Cricut Mug Press: Make a Christmas Gnome Mug

Cricut Mug Press: Make a Christmas Gnome Mug main article image
Posted on December 7, 2021 by Wendy Boulay
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Every year, while surfing around the “webiverse”, I always come across the most adorable Christmas-themed mugs. So with the release of the Cricut Mug Press in early 2021, you can now make your own! 

Cricut Mug Press: Make a Christmas Gnome Mug

  • Supplies
  • Digital Products
  • Photoshop
    • Template
    • Designing
    • Printing
  • Cricut Mug Press
    • Prepare your blank
    • Pressing
  • Finishing

Supplies Needed

Digital Products

It’s no secret that I have mad love for Creative Fabrica! I used to spend so much of my time searching for designs, fonts, and cut files in order to create a lot of my crafts. But thanks to Creative Fabrica, they have made design shopping so accessible for crafters that it has become my main one-stop-shop! 

If you haven’t explored their site yet, I highly recommend that you grab a coffee, sit back on the sofa and have a look around – and while you’re there, grab the Christmas Gnome Graphic and the Christmas String Lights Clipart Bundle that you will need to make your new Christmas mug!

christmas gnome graphic

Buffalo plaid is one of my very favorite holiday patterns. It’s not only bold and vibrant, but it also adds an air of warmth to everything – which is perhaps why it’s so popular during the colder months! I decided to pair the Christmas Gnome Graphic with the Christmas String Lights Clipart Bundle to add a little extra Christmas spirit to the mug.

christmas string lights

The next product that I highly recommend that you purchase is this awesome 15oz Cricut Mug Template I found on Etsy by Creatlish. In my opinion, this is by far the best mug wrap template that I have found to date. It simplifies the placement and alignment – making this a huge time (and headache) saver! This, of course,  is completely optional if you prefer to use your own favorite template.

Photoshop

Template

Instead of using Design Space for the mug wrap design, this time we’ll be using Photoshop as we don’t necessarily need to cut the wrap with the Cricut machine. This not only saves a little time but is also handy for your other sublimation projects because you can save the size template for next time!

Of course, if you are not familiar with the Photoshop program and/or prefer using Cricut Design Space – then, by all means, feel free to use it! The mug template also comes with a Cricut version!

This project uses a 15oz mug so be sure to have a blank on hand before you begin.

To get started, with Photoshop on the ready and all of your digital products already extracted on your computer,  open up the Photoshop mug wrap file that you just purchased off of Etsy. 

photoshop file

Immediately you’ll see how simple this template is to use.

There are five main sections to understand:

  • LEFT: This area is the best placement for your designs that will show to the right of the handle.
  • RIGHT: This will be where you place your designs that will show to the left of the handle.
  • CENTER OF MUG: This section shows you where the center of the mug would be if you were looking directly at it with the handle towards the back.
  • EDGE OF DESIGN: Both of these sections are where your design should end because the Cricut Mug Press will not apply heat to these areas.
  • HANDLE: The area is where the alignment really comes in handy when you have finished your design, printed, and are ready to apply the wrap to the mug. The handle area allows you to match up both ends so that everything is placed perfectly.

mug template

You can jump right into designing your mug, but if you’re like me you might want to simplify the mug alignment printout even further.

To do this, duplicate the template and name the new layer “For Printing”, then rename the original layer to “Hide”.

name layers

Next, temporarily hide the original “HIDE” layer, then on the printing layer, use the eraser tool and remove everything in the center except for the dotted border.

print layer

At this point, you have two options: 

  1. If you are using a Cricut mug blank: If you want to use the handle alignment tool, you can erase the “Edge of Design” lines. I recommend this option if the template exactly matches your mug blank (Cricut Mug). 
  2. If you are using another brand mug blank: If you want to keep the edge of design lines, erase the handle sections. This option is best for those who are not using a Cricut Mug blank (such as me), and the entirety of the wrap doesn’t quite fit.

two mug templates

After you have determined which printing template you will need, make the necessary changes and then it’s time to design!

Designing

Now that you’re ready to add your designs, unhide the original template then open the gnomes PNG and choose which strand you like best of the Christmas lights graphics, then open that up as well.

First, let’s tackle the lights. Select and copy the strand, then paste on the mug template. Duplicate the strand, zoom in, and connect it to the original strand. Repeat as necessary so that you reach the entire width of the mug.

string lights on mug

Make sure that none of the bulbs are cut off by the top border – then use the eraser or slice tool to get rid of any extra strands that you don’t need.

christmas string lights on template

Voila! Lights are done! Now simply copy and paste the gnomes, size them to your desired height/width, and then place them in the “Left” and “Right” sections of the template.

gnomes and lights on mug template

Feel free to add in some text as I did. The fonts that I used were Sunday Christmas, Chocolate Sprinkle, and Aphasia BT. 

christmas with my gnomies mug

Now you are ready for printing!

Printing

First, save the template as a PSD file so that you can quickly and easily edit it for next time. 

Before you print, hide your “HIDE” layer.

ready to print mug template

  • Important! For sublimating on mugs, you MUST remember to MIRROR your design, especially when there is text on it! Otherwise, all of your texts will be sublimated backward and nobody wants that!

To mirror directly in Photoshop, click on Image>Image Rotation>Flip Canvas Horizontal – alternatively, you can mirror during the print setup. 

When the printer dialogue box pops up, make sure that you choose the correct printer settings for your type of sublimation printer and paper. This is extremely important so that you get the absolute best results on your printout!

After it’s been printed, 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 while removing any ink that might transfer.

trimming mug template

Cricut Mug Press

Prepare your blank

Use your lint roller and remove any dust particles that could interfere with the transfer on your mug. After the mug has been cleaned, try to avoid putting fingerprints on the areas where you plan to apply the design. 

Center the printout on your mug, using the edges as your guide. If you used the Cricut mug template, line up the handle markings. If however, you used the alternate brand template, just make sure that the edges are equally distanced from the handle.

Using small pieces of heat-resistant tape to secure the design to the mug will help to not only keep the design in place but will also ensure that the paper is smooth and flat against the mug. Just be careful not to cover the ink with the tape as this could also interfere with the transfer.

Cover the wrap with two layers of parchment or butcher paper to protect your mug press from any ink blowout. 

Now it’s time to press!

Pressing

Preheat the Cricut Mug Press and when the machine has signaled that it is ready, place your mug into the press at a slight angle. I find that doing this helps to ensure that the sides of the machine won’t catch any of the paper layers as you are putting it in.

Pressing a mug

Make sure that the design is completely inside the press; adjust the mug as needed by the handle. Do not put your hands inside the machine – it’s extremely hot!

Press all the way down on the lever and wait for the transfer process to complete, then remove the mug from the press – be careful – it can easily burn you! Heat-resistant gloves are recommended.

Now let the mug sit on a heat-resistant surface for approximately  20-30 minutes.

Finishing

Once the mug has completely cooled, remove the tape and papers. Give your brand new mug a wash and pour yourself a little Christmas hot cocoa!

Happy Holidays to all! 🎄🎁

Keep on Crafting! 💖

christmas gnome mug


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