How to Put an Image on a Cup in Photoshop

Written by tracy morris
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How to Put an Image on a Cup in Photoshop
A mug is a good medium for a photograph. (Mug Or Cup image by MrGreenBug from

Adobe Photoshop is a versatile photo editing software that has become the industry standard for manipulating digital images. With the software, you can remove blemishes in a photo or create images that appear straight out of the imagination. With special photography printer paper, you also can create images that may be put on ceramic projects such as coffee mugs or cups.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Photoshop
  • Water slide decal paper
  • Fixative spray
  • Ceramic mugs
  • Sponge

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  1. 1

    Choose a cup on which to place your photo. Your cup should be free of chips and cracks. White ceramic mugs are the most ideal cup to use because they have a highly visible surface that only curves horizontally.

  2. 2

    Measure the size of the mug's surface to determine the size your photo will need to be.

  3. 3

    Select a digital photograph and open it in the Photoshop program. Horizontal photos work best on mugs and cups because the surface you are applying the photo to is wider than it is tall. But you may choose to use a vertical photo as well.

  4. 4

    Open the drop-down menu labelled "Image." Choose the menu option labelled "Image size." This will bring up the image resizing interface. Click the chain symbol between width and height on the resizing interface. This will ensure that the width and height change in proportion to one another.

  5. 5

    Using the drop-down menus on the resizing interface, change the image size measurements to inches. Then type in the vertical height that matches the height on the mug. The image will resize to the proper size.

  6. 6

    Ensure that your resolution size is the right size for the image to print at a high quality. The resolution size should be set at 250 pixels per inch. If the image quality is lower, the image may appear pixilated. Do not attempt to raise the image resolution if it has been lowered below 250 pixels. The image will appear pixilated.

  7. 7

    Place a piece of water slide decal paper into your printer. Open the pull-down menu in Photoshop labelled "File." Select "Print" to print the image to the water slide decal paper.

  8. 8

    Spray the image with a fixative spray. You can purchase fixative spray at any art supply store. Allow the ink to dry. Trim the paper away from the borders of the photograph with scissors. Place the photo in water until the photo paper curls and the decal lifts away from the paper. Slide the photo onto the mug and blot dry. Set the mug aside to allow it to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • You may wish to crop or erase the margins of your photo using Photoshop's eraser brushes with soft margins or a feathering tool to blend the photo image into the ceramic of the mug.
  • Do not clean your mug in a dishwasher. Doing so can destroy the photograph.

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