Last week, I showed you how to make custom mugs by cutting out designs from Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets. Today, I’m going to show you how to make mugs with Infusible Ink Pens. By drawing, writing, and/or coloring onto regular printer paper, you can create super detailed images and infuse them right onto mugs with the Cricut Mug Press. I’ll tell you out front, this is a total game changer for your mug designs, so let me show you exactly how to do it!
How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

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Series: Getting Started with the Cricut Mug Press

I am so excited to share with you a bunch of tips and tricks for creating flawless mugs in mere minutes with the new Cricut Mug Press! Here is everything you need to know to start making mugs today!

Supplies Needed

To create drawn designs on your mugs, here are the supplies you will need:

All Cricut Mug Press supplies are now available at Cricut.com, as well as Target, Walmart, Amazon, Michales, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, and HSN.

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

There are two different techniques for making pen designs on your mugs: Pen Only and Pens+Transfer Sheets. I’m going to teach you both today!

Technique 1: Pen Only Designs

The first technique I want to teach you is the “pen only” method, which was used to create the heart mug below. In this instance, you don’t cut ANYTHING out of the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and instead create 100% of your design with the Infusible Ink Pens.

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

Here are the specific materials I used for the Heart Mug:

Cricut Explore Air | Cricut Mug Press | Standard Grip Mat | White Printer Paper | Butcher Paper | Fine Point Infusible Ink Pen in Black | Array of Infusible Ink Markers | 12 oz Mug Blank

Designing Pen Images for Your Mugs

When creating pen designs for your mugs, it’s very important that any design you create in Cricut Design Space is set to “Draw” rather than “Cut.” If you are unclear about creating pen-friendly designs, see my full Cricut Pen Tutorial HERE.

Start with the Mug Design Setup project file in Cricut Design Space and select your preferred size and edge:

Search the Image Library for “Draw” designs (you can filter for pen-only designs using the left-hand menu buttons) and add them to your mug template. Ensure you do not put any drawn design outside the edge, toward the tabs. On my heart design below, see how all the hearts are within the straight vertical edges on either side.

If you’d like to use my Heart Mug Design, you can find it HERE.

TIP! If you want to use different color pens for various parts of your design, you can learn how to do that HERE.

When you are satisfied with your mug design, Attach everything together, and send the design to cut.

Cutting Your Drawn Designs

Before sending to cut, be sure to use these specifications:

  • “Mirror” your design. (Even if you aren’t using text, get into the habit of mirroring your designs every time.)
  • Choose Laser Copy Paper from the Custom Materials settings.
  • Load the correct pen into your machine according to the prompts within Design Space. (For any designs with small details, I HIGHLY recommend using the Fine Point Pens.)

Once you click the flashing button on your machine, the Cricut will first draw your mug design and then cut out the mug template shape onto plain white printer paper.

Coloring & Drawing By Hand

Here is something that is SO SUPER FUN about using Infusible Ink Pens. Not only can your Cricut machine draw some incredible designs, but you can then color them in however you wish! I highly recommend using the Fine Point Pens (0.4 weight) for drawing, and the Infusible Ink Markers (1.0) or Freehand Markers to color in any designs.

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

Think of all the possibilities here! You technically don’t even need a Cricut machine in this instance! If you’re an artist or want your kids to make their own designs, just use Infusible Ink Pens to draw and color right onto plain paper (just make sure it fits on the mug)!

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

Transferring Pen Designs to Your Mugs

Once you’re happy with the pen design, it’s time to transfer it to the mug! You will need the butcher paper and Heat Resistant Tape for this step.

Start by cleaning your mug with a lint roller or cloth (not shown). Then, decide where you want your design on the mug and tape it in place, ink-side down, using Heat Resistant Tape. Remember to not place any of your design under the handle since the Cricut Mug Press doesn’t reach that far around.

THIS STEP IS VERY IMPORTANT: Next, wrap the mug in 3 layers of white butcher paper and secure with more Heat Resistant Tape.

Why? You applied the Infusible Ink Pens to plain ol’ printer paper. When heated, the ink will bleed, A LOT, through the paper. If you do not wrap the mug in 3 layers of butcher paper, the ink will stain the interior channel of the Cricut Mug Press, making a mess and potentially affecting future designs.

Once wrapped, place your mug into the Cricut Mug Press, close the lever, and wait until the machine beeps (which should take about 5-8 minutes).

When the machine beeps, remove your mug by opening the lever and lifting the mug out by the handle. Remember, the mug will be VERY hot but the handle will be cool. Place the mug on a heat-safe surface for about 15-2o minutes to cool before handling.

Once cool, take all the paper layers off the mug. In the picture below, I’ve only removed the butcher paper. See how much ink transferred onto it! If you didn’t wrap your mug in butcher paper, that ink would be all over the inside of your Cricut Mug Press!

When you remove the printer paper layer, you’ll reveal a vibrant design made from Infusible Ink Pens! I adore the hand-colored effect of this one!

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

TIP! Notice how at the very bottom of my mug, the design “ghosted” a bit (meaning it smudged). That is because I didn’t tape the paper to the mug (like I emphatically state in this tutorial). If you have a mug design that goes all the way to the edge…made with either Pens or Transfer Sheets…always, always, always tape the design around the bottom of the mug!

Technique 2: Pen+Transfer Sheet Designs

The other way to use the Infusible Ink Pens is to layer drawn designs over images cut from the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets. This is exactly how I made my most favorite design yet: the Knitting Lover Mug! How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

Here are the specific materials I used for the Knitter Mug:

Cricut Explore Air | Cricut Mug Press | Standard Grip Mat | White Printer Paper | Butcher Paper | Fine Point Infusible Ink Pen in Black | Rainbow Watercolor Splash Transfer Sheet

Designing Pen+Transfer Sheet Images for Your Mugs

The design process for this two-step mug is very similar, but in this case you will add BOTH a “Cut” design and “Draw” design to your mug template. You can start with the Mug Design Setup file (like we did before) or you can use one of the pre-made designs in the Design Space Library.

For my Knitting Lover Mug, I started with the Large Painted Shapes Mug Design (#M1D0152B8) design and then layered individual “Draw” images from the Knitting Set over each blob.

If you’d like to access this specific mug design, click HERE.

The biggest thing to remember is how to designate each element of your design:

  • Any part of your design that you want created from the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets should be set to “Cut”
  • Any part of your design that you want drawn with the Infusible Ink Pens or Markers should be set to “Draw”

Cutting Your Pen+Transfer Sheet Designs

Before sending to cut, be sure to use these specifications:

  • “Mirror” your design. (Even if you aren’t using text, get into the habit of mirroring your designs every time.)
  • Use these Custom Materials settings:
    • For your “Cut” layer: Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet
    • For your “Draw” layer: Laser Copy Paper
  • Load the correct pen into your machine according to the prompts within Design Space (For any designs with small details, I HIGHLY recommend using the Fine Point Pens.)

Once you click the flashing button on your machine, follow the machine prompts to both “Cut” and “Draw” your designs.

Once done, remove both mug designs from your mats and weed as needed (if you need help with this step, click HERE).

Transferring Both Designs to Your Mug

You will transfer the two layers of your design separately, so this heating process is a little longer than all the other mugs we’ve made.

You will start with transferring the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet design. For detailed instructions on how to do this, click HERE.

After you cleaned your mug and taped the design in place, insert it into the Cricut Mug Press and heat fully.

NOTE: ONLY the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet design is on the mug at this point.

Once the Cricut Mug Press beeps, remove the mug by the handle and place it on a heat-safe surface to fully cool. Once cool, remove the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet to reveal your base design.

Next, add your “Draw” design on top. Just like we did with the pen-only design, wrap the mug in the laser copy paper first (with the pen designs toward the mug) and then cover it with 3 layers of butcher paper.

You will then re-heat the mug, fully, to transfer the pen design to the mug on top of the existing design.

After the machine beeps, remove the mug, and let it cool. Then remove the butcher paper and laser copy paper to see the pen design transferred to the mug!

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

Take note of the discarded laser copy paper in the image above (bottom left corner). See how a tiny bit of the pink/orange blob designs bled onto the paper? When you double-press mugs, your first layer will loose just a smidge of its vibrancy. As such, this technique is recommended for brightly-colored, highly-saturated Transfer Sheets and Pens.

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

This double-press method is also how I made the monogrammed mug below…

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

In this instance, I cut the “D” from a hot pink Infusible Ink Transfer Sheet, and wrote the script name using (the thicker) Black Infusible Ink Marker.

Just as I described with the Knitter mug, I first transferred the D…

…then pressed the mug again with the drawn name design over top.

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

TIP! When double-pressing your mugs, I HIGHLY recommend using the full mug templates for your designs. Not only does this ensure you line up your designs just right, but it also makes sure the entire design is covered when re-pressing. In the example above, if you cut the name on a smaller scrap and just taped it over the “D” with Heat Resistant Tape (instead or wrapping the entire mug), the tape lines could distort your original “D.”

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

I must admit, making designs with BOTH the Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets and the Infusible Ink Pens is my absolute favorite method. The contrast between the larger, patterned images with the refined pen details results in mugs no one will believe you made yourself!

Now that I’ve fully covered how to make mugs with Infusible Ink Pens, let me know what questions you have in the comments!

 

How to Make Mugs with Infusible Ink Pens

See You Soon!
Megan