How to sublimate a tumbler in the oven? step-by-step guide

Are you looking to sublimate a tumbler using a convection oven?

Look no further! In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through the process step by step to ensure that your tumblers/mugs/glasses come out with the perfect print. 

Don’t worry if you’ve never tried sublimation before; it’s easier than it looks. 

Follow along with my tips, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Supplies

  1. Tumbler
  2. Sublimation paper
  3. Sublimation ink printer
  4. Convection oven
  5. Heat resistant tape
  6. Shrink wrap
  7. Lint roller
  8. Heat resistant gloves
  9. Oven thermometer

While sublimation paper, sublimation ink printers, lint rollers, and heat-resistant gloves are pretty self-explanatory, I will discuss why we need a special tumbler, convection oven, shrink wrap, and oven thermometer.

Tumbler

To sublimate a tumbler in the oven, use the right glass. I’ll use slim 20-ounce tumblers for this tutorial.

 However, your tumbler must have blanks and a polyester lining to complete the process.

Sublimating a tumbler that isn’t cylindrical requires a custom sublimation image. Remember this when planning your project.

Convection oven

For this technique, you can use a sublimation oven, but in this tutorial, I will use a convection oven instead. If used solely for sublimation, a regular convection oven can be used.

You can sublimate a tumbler in your home’s convection oven, but don’t use it for cooking again. The oven must reach 400°F to sublimate.

It’s important to note that some of the ink will turn into gas and escape the oven during sublimation. For this reason, the oven is not safe for cooking food after sublimation. Remember this when planning your project.

Heat resistant tape

Sublimation paper is attached to tumblers with heat-resistant tape.

Shrink wrap

Shrink wrap helps in pressing sublimation ink into glass by applying additional heat and pressure.

Oven thermometer

We can accurately measure oven temperature with an oven thermometer.

Preparing the image

You can use almost any graphic design software to make a sublimation print, including Canva, Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. Just use a PNG or SVG seamless pattern with 300 DPI.

Your print size depends on the tumbler you’re sublimating. In this tutorial, I’m using 20oz tall tumblers, so my image is 9.3″x8.25″. If you’re unsure about size, make your design bigger rather than smaller.

Set your printer for sublimation before printing. Remember that your transfer may be more opaque, and the colors may not match the print.

Sublimation releases an odorous gas. That is why you should always make tumblers in a well-ventilated room.

How to sublimate a tumbler in the oven?

  1. Start heating your convection oven at 400°F while you transfer.
  2. Use the Lint-roller to clean the tumbler as lint and dust can damage the sublimated image.
  3. Begin sublimation by centering your design on the tumbler. Roll the tumbler tightly to snugly fit the transfer paper. 
  4. Tape the seam with heat-resistant tape. To keep everything in place, fold down the bottom of the transfer paper and tape around the tumbler.
  5. It’s crucial to tighten your design and eliminate any blank spaces. This prevents sublimation blurring.
  6. If you have a heat gun, shrink the shrink wrap around your tumbler to start sublimation. If you don’t have a heat gun, the wrap will shrink in the oven.
  7. After heating the oven, place the tumbler inside lying down, and set the timer for 6 minutes (or as recommended by your glass manufacturer). The tumbler must be placed in the oven’s center quickly because opening the door lowers the temperature. If your transfer is uneven, turn the tumbler upside down.
  8. The design should appear through the paper and shrink wrap as the timer counts down. After the timer goes off, remove the tumbler from the oven. 
  9. Carefully cut through the shrink wrap and transfer paper with heat-resistant gloves. It’s easiest to remove these materials while they’re hot.
items needed for tumbler sublimation in oven
Items needed for tumbler sublimation in the oven
wrapping the tape over the transfer paper on tumbler
Wrapping the tape over the transfer paper on the tumbler
putting the tumbler in pre heated oven
Putting the tumbler in preheated oven
the tumbler is ready after sublimation printing in oven
The tumbler is ready after sublimation printing in the oven

FAQs

How Long Do You Sublimate A Tumbler In The Oven?

It depends upon the instructions provided by your tumbler supplier. However, most tumblers require about 5 minutes. So, you should set the oven timer to at least 5 minutes to sublimate a tumbler in the oven.

How To Sublimate A Tumbler In The Oven Without Using Shrink Wrap Paper?

  • Choose a simple design.
  • Clean the cup and take off the lid.
  • Wrap the heat tape as tight as possible around the tumbler. Tapping tightly is the key when we don’t have shrink wrap paper.
  • Sublimate this in the convection oven.
  • Set the oven to 400 for about 6 minutes.
  • Use heat-resistant gloves to pick it up when the time is over and remove the tape and paper carefully.

Can You Sublimate A Tumbler In A Regular Oven?

Yes, you can use a regular oven to sublimate a tumbler. Make sure to use an oven thermometer to check the temperature for good results. Do not yes this regular oven for food items as the sublimation process results in gases that can be absorbed by the oven surface.

Do Sublimation Tumblers Need To Be Sealed?

Since sublimation ink becomes part of the tumbler material during the sublimation process, you do not need to seal the tumbler that has been printed with a sublimation transfer.

Can You Put A Sublimation Tumbler In The Dishwasher?

Yes, you can put a sublimation tumbler in the dishwasher. Since the sublimation ink is embedded in the surface of the tumbler, the printed design can last for years. To avoid fading over time, make sure to place the tumbler on top and away from the heating element.

Is It Possible To Epoxy Over A Sublimation Tumbler?

Yes, epoxy can be applied over sublimation tubing. Just let the sublimated tumbler cool down and apply glitter and epoxy as you would to a regular tumbler.

In this blog post, I discussed how you can sublimate a glass by using a regular oven. If you have a heat press for summation, never use the oven for this purpose as it will not be good for the food items after sublimation. You can also buy a heat press for tumblers for the best results.

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