What is a Sublimation Oven?

Those who are running a printing business or are thinking of opening their own design and printing business would need a heat press to transfer designs onto different surfaces. However, while there are plenty of heat presses that you can use for flat surfaces such as shirts and mousepads, it can be difficult to find a good mug heat press because of how expensive it is. The good news is that you can sublimate your designs on your mug using a sublimation oven. But what is a sublimation oven?

A sublimation oven is just basically a convection oven that can be used for mug sublimation. What you do is print on a sublimation printer using sublimation paper and sublimation ink. You can now place the paper on the mug and put it in the oven to transfer the design to it.

Sublimation Oven

Because of how expensive sublimation heat presses can be and how it can be difficult to find heat presses that can transfer designs on mugs, ovens have become the best alternative. And the best part is that plenty of households have convection ovens that they can use for mug sublimation. This should be a good idea if you are merely starting out with your business.

What is a sublimation oven?

Those who are running a design and printing business or are looking to open something similar to that venture would know how important heat presses are. A heat press is basically what you use to transfer your design onto the surface that you want the design to be on. Heat presses use heat to transfer the ink onto the surfaces of different materials such as shirts and mousepads.

However, many design and printing businesses are also tasked to transfer designs on mugs. This can be a problem because of how some of the entry-level heat presses are designed to be unable to transfer designs onto mugs. Heat presses such as clamshell and swing away types tend to be the best for those who are merely starting out or are not sublimating onto cylindrical surfaces, but they cannot be used on mugs unless they have the attachment.

On top of that, if you are thinking of buying a sublimation heat press or a multi-purpose heat press, you are going to have to spend a lot of money. While you should be able to use such heat presses when you look at things from a long-term perspective, there are some small design and printing businesses that are not capable of investing in such heat presses. This is where sublimation ovens come in as alternatives to mug heat presses. But what are sublimation ovens?

In the most basic sense, there originally was no such thing as a sublimation oven. That’s because a sublimation oven is simply a convection oven or a standard oven with a convection setting. Most of the newer ovens in the market are convection ovens or, at the very least, come with a convection setting.

What makes a convection oven different from a regular oven is that it uses a fan that allows the hot air inside the oven to move around and circulate all throughout the oven’s interior so that the heat is evenly transferred around the food to cook it efficiently and evenly. This method also allows the oven to save energy because it no longer has to produce a lot of heat as it merely recycles the hot air that it produces.

The reason why it has become an alternative for a mug heat press is that the convection method of cooking that convection ovens come with is actually effective at transferring sublimation ink onto different surfaces that are resistant to heat.

Because of how there are now plenty of different businesses and people who learned that convection ovens could be used for sublimation, there are now convection ovens that are specifically made for that purpose. This was how the sublimation oven was born, as this oven is just a convection oven that was specifically made for the purpose of sublimation.

What is a sublimation oven for?

The main purpose of a sublimation oven is to transfer designs from a sublimation paper onto a heat-resistant material. In most cases, the material is a ceramic mug because of how it became popular for different people to use ordinary convection ovens to transfer their designs onto mugs in the absence of mug heat presses.

You could also transfer designs on bottles that are resistant to heat using a sublimation oven. However, other types of materials, such as shirts and mousepads, are probably out of the question here because they are most likely going to burn up when you use them for your sublimation oven.

So, if you are someone who is starting a printing business, you might want to try getting a sublimation oven depending on the demand for mug printing. However, if the demand is slow, you might want to stick to using your convection oven at home if you want to transfer designs onto mugs and bottles.

How to use a sublimation oven for mug sublimating

If you want to know how to use a sublimation oven for sublimating or transferring designs on coffee mugs, you first need to get the following:

Sawgrass SG1000 Printer Bundle

Here is what you need to do next:

  1. Print whatever design you want to put on your mug using your sublimation printer. Make sure that the design is printed on sublimation paper using sublimation ink, or else the process won’t work.
  2. Cut the image from the sublimation paper and tape it on your mug using thermal tape. Always use thermal tape because it will not melt or burn in the oven. Make sure that you center the image you want to put on your mug on the right location.
  3. Get your mug wrap and wrap it around the mug using a mag wrap buckle. You should be able to find this online or in specialty stores.
  4. Place the mug in the oven and set the oven to 425 degrees F. Allow the mug to sit in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, remove the mag wrap and the peel. Do this while the mug is still hot. When removing the mug and the peel, always make sure that you are wearing mittens to protect your hands from getting burned.
  6. You should already be able to see the design on your mug after peeling the sublimation paper and thermal tape from it while it was still hot.

Final Thoughts

Sublimation ovens are fantastic mug, tumblers and other hard surface substrates. If you want to do more than hard substrates you will also need a good heat press. Now that you know what sublimation ovens are and how to use them, get one and start making mugs, tumblers and more!

I also want to note here real quick, an oven that has been used for sublimation (eve just once) should NEVER be used for food again. The sublimation process releases gasses and chemicals that can be harmful to ingest, so if you chose the sublimation oven route make sure you commit that oven to just that purpose.

Be sure to check out some other nifty functional craft ideas through our other posts here on Craft-ILY as well as checking out some videos on DIY and How To’s over on YouTube. Look for “Crafting Unedited” or just click the name in blue to see!


Hi! I’m Cierra and I’m a craftaholic! I’ve been crafting for a few years now and it’s honestly become my zen. I love crafting, fitness, spending time with my family and friends doing whatever the day allows, peacocks (hence the logo), the beach and adrenaline - give me all the roller coasters and fast cars!

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