What are Sublimation Tumblers?


The process whereby a substance changes directly into a gaseous state from a solid state without going through a liquid state can be referred to as sublimation. Sublimation printing is an innovative technology that involves the use of special sublimation transfer paper and sublimation ink. One of the by-products of this innovation are sublimation tumblers.

How is Sublimation Done on Tumblers?

A sublimation Tumbler is a blank stainless steel (tumbler) that has been printed on with a sublimation ink. The sublimation printing process can be done at home because of its ease of operation and low cost.

This printing process is carried out by coating with a special polymer under high temperatures. Solid ink is imprinted into a polyester by heating it directly into gas. During this process, the pattern on the sublimation paper will be sublimated on the Tumblers. The result of this process is a high quality design that becomes a permanent part of the tumbler.

It should be noted that not any kind of tumblers can be used for the sublimation process. The tumblers used should have polyester coatings that the sublimation ink can bond with during the heating process.

The sublimation process on tumblers can be carried out in two ways:

  • Using a heat press machine
  • Printing with convection oven

Materials needed

Whichever method of printing is being used, some basic materials are required. These are:

  • Sublimation paper
  • Heat press machine or convection oven (depending on the method being used)
  • Tumbler blanks
  • Sublimation ink
  • Heat gloves and heat-resisting tape
  • Heat gun and shrink wrap (only required using the convection oven)

Tumbler sublimation requires a few simple steps that must be followed to achieve desirable results.


  1. Make ready on your computer the desired pattern to be used on the tumbler. Once that is achieved, preheat the heat press or convection oven.
  2. Using a sublimation printer, print out the chosen pattern on sublimation paper. The height and width of the pattern should match perfectly with the height and width of the tumbler.
  3. Place the already printed pattern on a table and place the blank tumbler at the center. Wrap the paper tightly around the tumbler and once that is done, tape the paper edges with heat-resistant tape.
  4. Using a heat press machine, heat press it for 60-90 seconds depending on the heat press being used.
  5. If a convection oven is being used, after wrapping the tumbler, it should be put in a shrink wrap. Use a heat gun to shrink the wrap tightly around the tumbler.
  6. Place in a preheated convection oven for 3-5 minutes. You should be able to see the print on the paper getting lighter and becoming clearly seen on the tumbler.
  7. Once the transfer is complete, using heat gloves, bring it out, place at room temperature and allow to cool down for 6-8 minutes. When cooling is complete, remove the shrink wrap, heat-resistant tape and sublimation paper from it.

A lovely looking completed sublimated tumbler will be seen.


Right now, sublimation on tumblers is a greatly sought after process in the market. Having the right equipment and knowledge makes this process a fun one. Making sublimation tumblers is a great DIY skill to learn, especially if you love your science. The article gives detailed steps on how to go about it.


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