How To Make A Heat Transfer Vinyl Mug

Fancy up your morning tea or coffee ritual with a custom heat transfer mug! This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to put heat transfer vinyl on a ceramic mug in just a few easy steps.


Did you know that you can use heat transfer vinyl on mugs?! I’ve done mugs with adhesive vinyl, DIY Sharpie mugs, and painted mugs before, but this was my first time trying HTV on a mug. And it turned out great! It is actually pretty easy to put HTV on a mug—this step-by-step tutorial will show you how.

heat transfer vinyl design on ceramic mug on top of plate with cookies and a spoon with title below image

I really love my morning tea ritual—coffee works for some people, but for me, it’s tea that makes me feel like an actual human being in the mornings. So I decided to make a fun mug for my morning tea. I used a quote by Douglas Adams from “Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” and some glittery heat transfer vinyl from Expressions Vinyl, and I just love how it turned out!

The quote says “A cup of tea would restore my normality”, which is EXACTLY how I feel every morning, so I’m super excited to have a fun, glittery mug for my morning pick-me-up.

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Using HTV On Mugs

I use heat transfer vinyl all the time for baby onesies in the Practically Functional shop, but I never thought to try it on anything other than fabric. Turns out HTV works great on ceramic mugs too! I wouldn’t put it through a dishwasher, but it will definitely hold up to a handwashing.

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There is a printable version of this project tutorial at the bottom of this post; scroll down to grab it.

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Equipment

Materials

plain white mug, heat transfer vinyl, and rubbing alcohol on a white table

How To Put HTV On A Mug


Start by cleaning the mug with rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt and grease from your fingers. Once it’s clean, try to avoid touching the mug anywhere other than the handle.

Start by designing your quote in your cutting machine software. I used my Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software to design the quote, then cut it out using my Cameo, but you can easily do this project with a Cricut as well—any cutting machine will work!

Load your heat transfer vinyl into your machine and cut out your design.

Pro Tip

Remember to mirror your design when cutting out heat transfer vinyl so it doesn’t appear backward in your finished project!

I have a detailed tutorial on using heat transfer vinyl with a Silhouette Cameo or using heat transfer vinyl with a Cricut if you want further instructions.

Weed away any extra vinyl, then position the heat transfer vinyl on your mug. After you weed away the extra vinyl, the clear backing will be slightly sticky which will help hold the design in place as you iron it. You can also use heat resistant tape to tape down your design if you’re worried about it moving while you iron.

Turn your iron on and set it to the cotton or linen setting (about 400-425 degrees F).

white ceramic mug being personalized with heat transfer vinyl and a household iron in the background

Place a clean dishcloth over the heat transfer vinyl and press down with your iron for about 10-15 seconds until the vinyl is really well stuck. Then pick up the iron and press down in a new spot that isn’t stuck down yet.

Depending on how rounded the exterior of your mug is, you may have to do this a bunch of times to make sure it’s stuck everywhere! Once the vinyl is stuck everywhere, peel away the clear plastic backing, and you’re done!

plain white ceramic mug decorated with heat transfer vinyl saying a cup of tea would restore my normality

Fill your heat transfer mug up with a cup of tea and enjoy!

plain white ceramic mug decorated with heat transfer vinyl saying a cup of tea would restore my normality on plate with cookies and a spoon

I’ve seen other tutorials for similar projects that say you can wash these in a dishwasher, but I wouldn’t risk it. If you’ve firmly pressed the heat transfer vinyl onto the mug, you’ll be fine washing it by hand, but dishwashers are a lot hotter and more forceful, which could soften the adhesive and cause the design to peel up.

When your heat transfer mug is dirty, just wash it gently by hand and your mug will be fine!

closeup of plain white ceramic mug decorated with heat transfer vinyl saying a cup of tea would restore my normality on plate with cookies and a spoon

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Shop this project

White ceramic mugs
Heat transfer vinyl
Cricut cutting machine
Basic Cricut tools
Household iron
Heat resistant tape
closeup of heat transfer vinyl design on ceramic mug on top of plate with cookies and a spoon

How To Use Heat Transfer Vinyl On Mugs

4 from 1 vote
Did you know you can use heat transfer vinyl on mugs?! Learn how to apply HTV to a ceramic mug so you can personalize and customize it however you'd like!
Active Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Yield 1 heat transfer mug
Cost $5

Materials

Instructions
 

  • Clean the mug with rubbing alcohol to remove any dirt and grease from your fingers. Once it’s clean, try to avoid touching the mug anywhere other than the handle.
    plain white mug, heat transfer vinyl, and rubbing alcohol on a white table
  • Using your Cricut or Silhouette, cut out your design on a piece of heat transfer vinyl.
  • Turn the iron on and set the heat to the cotton or linen setting (about 400-425 degrees F).
  • Weed away any extra vinyl and position the design on your mug.
  • Place your dishcloth over the heat transfer vinyl and press down with your iron in one single spot for about 10-15 seconds until the vinyl is really well stuck.
    white ceramic mug being personalized with heat transfer vinyl and a household iron in the background
  • Press the iron down for 10-15 seconds in a new spot that isn’t stuck down yet. Continue until the heat transfer vinyl is attached to the mug everywhere. Depending on how rounded the exterior of your mug is, you may have to do this a bunch of times. Peel away the clear plastic backing and you’re done!
    plain white ceramic mug decorated with heat transfer vinyl saying a cup of tea would restore my normality

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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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Reader Interactions

  1. Sacha Nutter says

    4 years ago

    Could a hair dryer or heat gun be used as opposed to iron?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      3 years ago

      I wouldn’t suggest it. Hair dryers don’t get hot enough, and heat guns get too hot. You also need the pressure of the weight of the iron pushing down on the mug as well as the heat.

  2. Sam @ DIY Just Cuz says

    6 years ago

    I never thought to use HTV for ceramic either but that’s awesome it worked. It turned out so cute, I love the quote , pinning 🙂

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