Cricut has a lot of different crafting machines. I’ve had the privilege of using lots of them and even own four different ones. You can my crafts on this blog along with other crafting tutorials for sewing, cutting, painting, and more. Okay, so let’s get into the Cricut Mug Press review…
What Is The Cricut Mug Press?
The Cricut Mug Press is an add-on accessory for Cricut cutting machines. It is compatible with the Cricut Joy, Maker, and Air machines. With the Cricut Mug Press, you can use Cricut Design Space software to create custom mugs and tumblers. The Mug Press doesn’t apply decals; the designs are sublimated onto specially treated mugs. Your design will literally become part of the mug. The end result is a professional-looking piece with a smooth glossy finish.
Cricut Mug Press Features
The Cricut Mug Press is a fairly simple machine. It measures approximately 9.29” x 13.14” x 8.18”. This is compact enough that it stores easily on a shelf or in a drawer.
It features a patent-pending heating plate that ensures even heat distribution when transferring your design. A simple one-touch settings button and a lever are the only controls, making it simple to operate. The “Smart Temperature” feature means that you don’t need to worry about setting a timer or figuring out how hot to set the mug press. The Cricut Mug Press also features an auto-off switch, which prevents the machine from getting too hot. Since the mug press operates at very high temperatures, this is a very important safety feature.
What Does The Cricut Mug Press Come With?
Cricut products come with a bundle of things when you purchase a machine. These things will help you get started with crafting. The Mug Press is no different but it is a little light on accessories.
When you purchase a new Cricut Mug Press, you’ll get:
- The Cricut Mug Press Heat Press for Mugs
- USB cord for activation
- User instructions to get started
- Warranty Information
How Does The Cricut Mug Press Work?
The Cricut website describes the process to use the mug press as being just three easy steps: Design, Press, and Reveal! That’s not inaccurate, but there are more details to creating custom-designed mugs. There is an online tutorial at cricut.com/make-mugs, but here are some important details about how the Cricut Mug Press operates.
The first thing to know about the Cricut Mug Press is that it works only with Cricut machines, and Cricut’s Design Space software. To activate a brand new mug press, you need to do so in Cricut Design Space by plugging the mug press into a computer or laptop (not a phone or tablet). The mug press connects to your computer via a USB cord. Once the activation process is completed, you can use Design Space from your tablet or phone if you prefer.
Once you’ve followed the steps to activate your machine, you’re ready to begin designing your first mug! It’s helpful to review the online tutorial at cricut.com/make-mugs, or many of the YouTube tutorials by talented crafters, before beginning your first project.
Next, it’s very important to note that the mug press won’t work for just any ceramic mug. This machine is basically a mug-shaped heat press that is optimized for infusible inks/sublimation printing. You’ll need to use mugs that are known as “sublimation blanks” with this machine. Sublimation mugs (or “blanks”) are treated with an invisible poly-coating that allows the infusible inks to “fuse” with the ceramic mug. The result is a mug where the design is not on top of the mug surface like a decal, but actually becomes part of the mug itself. Cricut sells its own sublimation mugs in several sizes. Additionally, there are many craft companies that sell mugs and tumblers that will work in the Cricut Mug Press. Just be sure to check that they are indeed sublimation blanks and that the size is compatible with the mug press. Any mug used in the Cricut Mug Press should also have straight (not tapered) sides.
There are a few special materials needed to design a mug using the Cricut Mug Press. Cricut’s infusible ink transfer sheets come in a large selection of colors and patterns, and any Cricut machine cuts them nicely. If your design involves small, intricate details, such as writing, Cricut makes a line of infusible ink pens that can be loaded into the Cricut machines just like regular drawing pens. The infusible ink pens can draw designs onto laser copy paper that can be applied with the Cricut Mug Press.
Mug designs, like all Cricut projects, are created using their Design Space free software. In Design Space, there are a number of “ready-to-make” mug projects, as well as blank templates to create your own unique mugs. Once you’ve selected your design, put the infusible ink transfer sheet on your cutting mat’s shiny side down. Before cutting, click on the “mirror” button in Design Space if your image contains any letters/words. Once your design is cut out and all small bits have been “weeded”, it’s time to apply it to your mug!
Before applying your cut design, make sure the mug is clean and dry. Then, go over the outside of the mug with a lint roller to remove any remaining dust. Even the tiniest of dust specks can leave marks when the mug is being pressed. Start preheating your mug press; it should only take 3-4 minutes. Apply your design by setting a mug down in front of you, with the handle facing you. Slowly wrap your cut design around the mug, making sure the transfer sheet is flush with the bottom of the mug, and that it is wrapped snugly against the mug surface. Use the mug handle position to ensure your design is centered. Infusible ink sheets will have sticky tabs on the carrier sheets to secure the wrap to the mug. Cricut also sells heat-resistant tape, if the infusible ink sheets aren’t sticking well. Do not use regular tape; it will melt in the mug press!
When the light is green on the mug press, it’s fully preheated and ready to go. Put the wrapped mug in the press, with the handle facing outward. Lower the lever on top, and double-check that mug looks secure and centered. Closing the lever clamps the mug in place and begins the pressing process. There’s no need to set a timer or even check the temperature; the Cricut Mug Press does that automatically. The press takes the temperature of the mug, as well as the temperature of the ambient air, and adjusts accordingly for the best time and heat to press your design. Most mugs should only take 5-6 minutes to complete. The mug press will beep when it’s finished.
Once the mug press is done, raise the lever on top and remove your mug. Be careful when removing the mug. The handle should be cool enough to touch, but the mug will still be very hot! Set the mug on a folded towel or another heat-resistant surface. Let your mug cool down, then carefully peel away the carrier sheet. You should now have a professional-looking mug decorated with your unique design!
How Much Does The Cricut Mug Press Cost?
The Cricut Mug Press has a regular price of $199.99. Of course, you’ll also need supplies to begin creating your mugs. As with most of their cutting machines and accessories, Cricut sells the mug press in bundles that also include Cricut sublimation mugs and various supplies. I recommend getting the bundle for sure.
The “Mug Press and Essentials” Bundle includes 4 mugs along with a small selection of Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and pen for $249.93. The “Mug Press and Everything” Bundle includes eight mugs and a larger selection of Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and pens for the price of $313.85. These bundles are a good value. It would cost more money to buy the Cricut Mug Press and all the included supplies separately. Cricut.com frequently has these bundles on sale, too.
Cricut also sells their sublimation mugs in bulk packages of 36 mugs, which might be a better bargain if you plan on making a large number of mugs.
There are other brands of sublimation “blanks” (mugs, tumblers, etc) sold by various craft stores that you can use in the Cricut Mug Press. The prices might be more affordable than the Cricut brand, but be sure to double-check measurements to ensure they’ll fit properly in your mug press.
Is The Cricut Mug Press Right For You?
The Cricut Mug Press is a compact, easy-to-use machine that produces professional quality customized mugs. The mugs are dishwasher and microwave safe, which is an improvement over personalized mugs made with permanent vinyl decals. If you already have a Cricut machine and are fairly familiar with using Design Space, you’ll have no trouble getting great results with this machine.
It is a bit expensive, so consider the cost of the machine and materials when deciding if you’ll use it often enough to get your money’s worth. The mug press is great if you plan on creating custom mugs to sell, or if you want a number of mugs with a team name or your own business logo on them.
Customized mugs also make fun gifts for all occasions. Create personalized mugs for wedding and housewarming gifts, perhaps paired with some gourmet coffee and/or teas. You can design mugs for any holiday or special occasion. Mugs can be created to match specific kitchen decor or to simply reflect one’s personality. Cricut Design Space has hundreds of images and fun, ready-to-make mug projects – and they’re easy to do with the Cricut Mug Press.