Vinyl cups are among the easiest vinyl crafting projects you can find. And it’s even easier if you have a heat-press customized for mugs and glasses. Something like the Cricut Mug Press. But even without a heat press, you can use adhesive vinyl for your decorative cups.
The vinyl that you apply on DIY cups can be permanent or temporary, but if you don’t have a heat press, opt for removable vinyl that you can press by hand. If you’re worried about the designs peeling off, you can use see-through tape to secure the vinyl. So … let’s get inspired!
1. Bulging Babo
If your favorite movie mug is out of stock, why not make your own? Just for you – no copyright infringement intended! The original mug is branded and cast. But for your DIY vinyl cup, you could cut out yellow vinyl eyes, a line for the smile, and two buck teeth. Don’t stick googly eyes though since they may not survive your hot coffee (or the dishwasher!).
2. Seasonal Starbucks
Reusable Starbucks cups make a convenient base for vinyl cup projects. This one has been tweaked for Halloween. It’s tinted purple, but any color will do. You can also order color-changing cups or glitter cups for your project. This particular one has vinyl bats, stars, crescent moons, and a witch hat to celebrate the season. Or you could do pumpkins instead.
3. Momma Needs a Drink!
Can women have it all? Your family may see you as the world’s best sister, daughter, mother, or wife, but sometimes you just want to put your feet up and enjoy your favorite sip, whether that’s coffee, kombucha, or Kahlua. Your family might take the hint and make this vinyl cup for you … but you can also make it for yourself to get the message across. Enjoy!
4. Facemaker Mugs
You don’t need cutesy quotes to make remarkable crafts. Sometimes, all you need for a vinyl cup idea is a mug, pun intended. Where mug means face … but it also refers to the mug itself. Just like the Babo cup we saw earlier, you mainly need vinyl cut-outs for the eyes, nose, and mouth. You can add a unicorn horn or blush marks. These files are free to download and use.
5. Celebrity Quotient
If you have a Cricut, Silhouette, USCutter, Brother ScannCut, or something similar, you can use the bundled software to make a celebrity stencil. You can even make a stencil of your own face, or use the photo of a loved one as your base. Cut the stencil to personalize your vinyl cup. It’s a memorable party favor – put the faces of your guests on their cups. They’ll love it!
6. Working Mama
Sometimes, you need a little reminder that your beloveds are thinking of you. This vinyl cup idea is simple and soothing. It’s slim, sleek, and back, so it’s a power accessory that won’t over-feminize her at the office. But it also has subtle pink hearts and a girly font so it acknowledges the softness that she often eaves at home. And it keeps her hydrated all day!
7. Monogrammed Mug
Some of us like cute messages and playful images on our coffee cups. But maybe you want a power move to get your morning started and remind you who you are. A sort of daily affirmation that you’ve got this. In that case, monograms make a pointed vinyl cup idea. Get the person’s initials (including their middle name) and cut them out in a luxurious font.
8. Kiss from a Cup …
The average vinyl cup idea focuses on the sides of the cup. That’s what the people around you will see. But you’ll rarely notice it because your palms may cover the vinyl art. You know what you’re constantly looking at though? The lid. So sticking this pretty pucker on the lid will make you smile each time you dip your head and sip. Even better if it’s a loved one’s lips.
9. Glorious Puns!
Did you ever play with mirrors when you were little? The game was to angle the glass so it would momentarily blind an unsuspecting person who couldn’t tell where that glint was coming from. You can do this with any glossy surface. So if you have a photographer pal that loves glitter and wordplay, you can decorate their travel mug with this vinyl cup idea.
10. Modgy Podgy Mugs
Art is interesting because you can draw a few squiggles and lines and suddenly, you have a recognizable facial expression. It’s magic! And it’s the perfect vinyl cup idea. Jeniffer offers several free face files. Print and cut these onto permanent adhesive vinyl. It won’t peel or chip in a hurry, but you can make them last even longer with a top coat of Mod Podge.
11. Delightfully Crafty Moms
The mothers of yesteryears faced a lot of pressure to look the part. It’s why they hid their stress in curlers while sipping on lavender. But millennial moms (and Gen X’ers too) are more easy-going. They’re less likely to mind your language or have a conniption over clutter room. So here’s a salute to leopard-loving crafters with messy hair and studios full of glitter.
12. Flirty Files
Generally, the difference between a cup and a mug is size and shape. Teacups tend to be smaller. They have a bulbous, tapered shape, a dainty handle, and a saucer. Coffee cups – which are popular in the States – are sometimes as big as mugs, but might have straighter sides than a teacup. For these vinyl cups, get the free files for ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Bottoms Up’.
13. Traditional Template
If you’re not big on Starbucks and you don’t want to try too hard, you can grab re-usable cups from any dollar store. Order them in bulk if you’re making them commercially. Pick a selection of safe quotes and mix your fonts to match the message. For plastic cups, heat pressing may cause damage, so stick with adhesive vinyl and wash by hand to reduce peeling.
14. Cold Comfort
Before executing your vinyl cup idea, it’s useful to wipe the surface of the cup or mug with rubbing alcohol and let the alcohol air-dry. This removes any dust or residue that might stop the vinyl from sticking. And if you don’t want to spend hours deciding on the right message for your mug, you can download tons of free files online, including ‘Baby, it’s cold outside!’
15. Crazy Mawmaws and Grandpas
Your sense of humor probably developed among your family and friends, though it may have shifted as you got into your teens and college years. Still, if you’re lucky enough to have irreverent relatives, these two legends will be a hit! You can download the free files for ‘Crazy Chicken Lady’ and ‘Grandpas are dads without rules’. You’ll soon be the favorite grandkid!
16. Wrap It Up!
You may want a more comprehensive concept for your vinyl cup idea. Instead of just words or facial features, you may want complex art that wraps around the whole mug. You can find free SVG files for that as well, but to avoid bubbles, it’s best to use a mug press. The base must be heatproof and have straight sides since a tapered cup won’t fit inside the mug press.
17. Time-Intensive Tumbler
This is a gorgeous design. A black bear and her cubs, tons of pink glitter, and a sleek black background. The picture would be a perfect wrap for a mug press. But this vinyl cup idea has used a thermal cup so it’ll take longer to do. You’ll need separate stencils for silhouettes and the wording. If you opt for loose glitter, use Mod Podge to seal those sparkly bits in place.
18. Working with Tilts
As we’ve mentioned, teacups (and larger coffee cups) are generally wider at the top and skinnier at the bottom. Sometimes the curve is gradual, but on this cup – for example – the sides stay straight and the cinch comes at the bottom. It’s easier to work with because you can keep your vinyl cup decal on the straight upper section of this gold-tipped coffee cup.
19. Daddy’s Cup
These days, we have a growing number of stay-at-home dads. These are men who are often comfortable with their feminine sides, so they’re happy to take on the ‘traditionally female role’ of raising their babies. But as we know, dads do it different. So if you know a dad with the right sense of humor and a capacity for pink glitter, this vinyl cup idea is a treasure.
20. Girl Boss Business
Worried that moms are getting all the attention? For the entrepreneur with a focus on his/her career, this slim thermal tumbler makes a lovely gift. The design here is for a glittery girl boss but you can shift the iconography to suit your personality. You can change the color to darker metallic or neon and change the stencil to ‘Boss Bro’ or ‘GoPro’ as needed.
21. Technically Not a Cup …
This turquoise tumbler is a treat for anyone that loves their tipple. You can use any color of glitter or no glitter at all. You can use the stencil on a vinyl cup, a whisky tumbler, a coffee mug, a mason jar … or a wine glass. And you can customize the vinyl cup idea with initials, names, or any other mess. For the bottom section, use any vinyl wrap you like e.g. hologram.
22. Pennywise Pound Smart!
The original saying is ‘penny wise, pound foolish’. Which is gibberish to any modern English speaker. That said, making your own vinyl cups can show off your personality while saving money. It might even help you earn cash! So instead of rushing for movie merch, get creative so you can sell without getting sued. Case in point Pennywise, Freddy, and those balloons…
23. One for the Guys
A lot of the vinyl cup ideas we’ve looked at seem to be designed for girls. Well, here’s one you may enjoy if your energy is more masculine. It’s a wrap-style mug so a mug press would be useful. You can use any poster design from your favorite movie, band, TV show, or even sports memorabilia. Send the design to your cutting machine software and it’ll do the rest.
24. Freddie and Jason
A few more vinyl cup ideas for the dude in your life. They also work for girls, they-dies, and gentle-thems … anyone that leans into classic horror films. These stencils – in case you don’t recognize them – are Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street, Jason from Friday 13th, and Michael Myers from Halloween. But you can use any theme or character you want.
25. Fabulous Freebies
If you’re struggling with brain fog and unable to come up with vinyl cup ideas, here’s a treasure chest you can dig into. Cricut has tons of SVG files that you can send directly to Design Space (that’s the official Cricut Software). And because they’re SVG files, you can download them and use them with a different vinyl machine brand. You’re welcome!
26. HTV Mug Ideas
You might want to use heat-transfer-vinyl … but maybe you don’t have a mug press. You can still use an iron box or a mini heat press – it just takes a little more care and effort. And yes, even with glitter and sparkle, you can make a vinyl cup that won’t turn everything in the dishwasher into Tinkerbell! Get a free file here and read through the iron-on instructions.
27. Homework Hints
Is your high schooler or college kid cramming for exams? You can help them along with this mnemonic tumbler. The example here has Santa’s reindeer dozen, complete with cute facial expressions, antlers, and Rudolph’s nose. You can make similar vinyl cups with the periodic elements, math formulas, or anything they need to memorize. It’s a snazzy study sidekick!
28. Ghost Cups!
Black and white vinyl cup ideas are easy. They don’t need much fuss and they hide a lot of flaws. But with this design, you’re better off wrapping the vinyl around the cup. The simplest choice is to use black vinyl on a white cup because there’s less weeding involved, but you can also use white vinyl ghosts on a black cup. Press the vinyl carefully to avoid forming bubbles.
29. Sawdust is Man Glitter
Agree to disagree? Whatever your thoughts are, you’re probably safer dazzling a dude’s mug with powdered wood than girly glitter. For this vinyl cup idea, you can use a vinyl wrap or you can use actual sawdust sealed with Mod Podge. Secure the sealant to keep the sawdust bits out of your dishwasher. And expect this design to take a while – so many moving parts!
30. Grinchy Goodness
This vinyl cup idea falls solidly in the ‘make a brand but don’t get sued’ category. Start with a plain mug in the right shade of green then stick on some yellow vinyl eyes, nose, and that trademark grin. The messaging comes as a paid file, and a clever tip is to use a heat-activated color-changing mug so that the wording appears and disappears as you drink your coffee.
31. Vinyl Cocktail Cups
If you’re having a (wild) party, you may be tempted to grab disposable cups in Styrofoam or plastic. But you can make a mark – pun intended – with this vinyl cup idea and some cheap shot glasses or cocktail cups. They make amazing party favors and can keep your guests safe because they’ll keep an eye on their cups. Label it with their name, role, or nickname.
32. Punny Perfection
You probably have a favorite coffee mug that you use constantly. But for a heavy drinker, stackable mugs are the perfect gift. Plus, it can be a good way to motivate yourself on groggy mornings – you can open the shelf, look at your options, and pick the mantra that bests suits your day. Try this set of coffee pun SVG files if you have trouble coming up with the wording.
33. Pace Yourself!
For our last vinyl cup idea, here’s a cheeky way to check your limits. It’s a wine glass, but it works just as well for beer or strong coffee. The coffee gauge may have a slight variation – the markers could be ‘foggy, alert, bouncing off the walls!’ Or if you have a habit of forgetting your coffee once you’re flowing in the zone, it could say, ‘fresh, flat, hurry up and get a refill!’
What are your favorite vinyl cup ideas? Show us how you make your mug in the comments!