Decor & DIY

Making DIY Watercolour Mugs with my Cricut Mug Press

Oooo, every time I think that Cricut cannot bring out more awesome goodies than they already have they do! They sent me a Cricut Mug Press to try out and my obsession with creating beautiful mugs are now real. I must admit that I was a little scared using the mug press for the first time, but after cutting some balsa wood with my Cricut Maker 3 to make miniatures before I have so much more confidence in trying out new things.

Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint DIY mugs with Cricut Mug Press via

What is the Cricut Mug press?

The Cricut Mug press is relatively new in the South African market – The mug press is basically a mug-shaped or curved version of Cricut’s other heat press products. Your designs get perfectly wrapped and ‘baked’ with high heat and pressure to the outside of a coffee mug using either Cricut Infusible Ink sheets and or designs drawn with Infusible Ink markers (NOT vinyl or heat press vinyl). What is even more impressive is that the designs are PERMANENT and dishwasher safe!

How does the Cricut Mug press work?

You do not need a Cricut Smart cutter necessarily with your mug press, depending on the type of designs that you are planning to do. It is obviously easier for you to perfectly cut the templates for the mugs using any of the Cricut Smart cutters and the only way I know to cut your designs on the Cricut Infusible Ink sheets.

If you make use of the Cricut infusible ink pens (Like what I will use) you can draw the designs and hand cut the templates to size.

Can I use any blank mugs in the Cricut Mug Press?

Cricut has some really nice sublimation mugs in different sizes and shaped available that you can use with your mugpress to add your designs to. You cannot use any blank rugs in the press, they need to be special sublimation mugs and it is important they they have straight edges. The Cricut mugs are poly-coated making them perfect for the sublimation process. These mugs look and feel like any other ceramic mug, but they are different, if you are ever unsure about the mugs you have both the Cricut logo and mug size are printed on the bottom of the mugs.

Unboxing your Cricut Mug press and getting started

What is inside the Cricut Mug Press box?

  • A Cricut Mug Press
  • A power cord
  • An ‘Open Me’ envelope with instructions to get you started
  • A micro-USB to USB-A cable for connecting the machine to your computer (if you have an apple device you need to have a USB port to connect)

To get started using the Mug press
If you are a first time user you need to download the Cricut Design Space (DS) first on your PC (even though you don’t have to use them with the designs). This tool is a free design tool that you use with your Cricut machine. After installation, open the Cricut Design Space and go to the menu in the upper left, click on ‘New Machine Set Up’. Follow the prompts to select a Heat Press and then the Cricut Mug Press.

Connect your new Cricut Mug Press with your pc using the USB cord and follow the rest of the instructions.

Making DIY Watercolour Mugs with my Cricut Mug Press

When I received the Cricut Mug Press I thought it would be amazing to somehow be able to use the Cricut Infusible ink to watercolour paint on the mugs, but I had no idea how to. I tried researching what the ink shoudl be mixed with and how to get the paint to mix with either water or alcohol. What is nice about watercolour painting is that you really need very little ink to do the painting as you can always go darker, never lighter.

After loads of researching and chatting to friends Melanie Wessels (who also took these images with me) She came up with a winning plan! I obviously also needed her amazing watercolour skills to make this dream a reality!

Making DIY Watercolour Mugs with my Cricut Mug Press

What you will need to create these watercolour mugs

  • A Cricut Mug Press
  • Cricut infusible ink pens (The set I have contains 5 colours, but I am planning to purchase the bigger set with more colours as well!)
  • Watercolor paper
  • Normal A4 printing paper (3 sheets)
  • Water in a small container
  • Watercolor paint brushes
  • A palette to mix the watercolours in
  • A blank Cricut mug in the size of your choice
  • Cricut Heat Resistant tape
  • A pot stand to place the mug on to cool after sublimation

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Carefully open up the back of the Cricut infusible ink pens using a plier.
  2. Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint

  3. Pop the tube of ink out and tie it a gentle squeeze to drop a drop of color to the paint palette.
  4. Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint
    Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint

  5. Mix some water with the ink to create the watercolours. Remember to close the pens tightly afterwards to keep them from drying out.
  6. Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint

  7. Using the watercolour paints you created, paint beautiful images. You will be able to press 2 mugs from an A4 sheet. Wait for the ink to dry completely.
  8. Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint
    Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint

  9. Use the Cricut infusible ink pens to add some detailing to your image.
  10. Cricut Infusible pens watercolour paint

  11. Turn your Cricut mug Press on with the power on button as it will take some time to heat up.
  12. You can now either cut the paper to fit around your mug yourself using scissors or use one of the predefined templates on the Cricut Design Space with a Cricut Smart Cutter. (See a link to the ones I used here.)
  13. Cricut Mug Press templates
    Cricut Mug Press templates
    Cricut Mug Press templates
    Cricut Mug Press templates

  14. Wrap the template around the mug securing it using the Cricut Heat Transfer Tape.
  15. Cricut Mug Press templates
    Cricut Mug Press templates

  16. Fold 3 Sheets of A4 printing paper in half, cut them a tad smaller to also wrap around the design securing it with the Cricut Heat Transfer Tape.
  17. Cricut Mug Press templates

  18. Once the Mug Press has reached the correct Temperature the power on button will turn from Solid orange to green indicating that it is ready for use.
  19. Make sure that the side flap is open, place your mug, bottom down in the heat press and close the flat again.
  20. Cricut Mug Press DIY watercolour mugs
    Cricut Mug Press DIY watercolour mugs

  21. The smaller indicator lights will indicate how far you are in the heat press process, once they are all lit up you will hear a sound to indicate that you can open up the flap again to release the mug. (Approximately 6-8 minutes)
  22. Cricut Mug Press DIY watercolour mugs

  23. Carefully remove the mug from the press and place it on a pot stand or heat resistant surface to cool completely before removing the image from the side.
  24. Cricut Mug Press DIY watercolour mugs
    Cricut Mug Press DIY watercolour mugs

Now, all you have to do is find an awesome friend like mine to paint some beautiful prints (if you are unable to do so yourself).

Cricut Mug Press DIY watercolour mugs

I would LOVE to see how you use your Cricut Mug press to create some awesome mugs! Please tag me on Instagram @Lovilee_za and I will share some love in return.

Thank you to Melanie Wessels Photography for the beautiful images.

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Karen Kelly is the founder and editor of She is a creative at heart and passionate about all things DIY. Learn more about her here and connect with her on social media on the links below.

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