Make These Mugs For Under $1.50 Each
Making mugs is a great beginner project to craft if you’re still getting used to working with vinyl. The ease of placing the permanent vinyl on a hard surface is good practice and best of all if you mess up, you can simply remove the sticky vinyl and try again. My other favorite thing about making mugs is that it’s a very budget friendly low-cost project. You can create tons of mugs as gifts to friends and family or just for fun for yourself without breaking the bank.
Purchase mugs from you local dollar store or thrift shop
For this project I purchased two soup mugs at my local dollar store for only one dollar each. You can also head over to your neighborhood thrift shop and pick up your mugs for under a dollar there as well. Thrifting is a great way to look for your next craft finds. Not only are you helping the planet by not purchasing new, the cost of thrifted items is relatively low and will keep your overall craft cost down. If you are purchasing mugs at either the thrift store or the dollar store look for ones that have a wide area to place your vinyl. You also want the surface to be smooth to the touch, any texture on the cup surface will not keep the vinyl in place once you stick it on. Choose a mug that is plain or has a design that you can easily cover up. I usually choose white mugs and black vinyl, so you can see the words easily, but feel free to pick whatever colors reflect your personal style. Make sure that the color of the mug is in contrast to the color of the vinyl, so you can clearly see the design.
Picking the vinyl
For the vinyl choice in this project I used Oracle permanent vinyl in matte black. Oracle sells these sheets for .50 cents at Michael’s craft stores, you will only need one sheet to make this project. I choose Oracle over Cricut vinyl because you can purchase Oracle single sheets of vinyl for pretty cheap. Oracle vinyl, in my experience, has also lasted longer than Cricut vinyl on permanent projects such as cups, plates and other dishes. I have mugs made with Oracle permanent vinyl that are a few years old that have been washed over and over again and still retain their original design.
What you’ll need for this project:
- Permanent vinyl (my choice is Oracle 651, permanent and durable adhesive vinyl)
- Mugs (dollar store or thrifted finds)
- Contact paper (optional)
- Cricut or any cut machine
Download the free SVGs to began you craft. You can find them on Creative Fabrica in the free section of this website. For this project I made two mugs because ceramic mugs always look nice if they are in a matching set. Once you have your SVGs downloaded open Cricut Design Space or whatever program you use for your cut machine. Using the upload tool, upload both SVGs into a single project. Uploading them both in a single project will let you be able to cut the two SVGs at the same time, saving vinyl and time. Make sure to size and space out your SVGs appropriately. Sometimes Design Space will ask you if you would like to save your uploads as a print and cut or just a cut. Make sure you are saving as just a cut.
Measure the space you have for your mug. It’s going to be on the smaller side so make sure you are not making your design too big.
Place your vinyl on your cutting mat. A trick to use if your mat is getting un-sticky, is to use blue painters tape and tape the vinyl around the edges to keep the project from slipping while you cut.
Cut out your project. *DO NOT reverse your vinyl. You do have to use this option for making shirts with heat transfer vinyl but not with permanent vinyl.
Apply the vinyl
Once your design is cut, gently pull up the outside of the vinyl that you will not use. Grab your weeding tool to remove the leftover vinyl inside the design of the letters that you won’t want to see in your final result. You should have two cut-outs that look like stickers.
This is where the contact paper comes in handy. If you don’t have contact paper, simply peel off the vinyl and place onto your mug like a sticker. But if you have contact paper, peel the contact paper and stick it right on top of your design. The contact paper will act as a transfer making sure your design is perfectly straight from the cut to your mug.
Once you have your contact paper over your design lay it on your mug where you want the design to be. Using a Cricut scraping tool, or a credit card carefully rub the transfer onto the mug and peel off the contact paper leaving your design on the mug.
If a little spot still comes up with the transfer paper, lay it back down and re-rub the design flat until it sticks.
You don’t have to apply any heat when you are done. The oracle permanent transfers last a long time, even though the dishwasher, but I try to wash my hand-made mugs by hand just to be on the safe side because I want the design to last a long time.
Tips for success
- Wash your mug beforehand. Any dust or dirt left on a mug can compromise the vinyl’s ability to stick to the mug.
- If you make a mistake, use a knife and carefully scrape off the vinyl without scratching the surface of your mug. Re-cut the vinyl and apply the transfer again.
- You can re-use contact paper again and again as long as it retains some of its stickiness.
- If you see a mug you would like to use, but it already has a design, use acetone and a cotton ball to rub the design off the mug. Make sure to wash the mug really well before you apply your vinyl design. You don’t want any acetone left over on your mug or your new design will not stick.
- Ceramic is the best material for vinyl to stick to when making mugs, but I have also used clear glass and aluminum mugs just fine.
For more crafts, DIYs, ideas, and free SVGs follow the Artistry blog on Creative Fabrica. Happy crafting!