Prepare your mug collection, because the latest product from Cricut will make you want to give your coffee cups a makeover.
Cricut's new Mug Press is a heat press that works with Cricut's Infusible Ink to transfer custom designs onto special polyurethane-coated mugs.
The much anticipated Mug Press officially launched in March and the bundle featuring all of the tools you need to create your own personalized mugs quickly sold out. As of Friday, the kit is back in stock — and on sale.
The Mug Press is a mug-shaped version of Cricut's other heat press products, designed to perfectly wrap around the outside of a coffee mug and heat both Infusible Ink sheets and designs drawn with Infusible Ink markers.
An avid Cricut user myself, I was impressed with how seamlessly the new press connected to my Cricut Design Space program.
The process is simple: Within Design Space, Cricut's interface for creating projects, there are plenty of mug design templates available for purchase. There's also a project design template that allows users to create their own custom mug designs using other elements and images.
For Infusible Ink designs, it's similar to working with Infusible Ink or heat transfer vinyl when making t-shirts with a Cricut machine: Choose your desired mug wrap, cut the design using your Cricut machine, then weed the Infusible Ink and attach it to your mug.
For Infusible Ink markers, load a marker into your Cricut machine and when its finished drawing, attach the design to the mug with heat resistant tape, wrap the mug in a few layers of butcher paper to protect the press from bleeding ink and get ready to load the design into the press.
Once the press is preheated, mugs get loaded in and secured tightly by lowering a lever. Small indicator lights illuminate to indicate progress. The press makes a beeping sound when the transfer is complete.
The mug handle remains cool to the touch throughout pressing, allowing it to be removed from the press safely. In a few minutes, when the mug is cool to the touch, simply peel off the paper or adhesive backing to reveal a personalized mug design.
How to choose a mug
My biggest question was whether or not you have to use Cricut's mug blanks, are available in varying sizes and quantities and average about $3.75 each. After testing the same design on both a Cricut mug blank and a white ceramic mug purchased at my local dollar store, the answer is clear: Cricut mugs are the way to go. The Infusible Ink could not adhere to the dollar store mug, and even rubbed off with my finger after the mug had cooled.
Though, a Cricut representative told Shop TODAY that, in addition to Cricut mug blanks, mugs made by outside parties designed specifically for use in sublimation craft projects will work with the Mug Press.
When it comes to using more than one color or pattern of Infusible Ink, the Cricut representative explained designs can be cut from varying sheets of Infusible Ink, then weeded and combined on one adhesive backing and pressed all at once in the Mug Press.
Cricut says the new product was designed with prosumers — business owners who use Cricut products to promote and sustain their small business — in mind.
"Within our community, we saw that for many, crafting was no longer just a hobby," Thomas Crisp, head of industrial design at Cricut, told Shop TODAY. "Instead, members used their Cricut machines to create products to sell, and what was originally a hobby became a small business instead."
We asked Cricut what products they recommend crafters — and prosumers — have on hand to enjoy all the new heat press has to offer.
What tools to have on hand
1. A Cricut cutting machine
Whether you prefer the small size of the Cricut Joy or the extra crafting power of the Cricut Maker, a Cricut cutting machine is required to cut and draw mug designs.
2. Infusible Ink
For mug wraps that aren't drawn by the Cricut machine, Infusible Ink is the material used to cut and transfer designs. These sheets of colorful ink come in a variety of solid hues and vibrant patterns.
3. Infusible Ink Markers
For mug wraps that are drawn by the Cricut machine, these colorful Infusible Ink Markers are required.
4. Heat resistant tape
Also required for drawn mug wraps, this heat resistant tape holds both the drawn design and the protective laters of butcher paper onto the mug during pressing.
5. Cutting mat
A standard grip machine mat is recommended for cutting Infusible Ink sheets and loading paper into the machine for drawing.
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