Sometimes a new craft idea just captures our eyes and our imaginations. And if you’re like me, you immediately want to know “how can I make that”. When I saw these glass tumblers on Facebook, I immediately started to research how to make them. And I found that although you can try sublimating glass in a mug press, the glass can break and possibly damage your machine. For safety reasons, using a tumbler press OR a convection oven to sublimate glass are your best choices. So in this post, you’ll see how to sublimate glass tumblers with the PYD Life Tumbler Press.
I’ll also help you troubleshoot what might go wrong, and give you a bunch of free sublimation designs to play with. This project is simple enough, that even if you’re a beginner, you’ll get great professional results.
- New to Sublimation?
- A Little About Tumbler Presses
- Watch the Video on how to Sublimate Glass Tumblers
- Download the Free Sublimation Designs + Size Templates
- Tutorial: How to Sublimate Glass Tumblers
- Troubleshooting Your Tumbler Press Project
- More Sublimation Inspiration + Free Designs!
- Love this Tutorial on How to Sublimate Glass Tumblers? Share it!
New to Sublimation?
For those that are new to sublimation, this is a heat press machine. It both heats and applies pressure to your dye sublimation print as the print is pressed up against a sublimation blank (tumbler). This causes the ink to heat and turns into a gas, infusing the image into whatever it’s been pressed against. It’s a little like magic.
I do have an intro to sublimation post that I wrote for crafters who are just getting into sublimation, Sublimation Made Simple.
A Little About Tumbler Presses
If you’ve only used a mug press, you may be curious about a tumbler press and how it would work. I demo that in the tutorial below, as well as walk you through how to sublimate these trendy glass tumblers.
As it happens, PYD Life gave me the opportunity to try their 2-in-1 Tumbler Press as well as some glass tumblers to try. This tumbler press will also sublimate stainless steel tumblers, enamel mugs, water bottles, and ceramic mugs.
I have my review of the PYD Life tumbler press in this post if you’d like to know more about how the press works and why you may want to purchase one- even if you’re a beginner. Or you can watch my review + how to set up this press in my YouTube video.
Watch the Video on how to Sublimate Glass Tumblers
Rather watch than read? I have a YouTube video coming soon to my Well Crafted Studio YouTube Channel. Subscribe now and hit the bell to be notified when it releases.
Download the Free Sublimation Designs + Size Templates
I LOVE to design in Procreate, and I LOVE to share these designs with you too. You can find all the designs in this tutorial as downloads in my Free Library. The designs are sized for different size tumblers, and they’ll say that in their description.
Wondering what size to make your designs? I created a cheatsheet with the template sizes for many of the PYD Life sublimation blanks.
You can find this printable PDF in my Free Library right above the sublimation designs.
Need the password? Just sign up for my email list, and you’ll get the password emailed directly to you!
If you’re using blanks that are not from PDY Life, check the product description, for the recommended time, temperature and template sizes.
If you need to change the design size you purchased, you can use Procreate or a graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or Affinity Design. But, you can also use Cricut Design Space to resize your designs.
Just be sure to mirror (flip) the design before you print.
Tutorial: How to Sublimate Glass Tumblers
Tools and Materials
- 2-in-1 PYD Life Tumbler Press
- Sublimation Printer (I converted an Epson EcoTank for this) w/ Cosmos Ink
- Sublimation Paper
- Sublimation Designs (Download from my Free Library)
- Glass Beer Can Tumblers in 18 oz or 13 oz sizes (PYD Life)
- OR Glass Frosted Skinny Tumblers (PYD LIfe)
- Alcohol and/or Tape Roller
- Heat Resistant Tape in my Tape Cutter/Dispenser
- Heat Resistant Gloves + Silicone Mat or heat-safe surface
- Unwaxed Butcher Paper (optional)
Step One: Download and Print the Designs
Use your own, or I have a few designs for you to download from my Free Library!
Many of these are sized to fit the PYD LIfe glass and metal tumblers, but you can change the size to fit your project.
Remember when you print, make certain that your image is to scale (100%) and that you’ve flipped the design. You can usually make these changes in your Printer’s System Dialog Box.
Then, print using a printer that has sublimation ink. Wondering what this means? I have a great beginner post, Sublimation Made Simple for Cricut Crafters.
Step Two: Trim the Design to Size
I use a guillotine cutter, but you can use anything to trim the sublimation design to size; just be sure that if you’re doing a full wrap, you are careful with your side cuts.
Step Three: Clean + Prep the Tumbler
One of my frosted glass tumblers had fingerprints on it, and I was a little worried about the dye transfer where the prints were.
So as you prep, it’s a good idea to wipe these glass tumblers down with a bit of isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab.
If you worry you got any dust or cotton fiber on your tumbler, it’s also a good idea to use a tape roller to clean up the surface just before you tape on the design.
Important- Do not sublimate with the cap still on your blank.
Step Four: Tape the Design to the Tumbler
Position your design face down on the outside of your glass tumbler.
We want the sublimation ink pressed against the surface of your blank so that when we heat it, the ink will transfer to our glass tumbler.
Then, use heat-resistant tape to secure the design and tape along all the edges.
You can see how well I taped the design to the tumblers below. You do not want to risk having your design shift or the gas to go where you don’t want it to, as this can cause ghosting, and you won’t get a crisp transfer.
Step Five: Prep the Tumbler Press for Time/Temp and the Right Pressure
Make sure you’re using the correct size heater for the size of the tumblers you’re sublimating. The PYD LIfe 2-in-1 Tumbler Press comes with two heaters, so you can do both skinny and regular width tumblers. (I demo how to change these out and how to make adjustments to get the perfect fit in my review and set up post).
It’s a good idea before you start to check the fit by closing the press with the tumbler you’re using inside. This will give you an idea of the pressure you’ll need for the size you’re using. If it’s having trouble shutting do not force it, adjust the pressure.
To adjust the pressure on this press, you use the two knobs on the machine to tighten or release it.
You want to be able to close the press with one hand but still have the blank tight enough that it won’t move.
Plug in and turn on your tumbler press.
Then, set the temperature to 360 degrees at 50 seconds (or whatever the recommended temperature/time is for your blanks.)
You can do this by pressing the set button on the front of the press and then using the up and down arrows to reach the temp. Then press the set button again to adjust the time. Be sure you’re using the right unit of measurement- Celsius or Fahrenheit. You can change this on the control panel too.
Step Six: Sublimate the Tumblers!
Before you place your tumbler in the press, wrap your design in a sheet of unwaxed butcher paper or a release paper that’s designed for heat pressing. This protects the heaters from getting ink on them.
Then, just slide in the tumbler from the side and use the handle to close it.
Step Seven: Let Cool and then Unwrap
Next, use heat-resistant gloves to remove the tumbler from the heat press, and set it on a silicone mat (or another heat-resistant surface) as it cools. This prevents burns!
Once the tumbler is cool, you can unwrap the paper from the tumbler. This is my favorite part of the process- it’s like a reveal video each time.
Step Eight: Assemble Your Tumbler
And you’re almost done! All that’s left is to place the bamboo lid back on your tumbler and add the glass straw provided with your tumblers. Be sure to wash your tumbler before use.
Note: So, although most sublimated things don’t need to be hand washed, it’s recommended that because the frosted glass can be scratched easily, you take extra care with these glasses.
Troubleshooting Your Tumbler Press Project
If you’re having problems getting a clear or colorful image on your glass tumblers, this section should help. You can also contact PYD Life on their website on through Amazon with questions.
- Make sure you’re using sublimation blanks. This means special blanks that have a sublimation coating added to them. You do not have to only use PYD Life blanks in this machine, you can use others that say sublimation blank in their product description.
- Be sure the press is set at the right time and temp. Again, you can check the product description for your blank, OR you can check the cheat sheet I have as a free download in my Library.
- Make sure you’ve got it set to the right unit of measurement. If the temp you’re setting is Celsius, but you’ve got your machine set to Fahrenheit, you won’t have the correct temp. (You can change between the two on your press in the control center. See the instructions, or my set up post.)
- Make sure the tumbler fits snuggly in the press. This means you will probably have to adjust the knobs on your machine before you press to increase or decrease the pressure. The goal is to be able to close it with one hand, and if you try to move the glass it won’t budge.
- Tape all the edges of your design to the glass. If you have any area that is loose, or is gapping, you won’t get a good press in that area. And because the gas can escape and make the edges look funny, you want to seal all the edges with heat-resistant tape.
- Print on sublimation paper with dublimation ink. If you’re new to sublimation you may not know that you have to have a special ink and a printer that is dedicated to sublimation. Be sure to set the paper to photo or premium for more ink.
- Place your design face down. The heaters don’t close all the way, and that means there is a space where the ink won’t transfer. So make sure you don’t place your design face up.
- For a full wrap design, rotate and press a second time. If your design wraps all the way around your tumbler, you’ll need to press once, then rotate your tumbler and press a second time to avoid fading at the top where the press is open. Pressing a second time won’t burn your blank.
Again, if you are having issues with your sublimation and you can’t identify the problem with the list above, don’t hesitate to contact PYD Life for more help.
More Sublimation Inspiration + Free Designs!
Love sublimating? I do have more sublimation posts here on Well Crafted Studio. Here are a few of them…
- Sublimation Made Simple for Cricut Crafters
- How to Sublimate Metal Water Bottles in the Cricut Mug Press
- The Best Sublimation Blanks for the Cricut Mug Press
- How to Engrave Infusible Ink on Cricut Aluminum
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Thanks for Reading,