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How to Use Infusible Ink Pens on Mugs (w/ Cricut Mug Press)

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris


Using infusible ink pens on mugs opens up a world of creative possibilities. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just starting out, these pens offer a simple but powerful way to make infusible ink mug ideas and designs.

How to use infusible ink pens on mugs with ease? Discover the step-by-step process of using these pens to create vibrant colors and a long-lasting mug appearance.

Step-by-step to Use Infusible Ink Pens on Mugs


1. What To Prepare

  • Infusible ink pens
  • Mugs
  • Heat-resistant tape
  • Cricut mug press
  • Laser copy paper/ Sublimation paper
  • Butcher paper
  • Design or image
  • Easy press mat
  • Oven mitts


  • Selecting the appropriate mug for infusible ink designs: Ceramic sublimation mugs would work best with infusible ink transfer. These mugs have a specialized coating that helps them retain the sublimation ink, making them ideal for customization.
  • Consider the size and shape of the mug based on your design. Ensure that the cup provides enough space to accommodate your desired artwork.
  • Cleaning and prepping the mug surface for optimal adhesion: Ensure the mug is free from dust, oils, or residues. Wipe it down with a lint-free cloth or a clean lint roller.

2. Pen & Transfer Sheet Designs

Step 1: Make a design


Begin by creating or selecting infusible ink mug designs. For convenience’s sake, you can search for mug press setup templates and download them. Some sites you can drop by for mug templates are Etsy, Creative Fabrica, Pinterest, etc.

Alternatively, design your artwork using software like Cricut Design Space, ensuring it fits within the designated dimensions for your mug.

Step 2: Prepare the laser copy paper


Cut the laser copy paper to fit the size of your design. Place it on a cutting mat with the glossy side facing up.

Step 3: Load the infusible ink pens


Insert the desired infusible ink pens into the pen holder of your Cricut machine. Remove the pen’s cap and position it with the tip facing downwards.

Step 4: Load the mat and start cutting


Insert the cutting mat with the laser copy paper into the Cricut machine and select “Laser Copy Paper” mode. Press the start button to get the machine to draw your design and cut the mug template.

Repeat this process using infusible ink markers with different colors to complete your design.

When creating your transfer image for infusible ink, it’s best to make it a mirror image. It ensures that the image transfers correctly onto the mug during the heat transfer.

Step 5: Position the design on the mug


Peel the paper off the mat and gently remove the partly cut template from the laser copy paper.

Carefully place the cut design (with the inked side facing inward) around the mug, ensuring it is centered and properly aligned. Use heat-resistant tape to secure the design in place.

Step 6: Protect the design with butcher paper


Cover the entire mug and design with three layers of butcher paper. This helps prevent ink bleed and protects the design during the heating process. Use tape to secure the butcher paper.

Step 7: Preheat the Cricut mug press and transfer the design onto the mug


Turn on the Cricut mug press to preheat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once preheated, open the chamber of the Cricut mug press and carefully place the mug inside. Lower the lever to secure the mug in place. When the final lights turn on and you hear a beep sound, the transfer process is complete.

Step 8: Remove the mug and peel off the papers


Put on your oven mitts before removing the cup from the Cricut mug press and set it aside to cool. Avoid touching the transferred design, as it will be extremely hot.

Once the mug has cooled, gently peel off the butcher paper and any remaining tape. Be careful not to smudge or damage the transferred design.

Pen Only Designs

1. What to prepare

  • Sublimation mug
  • Infusible ink pens
  • Laser copy paper
  • Heat-resistant tape
  • Oven
  • Oven mitts
  • Baking sheet

2. Detailed steps

Step 1: Prepare your paper


Cut a piece of laser copy paper to fit where you want to place the design on the mug. Make sure the paper is large enough to cover the design area entirely.

Step 2: Draw your design


Use infusible ink pens to draw your design on sublimation paper or laser paper. Be creative and ensure that the design is vibrant and detailed.

Note that the design will be mirrored when transferred onto the mug, so take that into account while drawing.

Step 3: Secure the design on the mug


Wrap the paper tightly around the mug, aligning the design where you want it to appear.

Use tape to secure the paper. Make sure the tape holds the paper firmly against the mug, preventing it from shifting during the transfer process.

Step 4: Transfer the design using an oven


You can print the design on your mugs without mug press by using your home oven.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the mug with the design in the oven carefully. If possible, position it on a baking sheet.

Let the mug bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.

Step 5: Let the mug cool


After the baking time is complete, turn off the oven and take the mug out. Before that, remember to put on oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves to protect your hands from the hot mug.

Let the mug cool down for about 20 minutes, then remove the tape and peel off the paper from the mug.

Troubleshooting and Tips

  • Once you’ve cleaned the mug as part of the preparation, try to touch it by the handle to avoid contaminating it again.
    Likewise, don’t touch the infusible ink transfer sheet because oils from your hands can interfere with the ink transfer process and affect the final result.
  • Ensure the tape is securely fastened around the paper and mug, leaving no gaps. It helps to avoid dots and bleeds after finishing the process.
  • Avoid using fans when working because the fan can accelerate the drying process. It may make the ink dry too quickly before fully infusing it into the mug.
  • When securing the design paper around the mug, apply even pressure in the areas near the handle. Align the design paper carefully so that it covers the area beneath the handle properly. It will prevent faded design edges near the mug handle.

Curing and Care Instructions

  • Allow the mug to cool completely before handling or using it after heating.
  • Use mild dish soap and warm water to clean the mug gently. Avoid abrasive scrub brushes or scouring pads that could potentially damage the design.
  • Avoid prolonged soaking of the mug in the water. Extended exposure to water can degrade the ink and affect the longevity of the design.

Cricut Mug Press Ideas


  • Inspirational quotes
  • Personalized initials
  • Nature themes: Flowers, plants, or landscapes
  • Animal prints: Leopard, zebra, or cheetah patterns
  • Pop culture references: Quotes, symbols, or characters in a favorite movie, TV show, or book
  • Abstract art
  • Seasonal themes: snowflakes for winter, flowers for spring, beach themes for summer, or autumn leaves for fall
  • Geometric patterns
  • Travel themes
  • Hobby or interest-based designs: music, sports, art, cooking, or gardening
  • Minimalistic designs: clean lines and subtle details


Can I use infusible ink pens on any type of mug?

No, you can’t. These pens are only compatible with certain materials. To be specific, these materials must feature a coating with polymer/polyester. Otherwise, the mug won’t be able to form a permanent bond with the ink.

As such, when buying mugs for your project, make sure that they’re sublimation ceramic ones.

How Durable Are The Designs Created With Infusible Ink Pens?

The designs created by Cricut infusible ink pens are generally durable and will last forever if you take proper care. When the ink is transferred and cured correctly, it forms a strong bond with the mug’s surface, making it relatively resistant to fading, peeling, and scratching.

That said, rough handling, such as washing the mug with an abrasive pad, can scratch the inked design.

Can I Wash The Mugs With Infusible Ink Designs In A Dishwasher?

No. Washing mugs with infusible ink designs in a dishwasher can damage the ink design and reduce its longevity. It is best to hand-wash the mug rather than use a dishwasher to maintain the quality of the design.

Heat Press Vs. Oven Method

Heat Press

  • Advantages: Offers precise temperature and pressure control, provides even heat distribution, efficient and quick.
  • Considerations: Requires the purchase of a heat press machine, which can be more expensive.

Oven Method

  • Advantages: More accessible and cost-effective since ovens are commonly available in households, allowing for transferring multiple mugs simultaneously.
  • Considerations: Requires careful monitoring and timing. Ensuring even heat distribution can be a challenge.


In conclusion, using infusible ink markers on mugs can create vibrant and long-lasting designs. Learning how to use infusible ink pens on mugs can bring joy to your daily routine or make thoughtful gifts for others.

Whether you use a heat press or an oven, both methods can yield impressive results with proper care and attention.

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