Cricut Mugs: How to Seal Vinyl on Mugs (2022)

Learn how to make a Cricut mug by applying vinyl and sealing it with Mod Podge for a washable, long-lasting mug!

Cricut mugs are SO popular — my tutorial on how to put vinyl on mugs has nearly a million views! But one question I keep getting over and over is how to seal the mugs after you apply the vinyl. Most people don’t bother to seal their mugs as permanent vinyl usually does well enough on its own, but it’s not really and truly dishwasher safe. So can you do it? You can, and in this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a vinyl Cricut mug and seal it for a washable mug! I have put together this really easy, absolutely adorable Cricut mug tutorial to simplify the entire process for you! Don’t forget to check out my mug gift box tutorial too, for the perfect way to gift your brand new mug!

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These Cricut mugs are so cute and perfect for any level of crafter! Even if you have never worked with vinyl, don’t worry, you can do this project! Mugs are great for teachers, neighbors, really anyone — they are bound to bring a smile to someone’s face. Fill these mugs with candy and a gift card, wrap it in colorful cellophane, and you have a wonderful and thoughtful gift! These mugs are asimple, but personalized gift to give! How easy is that?

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When I say that these are easy, I am not exaggerating! I encourage you to try this project, especially if you’ve never worked with vinyl before! One of the things I love about these adorable faces is that they are quick and simple to make! I wanted to create a design on a mug that is universal, one that will appeal to men, women, young, and old. We have all experienced these facial expressions at some point (especially BEFORE coffee) and now you can put them on a mug!

There are only a couple of items you must have to make this project. You need permanent adhesive vinyl in a color to go on your mug. You’ll also want standard grip transfer tape to get the vinyl onto your mug’s surface.

To clean the mugs, rubbing alcohol is all you need — cleaning them helps your vinyl stick better.

And then, to make your Cricut mug dishwasher safe, I recommend Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Sealer! A foam or soft bristle brush will help spread the Mod Podge smoothly on your mug.

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I used my Cricut cutting machine to cut out these adorable faces, along with the fine point blade along, a green Standard Grip cutting mat, and some basic weeding tools and a scraper.

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Let me show you how to create a washable vinyl design on a Cricut mug! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read myfull disclosure policy.

Quick Links to Information in this Post

Materials to Create a Vinyl Design on a Cricut Mug

View my Amazon shopping list with the exact items we used to make this project!

How to Create a Cricut Mug with Sealed Vinyl

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Cricut Mugs with Vinyl and Mod Podge Sealer

Here are my step-by-step directions for applying vinyl to your Cricut mugs and sealing them so they are dishwasher safe.

Materials

Tools

  • A way to cut your vinyl (I used the Cricut Maker cutting machine, but you can also use a Cricut Explore, Cricut Joy, or a craft knife)
  • Weeding tool
  • Scraper or card

Instructions

Step 1: Find a Design For Your Cricut Mug

First, you need some cute designs for your mugs! I made some funny faces for you that you can download from my free resource library. The “I Need Coffee” faces I used in this project are design #287 or check out my cute animal faces in design #125. You can find the patterns by searching the page for the design number and then click it to download the SVG cut files.

If you’re going to cut the vinyl decals out on your cutting machine, upload the file to your design software. I'm going to show you how to do this in Cricut Design Space. If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.

This is what the “I Need Coffee” funny faces SVG vinyl decal looks like in Cricut Design Space after uploading:

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There are three faces to choose from. If you only want to cut one, hide the others by clicking on the eye icon on the layers you do not want to cut.

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Now all we need to do is cut our vinyl! Click the green Make It button in the upper right corner.

NOTE: You should NOT mirror adhesive vinyl the way you would iron-on vinyl, so keep this Mirror toggle OFF. Click on the green CONTINUE button.

Step 2: Cut Out Your Vinyl

Now set your material. Click on Browse Material Settings and search for Permanent Vinyl.

Place your permanent adhesive vinyl shiny color side UP (right side up) on your cutting mat. Make sure the fine-point blade is loaded into your Cricut cutting machine, then load the mat in.

(Video) Cricut Mug Tutorial: Dishwasher Safe! * Beginner Friendly From Start to Finish

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Press the flashing button to GO! It will only take a minute or so to cut the faces.

When you are done cutting, flip the mat over onto your work surface and peel it away from the vinyl carefully.

Step 3: Weed Your Vinyl

Once you cut out your vinyl, you want to weed it, which means to remove all the extra bits that you don’t want to transfer to your mug. You might be able to do this with your fingernail, but you might want to use a weeding tool (I do).

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This is what your weeded vinyl will look like:

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After the vinyl is weeded, you need a piece of transfer tape to transfer your design to your mug. So you just want to cut out a piece of transfer tape that is roughly the same size, or at least the same size as your design.

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Take the backing off of the transfer tape and put it onto the front of your vinyl decal. Start at the corner and move outwards so that you don’t get creases and bubbles in your transfer tape.

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NOTE: Don’t put the vinyl sticky side down on your work surface because that will just mess with your vinyl’s ability to adhere to a mug.


Step 4: Apply the Vinyl to the Cricut Mug

Clean the surface of your mug with 91% isopropyl alcohol. This will remove any oil or dirt and get the surface as clean as possible. This will make sure the vinyl decal sticks and stays stuck permanently.

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If your coffee mug surface is straight, you're good to continue on. If your coffee mug surface is curved, take small snips around the edges of the transfer tape on your vinyl decal. These snips allow your transfer tape to bend with the curve of the mug and allow you to apply it on that curve without any creases.

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Apply the vinyl to the mug, and allow the vinyl to move where it wants to go naturally. Don’t force it into a position. Just smooth it all down, and because you cut snips in the transfer tape, it will smooth and move into place.

So even though you may have creases in your transfer tape, you won’t have creases in the vinyl. This is the secret to putting vinyl around a curved surface like this. And if you don't have a curved surface, this is even easier.

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(Video) How To Seal Decals On Tumblers & Cups, Dishwasher Safe With Vinyl Shield

Take off all the transfer tape. Your goal is to see perfectly smooth vinyl on your mug with no creases.

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Here's what your Cricut mug looks like with the vinyl on it:

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Step 5: Apply Sealer to the Cricut Mug

Permanent adhesive vinyl will hold up when hand-washed and can be run through the dishwasher... usually. It depends on your dishwasher and how rough it is with your dishes honestly. Even when you CAN dishwash your vinyl mugs, over time and after repeated washings, your vinyl may start to peel. So if you plan on cleaning your mugs regularly in a dishwasher, you can do that by sealing them with Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Sealer.

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This sealer can hold up in heat and be run through a dishwasher. It is non-toxic, but since it is not FDA approved as food safe you may choose not to seal the area along the rim where your lips will touch the mug. I like to keep about a 1/2” area just under the rim unsealed.

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To seal your mug, first re-clean it all over since you’ve been handling it and don’t want any lint or oils remaining. Follow the same process as before using 91% isopropyl alcohol.

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Now, you will coat the entire mug (except the handle) because you'll want the mug to have the same texture all over. You may choose to seal only the vinyl, but just be aware that the texture may be noticeably different in the places you apply the sealer versus the areas where you don’t.

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Brush a VERY THIN coat all over the mug using short strokes in the SAME direction using a soft and clean foam brush, leaving the area under the rim unsealed. For the smoothest finish, use as few brush strokes as possible, as it begins to set quickly. If you can brush it on with only one or two strokes, that is best.Let the mug dry an hour before adding a second coat. Repeat for a third layer.

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Note: The Mod Podge sealer will look streakier when it is wet, and will be less noticeable after it cures.

TIP: The Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Sealer is best used on light colored mugs because the brush strokes will be less visible than when using it on dark colored mugs.

If you don't like the textured look of the Mod Podge sealer, or really wish you could microwave your Cricut mugs, here's a better solution for you!

Step 6: Cure Your Cricut Mug

After the last coat of sealer, set your mug in a clean, dry location to cure for 28 days before using. It will dry hard in a couple of days, but do NOT use the mug or expose it to water until the 28 days are up!

(Yeah, I know, that's a long time. If you don't want to wait that long, use Infusible Ink and the new Cricut Mug Press)

Now your mug is ready! Be sure to place it on the top rack of your dishwasher and it should last a very long time over repeated washings!

(Video) The One Hack To Make Vinyl Mugs Dishwasher Safe

Notes

Special thanks to the Design Fairy Team, specifically Kelly and Debbie for helping me design and assemble these cute mugs!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Answers to Your Questions About Making Washable Cricut Mugs Sealed with Mod Podge

Q: What kind of vinyl can I use?
I used permanent adhesive vinyl for my Cricut mugs. Avoid removable and glitter vinyls, as they are less likely to stay stuck. See my tests with other vinyls in this video here.

Q: Can I use the Cricut Joy?
Sure! Mugs are a great project for the Cricut Joy!

Q: Can I use a different sealer?
I’ve only ever tried dishwasher Mod Podge, so I cannot offer other suggestions. I have heard people try using Crystalac Brite-Tone sealer, but I have no had an opportunity to test it yet.

Q: Where do I get Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Sealer?
You can buy it on Amazon, as well as craft stores like Michaels and Joanns.

Q: I don’t have dishwasher safe Mod Podge. Can I use a different Mod Podge?
No, as other Mod Podge sealers are water soluble and will come off as soon as you wash your Cricut mug.

Q: Can I microwave my Cricut mug?
Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Sealer can hold up in heat such as the dishwasher. Some people have reported using it in the microwave for short amounts of time, but it is NOT recommended as vinyl can create fumes when heated. If you want a microwave-safe mug, use Infusible Ink with the Cricut Mug Press.

Q: Can I wash mugs with Cricut vinyl?
Yes, and you can do it with and without the sealer. Hand washing is best, dishwasher (top rack only) is riskier but often quite possible. Sealer makes your vinyl mug much more likely to tolerate the dishwasher. But your mileage may vary.

Q: Is Mod Podge food safe?
Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Sealer is water based and non-toxic, but it is not a FDA approved food-safe product. This is why we recommend avoiding the areas around the rim of the mug where your lips will touch the surface.

Q: My sealer leaves marks and has a weird texture. How can I minimize the streaks and texture?
Very thin coats are the key to the smoothest possible finish, but keep in mind that you’ll never be able to get a completely smooth surface with Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe sealer. I also recommend using the sealer on light-colored mugs because the brush strokes will be more visible on dark colored mugs.

Get my free SVG files to Create a Cricut Mug with Funny Faces

I’d love to see YOUR vinyl design on a Cricut mug! Please share a photo in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.

Love,

Want to remember this? Save this Cricut Mug tutorial to your favorite Pinterest Board!

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(Video) How to Put Vinyl on Mugs + Vinyl Test & Cute Designs!

FAQs

Do you have to seal Cricut vinyl on mugs? ›

For example, with a mug, you're going to want to hand wash it if you don't plan to seal the vinyl. If you're going to be submerging it in water or want to run it through the dishwasher a couple times a week, then you do need to seal it.

How do you keep vinyl from coming off the mug? ›

Before you start, make sure your stainless steel tumbler or mug has been cleaned and dried. And clean the cup with rubbing alcohol. This helps to remove any remaining grease or residue that will prevent the vinyl from adhering properly. Let the vinyl cure on the cup for 48-72 hours to make sure it sticks well.

How do I make Cricut vinyl mugs dishwasher safe? ›

If you choose removable vinyl (rather than permanent), you will need to seal your project with Mod Podge Dishwasher-Safe Gloss. To get the longest life out of any vinyl, it is recommended to hand wash mugs with vinyl on them, however, using permanent vinyl does make the mug dishwasher safe!

How do you keep vinyl from peeling off glass? ›

For vinyl graphics to look good and protected, you can spray it with clear coat paint. The vinyl is less likely to peel off when clearcoat paint is applied to it. This also helps clean the glass surface easier.

What sealant is food safe for mugs? ›

Outdoor Mod Podge

It is a safe water-based sealer for ceramic pieces and other outdoor projects. It is a durable and highly water-resistant mug sealant. You can apply it on a ceramic surface on coffee mugs without worrying about chemicals and toxicity.

How do I stop my Cricut vinyl from peeling? ›

Clean Your Surface

The simplest way to keep your adhesive vinyl from peeling is to ensure the area you want to apply your decal to is clear of crumbs, dirt, or bumps. Oils from your hands create a residue that makes your decal peel as well. Also, any dirt or foreign objects on the surface can lead to peeling.

Videos

1. How to apply vinyl to a coffee mug - Beginner tutorial Cricut - Coffee cup - seal vinyl
(Corinne Blackstone)
2. Apply Permanent Vinyl on Ceramic Mugs
(Denise Humphrey)
3. How To Put HTV on Mugs With a Heat Gun or a Mug Press / HTV Vinyl on Glassware / Easy DIY Craft
(Creatively Erica)
4. How to seal vinyl on cups (Dishwasher Safe!)
(CraftHTV)
5. How To Seal Vinyl on a Starbucks Cup!
(Makers Gonna Learn )
6. DIY: PERSONALIZED COLOR CHANGING CUPS!
(Family Life with A & J)

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