How to make sublimation tumblers

How to make sublimation tumblers


Are you ready to dive into the wonderful world of sublimation tumblers? These trendy drinkware items have become a favorite among DIY enthusiasts for their vibrant and long-lasting designs. If you're looking to add a personal touch to your collection or wow your friends with unique gifts, making sublimation tumblers is the way to go. In this down-to-earth and authentic guide, we'll take you through the process step by step. Let's jump right in!

Materials You'll Need

  1. Stainless steel tumbler – grab one that suits your style and desired size.
  2. Sublimation printer and sublimation paper – if you don't have a printer, no worries, you can get your design printed at a local print shop.
  3. Heat-resistant tape – keep those designs in place during the process.
  4. Heat-resistant gloves – keep your hands safe from the heat.

  5. Heat-resistant adhesive spray – this helps the design transfer flawlessly.

  6. Heat press machine or convection oven – pick the one that suits your budget and availability.

  7. Design software – use programs like Adobe Photoshop or CorelDRAW to unleash your creativity.
  8. Protective coating spray (optional) – give your tumbler that extra touch of durability (if desired).


Step-by-Step Crafting Process

Step 1: Let Your Creative Juices Flow!

It's time to design your masterpiece! Get cozy with your design software and let your imagination run wild. Create a design that reflects your personality or consider what the recipient of your gift would love. Pro-tip: Experiment with vibrant colors and patterns to make your tumbler truly eye-catching.

Step 2: Print Like a Pro (or Find a Printing Pro)!

Once you've finalized your design, it's time to bring it to life. If you have a sublimation printer at home, kudos to you! Print the design on sublimation paper with the highest quality settings for optimal results. If you don't have a printer, no sweat! Many local print shops offer sublimation printing services. Just bring your design file, and they'll take care of the rest.

Step 3: Cleanliness Is Next to Sublimity!

Before diving into the fun part, give your tumbler a good cleaning. Wash away any dirt or oils that might interfere with the sublimation process. And don't forget to dry it meticulously with a lint-free cloth to avoid any blemishes on your masterpiece.

Step 4: Let's Stick It!

Wrap your sublimation paper around the tumbler, making sure the design is perfectly aligned. Take out the heat-resistant tape and secure that bad boy, so there's no shifting during the process. We want your design to stay exactly where you want it!

Step 5: Heat It Up, Buttercup!

Time to give your tumbler the heat treatment it deserves. Follow the instructions provided with your heat press machine or convection oven to set the temperature and time. Make sure to really read those instructions – we don't want any surprises!

Place your tumbler in the heat press machine or oven, ensuring it's centered and secure. Apply the right amount of heat and pressure for the recommended time. Picture your design coming to life as the heat works its magic!

Step 6: Chill and Enjoy the Results!

Once the time's up, put on your heat-resistant gloves and carefully remove the tumbler from the heat press machine or oven. Caution: It's gonna be hot! Let it cool completely before removing the sublimation paper and tape. Ahh, the suspense!

Step 7: Seal the Deal (Optional):

Want to make sure your design stands the test of time? Consider using a protective coating spray. It's like giving your tumbler that extra armor for added durability. Check the instructions on the can to seal the deal (pun intended)!

Notes and Pro Tips

  • Practice Makes Perfect: Don't worry if your first attempt doesn't turn out perfect. Sublimation tumblers require practice and experimentation to get the hang of it.
  • Scrap It, Don't Panic: Before taking on the real deal, do a couple of test runs on scrap materials. It'll help you familiarize yourself with the process and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Light It Up: Sublimation works best on light-colored or white tumblers. Darker base colors may affect the vibrancy of your design.
  • Protect Your Creation: Place a protective sheet or paper underneath the tumbler while working to avoid any unwanted damage to your workspace.


Q: Can I use a different type of tumbler for sublimation?
A: While stainless steel tumblers are the go-to for sublimation, you can experiment with other materials as long as they withstand heat and have compatible coatings.

Q: Can I sublimate a tumbler with a plastic lid or handle?
A: Sublimation works best on the stainless steel body of the tumbler. To avoid any mishaps, it's best to remove the lid and handle before applying the design.

Q: How do I clean my sublimated tumbler?
A: Hand-wash your sublimated tumbler with mild soap and warm water. Stay away from abrasives and harsh chemicals that could damage the design. Treat it with care, and it'll stay fabulous!


Congratulations on becoming a sublimation tumbler extraordinaire! It might take a bit of trial and error, but with time and practice, you'll master the art of creating personalized drinkware that'll turn heads. Let your creativity flow, and enjoy the satisfaction of using or gifting your very own sublimation tumblers. Cheers to your exciting and authentic creative journey!

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