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How to Add Vinyl to Plastic Cups

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Learn how to easily add vinyl to a plastic cup. Use these cups for a party, give them as a gift, or create your own custom drinkware collection.

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In this post, you will learn how to create a custom plastic up using Cricut vinyl. I will show you how to create and size a design, how to cut and weed the vinyl, and how to apply that vinyl to a cup. Plus, tips for choosing the right materials

Uses for custom cups

These custom plastic cups can be used in a variety of ways. The first, and my favorite, is just for fun. Create a cup you love drinking from. This project is a fun way to use your Cricut and hone your vinyl skills.

You can also give these cups as a gift. Customize the design and treat a teacher, co-worker or family member to something special. Fill the cup with treats or a gift card to complete the gift.

Gift

Making drinkware, from cups to glasses to mugs, allows you to create something that you can’t find anywhere else. Add names or dates and images that hold special meaning for you and your family.

Supplies

Using the right supplies will help ensure your project comes out flawless and holds up with regular use and washing.

plastic cup for vinyl
  • Plastic cup – for this project I am using a straight-sided acrylic cup that I picked up at Walmart in their seasonal section. The straight sides make designing and placing the vinyl nice and simple. These plastic can cups will work really well for this project.
  • Permenant vinyl – when adding vinyl to a cup that is going to be washed and reused it’s imperative that you use a permanent vinyl that will hold up well.
  • Transfer tape – there are a number of ways to move vinyl from its backing to a blank. When moving a pattern to plastic up I highly recommend Cricut transfer tape. This will help you line everything up and ensure you can easily peel off the tape leaving behind the vinyl design.
Cricut permanent vinyl

There are many ways to embellish a plastic cup, glass, or mug using Cricut. Vinyl is just one way. If you want to get creative here are a few other options.

  • Cricut mug press– this little machine allows you to use infusible ink and transfer it to a blank creating a seamless and smooth finish. This mug press tutorial is a great place to start.
  • Sublimation – this is the process of printing any image with special ink and then adding that image to a blank using heat. Learn all about sublimation printing and how to get started.

Create a design in Cricut Design Space

Design Space is the platform that allows you to create and layout projects before cutting them with your Cricut machine. For this project, I used an image, a cute red and white mushroom, found in Design Space.

To layout the design, first measure the diameter of the plastic cup as well as the height. Then make rectangle on the canvas to reflect the size.

rectangle in design space

Be sure to watch the video and scroll down for more detail on this project.

In the images section, pull up a mushroom or whatever graphic you’d like to add. Sizer it appropriately or duplicate the image to create a repeating pattern.

mushroom repeating pattern

Once everything is laid out as you want it, it’s time to cut the vinyl.

Tips for cutting and weeding vinyl

In Design Space, before cutting, be sure to choose the correct material. If you are cutting from permanent glossy vinyl then choose that option. This will ensure your machine is on the correct setting to cut the material.

Always save those scraps of vinyl. For this project I’m only using a small piece of red and white vinyl, this could easily be made with scraps.

cutting vinyl

When weeding vinyl, especially intricate designs, you can opt for a Brightpad that lights up the cut lines and makes weeding a breeze.

Use a weeding tool and a Tweexy vinyl weeding ring for a smooth and simple process.

weeding intricate design

Add vinyl to a plastic cup

Once all the pieces are weeded it’s time to transfer the layered design to the cup. Here are a few tips.

Transfer the red layer to the white layer first using transfer tape and parchment paper. Watch the video to see how this is done.

Lay a small piece of parchment paper over the white layer leaving just a sliver of vinyl showing. Lay the red design on top. The parchment paper is semi-transparent so you can line up the red on top of the white.

This technique allows you to move the design around until it’s just right. Once it’s lined up, push down the vinyl where it connects on the edge, then slowly pull out the parchment paper as you press the layers together.

Now that the two layers have adhered together, use a scraper tool to add the design to the cup and push and scrap down to secure. Then pull off the transfer tape!

Take a look at these layered vinyl straw cups made using a similar technique

Like this project? Be sure to pin it.

How to add layered vinyl to a plastic cup
Mushroom decal add vinyl to a plastic cup

How to add vinyl to a plastic cup

Yield: 1
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Create a custom cup with layered vinyl

Materials

Tools

Instructions

Measure the diameter and height of the plastic cup

Cricut Design Space

  1. On a blank canvas create a rectangle the size of your cup, with the width matching the diameter.
  2. Add a mushroom design and duplicate it to create a repeating pattern mushroom repeating pattern
  3. On the right layers panel, hide the rectangle so it doesn't cut.
  4. Select all the white mushroom pieces and click attach. This groups them together but keeps the designs in place on the canvas.
  5. Move the white pieces out of the way and select and attach all the red pieces. attached pieces in design space
  6. Click Make it and connect your machine.
  7. Select On Mat to cut and permanent vinyl as the material.
  8. Load each piece of vinyl onto a cutting mat and feed it into the machine to be cut.
  9. Pull the cut vinyl off the mat and use a weeding tool and Tweexy weeding ring to pull off the excess unwanted pieces.
  10. Apply a piece of transfer tape to the red mushroom pieces and remove the backing.

Layering Vinyl

  1. Lay the white vinyl down, and place a piece of parchment paper over the top, leaving a sliver of vinyl showing on one side.
  2. Line up the red on top of the parchment paper, you will be able to see through the transparent material and move the vinyl as needed.
  3. Then slowly pull the parchment paper out and adhere the vinyl layers together. layer vinyl with parchment paper
  4. Pull off the backing leaving both layers on a piece of transfer tape.
  5. Place the plastic cup on a rolled towel and stick the vinyl to the cup, using a scraper tool to secure it in place.
  6. Remove the transfer tape. remove transfer tape

Notes

This cup requires no sealing. Let the vinyl sit for 24 hours before using to ensure it's fully adhered. Handwash for best results.

Did you make this project?

Share your creation and tag @creativeramblings

How to care for a plastic cup with vinyl

  • Let the vinyl sit for 24 hours before using or washing, this gives it time to really stick.
  • Handwash these cups, it’s better for the life of the cup as well as the vinyl.
  • Do not seal this cup, there is no need, permanent vinyl will hold up really well.

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