyl in my oven for 15minutes at 300 (do not preheat, you want the ceramic of the mug to have a slow heat up and a slow cooldown.) With wine glasses or those curvy mugs I use a blow dryer to heat treat (it also helps you gets any wrinkles out)
    Also with heat treated vinyl it does work great on mugs but just ironing wont work, it will work for the initial stick but you need to heat treat it in the oven after!

  12. Hi, I was gifted my maker in January and still learning all the many things I can do with it. I learn so mush from your channel. This was very helpful for me. So many ideas. I need more time in my day! Thank you

  13. Great tip to snip the transfer tape! I put vinyl on some Christmas ornaments last season and it was tricky (they were super curvy). I figured out the loosely connected images worked the best, but it was still hard. I can see how giving the transfer tape some room to flex will help.

  14. I’m wondering if those heat presses with mug attachments do better for HTV … but still don’t think it would be great on a high gloss mug … I’ll stick to Oracal 651! Thank you for the video!

  15. I have done a couple of mugs, but I had issues with a couple of them. Thanks for all the information. I will be trying them again very soon!

  16. Thank you for the tip on snipping the transfer tape to help the vinyl sit flat. This helps a lot on the curved surface.

  17. Hi, I'm still looking into this whole cricut thing, seeing what all it can do, etc. I've got a question about the heat transfer ones on ceramic. Can you use a heatgun instead of an iron?

  18. Thanks so much. I have several mugs that I haven’t tried yet, so I will try now that you’ve given me confidence and inspiration. Oh, and also great instructions as always.💕

  19. I absolutely love your tutorials, your tips are great coming from a cricut newbie your videos have taught me so much! Thank you!

  20. Who knew vinyl on ceramic mugs could be so detailed?! Thank you for such a thoroughly compiled video. Before seeing this I would have just bought my favourite colour, picked an image and cut it out! Not now!!! Now I have 651 running through my head, no dishwasher, cut around the image….etc etc…LOL!!!

  21. Good day Ms. Jennifer, I would like to know how to create a work has a solid color and lines with glitter

  22. Love it! I have only had my Explore Air2 for a few months and I’ve been getting so many requests!

  23. I can NOT even deal with how cute that unicorn is 😍🦄♥️ thanks for this! I was wondering about the dishwasher-ability of Oracal 651! 😀

  24. Have you tried Oracal 751, yet? Supposed to be more pliable but is a bit thinner. Still playing with settings to cut on my Brother ScanNCut but curious if you have tried it and how it lasts in the dishwasher. Thanks!

  25. Thanks for all the great info , just a question wondered how the print and cut you used held out after you washed it by hand? and what brand you used hon , thank u

  26. If I'm a beginner, what do you suggest? Do I need to buy a printer? How can I get it done in a mug, for a decent price?

  27. Ok…!!!! How does it work to add multiple colors to the mat? It looked ok of the screen! I placed my pieces on the mat just like the picture on my screen… but DID not work! 😖😩! Wasted vinyl! It was two phrases. Two cups! I was trying to be efficient…! So now I will print them separately…!

  28. Hello! I loved your tutorial. You didn't mention what type or brand of printable vynil you used for the unicorn design?

  29. We use Oracal 651 on all our mugs and tumblers at our sign shop It survives over a year of dish washer torture, plus it is much more cost effective if you are running dozens of mugs.
    You could have applied the circular monogram easily if you ran a hair dryer over the 651 for a couple seconds after you removed the transfer tape. Nice work on the mugs.

  30. I’ve used Oracle 651 on my wine glass. Are there any other steps that I should take so that the vinyl doesn’t peel off. I know to hand wash it but are there any other measures to take?

  31. Hi Jennifer, beautiful tutorial as always, big fan here! I was wondering where you got the iridescent ceramic tumbler that you had adhered the unicorn decal to? Thank you~~

  32. New to the Cricut world. What is the difference between permanent and removable vinyl? I ask because on the Cricut website it says the removable vinyl lasts up to 2 years still. So I am confused.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *