How To Easily Apply Vinyl To Curved Surfaces – Vinyl On Mugs

Wanting some tips on how to apply vinyl to a curved surface?


I still remember the first time I tried to apply vinyl to a mug. I hadn’t realized how different it was to apply vinyl to a flat surface, and the result was a bit of a wonky flop!


I’ve learnt a lot since then, and want to share my tips and tricks on how to apply vinyl on mugs.


How To Apply Vinyl On Mugs


How To Put Vinyl On A Curved Surface


Types of rounded surfaces for vinyl?

  • mugs and cups
  • tumblers and glasses
  • water bottles
  • vases
  • Christmas ornaments


What are we using in this project?

  1.  Cricut Glitter Vinyl
  2. The Cricut Tool Set 
  3. The Explore Air 2


The focus of this post is applying vinyl onto the curved surface of a mug, and so I’m not going into too much detail about cutting the decal.


Consider these posts if you’d like more info on how to cut vinyl with a Cricut machine!

free cricut fall SVGS

How to personalize a blank Starbucks Tumbler with vinyl

christmas mug decals

Reverse weeding a Christmas mug decal using the Maker


Cricut Vinyl On Mugs


1. Prepare your mug


Prepare your curved surface by wiping it with rubbing alcohol, and allowing it to dry completely. If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol then simply give it a good hot wash.


cricut vinyl on mugs


2. Apply transfer tape


Apply transfer tape to the cut and weeded design, and burnish it with a squeegee or a scraper tool. Make sure the transfer tape is going to pick up the vinyl well.


I recommend using standard Cricut transfer tape for a project like this, not the strong grip or light grip.


vinyl decals for mugs


3. Cut away excess tape


Once the transfer tape is applied, cut away the excess tape as close as you can around the outside of your design. This will make it easier to apply.


Depending on the specific design, take some scissors and make slits in the top, bottom, and sides of the backing paper (and transfer tape). As you’ll see later on, cutting slits will make your design much easier to apply.


As you can see with my monogram design, I wasn’t able to make slits in the top or bottom of my design (because of the frame), but I made a slit in each side.


how to put vinyl on cups


4.  Remove backing paper


Peel back half the backing paper and cut it off, leaving half behind.


how to seal vinyl on a mug


5. Position the design


Position the vinyl decal onto the mug and start by pressing it down the middle to secure it in place. Press from the middle first, and then slowly out to the edge.


Depending on your design and where you have cut your slits, press your design down in sections.


With my design, as I have cut a slit on either side, I could secure one quarter down first, and then work on the second quarter. This is much easier than trying to get one whole side perfect at once!


vinyl for cups


6. Apply the vinyl decal


Now you have one side completely done. To start on the other side, remove the remaining backing paper.


what type of vinyl to use for cups


7. Press design


Once again, focus on one section at a time, and press from the middle out towards the edge.


vinyl monogram stickers for cups


8. Burnish the decal


Use your burnishing tool or scraper to ensure it is completely stuck down.


vinyl monogram design


9. Remove transfer tape


As you have slits cut in the transfer tape, this will allow you to easily rip it off in sections. I was able to remove half of my design at a time (which is especially helpful if parts of your design are small and intricate).


vinyl on mugs tutorial


Remove the transfer tape by rolling it back onto itself. Do this nice and slowly, making sure every part of your design has stuck properly to the mug. If any part of the design has not adhered, roll the tape back and place and burnish it again.


how to put a flat sticker on a round surface


10. Leave to settle


Now you’re all done – easy peasy!


Leave the vinyl to cure for at least 24 hours before using and washing your mug.


how to put vinyl on cups


Vinyl Decals For Mugs


What rounded surfaces have you played with?


Here are another couple of ‘vinyl on round surface‘ projects we’ve shared on the blog!


custom stainless steel tumbler

Applying vinyl on a stainless steel water bottle – using Oracal 651

how to apply vinyl to bottle

Applying vinyl on glass bottles – using Cricut Metallics Vinyl


This video also has some tips on applying vinyl to a curved surface.



How To Seal Vinyl On A Mug


How To Seal Vinyl On A MugIt’s not absolutely necessary to seal the vinyl on your mug or tumbler.


While you should handwash your custom vinyl mugs, even unsealed decals will last a long time in the dishwasher. Seriously, I have mugs with unsealed Oracal 651 on them that have been through the dishwasher over 100 times and still look great!


However, if you wanted to be safe, or if you were selling custom mugs, you should use Modpodge to seal the vinyl on the mug.


Let us know what you’re working on in the comments below!


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Comments 4

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