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Published: 16th November 2011
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Coffee mug printing is not a difficult process if the right printing technique is used, and coffee mugs printed with your company logo or slogan are great for promotional gifts. They are also fabulous personal gifts for a birthday or anniversary when printed with an appropriate message, name or date.

Consider a wedding anniversary as an example. The main wedding anniversaries commemorated are the 25th (silver) and 50th (golden), with each five year period in between these. Gifts are generally given according to the anniversary, and while everybody knows that the 15th wedding anniversary is celebrated by a gift of crystal, what about the 16th - or any up to the 20th (China)?

Thus, for an anniversary from the 16th to the 19th, a lovely printed mug with the dates of their engagement and wedding along with the names of the couple would be both an imaginative and a romantic gift. The same applies for any anniversary that is not connected with any specific type of gift, such as those after the 20th not ending in 5 or 0. You might have a printed mug for every occasion: a graduation, birthday, engagement or christening. If you feel it insufficient, the mug itself need not be the only gift you offer and you can back it up with a cash gift or something else - perhaps an entire coffee set suitably printed with the name(s) and dates involved.

Printing coffee mugs is completely safe, and involves a different process to the type of impact printing that most people are familiar with. In fact, one process commonly used is known as sublimation printing, a process initially developed to print synthetic fibers, particularly polyester t-shirts and other garments. In order to use this technique using mugs and other shaped items, the mug or item is first coated with a thin layer of polyester resin that is then baked in an oven to make it secure and resistant to washing and handling, whetehr by hand or in a dishwasher.

A special type of paper, much the same as photographic paper, is printed with the desired image or design using ink jet cartridges filled with vapor phase transfer, or sublimation dyes. Sublimation is the process whereby a solid changes from the solid to the vapor state without first becoming a liquid. The mug is then wrapped with the printed paper, after which one of two things can be done: either secure the printed paper tight against the mug and then place in an oven at a specified temperature for a specific time period, or secure en electrically heated jacket around the printed mug for a set time period.

The dye sublimes and is transferred to the polyester coating on the mug, which can then be cooled and you have a printed coffee mug. The secret of doing a good job lies in the printing, the quality of the sublimation inks, the paper quality, the coating on the mug and the heating time. It is possible to do this yourself, but the equipment is not cheap and there is little point in acquiring it - so have it done by a professional.

Now that you understand the basics of the process, it should be clear to you that you can print any surface that can be given the polyester coating, and can also print polyester garments using the sublimation process. Sublimation printing would normally only be used when necessary because other printing methods are generally ess expensive. It's not possible to print mugs by normal printing techniques of course, but screen printing and pad printing can be used.

Nevertheless, if you want to reproduce a photograph, such as your own or that of your loved one, then it would have to be ink-jet printed on photo-paper in order to achieve the definition and faithfulness to the color. By applying the paper to a suitably coated mug, or any other articles, you can then transfer the image to the coating. That image will be as resistant to washing as the coating is because sublimation, or vapor phase transfer, tend to be fast to water contact and also have reasonably good light-fastness.

You can use printed coffee mugs for many purposes, and in addition to the anniversary gifts discussed above, they are also useful gifts for promotional events. They can not only be offered to your best clients as boxed sets, but you can also use them for the coffee drunk during the promotion - in fact, you can let the recipients take their printed coffee mugs away with them.

Due to the nature of the printing process, the sublimation dye coffee mug printing technique is able to print both full solid wrap-around block colors or individual names and logos. The printed mugs are resistant to dishwashers and microwave ovens, and you can have any artwork of your choice printed on them - including your own. Be unique, and offer a unique gift of a printed coffee mug to your own design.


More information on coffee mug printing can be found on Custom Your Shirt where you will also find out how to sell your own printed t-shirt designs from your own t-shirt store online.

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