How to print a picture on a mug

Updated February 21, 2017

A custom-made photo mug can be a personal present for a friend or family member or a way to advertise your business. There are several ways to print a photo on a mug, depending on how many mugs you actually need and what your budget is. Do some research beforehand to find out which method would be the most cost effective for your needs.

Transfer your photo to your mug yourself using a transfer paper called decal paper. You can purchase this at a craft or hobby store. You'll need to use your photo program on your computer to choose a photo from your hard drive (or scan one in, if you have a scanner), resize it and print it out on to the shiny decal paper. You will then spray fixative spray on to the image, and stick the decal on to the mug. Dry it gently, and never put your mug into a dishwasher.

Heat transfer your photograph to your mug using a heat press. This is a professional heating device specifically used to transfer photos to mugs. These machines can be expensive, but it may be worth it if you are planning to make a lot of mugs frequently or as part of your business or if you just need a large quantity of mugs. Follow the directions when using the mug press, and be careful; they heat up to 204 degrees C (400 degrees F).

Navigate to a website such as Snapfish, Zazzle or CafePress to make your mug. This is handy if you only need a couple of mugs and don't want to deal with the hassle of making them yourself. All you will have to do is upload the image you want on your mug to the website, choose what type of mug you'd like and place your order. You can order as many or as few as you need.

Things You'll Need

  • Mug
  • Photograph
  • Internet access
  • Printer
  • Water slide decal paper
  • Heat press
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About the Author

Christi Aldridge has been writing professionally since 2009. She graduated from Texas Christian University, where she was a featured contributor for several campus publications and won an award for best columnist.