Mug Sublimation Time and Temp Guideline [For Mug Press and Convection Ovens]

Are you frustrated with sublimating mug after mug only to achieve the perfect sublimation design? Your designs are either coming out faded or not embedded into the mug. 

Now why is this happening? It’s because you’re not using the correct mug sublimation time and temp. 

You should keep the mug exposed to heat for around 150-500 seconds in a mug press and 300-900 seconds in a convection oven. The temperature should be within 360-400°F depending on the manufacturer and substrate. 

I’ve created a master chart describing the mug sublimation time and temperature for all substrates. Keep reading the article below to create a vibrant and durable sublimation print.

Mug Sublimation Time, Temperature, And Pressure Guide

Now, sublimation isn’t just a traditional printing technique. Applying the correct temperature at the necessary pressure points for a required period of time allows the ink to transform into a gaseous state. Only then, the sublimation ink can be embedded into a substrate. 

So, for mug sublimation, it’s crucial to maintain the time, temperature, and pressure appropriately. In case you fail to do so, the mug will either receive a faded or cracked sublimation design. 

Keep reading the following segments to learn more about it below.  

Mug Press Times

Mug press times indicate how long you should keep a sublimation substrate under the heat press to transfer the sublimation ink on the substrate. 

If you’re sublimating a Ceramic mug, you should keep the mug in the mug press for 150-210 seconds. On the other hand, Cricut mug sublimation time and temp are around 360 seconds and 392℉. 

Note that you can’t use a mug press for glass sublimation mugs. In this case, you’ll have to use a convection oven which we’ll discuss later.

Now, if you keep the mug in the heat press for longer than the necessary time, the design will come out faded or cracked. Conversely, too little mug press time will not transfer the ink to the substrate properly. 

Mug Temperatures

Similar to mug press time, the temperature of the heat also impacts the quality of the mug press sublimation. Typically, mug press temperature and time range from 350-400°F for 150-210 seconds. This is especially applicable to Ceramic mugs. 

If you’re using glass as a substrate, you should keep the temperature between 400°F to 425°F for a durable result. However, note that the sublimation time and temp for 100% polyester are between 385°F-400°F and 45-60 seconds at medium pressure.

Maintaining the mug press temperature is crucial because low temperatures can produce light and faded colors. On the other hand, if you apply more heat than the required amount, the ink will get overcooked and damage the substrate.  


Finally, without applying the correct pressure in the mug press, the sublimation design will not evenly transfer to the substrate. Usually, mug presses require light to medium pressure. 

You should apply light pressure of 35 psi for glass mugs and medium pressure of 40 psi for Ceramic mugs. 

Remember that if you apply more pressure than the required amount, the sublimation ink will start bleeding. It can also damage the substrate.  

All Types of Mug Sublimation Press Time, Temperatures, and Pressure Master Chart

So, as you’re now aware of the importance of mug press time, temperature, and pressure, here’s a master chart I crafted for your ease. 

Whether you’re using Ceramic, glass, or any other substrate, this chart will help you to apply the correct temperature, and pressure for the required amount of time.  

Mug Type/SurfacesPress Time (Second)Temperature (°F / °C)Pressure (PSI)Comment
Ceramic Mug150-210 seconds360 – 400 / 182 – 20440 PSIYou must cool down the ceramic mug after removing the transfer paper. Avoid using cold water instead of warm water in the cooling process. 
Cricut Mug350-360 seconds392 – 400 / 200 – 20440 PSIMake sure to preheat the mug press for 5 minutes before sublimating the Cricut Mug. 
Glass180 – 240 seconds360 – 400 / 182 – 204 40 PSIExcessive pressure can break the glass. Wear protective gear and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. 
Frosted Glassware 240-300 seconds360 – 390 / 182 – 19935 PSIThis material is prone to shrinkage within time and temperature application. 
Stainless SteelDrinkware45 seconds375 / 19140 PSIIt can also shrink in oven time and temperature.  
Metal/Aluminum (Unisub)60-80 seconds400 / 20440 PSIYou must remove the plastic coating before sublimation. Keep the product face upwards. 
Metal/Aluminum (Others)60 seconds400 / 20440 PSIThe time varies from manufacturer to manufactures. So, you must check the instruction manual. 
Single Wall Metal150-210 seconds375-400 / 191 – 20435 – 40 PSIExcessive pressure will result in deforming the product’s shape. So, you must be careful with the temperature and pressure. 
Double wall (insulated) Metal150-210 seconds375-400 / 191 – 20435 – 40 PSIYou must use thermal tape for sublimating a double wall (insulated) metal. 
Enamel Mug240-270 seconds360 / 18232-38 PSIThe mug press should reach the ideal temperature before heat press. Don’t put more pressure than the required amount or else, the mug wil get cracked. 
Polymer-Coated Mug80-90 seconds400 / 20432-38 PSIAir dry after sublimation. Don’t use water right after sublimating the mug.
Plastic Tumbler280 seconds338 / 17035 – 40 PSIBe careful about raising temperatures as plastic can melt. 
Color-Changing Mug160 seconds360 / 18032-35 PSI
Ceramic Shot Glass190 seconds385 / 19640-80 PSIYou should use Windex or rubbing alcohol periodically to make the adhesion more strong around the glass.
Bone China Mug180 seconds356 / 18032-35 PSIMake sure the mug has straight edges. 
Stoneware Mug150-210 seconds355 – 400 / 180 – 20435-50 PSIKeep the transfer paper tightly wrapped on the stoneware mug before sublimation.
Porcelain Mug150-210 seconds355 – 400 / 180 – 20435 – 40 PSIYou can clean porcelain mugs in the dishwasher. 

So, by maintaining the mug press time, temperature, and pressure for each substrate discussed above, you’ll able to sublimate perfectly every time. 

Mug Sublimation Time and Temp


How To Print Sublimation Mugs?

To print sublimation mugs, you must follow the 7 steps given below.

  • First, you have to select a design appropriate for sublimation mugs.
  • Then, print out the design through a sublimation printer.
  • After that, trim the sides of the design so that the design fits your mug perfectly.
  • Then, adjust the mug presses temperature and time depending on the substrate.
  • Put the mug inside the mug press and apply the required about of pressure.
  • After the sublimation is done, remove the mug from the press.
  • Finally, cool down the mug with warm water. 

Remember that you must set the temperature and time of the mug press before placing the mug inside. As soon as the mug press hits the timer, you’ll know the mug press is ready to sublimate. 

How Long To Sublimate A Mug

It takes around 10 minutes to sublimate a mug entirely. In these 10 minutes, you should keep 1-2 minutes for preheating the heat press or convection oven, 5-6 minutes for the sublimation process, and finally 1-2 minutes for cooling. 

However, the time can vary depending on the substrate material. Stainless steel and metal substrates take less time to sublimate compared to ceramic or glass substrates. It’s because steel and metal have a high conductivity rate. So, the sublimation process is faster in this case. 

Again, glass and ceramic sublimation mugs are delicate materials. You need to be careful while sublimating these mugs as they are more prone to breakage.  

Time And Temp For Sublimation Mugs In Convection Oven

Now, if you want to sublimate mugs in a convection oven, you have to be careful about the time and temperature. 

Sublimation mug press and convection oven have different press times and temperatures which you should maintain accurately. If you use the mug press time for the convection oven, you will not receive a good result. 

Convection Oven Time

Sublimating in a convection oven takes more time than sublimating in a mug press. Usually, the range of sublimation period for a convection oven is between 60 and 900 seconds. 

On average, it takes around 300 seconds or 5 minutes to complete a sublimation process in a convection oven.

The time actually depends on the substrate you’re using. Steels, Aluminum, and Metal substrates take less time than Ceramic and Glass mugs. 

Convection Oven Temperatures

Now, speaking of the convection oven temperatures, it takes around 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to complete a full sublimation cycle. 

Glass and ceramic sublimation mugs require less temperature than metal and stainless steel substrates. It’s because glass and ceramics can easily break at high temperatures.  

However, you should be careful while increasing the temperature for metal substrates. Metal deforms when the temperature is more than its capacity. In this case, you should wear protective gloves to avoid any unwanted accidents. 

Mug Type/SurfacesPress Time (Second)Temperature (°F / °C)Pressure (PSI)Comment
Ceramic Mug720-900 seconds380 – 400 / 193 – 20440 PSIStart a countdown timer as soon as the convection oven is ready to sublimate. This will help you to avoid high temperatures. 
Cricut Mug900 seconds420 / 21640 PSIFollow the precautions the same as Ceramic Mug sublimation. 
Pint Glass 480 – 900 seconds360 – 390 / 182 – 199 40 PSIThe convection oven is the most reliable option for glass substrate. However, be careful in cooling the sublimated item, or else it will break. 
Stainless SteelDrinkware900 seconds400 / 20440 PSIUse heat-resistant gloves for removing the mug from the oven.   
Metal/Aluminum (Unisub)60-80 seconds400 / 20440 PSIMake sure to use blow-out paper for better results. 
Metal/Aluminum (Others)60 seconds400 / 20440 PSIThe time can vary depending on the manufacturer’s brands. 
Single Wall Metal300-360 seconds375-400 / 191 – 20435 – 40 PSIDon’t apply more pressure than the required amount. 
Double wall (insulated) Metal360-420 seconds375-400 / 191 – 20435 – 40 PSIUsing thermal tape for sublimating will ease the process. 
Enamel Mug240-270 seconds390-400 / 199-20435 – 40 PSI
Polymer-Coated Mug720-840 seconds380-400 / 193 – 20432-35 PSI
Travel Mug (with Silicone Lid)600-1080 seconds400-425 / 204-218N/A
Ceramic Shot Glass720-840 seconds380-400 / 193 – 20435 – 40 PSIBe careful as each step can be tricky to sublimate. 
Bone China Mug120 seconds360 / 18032-35 PSICool down the mug for several minutes before taking off the peel. 
Stoneware Mug180-420 seconds400 / 20435 – 40 PSIEnsure proper baking time or else the design will come out faded. 
Porcelain Mug300-420 seconds400 / 20435 – 40 PSIUse heat tapes to secure the transfer paper on the porcelain mugs. 


Can I Use The Same Sublimation Time And Temperature For All Types Of Mugs?

No, you can’t use the same sublimation time and temperature for all types of mugs. The time and temperature should be different depending on the substrate. 

How Do I Determine The Correct Sublimation Time And Temperature For Different Sublimation Ink Or Mug Brands?

You can determine the correct sublimation time and temperature for different sublimation ink or mug brands by checking the user manual. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions properly, you’ll be able to avoid mistakes. 

What Happens If I Use Incorrect Sublimation Time And Temperature Settings For Mug Printing?

If you use incorrect sublimation time and temperature settings for mug printing, the quality of sublimation will be impacted. In case the time and temperature are more than required, the mug will get damaged.  Again, if the heat press isn’t hot enough or you don’t keep the mug for enough time, the design will come out faded. In some cases, the sublimation ink will not transfer at all. 

Can I Reuse Sublimation Time And Temperature Settings For Multiple Print Runs On The Same Type Of Mug?

Yes, you can reuse the sublimation time and temperature settings for multiple runs on the same type of mug. But you must figure out the appropriate time and temperature for the material of the mug. Otherwise, the sublimation will not sustain for multiple prints. 

Final Words

So, I hope you have no confusion about mug sublimation time and temp anymore. Though I’ve provided a master chart for both mug press and convection oven sublimation, you should always check the manufacturer’s guidelines too. 

It’s because each brand requires different times, temperatures, and pressure. But if there’s no proper guideline for your mug, you can use the master chart I’ve provided in this article.

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Robert Handel
Robert Handel

Robert Handel is a successful entrepreneur, blogger, and printing expert based in Colesville, Maryland. He began his journey in the printing industry back in 2012, when he started working in a small printing shop. Robert was instantly drawn to the process of printing and quickly learned how to use the printers on his own.

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