Get creative: Sublimate the season’s favourite skinny tumblers

The SG500

Looking for a new product to offer to your customers? Andrea Evans, Sawgrass’ international sales manager, runs through a step-by-step guide to this summer’s must-have sublimated product.

Skinny tumblers are all the rage and are a perfect option for spring and summer. Easy to decorate and personalise with sublimation, this step-by-step guide will have you creating in no time at all. Choose from a bright, summer design, personalise with a name or simply add a logo.

Choose from simply silver or white through to glitter, luminous, colour-changing, glass or metallic tumblers. But remember to make sure that the tumblers you choose are sublimation-ready, so the sublimation inks can be infused into the tumbler and never be washed away or fade.

To get started you’ll need:

  • Skinny tumbler.
  • Sublimation paper.
  • Sawgrass printer.
  • Tumbler or mug press.
  • Heat tape.
  • Heat gloves.

Step one: Create your design

You can create your design in any design tool but if you’d like to use a template, you can use Sawgrass CreativeStudio. Simply register for a free account to access hundreds of sublimation templates and a skinny tumbler template is readily available.

The designs being created in CreativeStudio

You’ll need to decide whether you want to decorate just a section of the tumbler with a logo or small image, or an all over design. We’re going to share how to do an all over-decoration, as it’s a little more complicated but looks stunning and professional.

For an all over design, you’ll need to print a full A4 sublimation page. We chose a pretty, spring floral background from CreativeStudio, resized it to A4 and then personalised it with a name. If you’re adding personalisation to any design, make sure that you choose a lively font (we chose allura from the free CreativeStudio fonts), resize it to fit the design, and rotate it 90°. Select a fill colour that complements your background and create an offset by adding an outline font and a brushstroke. Don’t forget to save your design!

Step two: Ready to print

Now you’re ready to print your tumbler design on your sublimation printer.

Whichever design tool you’re using, you’ll have to print through Sawgrass Print Manager for the right ‘recipe’ for your tumbler. Print Manager allows you to select the sublimation paper, your preferred colour mode and the material of your blank product so you’ll get just the right amount of ink for your design and product. We used vivid for the colour mode, Truepix for the paper type and metal for the material.

Print your design and remember that the colours on any sublimation print will look faded.  This is how it is intended as the heat from the press will activate and infuse the ink into your tumbler and make the colours pop!

Step three: Press it real good

Next turn on your heat press. You can use either a tumbler press or a mug press both will work equally well with just an extra step for a mug press. Set the temperature to 190°C, the timer to 60 seconds with light pressure.

The finished spring floral design is perfect for when the weather warms up

Remove the lid and straw and clean the tumbler with a lint free cloth to remove any oil or debris.

The most important step for all over sublimation is how you wrap and tape your tumbler. First trim off the white border on one of the shorter sides of your sublimation print. This is the edge that should wrap around your tumbler first.

Lay the printed sublimation sheet on a flat surface. Place the tumbler in the centre making sure there’s printed area over-hanging the top and bottom of the tumbler.

Take the edge that you trimmed the white margin off and wrap that around the tumbler first. Do not tape this piece or the tape will be touching the tumbler and will block a small area from being sublimated.

Hold the paper there while you complete the wrap from the other side. Make sure the wrap is tight and use heat tape to stick down the seam.

Andrea also designed a special Printwear & Promotion version

Slightly fold over the top and bottom and secure with heat tape. This will hold the print tight and prevent ghosting. If you don’t fold enough of the print over the top, you’ll end up with a white ring where the sublimation print stops. If you’re just printing a logo on your tumbler, then you don’t have to worry about taping over the ends, but make sure the paper is tight around the tumbler.

Place the tumbler inside your press and set the timer for 60 seconds. When it beeps rotate 90° using heat gloves and press one more time for 60 seconds. If you’re using a mug press, you’ll have to do four sessions in your heat press altogether. Think of it in two sections, the top and the bottom, and each one needs to be rotated 90°.

Put on heat gloves to remove the tumbler then quickly remove the paper and tape, set aside to cool.

Perfect for the summer, skinny tumblers make great gifts or a perfect promotional giveaway to enjoy a delicious drink at home or outdoors. And with sublimation the design will last forever!

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