How to use Heat Transfer Vinyl on Mugs

how to apply htv to mug with a heat gun

Heat transfer vinyl on unconventional surfaces looks so good, and because it's not shiny like Oracal 651, it looks very professional. For this project we decided to experiment with iron-on foil for fabric, glitter HTV, regular smooth HTV and smooth metallic HTV.

mugs with htv

 The silver is smooth HTV, the black is glitter HTV, the gold is foil HTV and the yellow (below) is regular smooth HTV.

For this project, you will need:

  • Craftables Smooth HTV or whatever iron-on vinyl you choose to use
  • a heat gun
  • a mug! Make sure it's porcelain, not plastic.
  • a squeegee or credit card
  • a towel or oven mitt to protect your hands from the heat!
applying htv with heat gun

Our heat gun is just a standard industrial heat gun and our mug is your run of the mill white ceramic mug.

How we did it:

  • First, we made sure our iron-on vinyl design fit on our mug.
  • We then placed our design where we liked on our mug.
  • To make the design lay flat, we cut between the petals so the vinyl could more easily bend to the curves of the mug. For the eye design we did not have to do this!
  • Next we turned our heat gun on the higher setting and applied it at a slight distance to the design on the mug. Make sure you have a towel on hand because your mug will get hot!
  • Apply the heat no more than 5 seconds at a time, and in between heat cycles use your squeegee or credit card to make sure the HTV is sticking and smooth on your mug. If you apply too much heat for too long your carrier sheet will start to shrink and that will warp your design.
  • Once your design seems to be completely adhered to your mug (ours took around 6 cycles of heat, 5 seconds each cycle) let your mug cool for around 20 seconds.
  • After 20 seconds, peel off your carrier sheet and enjoy!
heat gun and htv mug

One last tip- these mugs are not dishwasher safe so it would be best to hand wash this design. This is a great method to apply a decorative element to projects that won't have to be exposed to hot water. You can easily preserve this design by hand washing the inside and the rim. We had the hardest time removing the foil HTV from the surface of the mug and in my opinion, it looked the best! So if you're looking for a more permanent option, try the foil HTV!

heat gun with htv

So it is possible to apply Heat transfer vinyl to a porcelain mug with a heat gun! 

foil htv on mug

Keep creating!

We're excited to use this process to apply HTV to decorate:

  • plates
  • pint glasses
  • picture frames
  • candle votives
  • vase
  • bowls
  • trays
  • cell phone cases
glitter htv on mug

If you have any other ideas or have tried this, let us know what you think in the comments below! Feel free to pin this post and try it later. If you're looking for any other tips on heat transfer vinyl, check out our heat settings post!

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