It is time to test some DIY mugs in the ultimate mug showdown. Which mugs are dishwasher safe? Which can you use in the microwave? Are sublimation, vinyl, HTV, or waterslide decals better for your mug crafts? I am answering all of that and more in one epic post where I test multiple mugs in my dishwasher just to find out for you which works and which doesn’t.
DIY Mugs Test
Want to see me test these DIY mugs and see the results? You can actually just click play on the video below for all of the information.
Can’t watch the video or missed some of the information? You can also follow along below with my tests and results.
Types of Mugs
Here are all of the mugs that I ended up running through my tests:
- Adhesive vinyl (see my basics guide for vinyl application here)
- HTV (see my basics guide for working with HTV here)
- Adhesive vinyl with Dishwasher-safe Mod Podge over the top (I did allow this to cure for 30 days before testing)
- HTV with Dishwasher-safe Mod Podge over the top (I did allow this to cure for 30 days before testing)
- Waterslide decal (see my guide for working with waterslide decals here)
- Waterslide decal with Dishwasher-safe Mod Podge over the top (I did allow this to cure for 30 days before testing)
- Infusible Ink Sheets (see my guide for Infusible Ink here)
- Infusible Ink Markers
- Sublimation applied in a variety of different ways (mug press, oven, silicone wraps, etc) (see my beginner’s guide for sublimation here)
Notes on Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge
A few notes about this product if you are thinking of using it on your crafts:
- You will need to allow it to cure for 28 days after application.
- This is not food safe so you need to keep it away from where food or your mouth will touch.
- I find it to be a little bit streaky when applied so you will be able to see it on the surface. I couldn’t capture it in pictures but you should be able to see it if you watch the video above.
You can buy Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge here and give it a try for yourself.
First I hand-washed each mug 10 times by washing them in the sink as I normally would and drying them by hand. I repeated this process 10 times. I then started running them through the dishwasher. I did my normal cycle which is no sanitizing, no hot rinse, no dry cycle. Additional heat in the dishwashing cycle could alter the results that you see in your DIY mugs.
DIY Mugs Testing Results
Now it is time to see how our mugs held up under these testing conditions. I am going over each type of mug below and when it failed in the process (if it did fail at all!)
I am adding these first as they failed first. I tested two versions. The one on the left is just the decal applied according to the package directions. I will note that I did bake these and they sat for over 30 days before I ran my tests. The one on the right had dishwasher safe Mod Podge applied over the top.
The waterslide decal by itself failed with just handwashing. This is after 5 times but it started to wear before that. The waterslide decal with the dishwasher safe Mod Podge failed after one cycle through the dishwasher. For me, waterslide decals are just not an option for anything that you are going to wash regularly.
HTV on Mugs
Let’s move on to HTV as it was the next to fail. Once again, I tested one with dishwasher safe Mod Podge over the top and one without. These were both made in a mug press and allowed to cure for 30 days before testing. Both are made from the Cricut brand of Iron-on.
The second run through the dishwasher, both of these actually failed at the same time. The HTV started lifting on both of the mugs. For me, HTV is not a good choice for any type of mug project or anything else that needs to be washed. Handwashing did seem to work fine, however, so you could give that a try.
Permanent Adhesive Vinyl
Let’s move on to adhesive vinyl. I used the Cricut brand of permanent vinyl on my tests. The one on the left doesn’t have anything over the top. The one on the right has dishwasher safe Mod Podge. I did allow them both to cure for 30 days before washing. This is important as when you apply adhesive vinyl you need to allow it to cure at least 72 hours before use.
After 10 dishwasher cycles, the mug with the Mod Podge over the top failed. The one with no Mod Podge was still going strong after 20 cycles which is when I stopped the test. I have friends that have ran items with permanent vinyl through the dishwasher 100 times with no failure so I was fairly confident that this one would make it a long time. This does go to show you that a sealer is NOT needed over the top, however. I would also not that I do not recommend putting these mugs in the microwave.
Now let’s take a look at Infusible Ink. I tested a mug with the markers and one made with the Infusible Ink transfer sheets. Both looked the same after 20 washes as they did when I first started the experiment. The best part about these mugs is how the design becomes a part of the surface and it is not going anywhere! I will also say that these are microwave safe and it is okay to have the design touching where your mouth would be. That makes this a superior method for making mugs.
Sublimation is another excellent choice when looking to make DIY mugs. I ran several of these through the dishwasher the 20 cycles and they looked the exact same as when I started. Again, sublimation makes a permanent mug and the design will not fade or wash away. I did test several brands of sublimation mugs and methods for application. Below you can see a variety of brands all with a sublimation design. You can see my picks for sublimation blanks here.
I also tested Cricut mugs with a variety of applications and again had the same results. Sublimation is definitely a great way to make mugs that will really last. These can also be added to the dishwasher and it is okay to put the design where your lips will touch. I will add that these mugs are not indestructible. You can still chip and break them so you will want to treat them as such.
What is best for making DIY mugs?
So, what is the best material for making your own mugs? How do you make them dishwasher safe? I would say that my favorite method is either sublimation or Infusible Ink. Both of those produce great results that last and you don’t have to worry about putting them in the microwave.
Can’t do either of those or not a fan? Then I would recommend permanent vinyl (either Cricut brand or Oracal 651) and waiting at least 72 hours after application before use. I don’t recommend a sealer over the top. Just the vinyl on the mug and waiting as long as possible.
Both of those methods should result in mugs that really last and make great gifts. If you are looking to make your own mugs, I would give those methods a try for the best results. After all, you want your gorgeous creations to last for a really long time!
Get started making your own DIY mugs today. I know you will love the results and giving these as gifts. There are so many ways to make a mug and give as gifts to those that you love!