vinyl applicator decor

How to Add Vinyl to Curved Surfaces

Learn how to easily add vinyl to a mug or other curved surface using iron on vinyl and a Wagner HT400 heat gun.

Hey y’all, If you've ever tried to add vinyl to a mug or a sticker to a canister you know that adding a cute quote to your favorite mug is a little harder than it sounds. My favorite trick? Forget the premium vinyl and use iron on vinyl to add any design you like to your curved surface.

Which is why one of my absolute favorite heat gun uses of all time is adding iron on vinyl to a curved surface. That's right... I use a heat gun. Specifically this little Wagner heat gun that is tiny, mighty and perfect for crafting!

It has two settings: low temperature at 450°F and high temperature at 680°F so it's perfect for adding iron on vinyl to just about any project. Not convinced? Take a look!

heat gun and vinyl transfer

wagner heat gun

Adding Iron on Vinyl to Curved Surfaces

I have tried to make mugs in the past but adding vinyl to the curved surface was (excuse my french) a pain in the butt. Iron on goes on smoothly and this small craft heat gun helps the design to lay smoothly over bumps and dips in the materials surface.

Of course, depending on your project you may need to set your heat gun to low heat (or high heat) or even ditch the protective covering. I'm going to walk you through using this little craft heat gun to add iron on vinyl to felt, canvas, aluminum, stainless steel and stoneware so that you're prepared for just about any situation that comes your way.

metal container and heat gun

Supplies:

  • Iron On Vinyl (I used sportsflex vinyl in white and black for this project)
  • Wagner HT400 Heat Gun
  • Cutting Machine (I used my Cricut Maker)
  • Cut Files (find the ones I used in this post for FREE below)
  • Leather Work (or Gardening) Gloves
  • Wash Cloth
  • Item to add your iron on to! Mugs, fabric baskets, pillows, milk jugs, kitchen canisters etc.

vinyl transfer decor

Iron On Vinyl Settings for Different Surfaces:

Depending on your project the settings may change a little bit so I thought we'd cover the full spectrum of curved surfaces.

For the purposes of this project I'm going to start after your iron on design has already been cut and weeded. Don't forget to grab your FREE cricut cut files at the bottom of this post. If you need help with your Cricut Maker you can visit my "Start Here for Help with your Cricut" page and then come back to this post!

A QUICK TIP: When working with a heat gun always be safe. I used a leather palmed garden work glove to hold my iron on vinyl in place and to press down the iron on when the heat gun was on the low heat setting. When the heat gun was set to the high setting the surface of your material can get very hot... set your heat gun aside before using the wash cloth to press down your iron on so that your fingers don't overheat.

Let's get started!

curved mug with vinyl transfer

Heat Gun Settings for Stoneware

  • Heat Gun Setting: High 680°F
  • Protective Cover: Plastic Coating that comes on your Iron On Vinyl
  • Difficulty Level: Medium

Ready to get started? I think the project I'm most asked about is "how do I add quotes to mugs?" Well y'all... this is the absolute easiest way to add a vinyl decal to a mug.

Start by placing your iron on vinyl in the center of your little coffee cup. Then set your heat gun to its high setting! Start off on one side of your design by heating the far-most letters for about 10 seconds with high heat. Then use your wash cloth to firmly press those letters down and into the mugs surface.

applying heat to mug

applying heat to mug with heat gun

Repeat this process and you should see the protective covering start to peel away from the letters... leaving the letters firmly bonded to the mug. As the protective covering separates from the iron on vinyl move your way across the surface of the mug... heating up letters of the design and then pressing them down.

Just make sure to always keep that protective covering (even once it's curled up and is not touching the actual iron on anymore) between your heat gun and your iron on. It'll protect the iron on letters from getting too much heat and warping!

Once you've moved alllllll the way across the design and the protective covering is all the way off you're finished! Enjoy your mug!

vinyl heat transfer mug

See how quick and easy that was? Not to mention the way the iron on lays down smoothly across the mug.

I am completely smitten and can’t wait to try adding iron on to all the curved surfaces I can find. Head over to the Happily Ever After, Etc to see the directions and settings for using your Wagner Heat Gun to add iron on to Felt Baskets, Stainless Steel Canisters, Metal Milk Cans and Canvas Pillows (the big ones without zippers!).

heat gun with decor

metal container vinyl transfer

vinyl transfer decor

handmade decor with vinyl

This sponsored post was created by Happily Ever After Etc. Head to the blog for the full post and details.

Product Options for this Project

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