Sublimating Mug Issues? Here’s Help!

troubleshooting_mug We recently received a technical support inquiry into troubleshooting bad results when sublimating mugs. Our customer was getting faded, blurry images and we obviously worked with them individually to get their mugs looking beautiful and vibrant. So, what do YOU do if you start getting less than desirable outcomes?

Here’s a quick checklist for you to review:

  • If you’re just getting yellow shading on the mug, there’s a good chance you’re actually using inkjet ink, NOT sublimation ink (which is required to sublimate onto mugs).
  • Make sure you’re using the correct time and temperature for your mug press. Most mug presses will require different times and temperatures for pressing mugs (and water bottles, steins, etc.). Our Mug Master Pro actually has an idle temperature which is lower than the actual pressing temperature, allowing the mug to heat up with the mug press. Here’s a list of drinkware pressing instructions for the two mug presses we currently carry (and one that we used to carry).
  • If it appears the image is blurry, there’s a chance you may be over-pressing the mug, meaning the ink is gassing out and spreading over more area than it should. You can also tell if you’re over-pressing the mug if the black colors appear brown-ish.
  • If the black colors in your image appear green-ish after pressing, it usually means you’re under-pressing the mug.
  • Use an ICC profile or PowerDriver when printing with Sawgrass inks in order to get the best color out of your sublimation ink.
  • The quality of the image on the mug may be poor because the actual image quality is poor. We suggest a DPI of 300 for sublimation printing. Not sure what that means? Here’s a great blog that will help you understand the difference between a good image and a bad images.
  • Author: Kim Kelley

    Kim Kelley works in technical support, marketing and social networking at Coastal Business Supplies.

33 thoughts on “Sublimating Mug Issues? Here’s Help!”

  1. Hello,

    My problem is actually colour shifting or so,
    The cyan is dull, and the black turns to be brownish.
    although my print on paper is perfect and doesnt even seems to be dull or washed out,
    yet after the press i don’t see much of a difference that happens to the paper.
    the Magenta and yellow are vivid on the mug.

    any suggestions for this issue?


  2. Hello, i am using dye sublimation paper, sublimation ink, when i put the image in the mug, i placed it in the mug press, i left it there on 358 degrees, for over 40 seconds, when the buzzer sounds i take the mug off, it i super hot, i peeled off the image nothing, the image does not transfer, it seems veeeeery fade, and if i touch it the ink does not stay in the mug at all, washed out, i am doing something wrong? i am using a mug that is already shine, nothing on it, it is just shine surface, no images on it, i am using the wrong mug? can you please help? please email me, i will send you some pictures, i hope you can help me.

    thank you.

    1. Hello Henry,

      It actually just sounds like you are not using sublimation coated mugs. If they were coated they could still hold the ink even with a faded image. You would needs mugs like the ones we have HERE in order to get a good image. Also the suggested time and temperature for our mugs is 400° F for 3-4 minutes.

  3. My problem is that my images are coming out yellowish. I heard that happens when you dont use dye ink but im using pigment. So my question will be is pigment okay to use for mugs? if not where is a good source for dye ink?

    1. What inks and printer are you using? We do know that some Epson printer will sometimes use more yellow and that can be adjusted through the color management tool under printer properties.

  4. Hi,

    My question is how come my image comes out very faded? The ink stays, image is clear, it just does not transfer completely. Even the paper has ink on it still. I use the same machine and paper for phone cases and those turn out fine so I’m not sure what else it is.

    The machine doesn’t close all the way (like a cm open with 15oz mug) but videos of people doing it are the same way (unless they use 11oz)?

    1. Hello Kevin,

      A faded image can mean a few things. Either your time and temperatures are off or your pressure is not sufficient. Depending on your press here are some suggested time and temperatures to try:
      Single Temperature Press: 400°F for 3-4 minutes
      Two Temperature Pres: Idle: 380°F; Pressing: 385°F for 180-200 seconds.

      If you are utilizing these temperatures already you may want to adjust the pressure for your press.

  5. Hi!

    My problem is that most of the image in the mug is clear, but the ends of image ( near handles) are unclear. The tapemarks are also visible. What´s wrong?

    1. Hello Tuula,

      So there a couple of possibilities that explain what you are experiencing. The blurriness near the handle could be due to the limitations of your presses heating ability. We find most presses have up to three area where heat can be rapidly lost and cause issues like that. Those areas are the top of the mug,the bottom of the mug, and the handle. The first two can usually be remedied by making to use a hotter heat setting and making sure your mug is centered in the press. The handle is a little more limited, the best way we have found to help this area is to make sure our design is 3/4-1 inch away from the handle on each side. This helps make sure the element of the heat press is completely covering the design and providing the proper amount of pressure in that area.

      As far as the the tape leaving marks that can be due to too much pressure. I usually tell customers to completely release the pressure then place in the mug while it is cold and lock down the press. Then take the mug by the handle and move it back and forth in the machine, while at the came time tightening the pressure. The moment you cannot easily move the mug, turn the knob an 1/8th of a rotation more and you should have adequate pressure. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

  6. Hi if you printing the color changer do U also have to wait for 3-4 minutes and what if the pressor beep before 3 minutes

    1. Hello Vusi,

      Yes our color changing mugs do use the same time and temperature as our standard white ones. As far as your press beeping at the incorrect time, if its one purchased from us, we may be able to help see whats causing the issue, otherwise you would need to contact the manufacturer for better help.

  7. Hello – I am getting what seems to be “blowout” or off-gassing, it shows up as a dash pattern, usually in the same place, at the top of the mug. it is more obvious with designs that are sharply defined. Any ideas? Thanks!

  8. Hello Smith,
    I am facing colour issue.My problem is that my images are coming out light in black area and other colours are fine.But if I increase the time than black become brownish and the image is looks like melting in black area(eg. hair).I am using 330C at 150sec to get almost good result except black areas.
    printer: epson L805
    ink: VMS sublimation ink
    What are the solution to get perfect output(clear and contrast)?

  9. Hi there, my problem is that nothing appears in the mug. Its very hot but the image does not sublimate. I have sublimate ink, wonderfull mugs to sublimate, and a new press mug that doest it all as if its work, but the result is the one i mention. What can i do?

  10. Hi, I’m printing mugs, everything ok at the beginning but after some use or a few days the ink starts fading or moving away. Any idea of the problem? Should I put the mug in cold water after pressing?

  11. Hi the problem with me in mug printing is that most of the time the edges( usually the bottom side ) are faded. Kindly suggest.

  12. Hi, when i press the mug nothing besides the shadow of the image comes out. there is no color what so ever. iv tried over 20 times and only the shape of the photo comes out but no color.

    im doing at 200 degrees for 4 min

    im really confused

  13. Hi,
    I am getting a faint red pattern on my mugs wherever there is blank space.
    Ie, where the paper has no ink on.
    It is only very faint but would like to remove.
    Any ideas whats causing this and how to get rid of it?

    1. Hello George,

      This usually caused by over-spray from a dirty or broken print head. They will sometimes leave a faint pattern that only becomes visible when it begins gassing off. So I would look at your printer manual to see how they suggest cleaning it.

    2. This is usually due to an over active print head spraying a mist of ink that only shows when it gasses of. You would need to contact whomever you purchased it from to see about fixing the issue.

  14. Hi. Why is it that whatever I print on our magic mug, one can still see a seeming halftone or shadow of the print even it the mug is cold or room temperature. Aren’t magic mugs when not hot appear as solid color without revealing any clue of any design unde except when hot? Is the problem quality of our magic mug or is it our print? Pls. Let me know.

    1. Hello IDOD,

      This issue is standard among all magic mugs. It does not have to do with the quality of the print or mug.

      The issue lies in the fact that the mugs are covered with a thermal activated coating on top of the sublimation base. This coasting can never be truly opaque. This is due to the process of sublimation. In order to sublimate on these mugs, the ink that turns into gas during the pressing process has to pass through the thermal coating. Therefore, the thermal coasting must be thin and will not be a solid color such as black.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      – The Coastal Crew

  15. I’m having an issue placing the image on the mug without getting some sort of ink spots from the images into the white background. don’t see it on the mug until I press them. its like ink from the image rubs on on to the white background paper and when press they show up on the mugs. how can I press clean logos artwork with a white background on the mugs without having the ink rub on the ceramic white mugs?

    1. Hello,

      One way to make sure you are not getting any excess ink in the negative space would be to have paper that covers the entire surface area of the mug. If you do have that, then it is very possible that your printer has an overactive print head. It is spraying out excess ink, however you won’t be able to see it until pressed. Another common thing is that dust or little fibers can look like ink spots once pressed on the mug. You’ll want to make sure the mug is wiped clean, and your paper doesn’t have anything on it as well when you go to wrap it around your mug.

      Coastal Business Supplies

Comments are closed.