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Making a Winter Sublimation Tumbler

Making a Winter Sublimation Tumbler main article image
Posted on January 5, 2022 by Naomi Garcia

Winter Sublimation Tumbler

What do you think of when you hear the word “winter?”  Where I live, winter can be very different in each region.  Some areas get snow even in early fall.  Some places, like where I am in the desert, only get to experience winter while watching Hallmark movies.  But there’s something about just hearing the word “winter” that makes me think of hot chocolate and cozy blankets.

I’m not much of a cocoa drinker, but I do love my coffee in the morning (and into the afternoon and sometimes the evening).  Even more, I enjoy choosing the right cup for my drinks.  As a crafter, I’ve created lots and lots of mugs.  My favorite cup changes depending on what I’m drinking.  Recently, though, I’ve been attracted to, and even obsessed with, making sublimation tumblers.

Why Sublimation?

Sublimation tumblers are so easy to make.  All it takes is the right transfer and a compatible tumbler.  Although mugs are really fun to make, tumblers have an advantage.  Since they come with a lid, it’s easy to take them on the go.  Plus, they’re usually insulated and will keep my delicious hot coffee warm for hours.

Creating glitter tumblers using epoxy is also one of my favorite crafts.  However, it isn’t always convenient or even possible to create a tumbler on the turners.  True, we don’t get sub-zero degree temperatures here.  But the temperature does drop enough to mess with the curing process in my workshop.  That’s another reason why sublimation has become so popular.  And instead of taking a couple of days or more to complete a cup from start to finish, I can have one done in under half an hour.

Creating the Winter Sublimation Tumbler

So just how easy is it to create a winter sublimation tumbler?  What supplies are needed?  Let me tell you:  it is SUPER EASY and you only need a few supplies.  Ready?  Let’s go!

Materials and Supplies

  • Ombre Winter Snowflakes sublimation file
  • Sublimation printer (or have the file printed for you)
  • Sublimation paper
  • Heat resistant tape
  • Sublimation shrink sleeve
  • Butcher paper
  • Sublimation tumbler blank
  • Paper trimmer
  • Tape measure or flexible ruler
  • Lint roller
  • Heat gun
  • Mug press or sublimation oven
  • Hot gloves or oven mitt

Sublimation tumbler supplies

The Process

Printing the Sublimation Design

  1. Purchase and download the Ombre Winter Snowflakes Tumbler Graphic from Creative Fabrica
  2. Measure your tumbler’s height and its width around.  Add about ¼” to each of those measurements
    1. I prefer using straight tumblers because the taper can get tricky.  But several of the files on Creative Fabrica provide both straight and tapered design files
  3. Open your file in your print software or in a program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs
  4. Size the design to meet the measurements of your tumbler  
    1. Although this design doesn’t require it, remember to flip or mirror your design if it includes text or a directional pattern
  5. Let your design dry completely before cutting
  6. Trim the design, being sure to get rid of any white borders

Trim design with paper trimmer

Prepping Your Tumbler

  1. Remove the lid from the tumbler
  2. Use a lint roller to remove lint and dust from the tumbler
  3. Place the cut print on your tumbler with the design against the tumbler
    1. Use heat tape to secure the design
    2. Be sure to pull as tight as possible and to line up the design as best you can
  4. Slide a shrink sleeve over the tumbler and use a heat gun to shrink it
    1. The idea is to have the sleeve secure the design so that it doesn’t slide around
  5. If using the Cricut Mug Press, add a layer of butcher paper around the outside of the tumbler as well.  Make sure that none of the shrink sleeve is exposed or it may melt onto your press.

Apply heat tape to secure design

Add shrink sleeve to tumbler

Pressing the Design

  1. Preheat your mug press or oven.
    1. If you are using a Cricut Mug Press, turn it on and wait for it to let you know it’s ready
    2. If you are using a sublimation oven or a standard cup press, refer to the manual or check online to determine the temperature and amount of time needed for your cup
  2. When ready, carefully place the tumbler in the oven or press.  Let it set for the correct amount of time
    1. If you are using the Cricut Mug Press, you can rotate the tumbler after the time is up so that you can press the side that is where the handle rest is.
  3. Once the timer rings, CAREFULLY remove the tumbler using the proper heat protection
  4. Place the hot tumbler on a heat-resistant surface
  5. When cool, use scissors to snip the shrink sleeve and remove it completely
  6. Remove the transfer and the tape

Ombre Snowflake Sublimation Tumbler Closeup

Isn’t it just lovely?

Supplies I Use

There are lots of shops that carry tumblers you can use for sublimation.  You can find them by searching online.  Some suppliers offer options like pastel colors and glitters. Different shapes and styles are also available.  Personally, I prefer using tumblers with straight sides.  It makes it easier to line up the design.  However, it is possible to use tapered designs or to taper a pre-existing design to fit a tapered tumbler.

In this post, I used my Cricut Mug Press because it is really convenient for this project.  You’ll notice, though, that the press is designed specifically for, well, a mug.  So the space where the handle goes is open and isn’t pressed in the process.  That’s why the shrink sleeve comes in handy.  Plus, rotating the cup helps ensure that the design is pressed all the way around.  BUT, if your design doesn’t wrap all the way around the tumbler, you’ll just need to secure your design with heat tape and butcher paper.

Snowflake tumbler on coffee bar

Personalization and Care

I love these tumblers.  I made one for each of my children.  I used different files from Creative Fabrica.  (Search “sublimation prints” to find an array of designs to choose from.)  The candy cane stripes were really cute.

To personalize them even more, I added their names to the designs before printing and then mirrored the images.  When I made them as gifts for my sisters, I personalized them with vinyl name decals instead.  They’ve held up very well.

The tumblers that are only sublimated can be placed in the dishwasher with no problem.  If you add permanent vinyl, they should be hand washed.  Creative Fabrica also has files for care cards that you can customize and include with your tumblers if you decide to make some as gifts or to sell.

Do you think you’ll be making a fun sublimation tumbler anytime soon?  I really hope you give it a try.  If you do something similar to what I showed you here, please tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.  I am EJsFunCrafting on all platforms.  Make something cozy and fun!

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