How to Sublimate the Blank and Stainless Steel Tumblers?

Sublimation on the Tumbler is a very easy way to create gifts for family and friends. But if you are a beginner and don’t know how to sublimate on Tumbler, then the most chances are that you may get stuck in it. During my journey with Sublimation, I sublimated hundreds of tumblers with different methods and techniques. Now, I am discussing everything I have learned from experiments. I will also share some tips and tricks that will assist you in this matter.

What Kind of Tumblers Can You Sublimate On?

Before discussing the sublimation method, we first need to figure out what type of Tumblr we can use for the sublimation process. We can’t use all tumblers for this process because the sublimation ink only sticks with the polyester material. That’s why we can only sublimate the tumbler that contains polyester coating. You can purchase some ready-made polyester-coated tumblers for this purpose. Although these tumblers are a little expensive compared to the others, they will give you great results.

How to Make Sublimation Coating for Tumblers?

If you are planning to start a business, you must know how to apply the polymer coating to the tumblers. There are many methods to use the layer, but I am discussing the poly glass method. The things that you need are poly glass, a catalyst, a measuring cup, and a paintbrush.

  1. Mix one milliliter of catalyst in one ounce of polyglass.
  2. Now coat the tumbler by using the paintbrush and cover it with a jug or food container for only 10 minutes ( this process will prevent the bubbler from forming onto the surface of the tumbler).
  3. Please place it in an oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 320 degrees. Allow it to cool, and this is ready for the sublimation process.

Note: If your tumbler is not coated, color it with heat-resistant paint before applying the polyglass.

How to Make a Design for the Sublimation on Tumbler?

The height and width of the designs that we will print on the sublimation paper depend on the size of the tumbler. For example, the 20 oz skinny tumbler template size should be 9.3 inches across by 8.2 inches high. You can also check the size of the tumbler in the graph below. Most of the people asked me about how I made the designs for the sublimation project. I used Canva, photoshop, and illustrator for designing. But if you need to improve at designing, you can hire freelancers on different platforms such as Fiverr, etc.

Here, I am discussing designing with Canva, and I use this website because there are so many premium and free pre-made templates available, and we can use them in our project with just one click.

  1. First, open a custom project according to the size of your tumbler.
  2. Upload the image or vector art from your computer that you want to use.
  3. You can also change the color scheme and fonts.
  4. Once you finish the design, click the download button and print it with the sublimation printer.

How to Sublimate a Tumbler?

There are more than one method to transfer the designs on the tumbler, and every way has its benefits and drawbacks; I will discuss all the methods with pros and cons.

How to Sublimate a Tumbler with a Cricut Mug Press?

The material I use for this project is a Cricut mug press, stainless steel 20-ounce tumbler, lint roller, heat-resistant tape, and a design on the sublimation paper that we printed with the Epson Eco Tank.

  1. Trim the design according to the size of the tumbler you are trying to sublimate.
  2. Remove the cap, clean the tumbler with the cloth, and then use a lint roller to remove any debris.
  3. Add heat-resistant tape to the back of the paper. Roll it onto the tumbler as tight as possible, and ensure that your design is straight and fits completely.
  4. Add some more tape to the area where it looks crooked.
  5. Wrap it in butcher or parchment paper and tape it again and cut a piece of butcher paper into a circle and put it at the bottom of the Cricut mug press, so it doesn’t scratch up the tumbler.
  6. Put the tumbler in the mug press machine, tighten it with the pieces of cardboard, and ensure that the tumbler is snug.
  7. Set the timer for 4 minutes and heat it. Now rotate it and set the timer for 2 minutes. After that, flip the tumbler upside down and repeat the same process.
  8. Peel off the paper and make sure to wear heat-resistant gloves.

Pros and Cons of Sublimating the Tumblers with Cricut Mug Press:


  • This method suits you if you don’t have a tumbler press or convection oven. If you follow the steps that I have shared with you, then it will give you awesome results.
  • There is no need to use shrink wrap because the Cricut mug press will automatically add pressure to the tumbler.


  • Although this method looks very easy, it can be difficult for you if you are not a Cricut user because you need to rotate the tumbler position after a specific period.
  • You can’t sublimate more than one Tumbler at a time. If you want to sublimate more than one tumbler at the same time then try to sublimate the tumblers in the convection oven.

How to Sublimate a Tumbler with a Tumbler Heat Press?

In this process, I will use a heat press specifically designed for the tumblers. This machine comes in different sizes, so check the diameter restrictions.

While pressing, there may be a gap, so we need to push it twice.

  1. We will prepare our tumbler for the press at the very first step. Clean the tumbler with a lint roller to get off all the debris.
  2. Trim the white border of the sublimation paper off if you didn’t print it with the borderless printer.
  3. Remove the lid from the tumbler, wrap the printed design around it, and secure it as tight as possible using heat-resistant tape strips. 
  4. Tape to the bottom and top of the tumbler to get smooth edges.
  5. Wrap the butcher paper around the tumbler( this process is optional, but if you want to keep the heat press machine safe from the sublimation ink, then you must need to use the butcher paper)
  6. Now press it under a tumbler press for 50 seconds at 360 degrees. Roll the tumbler and press it again for the 50s at 360.
  7. Let it cool for a few seconds, and unwrap it. 

Pros and Cons of Sublimating the Tumblers with Tumbler Heat Press:


  • Most professional designers use this method to sublimate the tumblers because it is hassle-free and will give the same results as the Cricut.
  • You can also sublimate the handled tumbler with it very easily.
  • Expert knowledge is not needed to sublimate the tumblers with this method.


  • Like the Cricut mug press, we can’t sublimate more than one tumbler at a time with this method.

How to Sublimate a Tumbler in a Convection or Regular Oven?

Sublimating the tumbler in convection is very simple and easy. This process is also known as the shrink-wrap method. The things needed in this process are heat-resistant tape, a convection oven, a printed design, shrink wrap, a heat gun, and a tumbler.

  1. Clean the tumbler with a towel and then lint it to clean the dust and other unwanted things.
  2. Wrap the printed design onto the tumbler tightly and secure it with heat-resistant tape.
  3. Put the tape on the top and bottom of the tumbler, also.
  4. Now wrap the shrinkwrap and heat it using a heat gun machine and ensure a smooth surface. You can also use the heat-resistant rubber bands on the top and bottom of the tumbler, and you are ready to go.
  5. Put the tumbler in the convection oven or air fryer for 4 minutes and 30 seconds at 360 degrees.
  6. Remove the shrink wrap and peel the sublimation paper out using heat-resistant gloves.

Pros and Cons of Sublimating the Tumbler in a Convection or Regular Oven:


  • This method is perfect if you plan to sublimate more than one tumbler at a time.
  • The process is very smooth and easy.


  •  You can’t reuse the oven for food purposes.
  • Before holding it in the convection oven, you must secure the tumbler with shrink wrap.

How to Sublimate a Tumbler By Using an Air Fryer?

I have received so many requests on different platforms that it is possible to sublimate the tumbler in an air fryer. The answer is yes; you can do it smoothly by following the methods I will share below. Most people want to do the Sublimation with this method because they don’t want to use the convection oven.

  1. Like the other methods, the first step is to create and print the digital designs on the sublimation paper. If your plan contains text, you must print it with a mirror option; otherwise, it would not be correct.
  2. After printing the design, the next step is placing and taping it on the tumbler. Cut off the white border around the image.
  3. Now wrap the printed image around the tumbler. Make sure you tape the top, seams, and bottom as tight as possible. For additional safety, I recommend wrapping the butcher paper around the tumbler.
  4. Put the tumbler in the air fryer and bake it at 375 degrees for 3 minutes. If your air fryer is big, you can also cook 2 tumblers at a time.
  5. Once the 3 minutes are done, please put it in the air fryer for another 3 minutes on the other side.
  6. Take it out, let it cool for a few minutes, and peel off the paper using heat gloves.

Pros and Cons of Sublimating the Tumbler by Using Air Fryer:


  • It will give you a vibrant color, and the process is very simple.
  • You can do more than one tumbler at a time, but it depends on the size of your air fryer.


  • Shrink and wrap is must before placing the design in the fryer.

How do they Measure the Tumbler Size?

I have designed hundreds of tumbles over the past few years, and one thing I noticed is that every company tumbler has its size and height, so it is recommended to measure the size of the tumbler before printing the design.

You can use a fabric measuring tape to measure the tumbler size. If you don’t have a fabric measuring tape, measure it with the string and then match it with the measuring scale.

First, measure the top and bottom of the tumbler separately. After that, measure the height across the top and bottom. Don’t measure the top don’t. Just measure the bottom; check the whole thing.

Tip: If you are sublimating the glitter HTV tumbler, then only measure the glitter area; otherwise, the design will look on different sites.

How to Avoid Ghosting and Seam Lines on Tumblers?

Ghosting occurs when the sublimation paper we use to transfer our designs slips from its position. The other things that create ghosting and seam lines are excess moisture, dust, and grime on the surface of tumblers. 

To avoid these things, first, clean your tumbler surface with the microfiber cloth and then with a lint roller. This process will clean all the grime. The next thing is to ensure that your paper and tape are firmly pressed against your tumbler surface. 

I noticed that many people must select the right substrate in the print menu while printing the design. Make sure to choose the right substrate. For example, if you are printing on ceramic, select the ceramic, and if you are printing on stainless steel, choose stainless steel. If you are using the Epson printer then uncheck the high speed.

Once you have completed the Sublimation and unwrapping, dip the tumbler in the warm water for a few seconds.

How to Remove Sublimation Ink from Stainless Steel Tumblers?

For some reason, if you don’t like the design on the tumbler that you have sublimated, and of course, you want to keep it because you want to sublimate it. Many people asked if there was any way we could sublimate a Tumbler twice. The answer is yes you can sublimate it, but for that, you must remove the design that is already there first. There are many ways to do this at home. Read the article about how to remove sublimation ink from stainless steel tumblers.

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