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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Make Custom Tumblers: Your Complete 4-Step Guide

Beginner's handbook

How to Make Custom Tumblers: Your Complete 4-Step Guide

How to Make Custom Tumblers: Your Complete 4-Step Guide
Pauls Smiltiņš

By Pauls Smiltiņš

10 min read

Whether you’re hitting the open road, setting up camp in the great outdoors, or simply relaxing in your backyard, custom tumblers are the ultimate companions for staying hydrated and healthy on any adventure.

In today’s vast print-on-demand market, reusable drinkware has emerged as one of the top-selling items, often found among trending products.

But what makes tumblers so irresistible? Crafted from durable stainless steel, these beverage containers are designed to keep your drinks at the ideal temperature for hours. They’re perfect for sipping hot coffee on a brisk morning hike or enjoying a refreshing cold beverage on a sunny picnic.

If you want to expand your drinkware collection, find the ideal personalized gift, or even launch your own tumbler business, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’ll take a closer look at how to make custom tumblers.

Sounds good? Let’s go!

Common methods for making custom tumblers

Nowadays, tumblers can be customized in many different ways. Let’s explore the two most common methods.

UV printing

UV (ultraviolet) printing is a cutting-edge digital printing technology that uses ultraviolet light to cure ink onto surfaces. UV printing has gained popularity for producing high-quality, long-lasting images and text, making it ideal for personalized or promotional items. 

The tumbler’s durable, non-porous surface makes them excellent for UV printing, allowing for precise and vibrant designs.

UV printing is praised for:

  • Efficiency and speed. UV printers can swiftly produce a large number of tumblers by printing multiple designs simultaneously.

  • High-quality prints. UV printing on tumblers yields exceptional print quality with vivid colors and intricate details. The ink is durable and dries quickly, ensuring that designs remain pristine after repeated use.

  • Customization capabilities. UV printing lets customers add names, initials, images, or quotes to their tumblers to create personalized designs.

  • Durability. UV light bonds the ink to the surface, resulting in scratch-resistant and durable prints. UV ink is eco-friendly and maintains visibility over time.

a close-up of a machineSource: Innovative Digital Systems

If you decide to handle the production in-house, you’ll need to invest a substantial amount in UV printers and additional equipment. UV printers also incur high operating costs due to specialized inks and maintenance requirements, potentially outweighing the initial setup costs.

To avoid significant investments and worrying about product fulfillment, consider partnering with a print-on-demand service like Printful. With a dedicated in-house team, we’ll ensure your products meet the highest quality standards and seamlessly reach your customers.

To get you started, here’s how easy it is to create the perfect UV print file.

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Sublimation printing offers another avenue for creating personalized tumblers. Sublimation is a digital printing technique that transfers dye onto materials using heat and pressure.

Not all tumblers are suitable for sublimation. Sublimation tumblers, crafted from stainless steel, are tailored specifically for the sublimation process. These tumblers feature a unique polyester coating engineered for sublimation to ensure vibrant and durable prints.

Sublimation on regular tumblers can lead to printing failures and potential damage, as the lack of a poly coating and heat resistance renders them unsuitable for sublimation.

Sublimation printing is praised for:

  • Vibrant results. Due to the high temperatures employed in the process, sublimation produces vibrant and detailed prints with sharp lines and vivid colors.

  • Quick turnaround. Sublimation has a fast turnaround time since it’s a digital process that eliminates the need for physical screens or plates.

  • Eco-friendliness. Sublimation is eco-friendly because it uses dry inks that are infused into the material during printing, resulting in minimal waste and reduced environmental impact.

a silver toaster oven with a lemon print containerSource: Hey Let’s Make Stuff

Want to learn more? Check out our in-depth guide on what is sublimation printing.

If you decide to handle production yourself, you’ll need an inkjet printer equipped with sublimation ink, a tumbler heat press machine, and quality sublimation sheets to bring your designs to life.

To avoid the hassle of in-house production, you can use Printful to customize your products on demand.

How to make custom tumblers step-by-step

Now that we understand how custom drinkware is made, let’s explore how you can start creating your own custom tumbler cups.

Step 1: Define your style

Let’s start with the basics. Before you begin, you’ll need to find inspiration and define your style, which can be both exciting and challenging. If you’re struggling to conjure up design ideas, there are numerous sources to draw inspiration from.

Online marketplaces

Marketplaces like Etsy and Pinterest are treasure troves of creativity. Plenty of Etsy sellers specialize in customized tumblers, allowing you to browse through collections and gauge which designs are in high demand. Meanwhile, Pinterest offers a vast array of design ideas, font combinations, and artwork styles, providing endless possibilities for personalized tumbler ideas.

a screenshot of a websiteSource: Etsy

Retail stores and other brands

Retail stores and well-known brands can be valuable sources of inspiration as well. Brands like Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie often feature mini collections that include customized tumblers among their offerings.

Personal experience

Perhaps the most authentic and original inspiration comes from your own life experiences. Consider your favorite jokes, hobbies, or daily struggles, and translate them into captivating designs for your tumblers. Adding your personal touch to stainless steel tumblers will ensure they stand out.

Personalized tumbler ideas

If you’re still struggling to find your style, here are some custom tumbler ideas for inspiration.

1. Monograms and names
Print initials, your name, or a monogram on your tumbler for a touch of sophistication. It’s a stylish choice and a great way to personalize your drinkware.
a black tumbler with a silver strawSource: Printful

2. Inspirational quotes
Start your day with your favorite motivational quote or affirmation. Whether it’s a phrase that boosts your morale or a mantra that keeps you going, seeing it on your tumbler can provide that extra motivation you need.two hands holding cups with text on themSource: Printful

3. Company logo
Promote your brand with custom-printed tumblers featuring your company logo. Share them with employees or give them away as promotional items to customers. It’s a subtle yet effective way to increase brand visibility and leave a lasting impression.

a white tumbler with a strawSource: Printful

4. Artwork and illustrations
Express your creativity by printing your favorite artwork or illustrations on your tumbler. Whether it’s a beloved pet or a stunning design, it adds elegance and style to your drinkware collection.

a fruit next to a drink containerSource: Printful

5. Special occasions and celebrations
Commemorate special moments, like weddings, anniversaries, or birthdays, with celebratory custom tumblers. Personalize the tumblers with important dates, names, or heartfelt messages to create a lasting memento of cherished memories.

a cup on a pink clothSource: Printful

6. Seasonal themes
Personalize tumblers with a holiday or seasonal theme. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, or any other festive event, personalized tumblers add a touch of fun to your gatherings and outings.

a hand holding a red cylindrical containerSource: Printful

Want to indulge in more design ideas? Here are 25 Tumbler Design Ideas to Get You Inspired.

Step 2: Pick your product

Now that we have our style, we can finally pick tumblers to customize. The choice of tumblers comes down to you, as there are many options to choose from. However, we recommend these three.

Without a handle

This Stainless Steel Tumbler is a sleek and practical addition to your drinkware collection. Crafted from high-grade stainless steel, this tumbler is durable and protected from peeling and fading by a layer of varnish.

This tumbler is great for enjoying your favorite hot or cold beverage anytime, anywhere. With a plastic lid and metal straw, it offers convenience and style in one package. The cylindrical tumbler boasts a 360 printable area, giving you endless customization possibilities. Its matte finish provides a sleek and modern aesthetic, while the protective varnish adds a glossy touch.

If you want to add an extra burst of color to your drinkwear collection, check out our Insulated Tumbler with a Straw, which will keep your favorite beverage cold for up to 24 hours.

With a handle

Our premium-quality travel mug is the ultimate companion for on-the-go beverages. Crafted from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, this mug offers durability and convenience.

With its generous capacity, you can enjoy your favorite hot or cold drinks wherever you go. Whether it’s your morning coffee or an afternoon refreshment, this mug keeps hot drinks hot for up to 6 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 8 hours, unlike plastic tumblers.

a white mug with colorful designs on itSource: Printful

Wine tumbler

Crafted from high-grade stainless steel, this tumbler is durable and has a double-wall vacuum seal, ensuring your drink stays at the perfect temperature for almost 5 hours.

With its generous capacity, this tumbler is excellent for savoring a delicious drink wherever you are. Its compact size makes it easy to carry on all your adventures.

a man with a can on his headSource: Printful

Pro tip: While all of these tumblers are designed for optimal functionality and style, they’re not dishwasher or microwave-safe. To maintain the quality, it’s recommended to hand-wash only.

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Step 3: Create your tumbler design

It’s time to bring your vision to life. Depending on your preferences and skill level, you can create the perfect design for your tumbler in various ways. 

You’ll need some basic graphic design tools and a clear idea of the style you want to achieve.

Graphic design software

Graphic design software may be the best choice if you have a complex design or require specific editing tools. Options range from professional-grade software like Photoshop to beginner-friendly alternatives like Canva. With these tools, you can adjust your design to match your vision.

Printful’s Design Maker

Designing your tumbler from scratch can be time-consuming. If you’re not a graphic designer or prefer to avoid complex software, Printful’s Design Maker offers a user-friendly solution.

Our free tool provides an extensive library of clipart and graphics to customize your tumbler. With 712 fonts, over 20K clipart graphics, 3,100+ ready-made designs, and 550+ background graphics, the Design Maker offers plenty of options.

a screenshot of a web pageSource: Printful’s Design Maker

You can also use a pre-made Quick Design and adjust the size, color, and position of its elements to fit your preferences. You can even crop and rotate the elements to your liking.

With Printful’s Design Maker, you can let your creativity run wild. Using the 3D and Mockup view feature, you can preview your designs and see the final product.

a screenshot of a videoSource: Printful’s Design Maker

Pro tip: Always keep your design within the safe print area to maintain design integrity and prevent any elements from being cut off during printing. The grid lines display the boundaries of the print area, making it easy to notice.

Step 4: Make an order

You’re all set to create your custom tumblers. Time to make an order!

a screenshot of a web pageSource: Printful

To manually order tumblers through Printful, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log in to your Printful account.

  2. Click on New Order, located in the top right corner of the page.

  3. Choose the store you want to use for your order.

  4. Select your desired order type:
    Sample order: Enjoy a 20% discount on a limited number of monthly orders/items. This is perfect for testing new designs and products.
    Basic order: A standard Printful order that ships within 3 business days on average, with no minimum order requirements and carrier-calculated shipping rates.

  5. Pick your product by category, type, and model.

  6. Upload your design or use Printful’s Design Maker to create a unique design using free graphics and pre-made visuals.

    Pro tip: Save your design template for future reference—you can easily access it under the Product Templates tab in your Printful Dashboard.

  7. Proceed to the shipping section and enter your shipping information.

  8. Review the order information and securely complete the payment process.

Tumble your way to success

Custom tumblers can be a fantastic addition to your product offering, business merch collection, and everyday life. With the perfect tumbler selection and a dash of creativity, you can craft a unique product that customers will adore.

Whether you want to sell personalized tumblers on your website or through a marketplace, we’re here for it all. With Printful, you don't need to worry about product fulfillment and shipping, so you can start selling today.  

Making tumblers has never been easier. What are you waiting for?


By Pauls Smiltiņš on Jun 13, 2024

Pauls Smiltiņš

Guest author

Pauls is a content writer with a background in the radio. He has a degree in communication sciences, and in his free time, Pauls loves to entertain crowds by playing live music on stage.

Pauls is a content writer with a background in the radio. He has a degree in communication sciences, and in his free time, Pauls loves to entertain crowds by playing live music on stage.