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Earn a Passive Income Selling Mugs 2


How To Create Your Mug Designs

Now that you have your quotes/phrases ready, it's time to turn them into designs that will be printed onto your mugs. This is going to be a lot easier than you probably thought.

Do It Yourself Mug Design Made Easy:

As the designs will mostly just be text based, we simply need to add the text to an image file that we will then use to print onto the mugs.

Image Editors - If you are familiar with Photoshop or any other graphics program, then this will be very easy for you. Just find out what size your print on demand service requires (see below) and create the image. Most of them provide .PSD templates that you can add your text onto and then save as a .PNG file. Just be sure that the background is transparent as white doesn't print well onto white mugs.

If you don't have Photoshop, that's OK!... You can use a free online tool called CANVA – it is a simple to use FREE online graphics editor where you can easily create your designs and then download them.

ASIDE: The print on demand manufacturer we recommend in this guide is Printful - They have 2 USA locations (east coast and west coast) and a EUROPEAN based location (in Latvia), so worldwide shipping isn't a problem!

As said, Printful will print and dropship your mugs as they are ordered so you never have to carry any inventory and never need to ship anything (nor do you need to invest any money upfront in stock!).
Printful's image requirements for mugs are 300dpi (dots per inch) resolution, PNG images, with transparent backgrounds. Image size for both their 11oz and 13 oz mugs are the same... 9"w X 3.5"h (which translates to 2700px wide X 1050px tall). This is the size assuming you are printing on BOTH SIDES of the mug (which is recommended as the mug print is then seen whether the user is right handed or left handed).

To make things easier, Printful lets you upload your design print for one side of the mug and then there is a "duplicate" option to create an identical copy for the opposite side. This simplifies things for us...What we can do is use an image/text 4.5"w X 3.5"h (1350px wide X 1050px tall)... HALF the print width noted above, and then use Printful's "duplicate" option to double the width and place identical prints on both sides of the mug!

If you are using CANVA (see below for detailed steps) you want to set your image canvas size to 1350 X 1050 as we show below.

How To Use CANVA To Create Your Mug Prints/Designs

Your first step is to go to CANVA and sign up for a free account. Log into your account. Now from their design page, click "Use custom dimensions".

Use CANVA To Create Your Prints/Designs

Enter a width of 1350 and a height of 1050 and click "Design!"

 canva size Design

You end up on a page like this...

Use CANVA To Create Your Designs

Click the text tool at left (ref red & white arrow at left above). Next, add your quote/phrase by typing into the text box that appears on your canvas. In Canva, you do text just like a word processor... You can choose the font type, font size, font color, alignment, etc.

FREE online graphics editor

In the example below, I used a heading and subheading...

Mug Design ideas

If you make a mistake, you can click on any element you added and fix it or click the garbage can icon at top right to delete it. You can also move elements around by hovering over the upper right corner of the text and dragging it around.
If your mug is 'text only', you are done...Click download and save it as a .PNG image. HOWEVER, in this example, I want to add a piece of clipart from my computer.
To add an image to your design, click the "upload" icon at left (ref red & white arrow in the above screenshot). You'll see the following screen (showing any previous images you uploaded).

To add more images to your Canva library, click the green "Upload your own images" button. To add image(s) from your library, just drag them over to where you want them on your canvas.

Earn a Passive Income Selling Mugs online

You can resize the inserted image as you wish by dragging the corners. You can also ROTATE an element (text or image) by dragging on the little circular arrow at the bottom of the selected element.
ASIDE – Handy Tip: Sometimes when moving elements (text or images) around, they can overlap and one element can block another... For example, the screenshot below shows the image overlapping and hiding the text.
When this happens, you can click "Arrange" at the upper right and a drop down menu lets you move the selected element 'on top of' (forward) or 'beneath' (back) the other element.

make money online selling Your  Designs

In this case I click "back" to move the image BEHIND the text...

create etsy Designs using Canva

In this case, it makes no sense to actually "overlap" these elements...I'm merely demonstrating how you can rearrange layers top to bottom if the need arises. Once you are happy with your design, download it as a PNG image.
CONGRATS! You have your first mug design!
You can create a good number of designs relatively quickly...Consider that from this basic design, I could have the following variations (same design and subheading, just change the heading and save!)
For example...
Caffeine Loading Please Wait
Java Loading Please Wait
Friday Loading Please Wait
Weekend Loading Please Wait
Insult Loading Please Wait
Attempting To Care Loading Please Wait
Empathy Loading Please Wait
Brain Rebooting Please Wait
Ambition Loading Please Wait
Happy Place Installing Please Wait

There are lots of online tutorials and videos to help you use CANVA too but the above is really all you need!
Another Option! Pixlr is another free online editor you can use to create your mug designs. It's the same process except you start by uploading your blank template...
–Upload your blank template
–Add your text
–[Optionally] Insert images
–Save and DONE!
There are lots of online tutorials and videos if you need help using Pixlr.

Making Your PNG Images Transparent:

OK, having created our mug designs in CANVA, we need to do ONE MORE THING. We need to convert the white background in our design images to TRANSPARENT backgrounds (as required by Printful) otherwise Printful's printers will be printing white ink on a white mug which makes no sense.
UNFORTUNATELY the free version of CANVA has no 'transparency' option (only the "paid" version of CANVA can do transparent backgrounds - $12.95/mo which may be OK once you're making sales but there's a FREE way). We can STILL make our white backgrounds transparent using another fast and simple FREE online tool. Go to lunapic

convert white background in  images to TRANSPARENT backgrounds

Once your image is loaded, click the "Edit" drop down menu and select "Transparent Background". THEN click on the color you want to make transparent (white in this case). ...And Voila!! 

Your image is now transparent! Now just click on the "Save" link and re-save your image!
Once your mug designs are created and made transparent, you simply upload the designs to Printful to create your Etsy images! We show you how to do this shortly (again very easy).
NOTE: Later when we show you how to "integrate" your ETSY shop with Printful, you'll see how to create your Etsy images as you create your product and listing all simultaneously!...This is a relatively NEW Printful feature that really SPEEDS UP your design and listing process! Before we show you how to use Printful to create your mug images (known as "mockups") we first want to talk a bit more about creating your mockup images

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 

Later in this guide, we will show you how to link your Etsy shop with Printful so that when a customer on ETSY places an order, it goes directly to Printful who fulfills it. Once integrated, you can create products on Printful and those images will appear on your ETSY listing.
HOWEVER, it is often desirable to see a 'mockup' of your finished product BEFORE creating your actual Etsy listing. Why?
  • To see how it looks!
  • You may want to create additional Etsy images showing your mug in use (i.e. Sitting on a desk) OR add an attractive background to your mug images so they stand out

Once you have your flat image designs, it's easy to convert them to mock up images on Printful!
Printful's Mockup Tool.
Printful has a great mug mockup tool you can use for free to turn your flat images into actual mug images for your ETSY listings! Here's what to do...
  •  Register with and sign into Printful (it's free).
  • On virtually every page on Printful, you'll see a link "Mockup generator". It appears an the top of or bottom of most every page on Printful's site.

ASIDE: If instead of clicking "Mockup generator", you click "Products & Pricing" and select the mug, you will see YOUR prices ($7.95 for the 11oz, $10.95 for the 15oz).

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 1

You come to this page...

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 2
  • On the left side of the page, you have all your product options...We wantcoffee mugs of course... Click on the 'Home & Living' drop down menu and select "Coffee mugs". 
You are then brought here...

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 3

In this example, I have clicked both the regular mug (11oz) and the extra large mug (15oz) as I want to offer BOTH (ref red arrows at lower left). If you want to offer only the regular mug, you would of course leave the 15oz option Unchecked.
Once your mug size(s) is/are selected, click on the the actual mug image (ref red arrow at upper right).

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 4
  • Click either of the "Upload file" icons shown above...A new screen appears where you click CHOOSE FILE and then you are taken here...

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 5

Any images you've uploaded previously will appear. To upload a new design, click the upload button (reference arrow at upper right)...Then select your image by hovering over it and select 'Choose' (reference arrow at left). This brings you here...

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 5

Note the arrow at upper left where Printful confirms the print quality is 'Good/300DPI'...If your print resolution for some reason was too low, Printful would warn you in this same spot. The image itself, which fans of the classic Monty Python British comedy troop will appeciate, is a tribute to their famous "Silly Walks" sketch and needs to be 'dragged' into place (reference small red arrow below).

However, Before dragging  the image, we "check" the 'duplicate image' box (reference red arrow under image above). This is a handy Printful feature as it simultaneously places a duplicate image on the opposite side of the mug!

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 6

Don't forget to drag the image into place for BOTH mug sizes..That is, click on each mug (11oz & 15oz) in turn (ref bottom arrows in screenshot on previous page) and duplicate and drag the image into place.

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy 7

Once your images are in place, click the "Mockup View" link to get this...

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy8

  • Once you are happy with your images, you can click the "Generate files" button at lower left to SAVE your images!...DONE!

IMPORTANT TIP: When you click "Generate Files", Printful gives you the option of choosing Jpg format or PNG with transparent backgrounds (scroll down to find this option)...Make sure the PNG option is checked!

Creating Your Mockup Images For Etsy9

You can then download your mockup images (red arrow at bottom). It will save as a Zip file.. OPTIONALLY, you can also save the images to your Printful library if you wish.


  1. This is great stuff - really useful. Can't wait to see more on pricing and shipping. At the moment I'm struggling to make sense of that part myself.

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  5. This mug is also designed to help coffee drinkers mix the perfect amount of milk or cream every time, simply by matching the color of the coffee to the color preferences at the top of the mug: Milky, Regular, Dark and Strong, and Just Coffee. steampunk mugs


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