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Cricut Mug Press Review
Cricuteers rejoice! The Mug Press is another awesome crafting tool to add to your arsenal.
The Cricut Mug Press is exactly as described and works well doing it's one job. It has the sleek but playful aesthetic we’ve come to expect from Cricut machines, and a similarly simple set of controls. Just make sure you understand what the Mug Press is.
This is a great new tool to add to the craft room of a dedicated ‘cricuteer’, but an expensive gateway for someone new to the Cricut ecosystem who just wants to make a few mugs.
Cricut is fast becoming a favourite brand in my house. My family likes to think of themselves as crafty people, and while there’s often a project on the boil, nothing gets our creative juices flowing like a new release from Cricut.
The Cricut Mug Press is an interesting product to review. In a world filled with converged devices, like smartphones, smart screens, and laptop computers, it’s unusual to use a device that does just one thing.
The Mug Press does exactly what it promises to. In the cute plastic chassis are heating elements that wrap snugly around a mug and apply heat to transfer Infusible Ink from a sheet to the mug. The genius is in its simplicity. There are no dials or switches, no calibration to do or high school science to remember, you just put the mug in, lower the level and wait until the five LEDs light up. The process takes about 5 minutes from start to finish.
The physical design of the Mug Press is worth calling out, too. The unit is small and relatively lightweight. My wife commented that it looks similar to a baby food maker we bought after our son was born. Most importantly, it looks like a Cricut machine, so it’ll be right at home on a craft table next to your other Cricut cutters. A quick online search reveals that similar mug press machines look like they belong in grease-covered workshops; all exposed metal and sharp corners. The Cricut Mug Press on the other hand, is as cute as a button.
The top of the right side of the machine is a lever that you lift while pre-heating the press and lower once you have a mug inside the mug-shaped opening. This closes the walls of the press in around the mug so that the heat elements cuddle the mug all the way around.
The Mug Press does a great job of keeping the heat from these elements out of reach. You can definitely feel the warmth as you place a mug in and lift it out after, but so long as you hold it by the handle you shouldn’t have any difficulties.
The resulting designs are pretty spectacular too. The Infusible Ink sheets don’t give you a good indication of just how bold and vibrant the finished product will be. Our mugs came out glossy and bright, and are something we would proudly give as a gift, even though we did so little work to make them.
The Infusible Ink used to press your designs on the mugs needs a special coating on the mug to adhere to, so no, you can’t use any blank mug you have lying about. Sublimation Mugs are the name given to craft-ready mugs that have the special coating needed to take the ink from your Infusible Ink sheets or markers.
It’s also worth noting that you need to use straight edge mugs, rather than mugs with tapered sides. Or at least limit the design you want to apply to the top section of a tapered mug where the inside of the Mug Press can reach.
How much does the Cricut Mug Press cost?
With this simplicity is also a crucial disclaimer. If you were to buy a Cricut Mug Press as a gift for someone, they won’t be able to open it up and make a set of mugs. In the box is the Mug Press, a USB cable, and a power supply. Everything else is sold separately.
Cricuteers may find this sort of disclaimer unnecessary, in fact anyone with crafty hobbies will understand that you need the right tools for whatever task you're undertaking. But what exactly is required?
To make the mugs in the photos on this page, I used 340ml Cricut branded mugs, Cricut transferable ink sheets, a Cricut Joy machine to cut the designs, and a Cricut weeding tool to prep the designs before they were heated. You can also draw designs with Cricut Infusible Ink pens on laser printer paper, but to draw with precision, you’ll need to upgrade from the Cricut Joy to either the Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker machines.
Cricut Joy cutting out a design on an Infusible Ink sheet
So, while the Cricut Mug Press retails for AU$299, the cost of completing a Mug-based project will set you back a chunk more. The Cricut Maker, Explore and Joy cost $649, $449 or $349 respectively and the Ink sheets from about $13 for a pack of two. Alternatively, a pack of coloured Infusible Ink markers cost between $18 and $90 depending on how many markers you need for your projects, plus you’ll need laser printer paper to draw on.
If you’ve already invested in the Cricut ecosystem, then the Mug Press is an exciting new tool to add to your arsenal. You’ll already have a Cricut cutting machine, and you may have already picked up Infusible Ink pens for a previous project, so you’re most of the way there.
But if you spot the Mug Press while roaming through Spotlight, and you think that it looks like a great Chrissie present for someone new to Cricut machines, be aware that it takes more than a Mug Press to make a bunch of mugs.