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There’s something special about sublimation, the vibrant colors, and how long-lasting it is. That’s why I was intrigued to make a sublimation tumbler and used Cricut’s new print and cut feature! 

As you may or may not know, Cricut has finally given us the ability to print and cut on larger sizes. (If you didn’t, I wrote a blog post about it that you can read.)

If you’re anything like me, this news was exciting as it created even more DIY project opportunities! 

One day, I got this bright idea. Generally, I don’t print from design space, even if I’m doing a print-and-cut sublimation, because I need more control over the colors. But I wanted to see what the difference in color was between Cricut print-and-cut sublimation and using Photoshop. 

Two sublimated skinny tumblers sitting on a white table with giraffe pattern and clear lid.

So, today we will be testing out two tumblers – one printed from Cricut Design Space and one printed from Photoshop. Both are cut with the Cricket machine so that it will come down to the color profiles in the design software. 

If you would also like to test this out, or if you want to try your hand at making a sublimation tumbler, join me! 

Watch The Video Instead!

Creating The Design In Cricut Design Space For Your Sublimation Tumbler

Setting Up The Canvas

The first step is creating a blank canvas. 

Insert a square into the design, which will outline the cut. For the skinny Tumbler, set the size to 9.4 by 8.3.

Finding An Image For Your Design

The next step is finding an image or creating a design that will work for your Tumbler. If you want to use an image as I did, click on images and type something into the search, or you can scroll through all the photos in cricket space.

Usually, I have to try a few different searches and images to find something that will work with the Tumbler. For this design, I ended up landing on a giraffe print. 

Two 20 oz sublimated tumblers on the table with clear lids and metal bottoms.

Sizing Your Image To Fit The Square

Whatever image you choose, you’ll need to size it down to make sure it fits in your square. If the image isn’t long enough to fit the entire square, then you’ll need to duplicate the image and bring all the edges together until the image is long enough to fit your Tumbler. 

Note – I couldn’t find an easy way to do this in Cricut Design Space as far as putting the top and bottom together. I blew it up and kept welding them together until the line disappeared. Continue to do that until you have your entire design together. 

Once your design is long enough to fill the entire square, you’ll need to cut off any part of the image outside your square so you can make sure that it is the exact dimensions you need. To do that, duplicate the square. Then, select the top square and the layer with your graphics/images on it. 

With those two layers selected, align everything to the center and click on the slice tool. What that is going to do is leave you with a design that is precisely the shape and size you need. You can delete everything else in the layers panel, leaving only the image and square on the canvas. 

Now you can change the color of your background to whatever you want. Once you’re happy with that, you can realign your graphic and the square. 

When everything is lined up, you can click on the flatten tool, which changes it into a print design. 

Adding A Name

The final step is adding some text or a name. You use your name, a quote, etc. And. to help the text stand out, I resize and recolor it, then apply an offset effect so the text is easier to read on the giraffe pattern I chose. 

Once you’re happy with the adjustments and color of your text, select all the layers and use the flatten tool again to make it a print design. 

Click on “Make It.” 

Yellow Giraffe pattern sublimated tumbler made with Cricut.

Getting Your Sublimation Tumbler Design Ready To Print

Because I plan to use this design in Photoshop as well, I made two copies of this design. You can do the same thing if you are doing the same experiment as me while making your sublimation tumbler. 

You will need to adjust your paper size from the Cricut Design space. When I did this, I used tabloid-sized paper, which is 11×17.

Then you want to go ahead and mirror it because we are using sublimation print. It’s important to remember to print the design backward so that it shows the correct way on the Tumbler once you’ve transferred the design. Unfortunately, this is a mistake I’ve made a few times myself, so be careful of this! 

Once you’re done with those steps, click on continue. 

Printing In Photoshop

For the first copy of this, you want to save it to your computer. To do this in Cricut Design Space, click the send to printer option and then the system dialogue box.

When you click on print, the system dialogue menu will open up. You can ignore all the settings in this pop-up menu and go to where it says PDF. Click on that to save it as a PDF to your computer. 

In Photoshop, open the file you saved to your computer. 

Go up to file and click on print. Before printing, check all your print settings and that the paper size is correct. 

Print the design.

Printing In Cricut Design Space

Once you’re back in Cricut Design Space, go back to where you can select a printer. Make sure you have your sublimation printer chosen and that you still have your system dialogue box set to open.

Once you click on print, you will get the pop-up menu again, where you can make sure that the paper size selected is correct, and you can choose your print quality. I always choose the best. 

Then, go ahead and click print. 

Click on save and go ahead and print out your image. 

Initial Thoughts After Printing Both Copies

When my designs had finished printing, I noticed that the one from the Cricut Design space looked much more faded. However, if you’ve done sublimation before, then you know the way they print out sometimes doesn’t matter since the ink itself gets activated by heat. 

Sublimated tumbler with name, Jamela, printed in pink laying down on the table.

Tool and Materials Needed To Make Your Stainless Steel Sublimation Tumbler

  • Cricut Machine
  • Sublimation Printer (I recommend the Epson ET 8550 or the Sawgrass SG 500)
  • Sublimation Paper
  • Tumbler Press
  • Heat Tape
  • Lint Roller
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Blank Tumbler
  • Printed Sublimation Sheet With Designs

What Kind Of Blank Tumbler Should You Use?

There are so many great blank tumblers that you can use. But they aren’t all created equal. 

First and foremost, I recommend using a stainless steel tumbler as they are low-cost. However, a glass sublimation Tumbler can also give you great results. 

Finding one that is white is also a good idea, as this allows you to get the best result with the color from your sublimation ink. 

Apart from those things, you can choose any Tumbler that suits your preferences. For example, you can get them with a clear lid, bamboo lids, a metal straw, rubber bottoms, a double wall, etc. 

You can also get your sublimation Tumbler blank in different shapes and sizes. I prefer using the skinny straight Tumblers, as they work the best in the Tumbler press, but you can try other sizes too! There is plenty of Tumblers with different oz capacity. 

Making Your Sublimation Tumbler

The first thing I like to do is cut off any of the excess paper around the design. Doing this makes it easier to handle in the heat press. 

Before laying the design onto your Tumbler, use a lint roller to remove any dust and fibers from the Tumbler’s surface. Then you can line up the design on your blank Tumbler. 

Personally, I like to overlap the design a bit at the seam so that there is no white line, but this is a matter of personal preference. I also want to have some design extend beyond the top and bottom of the Tumbler, again, to make sure there is no white space left. 

Once you’ve tightly wrapped the entire Tumbler, use your heat tape to tape down the edges. 

Then, it’s time to put your Tumbler into your Tumbler press. I use my PYD Life Tumbler press at 400 degrees for 60 seconds. Turn over your Tumbler and do it for another 60 seconds. 

Carefully remove it from the Tumbler press, and make sure you wear some heat-protectant gloves because they get super hot. 

While your Tumbler is still hot, use your tweezers to remove the design. 

And there you have it, you’ve made a sublimation tumbler! Now you can repeat these steps for any other tumblers you want to make. 

Skinny 20oz sublimation tumblers with a giraffe pattern and pink name for a design sitting on a white table.

My Thoughts – Cricut Design Space Colors vs. Adobe Photoshop

The results I got during this experiment were clear. The colors from the Photoshop print were much clearer and more vibrant than those from Cricut Design Space.

You can really tell the difference in my YouTube video. 

So, if you’ve been printing from Cricut Design Space and wondering why your colors are more muted, try Photoshop. 

In the video above, you can see from the prints that the color was off, even though they were both printed from the exact same printer. That is just because you have a color profile in Photoshop that is explicitly meant for your sublimation printer.

The colors from Cricut Design Space are okay, but they’re not exactly what we wanted.

What You Can Do With Sublimation Tumblers

Tumblers make great travel mugs as they keep your hot drinks hot and cold ones cold. And there are so many things you can d with them!

If you like to make custom designs or your own unique artwork, you can make sublimation tumblers and then sell them. Alternatively, if you have a small business selling handmade goods, you can even sell custom sublimation designs.

What’s great about selling sublimation tumblers is that you can rest assured knowing the design will be long-lasting for your customers. 

 These sublimation tumblers also make the perfect gift for friends and family. Not only will they have great cups to use, but they will also have something special you made for them. 

Sublimation tumbler made with yellow giraffe pattern and pink lettered name.

Other Sublimation Tumbler Techniques

Want to experiment with other sublimation tumbler techniques? You definitely should as you can get some really cool results!

Here are some of my favorite tutorials with different techniques!

Join me as I make a sublimation tumbler using a print from Photoshop and a print from Cricut print then cut to compare the final results.

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