Cricut EasyPress Mini: Mug Handle Sublimation

Cricut EasyPress Mini: Mug Handle Sublimation main article image
Posted on May 9, 2022 by Wendy Boulay
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Now that the Cricut Mug Press has been out for just over a year now, and gaining popularity, almost every “Cricutter” I know has been having so much fun with creating unique designs for their mugs.

But did you know that you can actually add a design to the handle? While you cannot use your Mug Press due to the fact that the handle does not fit within the machine, with a little bit of careful preparation, you can use your EasyPress Mini to add a little extra special design to your mug handles! 

Cricut EasyPress Mini: Mug Handle Sublimation

  • Supplies
  • Digital Products
  • Cricut Design Space
    • Sizing
    • Printing
  • Cricut EasyPress Mini
    • Prepare the handle
    • Press!
  • Finishing

Supplies Needed

  • Sublimation Printer (I converted the Epson Eco-Tank 2720)
  • Sublimation paper (I used A-Sub)
  • Digital products: Vine Flourish (#MA000F6B in Design Space) – optional
  • Sublimation ready mug
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Heat-resistant tape
  • Butcher or parchment paper
  • Lint roller
  • Cricut EasyPress Mini

Digital Products

Because there is limited space on the mug handle, the design that you choose to sublimate must also fit within those dimensions. I personally love flourishes for this as they often are easy to rotate and require very little manipulation. The design that I used to test my mug was the Vine Flourish image (#MA000F6B) directly from Design Space.

vine design space

However, by no means are you limited to using a flourish! You can absolutely add a name or another type of design to your handle! Just be sure to use a lighter weight font, such as the popular Skinny Jeans font; as well as a design that can be adjusted in height and width without looking too distorted or warped.

skinny jeans font

Cricut Design Space

Sizing

If this is your first time attempting to sublimate on a mug handle, then I recommend first trying this project with a simple flourish. I also suggest that you use a “mistake” mug as a test so that if anything goes wrong, you aren’t wasting a perfectly good mug! It does take some practice to get perfect results, so using scrap mugs is ideal for this! 🧐

To begin, grab your measuring tape and determine how large or small you want the design on the handle.

measuring handle

Try not to plan to do the entire handle if you are a beginner, as you might end up with a fair amount of ghosting on the final result (like mine! 🤣😂).

I went with 4 cm’s (1.5”) in height and roughly 0.4” wide. Just use your best judgment to determine the best fit for your design.

  • 👉 Note: In retrospect, I should have made mine slightly smaller as I did have some ghosting happen.

Once you have the size of your design all figured out, change the Operation to Print then Cut, and you are ready to move on to printing!

print then cut

Printing

Click on that Make It button and on the digital mat preview screen, adjust the placement of your design if necessary, then ensure that the Mirror button is on. This is especially important if you have text on your design so that it does not sublimate backwards!

mirror design space

Next, click Continue, and then Send to Printer.

When the Print Setup screen pops up, select your sublimation printer and turn off the bleed as you will not need to use the Cricut to cut this design. Also, you will want to enable the Use System Dialog button so that you can adjust the paper settings to your preferred sublimation setting.

print setting design space

Now you are ready for printing!

  • 🔔 Reminder! Before you click on the print button, double-check on the preview that you remembered to MIRROR your design.

When you are ready, go ahead and print. Allow the ink to fully dry, then grab your paper trimmer or scissors and cut away just on the inside of all borders – as close as you can so that you remove all of the ink from the print then cut border that might transfer.

trimming

Cricut EasyPress Mini

Prepare your blank

In the same manner that you prepare your mugs, use your lint roller to remove any dust particles that could interfere with the transfer on the handle. After the handle has been cleaned, try to avoid putting fingerprints on the areas where you plan to apply the design. 

Center the printout on the handle as best as you can. I find it handy to tape both the top and bottom edges of the paper once I feel that it’s centered, then rotate the mug to look under the handle to ensure that I cannot visibly see the design extending beyond the handle.

tape and center handle

When you are sure that you have it as centered as you can, secure the sublimation paper as you normally would when creating the mug face. Using small pieces of heat-resistant tape to secure the design to the mug will help not only keep the design in place but will also ensure that the paper is smooth and flat against the mug.

ready to press handle

Again, similar to your “normal” mug methods, cover the paper with two layers of butcher paper (or parchment) to protect your mini-press from any ink blowout. 

Now it’s time to press!

Pressing

Preheat the Cricut EasyPress Mini to the highest setting, and when the machine has signaled that it is ready, put on your heat-resistant gloves (if you have them) and press the handle one section at a time for as long as your paper type suggests. Apply heavy pressure while keeping as still as possible.

pressing handle

When the time ends, do another section of the handle, and repeat for the entire area of the handle. Yes, this is a more time-consuming press, but if you have a small convection oven that you use for sublimation then this process can be done in one sitting, which in turn is much faster. And if you do have one, I highly recommend using it for even better results!

Once you have pressed every section of the design, carefully remove the butcher paper. Next, only lift one edge of the sublimation paper to check that the ink transferred nicely. If you find it a little faded, replace the paper and butcher paper then repeat the process until you are happy with the outcome.

Finishing

Once the mug has completely cooled, remove all of the tape and papers, grab a notepad, and write down all of the new ideas you now have for the mug handles! 😉

Keep on Crafting! 💖


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