Bottom line: The Cricut Mug Press does a fantastic job permanently infusing your custom design onto mugs.
Very easy to use
Yields excellent, vividly colorful results
Design will not fade, crack, or peel
Resulting mugs are dishwasher-safe
Auto-off for safety
Cannot easily transfer photos
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The Cricut Mug Press is a highly specialized heat press for customizing mugs. It's incredibly easy to use. Just make your design in Cricut's Design Space, cut it on your Cricut machine, and bake it onto your mug. The Cricut Joy is perfect for mug projects, though the Maker or the Explore Air 2 will work just as well.
There's just one button on the Cricut Mug Press. Once you press it and the machine is warmed up and ready to go, you'll hear a beep. Lift the lever, place your mug with the design sheet attached inside, and close the lever. Another beep tells you the mug is done. Take it out and place it on a heat-resistant surface and let it cool completely. Then you can remove the sheet and your design is permanently infused into the mug. The colors are vivid and will not ever peel, crack, or fade. You can go ahead and wash your mug in the dishwasher too.
Keep in mind that in addition to the Cricut Mug Press, you do need a Cricut cutting machine and some basic Cricut accessories. The mug press is only for use with Infusible Ink, not vinyl of any kind. So you'll need to buy some Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and/or Infusible Ink Pens/Markers. You'll also need to buy Cricut's mugs, which come in two sizes (12 and 15 ounces) or other similarly-sized sublimation blanks.
Cricut Mug Press: Price and availability
You can purchase a Cricut Mug Press for about $200 on Amazon and at just about all of the big box stores and craft stores. You'll find it both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. Keep in mind you'll also need to purchase Cricut's Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets (from $7 for two sheets) or Infusible Ink Pens/Markers (from $7 for three), plus Cricut's 12-ounce or 15-ounce mugs (from $6). You can try using third-party sublimation blanks, but they will need to be about the same size and shape as Cricut's mugs.
Cricut Mug Press: What you'll like
The Cricut Mug Press is fun and easy to use, with delightful results. It works exactly as you'd expect it to work, you just place the mug in the press and put the lever down. In a few minutes, you'll have a sharp, vivid, colorful custom design. You can't rub it off, it won't ever peel, crack, or fade. You can wash the mug in your dishwasher and you don't have to worry about damaging the design at all.
You can create designs with Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets or Infusible Ink Pens. For the transfer sheets, you'll create the design in design in Design Space, cut it on your Cricut machine, weed it, and attach it onto your mug before pressing.
With the pens, you can use the Cricut machine to draw your creation, or you can freehand it. That means your child can draw a work of art, or you can trace some artwork they've already done, and you can turn it into a mug!
Cricut Mug Press: What you won't like
The price is going to be prohibitive for some, especially since you need to purchase materials as well for each project. As the name indicates, this a single-use machine, which makes the price point harder to swallow.
I'd love to be able to transfer photos onto a mug, but unfortunately, the Cricut Mug Press does not have an easy way to do that. Technically, you can do it if you print your photos with sublimation ink, but Cricut can only assure excellent results if you're using Cricut's line of Infusible Ink materials.
Cricut Mug Press: Competition
There are plenty of mug presses to be found on Amazon and elsewhere, such as the Super Deal Pro 2 in 1 Mug Cup Heat Transfer Sublimation Heat Press Machine shown above. Most of them run about half the price of the Cricut Mug Press.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a general heat press for shirts and other apparel, check out the Cricut EasyPress 2. It's like a highly specialized iron, just for pressing heat transfer vinyl and Infusible Ink onto apparel, fabric, ceramic coasters, and more to perfection.
Cricut Mug Press: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want to custom design mugs
- You want your design to be permanent and dishwasher-safe
- You want a mug press that's easy to use
You shouldn't buy this if...
- It's not in your budget
- You want to make something other than mugs (or mug-shaped sublimation blanks)
- You want to make photo mugs with ease
If you're looking for a way to personalize mugs with your own custom design, check out the Cricut Mug Press. If you want a permanent design that you can put in the dishwasher without fear of peeling, cracking, or fading, this is the system you need. If it's out of your budget, or you want to be able to make flat items, or you want to easily personalize with photographs, then the Cricut Mug Press isn't for you.
While the Cricut Mug Press is a rather pricey single-use device, it does do exactly what it says it will. It puts a permanent, vividly colorful, dishwasher-safe design on your mugs. It's easy to use with just a touch of a single button. You can use Cricut's Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and cut them to your desired specifications on your Cricut Machine. Or, you can use Infusible Ink Markers or Pens and create a design with either your Cricut machine or freehand. Even your kids can create a design with the Infusible Ink Markers and Pens; what parent or grandparent wouldn't love a mug emblazoned with your child's artwork?
Bottom line: Create beautiful custom mugs with the Cricut Mug Press. Your design is permanent and won't crack, peel or fade.
Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.
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