Mugs. We all have them. We use them to drink coffee or tea or maybe to make a microwave brownie. Could you put alcohol in one? Sure, we don't judge. Many mugs have interesting designs, but some fall flat. That's why we are aiming to jazz things up by telling you how to seal vinyl on a mug.
What Is Sealing Vinyl On a Mug All About?
If you want to put your own custom design on a mug, then you will want to learn how to seal vinyl on a mug yourself. The process is simple, but you will need to follow along with our guide below to make sure you don't screw up one of the steps and render your favorite mug into an ugly, unusable lump of ceramic.
You might be saying to yourself " why can't I just use a sharpie or some lacquer nail polish to make my mug look pretty?" The reason why is that when you seal vinyl on your currently barren mug, you ensure that the quality design you chose will stick to your mug for a long time to come. There's nothing worse than working hard on your mug design only for it to come off mere days after application.
Why Should People Learn How to Seal Vinyl on a Mug?
Good question. In our modern era, more and more things are being done by robots as mechanization runs rampant across the globe. When everything is made by a machine, something is lost. When you have a craft that has been made by hand, you can feel the warmth, positive energy, and love that went into the crafting of such a special item.
Another reason to learn how to seal vinyl on a mug is that you might want to personalize your mug in a way that would be difficult otherwise. Mugs sometimes say things like "Best Step-father" or "#1 Substitute Teacher", but if you want to get a little more avante-garde or have an uncommon name that you need to have on a mug, then learning how to seal vinyl on a mug is something you will need to know how to do.
The last reason we will give is that it is a fun activity to do alone, with kids, or with friends! We're just throwing this out there, but if you are looking for a fun party idea, you can throw a learn how to seal vinyl on a mug party!
Directions on How to Seal Vinyl on a Mug
We're going to cover everything you need to know on how to put vinyl on a mug. There are a lot of different steps you will need to take to make sure everything seals properly.
Gather the Necessary Materials
Before you get started on making your brilliant mug design, you will need to get all the necessary materials ready.
Some mugs are better than others when applying vinyl design. We recommend using a mug that has the same dimensions on the top and bottom. A mug that slightly tapers toward the bottom is fine, but if the mug gets much smaller at the bottom it will be difficult to apply the vinyl properly. You will also want to get a mug that is smooth. If your mug is textured, it will be more difficult to get the vinyl to seal properly.
There are a lot of different types of vinyl that you could use, but we strongly recommend using permanent vinyl. Permanent vinyl will be able to withstand the dishwasher or being washed by hand. Do not try to cut up old records to seal to your mug because that will just flat out not work because it's the wrong kind of vinyl.
Transfer tape is what you will use to move your vinyl design from its sheet on to your mug. Cricut brand transfer tape is a good choice if you have no idea what kind of transfer tape to get. Transfer tape, like any other type of tape, is super sticky. Make sure not to get too much dust or debris on the tape before you press it onto the vinyl.
One of the reasons a lot of people use Cricut is that you can re-use it many times. We have used the same exact piece of Cricut transfer tape for the last 13 mugs we've put designs on. You can also use other brands of transfer tape of course, and other materials that could work are shelf liner, painter's tape, and freezer paper.
You're not going to just slap a big piece of vinyl on your mug and call it a day. You are going to make a beautiful design. To make that design come to fruition, you will need to cut the vinyl. There are many different tools you can use to cut vinyl, but once again we recommend tools from Cricut because we've had no problems using them.
This is most likely the easiest thing to gather as all you will need for this is some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Seal Vinyl on a Mug
Okay, you've gathered your tools and you're raring to go. Here is a step-by-step guide teaching you what you need to know.
Step 1 - Choose a Design
There are an infinite amount of designs that you could put on your mug, like a duck wearing a top hat! You can find designs you like online, some are free, and some you will need to purchase from the artist that designed it. If you are a photoshop pro, then you can make your own.
There are a few things you might want to consider when picking a design. Small things like little stars could prove difficult to get onto the transfer tape. If you are putting text on your mug, then beware of the little dots over the letter j or i, or commas and periods because they are easy to miss when using transfer tape.
Also, when deciding on a font, it will be easier for you if you pick a thicker font as a more delicate font might be harder to cut and the chance that the thin lines will rip is higher than if you were using thicker lines.
Step 2 - Clean Your Mug
Time to get that rubbing alcohol and your cotton ball and rub your mug down. If there are any coffee stains or dust, your vinyl will not stick well and your design will wrinkle or fall off. We can't stress enough how clean you will need this mug. Even the oils from your hands can negatively affect the integrity of the vinyl seal.
Step 3 - Cut Your Vinyl
Get your cutting tool and cut out your design. Once you've cut it out, you will weed your vinyl by removing the background and any other vinyl that is not a part of your magnificent design. As you pull off the excess, be mindful of the dots we mentioned and be very careful of any delicate sections of your design.
Step 4 - Transfer Your Vinyl
Break out your transfer tape and apply your design. It will probably be sticky so be careful. Using your finger, press the design down firmly on the transfer tape. When you lift it up, make sure that the transfer tape has taken every element of your design along for the ride.
Step 5 - Apply the Vinyl to Your Mug
Take your transfer tape and apply it to your mug. If you have a good eye, then you can just apply it free hand and hope that it is straight. When deciding where on your mug you want the design, try to stay away from the very top and the very bottom of the mug.
When you're deciding which side of the mug you want the design to be on, take into account if the drinker is right or left handed and whether you want the design to be viewable from those watching the drinker or the person holding the mug. Now that the design is on your mug, firmly press it down to ensure it's on real good. Once your design is secure, remove the transfer tape and behold the wondrous mug you just enhanced!
Step 6 - Rest Your Mugs
Mugs are sensitive things and applying a vinyl design to them is equal to when a person undergoes cosmetic surgery. After surgery, the doctor will tell you to rest and it is the same for these mugs. Set them in a place where they won't be disturbed and leave them there for 3 days.
Step 7 - Pat Yourself on the Back
Good work! You applied a vinyl design to a mug! Pour some of your favorite beverage in your newly enhanced mug and reward yourself for a job well done.
Now that you know how to seal vinyl on a mug, the sky is the limit. Make gifts for friends and family, or start your own Etsy store where you sell custom mugs. Either way, you now have a useful new skill and can apply vinyl to your mugs whenever you like. Bottoms up!
Featured Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash