How to Print on a Mug – 5 Popular Methods for Mug Printing

How to Print on a Mug – 5 Popular Methods for Mug Printing

Whether you need personalized coffee mugs for your home aesthetic or promotional mugs and online bestsellers – making custom mugs at home can be demanding and time-consuming. 

Not only that, you’ll also need the right knowledge and mug printing equipment for the perfect result. 

Keep reading and learn how to print on a mug effortlessly with Printify. We’ll also list the five most popular mug printing methods with pros and cons – so you can make informed decisions for your mug printing business.

How to Make Your Own Custom-Printed Mug in Just a Few Steps

Forget about a heat press, printer, special paper, cooling rack, and other gadgets that come with printing mugs at home. Choose our platform to unlock business opportunities with effortless and automated processes. Here’s how to print on a mug with Printify.

Create Your Design

Various design tools arranged on a table, including a laptop, drawing tablet, color swatches, pens, and more.

It all starts with the design. Here are a few ways to get the perfect image for your mugs.

  • Outsource Professionals. Use sites like Fiverr and Upwork to find professional designers or their ready-made work. You can get your logos, patterns, or images designed for a small fee.
  • Create Designs Yourself. If you have the skills and time, make your own art. Use software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to add a personal touch to your mug designs, from various colors to epic patterns, texts, and more.
  • Use Shutterstock. Printify has partnered with Shutterstock. You can easily access their library (from our Mockup Generator) and use stock photos and graphics for your designs. Pay for an image only after an order is made.
  • Use Printify’s Free Graphics. Our dedicated team of designers created a free graphics library on the Mockup Generator with themed images for your designs. They vary from different topics to unique niches – perfect for every mug and occasion.

Sign Up for Printify and Pick Your Mug

The “Mugs” section of Printify Catalog showing various white, black, and accent mugs.

Use your email address and a strong password to create a Printify account in seconds and gain access to our free and beginner-friendly platform.

Head over to the Catalog and find mugs under Home & Living. The left-side filter section allows you to filter mugs by criteria important to you – Print Provider, location, printing method, and even target market. Choose a blank mug and click Start designing to make the magic happen.

What types of custom-printed mugs are on the Printify Catalog?

  • Ceramic mugs
  • Coffee mugs
  • Color changing mugs
  • Two-tone accent mugs
  • Enamel mugs
  • Metallic mugs
  • Latte mugs
  • Frosted glass mugs
  • Heart-shaped mugs
  • Mason jars
  • Travel mugs
  • Beer mugs

Apply Your Design

A design of three cartoon ghosts being applied on a black mug within the Printify's Mockup Generator interface.

Now comes the exciting part – designing your mug. With the Mockup Generator, you have endless opportunities to personalize and make the mug unique.

Add your own artwork, photo, company logo, or text. Create patterns directly on the tool. Switch among various colors and fonts, scale, flip, and adjust the design. Now is your time to shine and unleash your creativity. 

Create custom mugs that are epic brand ambassadors, online bestsellers, or the perfect gifts among friends and family – the Mockup Generator is at your service.

Save and Order the Product

The first step of Printify's sample ordering process – selecting products.

Once you’re happy with your design, click Save and prepare for the next steps.

It’s time to place an order. Whether as private or corporate gifts for family or business use – or personal knick-knacks for your home – you can order as many coffee mugs as you want or need.

If you plan to sell custom-printed mugs on your website or online store, order samples to test the image quality, delivery, and overall fulfillment before listing them on your site.

Publish to Your Online Store

Printify's store connection page, showing integrations with Shopify, Etsy, Walmart, eBay, Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce, and more.

If you want to sell mugs online to all the hot chocolate, tea, and coffee enthusiasts, it’s easy to do with a little help from Printify.

Choose your favorite eCommerce website where you want to run your business and integrate it with our platform (My stores – Add new store). We offer integrations with all the top players: Etsy, Wix, Walmart, Shopify, eBay, PrestaShop, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Squarespace.

You can easily list your personalized mugs with our descriptions, measurements, and mockups – which now have customizable backgrounds.

Promote Your Mug Printing Business

A notebook on a table with “Marketing Strategy” written on the cover.

Show your custom mug collection to the world through marketing to boost your sales and traffic.

  • Social Media Marketing. Utilize channels like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others to get your personalized mugs noticed and engage with your audience.
  • Content Marketing. Write compelling blog posts and film videos describing and showcasing your products and features – from the mug surface to the print itself.
  • Email Marketing. Encourage your customers on a personal level with newsletters, seasonal promotions, unique sales, and exclusive offers via email. 
  • Paid Advertising. Promote your mug printing business via paid advertising on Google and other social media sites to reach potential customers.
  • Collabs. Join forces with other eager sellers, businesses, or influencers to cross-sell custom coffee mugs and tap into each other’s audiences.
  • Offline Marketing. Participate in fairs, presentations, conferences, exhibitions, and other local and global events to showcase your personalized mugs.

Dye Sublimation Printing

Mug sublimation printer placed on a table next to various black and white mugs.

Equipment: blank mug, design software, sublimation printer, ink, paper, heat press, heat-resistant tape.

How it works:

  1. Print the custom design on special paper with dye-based inks.
  2. Wrap the print around the mug and use tape to secure it.
  3. Preheat the press machine for more heat (follow the manufacturer’s guidelines).
  4. Put the mug in the heat press and set the time accordingly.
  5. The heat turns ink into a gas, penetrating the mug’s coating.
  6. Take the mug out and let it cool properly.
  7. Remove the sublimation paper and check the design.

UV Printing

Equipment: blank mug, design software, UV printer with UV-curable ink, UV light source.

How it works:

  1. Prepare a design that works with the UV printer.
  2. Clean the mug with alcohol or cleaning supplies to remove any unnecessary residue.
  3. Calibrate the UV printer and set it up according to the manufacturer.
  4. Position your coffee mug in the printer and align it with your desired print placement.
  5. Print the design.
  6. Place the mug under the UV light to cure the ink.

Digital Printing

Equipment: blank ceramic or glass mug, design software, inkjet printer, organic color dyes. 

How it works:

  1. Prepare a design that works with the inkjet printer.
  2. Clean the mug with alcohol or cleaning supplies to remove any unnecessary residue.
  3. Calibrate the printer and set it up according to the manufacturer.
  4. Place the mug in the intended print area.
  5. Print the image.
  6. Dry or cure the ink (depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines).

Direct Screen Printing

Equipment: mug, design software, screen printing press, mesh screens, squeegees, emulsion, ink.

How it works:

  1. Create your custom design.
  2. Prepare the mesh screen, covering it with an emulsion.
  3. Place your artwork on the prepared mesh screen and expose it to bright light.
  4. Wash off the hard emulsion, leaving only your design on the mesh.
  5. Place the mug in the screen printing press and align it for accurate results.
  6. Apply the desired inks on the mesh and use squeegees to distribute it evenly across the design.
  7. Press the screen on the mug to transfer the image to the mug’s surface.
  8. Let the inks dry.

Transfer Printing

Person engaged in the process of heat transfer printing on a mug.

Equipment: mug, design software, heat press, transfer paper, printer, cutting tools.

How it works:

  1. Create your custom design and adjust the size and resolution accordingly.
  2. Print the design on the transfer paper.
  3. Trim the transfer paper to ensure the design is properly aligned with the mug.
  4. Clear off any residue from the mug with alcohol or proper cleaning supplies.
  5. Apply the transfer paper on the mug and secure it to ensure the design is firmly attached.
  6. Put the mug in the heat press and set the right time and temperature for a perfect result. The press transfers the design to the mug using heat.
  7. Let the mug cool, then remove the transfer paper to reveal a perfect finish.

Care Instructions for Sublimated Custom Coffee Mugs

Sublimated custom coffee mugs are easy to care for – as this printing method guarantees durable and long-lasting designs that don’t cave into daily wear and tear.

Simply clean them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand with warm water and dish soap. But!

  • Avoid soaking
  • Handle with care
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Avoid extreme temperatures

Why Create Personalized Mugs?

Black mug in a minimalistic vintage setting next to a pair of glasses and a golden pen.
  • They make great gifts for everyone – friends, family, colleagues.
  • They’re excellent promotional materials for businesses (with logos and company names, causes, or slogans).
  • They provide a unique way to display your art.
  • They’re evergreen and practical (ideal for homes, offices, events, and on the go).
  • They’re online bestsellers (especially for different occasions all year round, like Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Weddings, and other events).

How Much Can You Earn Selling Personalized Coffee Mugs?

A lot.

In 2021, the global coffee mug market was valued at $21.39 billion and is expected to double in size by 2029. 

And if numbers don’t impress you much, look at the facts mentioned above on why you should make custom coffee mugs. Their versatile use and evergreen appeal are a goldmine for eCommerce.

FAQ: How to Print on a Mug

If you decide to join Printify – then none. Our Print Providers will print, package, and ship your personalized mugs to you and your customers.

If you want to run a mug printing business at home, the equipment will differ for each printing method. For most of them, you’ll need a mug press, design software, special paper to transfer the design, mugs, and much more. Check the guide above for more information.

The prices differ for each separate mug, Print Provider, and delivery destination. Browse our Catalog to find out the specifics.

  1. Create a Printify account.
  2. Pick a mug.
  3. Transfer your photo to our Mockup Generator.
  4. The Print Providers print, package, and ship the mugs.

Sublimation. It’s a fast printing method for custom coffee mugs, ensuring vibrant, durable prints that won’t succumb to daily wear and tear. This technique is less labor-intensive than others, and your mugs can be personalized with complex but high-quality designs.

There are many different printing methods available. Pick one depending on your goals, skills, and budget. The five most popular techniques are UV, sublimation, digital, transfer, and direct screen printing. 

The process differs for each of those. Consult this guide to find direct steps, pros, cons, and customization options for each. 

How to Print Coffee Mugs and Make Money? Use Printify

Join Printify and print on coffee mugs effortlessly. Design your own mug in minutes and list it on your website for a global audience to see. Simple, fast, and convenient. Start a mug printing business today.  

Make It Happen Today!

Share the article



  1. Eddie
    February 15

    Hi, Printify. I’m setting up a coffee mug shop with you and was wondering, are the mugs printed with sublimation? As in, the generic 11oz white mugs, sublimation by default?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 22

      Hi Eddie,
      Yes, all the coffee mugs are printed with sublimation printing 😉

  2. Javier
    February 1

    Hello, Printify can imitate the gold color in images, I want to make personalized mugs that contain pets in gold frames made with artificial intelligence, could I obtain an acceptable result of the gold color?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 7

      Hi Javier,
      Currently, we do not have this feature available, hopefully, sometime soon! However, we do have a Gold Mug available:

  3. Dean
    January 26

    With any images I use, should I have a white background or a transparent background?
    Primarily thinking about when an image finishes, will white or transparent have a sharper edge?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 7

      Hi Dean,
      That depends on what printing method you decide to use:
      Feel free to reach out to our Support team for further advice! 😉

  4. Eli
    December 31

    Is it possible to print on the whole exterior surface, from rim to bottom, but not underside, of a mug?
    Thank you!

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 8

      Hi Eli,
      Yes, there are quite a few options in our Catalog.

  5. Reshma
    October 27

    Hi Team,
    Is it possible to print two different images on the two sides of mug?

    1. Ariel Summers
      October 27

      Hi Reshma,
      It is not possible to upload two different designs for mugs separately. However, you have the option to merge both designs into a single print file and then upload it as a unified file. If you require further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team.

  6. Kristy
    September 2

    Is it possible to print on the inside of a mug?

    1. Martha Simmons
      September 4

      Hi Kristy,
      Unfortunately, no. We don’t offer this option.

  7. Stef
    August 21

    Is it possible to print on the underside of the mugs as well?

    1. Florence Kingsley
      August 22

      Hi there Stef,
      No, currently that is not possible, however I’ve noted your request and shared it with the team in charge.


Write a comment