print on demand white mug with ‘kind” printed in green

How to Create Custom Print on Demand Mugs: A Complete Guide

There's nothing quite like sipping your morning coffee from a mug that features your style. Whether you're looking to promote your business or simply show off your creativity, custom print-on-demand mugs are a great way to do it.

In this article, we'll show you how to create custom print-on-demand mugs using the services of an image-on-demand company. So let's get started.

What are Print Demand Mugs?

A print-on-demand mug is a type of personalized mug that is customized to suit the individual tastes of the buyer. These mugs are often made using high-quality materials, such as high-grade ceramic or glass, ensuring that they can be used and enjoyed for many years.

The printing process usually involves applying an image or text directly onto the mug's surface, giving it a sharp and vibrant appearance. Some may be customized on-demand mugs using patterns or other embodiments based on the buyer's preferences.

Overall, these mugs are a popular choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a one-of-a-kind beverage experience.

Methods of Printing Mugs

 print on demand white mug with ‘head gardener” printed in green



Printing mugs can be done in various ways, depending on the buyer's budget and preferences. Here are the five primary methods of creating custom print on demand mugs:

Direct Screen Printing

Direct screen printing is one of the most popular methods of printing designs on mugs and other types of surfaces. This printing technique involves using a particular screen tightly stretched over a frame to create a flat surface.

A stencil made from a thin piece of paper is then placed over the open portion of the screen, with areas where pigment should go left uncovered. A thick, opaque pigment is then poured into the trough around the edge of the screen, and a squeegee blade is used to push it through the holes in the stencil and onto the surface below.

Once dried, this method produces vivid, crisp prints that delight any coffee or tea lover. Whether you want to add your design or choose from one of our many template options, direct screen printing is fast and easy to customize your mugs with style.

Litho or Transfer Printing

This process involves creating a design either by hand or using computer software and then transferring the image onto a special paper that can be used for printing.

The paper is then pressed onto the mug's surface using heat and pressure, which causes it to fuse permanently with the underlying surface. Litho printing is excellent for producing detailed and precise images, making it a popular choice for adding custom mugs' branding or other design elements.

However, this method does require more specialized equipment than some other forms of mug printing, so it may not be suitable for smaller businesses.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is popular on various surfaces, including mugs and other everyday objects. Unlike traditional screen printing, digital printing allows greater flexibility and scalability, ideal for small-scale and large-volume projects.

The basic process involves loading a design template into a computer-controlled printing machine, which applies the image directly onto the object using special inks that bond permanently with the surface.

Because digital prints are so precise and detailed, they are widely used in advertising and promotional campaigns to create visually striking designs that stand out from the crowd.

Whether you're looking to decorate some promotional mugs for your business or print custom artwork on t-shirts or other clothing items, digital printing is an efficient and reliable option that will get the job done right.

Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye Sublimation Printing is a process of printing that uses special inks that are transferred to the mug through a heat press. This type of printing is excellent for full-color, photographic images.

The inks used are sublimated, meaning that they turn into gas when heated and then solidify when cooled. This process allows the inks to be absorbed by the mug, resulting in a high-quality, durable print that will not fade or peel over time. Dye Sublimation Printing is also Dishwasher safe.

Pad Printing

This method is typically used to print images on mugs, allowing for precise and detailed designs. First, a pad made from silicone or similar material is mounted on the bottom of an ink-filled cylinder.

This pad picks up a small amount of ink as it rotates, leaving a thin layer of evenly distributed ink on its surface. The cylinder then passes over the mug, transferring the desired image using static electricity and enough pressure to cause the ink to stick to the substrate. 

How to Print Mugs on Demand

print on demand black mug with ‘you can win if you want” printed in white


When printing on mugs, you need to follow key steps to get high-quality results.

Choose a Good Quality Blank Mug

You should always opt for a mug made from ceramic or porcelain, as these materials will give you the best print quality and durability results.

Select a Printer and Printing Method

Once you have your blank mug picked out, the next step is to select a printer and printing method. There are many different options for printing on coffee mugs, such as dye-sublimation printers, vinyl cutters, silkscreen ink printers, and more.

The right printer will depend mainly on the size and complexity of your design, so be sure to do your research before settling on a particular type of device.

You can use a print-on-demand company to print on your mugs to streamline operations and cut costs. Print-on-demand companies like M.i.A Merchandise use state-of-the-art machines to print coffee mugs with excellent quality, and they have a wide variety of mug colors to choose from.

Develop Your Design File

Once you have your printer sorted out, the next step is to develop your design file. You can use software like Adobe InDesign or Photoshop. Remember that your final print file needs to be set up in CMYK color mode with at least 300 dpi resolution.

When in doubt, consult with someone who has experience working with printed merchandise or custom mugs to avoid any potential mistakes.

Print a Test Mug

Before you print your final design, it's always good to do a test print on a spare mug to ensure everything looks correct. Once you're happy with the results, you can move on to printing your mugs in bulk.

If you follow these steps, you'll be able to create custom printed mugs that are perfect for both personal and professional use.

Factors to Consider Before You Print on Mugs

Before you print on mugs, there are several factors you need to consider. Such as;

  • Type of MugDifferent materials require different printing methods and inks. For example, ceramic mugs need to be glazed before being printed on, while plastic cups can print on directly.
  • Ink TypeYou'll also need to choose the right type of ink. Some mugs can only be printed with heat-resistant inks, while others can only print with water-based inks.
  • Design SizeAdditionally, you'll need to consider the size of your design. Make sure it's not too big or too small for the mug surface.
  • Quantity of Mugs: Think about how many mugs you want to print. Printing in larger quantities can save you money, but you'll need to have enough space to store all the mugs until they're ready to be shipped out.

You can ensure that your custom printed mugs turn out just as you want them by taking all these factors.



Printing on mugs is a great way to create unique and personalized gifts for friends, family, or customers. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your custom mugs look great.

Just be sure to choose the right type of mug, ink, and design size before you get started. And don't forget to print a test mug before printing in bulk!

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