Creating your custom mugs is one of the most interesting ways to create unique things that no one else has. When you get your sublimation tools ready, you will need to know how long to sublimate your mugs and the right temperatures, as this is the difference between success and failure.
When sublimating your mugs, your heat press needs to be at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In Celsius, this is 176.6 degrees Celsius to 204.4 degrees Celsius; at this temperature, the ink from the print melts onto the mug you are sublimating, creating a strong chemical bond.
It is important to know how to sublimate mugs, especially if you will be sublimating several mugs at the same time. The process does not take long, but if done properly, you will be able to easily and comfortably create many sublimated mugs without having to press each one by hand.
How Long To Sublimate Mugs In Different Types Of Ovens?
This is the most important part apart from keeping the tool’s heat you are using at the exact right temperatures through the process. We always recommend that you understand that each type of oven or tool you can use to sublimate mugs needs a different amount of time.
We have seen many people fail to sublimate their mugs all because they assume their kitchen oven can complete the process in the same amount of time as their press. You need to understand how long to leave the mugs in the heat, as there are different processes to each type of heating implement.
The Sublimation Heat Press
This is the most common way that people start sublimating mugs, as the heat press allows you to simply place the mug in it and leave it. For this, the time to hold the mug in the press is between four to five minutes, giving the ink time to properly bond with the mug’s ceramic.
These heat presses usually have a timer system that you can set, and it will shut down automatically once it has properly counted down. However, these presses are often quite expensive, and you can only sublimate mugs one at a time, which can become a problem when production needs to increase.
The first-place people turn to when they realize their heat presses will not be able to do the same amount of work. There are special ovens that rapidly heat up to the sublimation temperatures and have their times, with racks made to hold as many mugs as possible.
We recommend using these for at least 12 minutes, as this will ensure that everything has heated up properly. This longer time is required as the heat is being applied directly to the mug itself, with a full oven not heating the entire thing all at once, which means you will need to wait for the heat to properly spread.
Kilns are not often used to sublimate mugs, but if you are making custom mugs or already making different things with ceramic, you are more likely to have one. Kilns can be turned up to extreme temperatures, temperatures that could cause damage if the paper ignites.
You will first need to see if you can change the kiln’s temperature to be around 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your mugs in the kiln and set it to cook for around 10 to 12 minutes; you may have to experiment since kilns can easily reach such a low temperature, and the heat will be properly spread.
Wood Fired Ovens
Normally we would not include this, but there are still people who use wood-fired ovens to glaze their ceramics. These ovens are usually quite large and do not have exact temperature monitoring systems as they are meant to burn as hot as possible.
We can’t be exact here, but we would recommend leaving the mug in the oven for at least 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the intensity of your fire. The sublimation process will happen as normal but require that you experiment on a few mugs before getting the process down to perfection.
While a wood-fired oven has the problem of taking a long time to reach the right temperatures, coal ovens have the problem that they may start cold and then get much too hot. When sublimating using a coal oven, we recommend that you have the mug in there for at most 15 minutes once the temperature has been reached.
Coal can burn much hotter than most other fuels, which means that you can easily create a much too high heat for the sublimation process. We recommend getting a cheap oven online rather than sublimate using coal ovens, as they can be too unpredictable for the process to be effective.
A normal kitchen oven can also be used to sublimate your mugs; turning them to 400 degrees Fahrenheit will not cause too much of a problem. At this temperature, you will need to leave the mugs in the oven for around 12 to 15 minutes only, which will have the mugs reach the required heat.
We have often seen people who don’t think about how hot their ovens can go turn them up to the hottest setting when trying to sublimate. This causes the paper to catch fire and several other issues as you need to try and extinguish a fire in something hot enough to combust.
Can You Turn A Regular Mug Into A Sublimation Mug?
No, you cannot turn a regular mug into a sublimation mug as the process requires a special coating to be applied to the mug before heating. People often think that sublimation mugs are just clear normal mugs that are heated to accept the ink from the paper that is applied to them.
However, sublimation mugs have not yet been heated for the final time, covered in special chemicals that draw in ink. Once warmed up, the chemicals start reacting, absorbing the heat and then glazing over the ink to create a complete print that is dishwasher safe.
Normal mugs will have been already glazed in a completely different way; this means there is a layer of shine to the mugs that cannot be removed or changed. This prevents any new chemicals from being added to the mug or absorbed by the ceramics as it will have been properly sealed.
How Long Do You Sublimate Different Types Of Mugs?
Sometimes we tend to forget that different mugs heat up in different ways, especially when working on smaller mugs. You need to be sure that you have the right time settings for different mugs, as larger mugs can take longer while smaller ones can be faster.
We always recommend that you keep this in mind as you may find yourself with sublimations that are not proper, causing damage over time. We always recommend that you keep these in mind when you have to start working on mugs that might not be considered standard.
Ceramic tumblers are fast becoming one of the most popular things to have with you when getting a coffee. However, when sublimating these, you need to consider that they are much bigger than normal mugs and will often have to be in the oven for a few extra minutes to ensure it is heated throughout.
We recommend that you leave tumblers for the maximum amount of time, usually around 15 minutes, when you are sublimating them. Heat presses will generally not be used with different types of mugs, and tumblers are only done in ovens owing to the larger size of the tumblers.
Sublimation Of Larger Mugs
Many mugs are oddly shaped, but most often, the overlooked ones are larger mugs that can easily hold nearly a liter. These mugs are often much rounder, with large handles or even feet at the bottom to help their aesthetic which means that you cannot use the heat press like normal.
You can generally leave larger mugs in the convection oven for only 12 to 15 minutes as they will not have the same thick walls as tumblers. To have the mugs properly done, you may have to use a bit more tape than normal. Otherwise, the sublimation may not be properly connected.
Small Espresso Mug Sublimation
One of the toughest things to sublimate is their small sizes; they cannot be done in heat presses either. We recommend leaving these for 10 to 12 minutes to sublimate as this will ensure that they are not overheated and absorb the ink as much as needed.
The biggest challenge with espresso mugs is that their wall-size can vary greatly, with some having thick walls while others have thinner walls. It can be difficult to heat thicker-walled espresso mugs, while thinner ones can easily be overheated, causing cracks and other issues.
Sublimating Irregular Shaped Mugs
The most problematic part with irregularly shaped mugs is that they may not constantly touch the paper that you have printed on. When doing it properly, we recommend that you have several heat transfer tape rolls on hand to ensure that it is transferring the whole time.
Most irregular mugs can be sublimated for around 15 minutes to ensure that the ink is properly transferred and for everything to work properly. However, it should be noted that you will have to buy the chemicals to do the sublimation from a supplier as these cannot be made at home.
Can Sublimation Mug Go In The Dishwasher?
Yes, sublimation mugs can easily go in the dishwasher as the ink will be permanently bonded to the ceramic itself with a glazed layer over the top. Your dishwasher will not affect print, and most sublimation mugs are specifically made to be cleaned in a dishwasher.
However, it should be noted that it can go into the dishwasher only after the mug has been sublimated; otherwise, you will damage the surface of the chemicals. There have been several people that wash their mugs before applying the sublimation ending up with dud mugs.
The chemicals on the mugs are not entirely frail before the heat has been applied but can easily be washed off or scratched off when mistreated. However, if you are making a lot of sublimation mugs, then the chances are high that you will have your chemicals reapply if needed.
What Should The Temperature Be When Sublimating?
The temperature should always be around 400-degrees Fahrenheit with any of the types of ovens you are using. The wood and coal ovens usually being the hardest to keep at this consistent temperature as the fuel runs out and new fuel is added.
However, you should be sure that you don’t heat the mugs too much as the chemicals can be burnt or damaged if heated too much. This is why after the first sublimation, it is important not to overheat the mugs, as the chemicals can be broken down when heated to this level, causing much more issues.
We have seen many people overheat their sublimation mugs or leave them for too long in an oven, causing damage and cracks to appear. This is often why you will see sublimation mugs that have been heated for too long with several cracks on the surface and the edges of the print.
The perfect temperature for your sublimation is around 400 degrees Fahrenheit; at this temperature, the chemicals all react with each other perfectly. We recommend that you remember this when starting sublimating and avoid overheating your mugs to prevent damage.
Remember that more heat does not automatically mean working faster when working with these things.
- Sublimation Settings: Time, Temperature, & Pressure: Advanced Support Portal (jpplus.com)
- ISub Supplies Times & Temperature Sheet.xlsx (sub-supplies.co.uk)
- Sublimation Times & Temps Guide | Picture Perfect Products
- Sublimation heat press settings – Quick Reference guide (uscutter.com)
- Sublimation 101: Pressure, Temp & Time (graphics-pro.com)
- Times-and-temperatures.pdf (Digi.parts)
- How Long Should You Heat Press a Mug for Sublimation? – Craft-ILY