How to Use the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press

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I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz, both good and bad, about the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press. I have the bigger, flat HTVRont Auto Heat Press and overall, really like it so I thought I would purchase the Auto Tumbler Heat Press to see how it works and if I would recommend it to others.

I’ve never made sublimation tumblers before. I’ve done lots of other kinds of sublimation but nothing on a round surface. I did try making one tumbler before the one you see me make in the video to get a feel for it. It was a pretty easy process with the hardest parts being sizing the design correctly to fit the tumbler blank and then wrapping it before heating to minimize ghosting or weird ink transference errors.

Most of the complaints I’ve heard about this tumbler press is that you often get ghosting at the top and bottom edges of the tumblers. Ghosting can happen for a couple of reasons. First, if the print/design you are sublimating shifts during heating it can cause the ink to double print in areas which gives the final product a fuzzy, unfocused look. Second, if the ink from the sublimation print isn’t correctly touching the blank it can cause areas with lighter colored blobs next to darker colored blobs, fuzzy areas that fade out, etc. The second reason is the main one that I had problems with during my tumbler experiments.

For the full tutorial, please check out the video below or scroll down for written steps. Thanks!

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What Does the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press Come With?

The HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press comes with the machine itself, a roll of heat resistant tape, a pair of heat resistant gloves and a small product manual. I used all of the included items during my tumbler tests.

In addition to the included elements, I suggest having some butcher or parchment paper on hand to wrap your tumbler blank while heating to protect the inside of the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press from any ink transference that can occur during the heating process when ink can occasionally bleed through the back of the sublimation paper and on to the heating surface of the press.

You’ll also need a sublimation tumbler blank (obviously – lol). I used the PYD Life Double Wall Stainless Steel Skinny Tumbler.

I also made a version using the PYD Life Double Wall Stainless Steel Sublimation Water Bottle with Straw but I don’t recommend that one for full color sublimation designs as it has a rounded lip at the top that makes getting full background coverage impossible. It will work for designs on a white background or ones that don’t go all the way to the top.

Finally, you can also sublimate mugs, ceramic tumblers and glass tumblers in the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press too, but I won’t be showing how to make those today. I’m sure I’ll do future tutorials on those so stay tuned.

How to Size Your Sublimation Tumbler Wrap Print

The PYD Life tumblers I used come with a little guide that shows the template size they recommend for a full wrap design (it’s also on the box). The tumbler I used in the video shows a full wrap template size of 9.37″ W x 7.9″ H in its accompanying guide.

This would have been fine if I didn’t care about lining up the seams on the wrap because it is larger than the overall tumbler width so the edges will overlap at that template size. I wanted to match up my side seams exactly for a seamless design instead. So, for my astronaut space print, I use a 9.125″ W x 7.88″ H print out to get the seams to perfectly match up with no overlap.

To figure this out, I use a flexible paper/fabric measuring tape (like the ones used for sewing) to measure the tumbler. I wrap it around the tumbler circumference to get the width and then measure the height vertically with the tape. This isn’t an entirely perfect process, especially for the width, but it gives me a really good starting point. If you don’t have this kind of measuring tape on hand, you can use a piece of string to wrap around the tumbler and then measure it against a straight ruler to get the measurements.

Measuring the tumbler width and height with a fabric measuring tape.

It took a fair amount of trial and error and about four print outs to figure out the correct size, so I recommend printing out your design on regular paper at standard quality with normal printer ink first until you get it sized just right. There’s no point in wasting more expensive sublimation ink and paper with prints you’ll have to throw out. Once you’ve got the size figured out, you can print out a final version using high quality settings, sublimation ink and paper.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are using a design with words, you must mirror the design before printing for the words to be read correctly after sublimation. If you don’t mirror the design, they will be backwards after sublimation since you place the print design side down on the blank during sublimation.

Once you have it printed out to the correct size, trim off all of the white excess on the sides and bottom from the print. It’s very important you don’t accidentally cut off any of the print on the sides if you want the design to line up properly and not have an obvious seam.

Prep Your Tumbler Blank Before Wrapping it with the Design

Before you wrap the tumbler with your printed design, you need to clean the surface to remove any oil from your fingers or dust that may be on the surface. Both of those can interfere with the ink transference.

To do this, take a tissue or cotton ball with isopropyl alcohol and rub it all over the surface of the tumbler. I stick my hand inside the tumbler itself to hold it while rubbing the surface with the alcohol and then set it down to air dry. I use the cotton swab to push the tumbler off my hand to set it down so I don’t touch the surface after cleaning it. Make sure you clean the top and bottom edges of the tumbler too.

Cleaning Tumbler Blank with Alcohol on Tissue

How to Wrap Your Tumbler for Sublimating in the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press

Wrapping the tumbler properly is what makes the difference between a good or bad result. The sublimation print/design has to be really tightly up against the sublimation surface on the tumbler to get proper ink transference. The only way to assure that is to wrap it tightly.

If you’ve never done this before, I suggest starting off with a pattern/design that doesn’t require a seamless fit and that has a white background. This will be the easiest kind of design to transfer without too much ghosting along the edges. I, of course, have to take the harder road, so I decided to try doing a seamless, full color design on my second tumbler attempt (shown in this tutorial).

To wrap the tumbler for the seamless design,  you want to wrap the print, color side facing the tumbler with the bottom edges lined up perfectly. Then you need to pull the edges of the design together so they meet up perfectly with no overlap and no white showing between the paper and tape it down using heat resistant tape (provided with heat press).

Wrapping design around tumbler so seams match up

I do this by first aligning the bottom edges and then pushing the sides of the paper together in the middle and quickly taping horizontally across the seam. I repeat the process about every inch vertically up and down the seam.  Once the paper is taped together with no overlap and no white showing, I tape vertically down/over the seam using one long piece of heat resistant tape that I trim off at each end. Then I burnish the seams down really well using my finger and a scraper.

Burnishing the taped seam of wrap on tumbler.

To wrap the top edge, I did not fold/wrap the design over the edge. Instead, the design runs just a hair above the top edge of the tumbler so I place the end of the roll of tape on the paper halfway on the tumbler and halfway above the top edge. Then I begin pushing the tape down in a horizontal line all the way around the top edge while at the same time, pulling on the tape to ensure the paper remains in good contact with the tumbler. This causes the paper to look a little rippled once I finish, but it has great contact with the top edge of the tumbler all the way around.

Top edge of wrap on tumbler blank tightly taped.

The bottom edge of the tumbler blank I use has a slight curve to it. On my first tumbler experiment, I used smaller pieces of tape to push the paper over the rounded edge and down on to the bottom of the tumbler while taping. This gave seemingly very tight contact between the tumbler and the design/print but when I unwrapped the sublimated tumbler after heating, it showed some bad areas of ghosting all around that bottom edge.

Ghosting on the bottom edge of the first tumbler.

Initially I thought I would instead repeat the same method for the bottom edge that I used for the top edge. But after wrapping one piece of tape while pulling all around the bottom, there is still a small gap on the rounded edge that had no paper touching it. This was definitely going to cause a white line so I decide to cut small slits in the edge of the paper that isn’t taped all the way around the bottom of the tumbler. Then I use small pieces of tape to push the smaller cut pieces of paper down flat over the rounded edge. I did this all the way around the bottom.

Wrapping the bottom edge of the tumbler blank with the design.

Using the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press

The HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press is pretty straightforward. All you have to do initially is plug it in and set the time and temperature.

To do this, push the thermometer button and the temperature on the LCD screen will begin flashing. Then push the + or – buttons to raise or lower the temperature by 5 degrees with a short press or 10 degrees with a long press. The maximum temperature you can set it to is 390 degrees F/200 degrees C and the minimum is 210 degrees F/100 degrees C.

To switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius, long press the thermometer button for 2 seconds.

LCD Screen and Buttons on the HTVRont Tumbler Auto heat Press.

To change the time, push the clock button and the time on the LCD screen will begin flashing. Then push the + or – buttons to increase or decrease the time by 5 seconds with a short press or 10 seconds with a long press. The maximum amount of time you can set it to is 10 minutes. The minimum is 1 second.

There is a chart in the Product Manual that can help you figure out what time and temperature setting you should use. It shows the ranges for stainless steel tumblers, ceramic tumblers and glass tumblers. The range for stainless steel tumblers is 120 – 240 seconds, 370 – 390 degrees F/188 – 199 degrees C.

Time and temperature chart in the product manual.

For my tumbler I set the temperature to 390 degrees Fahrenheit and then 90 seconds. But, I use a total of 180 seconds because I initially place the tumbler into the heat press with the taped seam facing forward. Then after 90 seconds, I flip the seam to the back and heat it for another 90 seconds.

I did this because I wasn’t 100% sure that the tumbler press would close absolutely completely over the entire surface of the tumbler. So in the event there was a small space between the heating plates once closed, flipping the tumbler around half way through allows a complete ink transfer on any area of the tumbler that may have been left exposed by any small spaces between the heating plates during the first 90 seconds.

Once I set the temperature and time on the HTVRont Tumbler Auto Heat Press, I let it heat up until the logo button turns green and there is a short beep letting me know it’s ready.

Then I place my wrapped tumbler inside a larg-ish sheet of parchment paper so I can use the parchment paper as a kind of basket to slide the tumbler and parchment paper into the center of the heat press. Making sure my seam is facing the front and the tumbler is centered in the heat press, I push the green logo button to close the heat press and start the ninety second countdown.

Tumbler in parchment paper before going in heat press

Once the 90 seconds is up, the heat press beeps and opens. I then quickly remove the tumbler in its parchment paper “basket”, flip the seam to the back (while wearing the heat gloves of course!) and then place it back into the center of the heat press. I press the green logo button to close the heat press and start the ninety second countdown once again.

Once that cycle ends and the heat press opens, I remove the tumbler and parchment paper while wearing the heat gloves and place the tumbler upright on my heat mat to cool completely. I push the power button on the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press to turn it off and let it cool down too.

The Results?

Once the tumbler is completely cool, I remove the tape to reveal the results. Overall, the tumbler came out great. The color transfer is vibrant and clear. The top edge is completely perfect!

The completed tumbler after unwrapping

I do have a couple of very thin vertical white lines in a couple of places along the seam. That happened because I didn’t get the seams 100% perfectly together when I wrapped and taped the print/design around the tumbler, even though I thought I did. Honestly though, those are pretty minor especially for something I’m not planning on selling. You really don’t even notice them unless you’re really looking.

Slight gap from back seam shows

The only area on the tumbler that has problems is the rounded bottom edge where I wrapped and taped the design by cutting small slits and then taping it down over the rounded edge of the tumbler with small pieces of tape. That edge shows some definite ghosting marks right along the very bottom. It looks like you can see the wrinkles in the paper as it wrapped over the edge. It looks better on this tumbler than it does on the first one I did but it’s still not good. This probably happened because of hte wrapping technique I used, but when I removed the tumbler from the heat press, I noticed that the tape had pulled away from the bottom of the tumbler during heating, so maybe that contributed? The smaller pieces of tape I used are a different brand than the HTVRont roll of tape I used elsewhere.

Ghosting on the bottom edge of the tumbler made in the video

Initially I thought it might work better if I followed my first instinct and instead of wrapping the design over the rounded edge, I just left it taped with one long piece of tape all the way around the bottom edge like I did along the top edge because the top edge turned out perfectly. But, I tried that method on a third tumbler and it really didn’t work. That one has an odd blurry white edge all along the bottom edge instead of looking kind of wrinkled and is way more obvious than what happened on the space tumbler.

Ghosting on bottom edge of tumbler that was wrapped like the top edge of other tests

So, I will need to change my wrapping technique for the bottom edge of these tumblers in the future. I plan to try using a hybrid of the top edge and wrapping over technique by putting one long piece of tape halfway on and halfway off the paper and then pushing the paper down and over the rounded bottom edge going in one direction only while pressing down pretty hard. I’m not sure this will change anything but I’m going to give it a shot.

Another solution to this problem is to use different tumbler blanks. If the tumbler blank you use has a straight bottom edge rather than a slightly rounded bottom edge, then the method I used for wrapping and taping along the top edge should work.

Honestly, I don’t think this is the fault of the tumbler press. I think it is strictly being caused by my faulty wrapping technique. If you use a different tumbler press and have better luck with the same wrapping method, please let me know in the comments. Or, if you have a suggestion for how to wrap the bottom edge, please tell me that in the comments too!

Do I Recommend the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press?

Yes, I do recommend the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press with a couple of caveats. First, I think it did an amazing job with the color transfer of the design and for 99% of the tumbler, it looks fantastic! But, that bottom edge wrapping issue is a concern so until I figure out where I’m going wrong, I will probably be sticking with designs that have white backgrounds or aren’t full color wraps. Designs that simply wrap around the middle of the tumblers and don’t reach all the way down to the bottom edge should turn out perfect every time!

I also think this tumbler press is really easy to use. I was a beginner and made a couple of pretty nice tumblers without much extra effort. Almost everything I needed came with it and the price is great!

I do plan on trying different wrapping methods or different blanks until I can get that bottom edge problem figured out. But, that’s not the cheapest prospect at around roughly $5 a tumbler so if that’s not something you want to do, I would completely understand.

If that’s you and you do want to make full color wraps for tumblers then you may want to look for another tumbler heat press. Possibly the clamshell types offer a little more pressure or curving of the heat pads around the top and bottom edges of tumblers to eliminate that problem? I’m not sure since this is the first tumbler heat press I’ve ever tried, but it’s worth looking into if that’s going to be a concern for you. If you own a different tumbler heat press and have better luck with this, please share that will all of us in the comments.

If you plan to mostly make tumblers with designs that don’t run all the way down to the bottom edges of your tumbler blanks or that have white backgrounds, then this tumbler press would be perfect for you!

I hope this tutorial has given you a good look at the HTVRont Auto Tumbler Heat Press and will help you decide if it’s right for you. I’ll keep working with it and have more tutorials on it available here in the future.

Want More Sublimation Info?

Check out these tutorials:

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you soon. Want to just tell me how much you loved this tutorial? Please leave me a comment below – lol!


I would also appreciate any ideas you have for topics to cover related to the software for Cricut (Design Space), Silhouette (Silhouette Studio) or Brother  ScanNCut (Canvas Workspace) and any suggestions you have for projects to create with the Cricut Maker, Cricut Joy, Silhouette Cameo 4 or the Brother Scan N Cut DX. Please leave any requests you have in the comments. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and read my blog. Thanks!

Supplies Used in the Video

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