Last month, Cricut announced the Mug Press, an all-new addition to its lineup of Infusible Ink offerings. Taking on the roll of an Easy Press, the Mug Press is built to provide an even amount of heat all the way around a mug in order to properly transfer a design and bake it in. So how easy is the Mug Press to use, and what sets it (and the mugs) apart from other systems? Let’s take a look in our hands-on review of the Cricut Mug Press.
What sets Cricut Mug Press apart from other systems?
Prior to Cricut launching the Mug Press, you had to use sublimation sheets and clunky presses. For example, this mug heat press on Amazon features a fairly large and bulky design and is made to fit a variety of mug sizes. However, you’re supposed to use sublimation paper with it, which you run through your inkjet printer using compatible ink. This required quite a bit of equipment to accomplish, as you would need a specific type of printer as well as ink.
Cricut, on the other hand, made it as simple as possible. The Mug Press itself uses sensors and timers to know how long and how hot to heat a mug. It also has a USB port so the firmware can be upgraded over time, presumably to add support for other materials in the future. When it comes to actually making the design and placing it on the mug, well, Infusible Ink is here to save the day with a very easy-to-use setup. In all, while you’ve been able to make custom mugs for a while using the above-mentioned process, it’s been quite expensive, cumbersome, and not simple to do for the at-home DIY crafter. Cricut makes this task approachable and easy for anyone to do.
Infusible Ink is super simple to use
Like I mentioned above, Infusible Ink steals the show here. Now, Infusible Ink isn’t new to the Cricut world. It’s been around for a couple years now, and is essentially a custom heat-transfer vinyl made to work with specific “blanks” that the company also produces. For the Mug Press, you’ll need Infusible Ink or sublimation mugs for a proper design transfer.
Infusible Ink comes in a plethora of colors, patterns, and designs that you can buy pre-done. Once you settle on one, you simply make a design inside of Cricut’s Design Space, tell it to cut it out, and then place it on the mug.
Cricut’s templates make custom mugs extremely simple
Now that you’ve got your design made and Infusible Ink picked out, it’s time to cut things out. We mentioned above that it’s a simple process, and it is. There’s a template provided by Cricut that you can use inside of Design Space that makes it really easy to transfer. Once you place your design on that template, you’ll be able to have your Cricut machine cut it out. Cricut built the Mug Press sizes to work with any of their machines, ranging from the compact Joy to the large Maker. However, you don’t need a Cricut machine specifically to cut Infusible Ink, as thrifty DIYers have found ways to use other machines, like the Silhouette, to cut this unique material. The only thing left is to remove it from your mat, place it around the mug, and use a bit of heat-resistant tape to ensure that it doesn’t separate or move during the transfer process.
The built-in timer takes the guesswork out of creating
Another area that Cricut has improved over the old ways of making custom mugs is in its built-in timer. The method we mentioned at the beginning of this review required you to dial in pressure, temperature, and time for the perfect result. Cricut takes the guesswork out of that by having its Mug Press programmed with exactly how hot, how long, and how much pressure to use for the perfect transfer every time. On average, it takes around six minutes to finish a mug in the Mug Press, but Cricut goes into more detail on the timing of everything in its FAQ.
Durable to last the test of time
If you’ve ever tried to use standard heat-transfer vinyl or iron-ons, then you know those types of designs aren’t very durable. Some sublimation processes can be quality, but it’s more hit or miss with that style. Cricut wanted to go the extra mile with the Mug Press and ensure that it would last the test of time.
The Mug Press and Infusible Ink combination creates a “peel-proof, dishwasher-safe” design that can even be microwaved. That’s right, once you finish making a mug and it cools, you can put it in the dishwasher to clean and microwave to heat up. This means that mugs you make will be great gifts to friends or family, and last for years to come.
Cricut set out to make creating custom mugs easy with the Mug Press, and I think they did just that. As an avid coffee drinker, it’s awesome to think I can have a fully custom mug in just a few minutes’ time in which to enjoy my next drink. It’ll also be great for creating birthday, holiday, or anniversary presents for friends and family, as it allows my wife and I to give something that we know they won’t already have. If you’re looking for a way to up your creative abilities, the Mug Press is a great buy if you’ve already got some sort of crafting cutter at home.
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