Print Yeti mug decals with PrismJET VJ24

Blog_YETI-VJ24_headerDuring our PrismJET VJ24 webinar, several attendees asked if they could use our 24″ ecosolvent printer to print YETI mug decals. The simple and exciting answer is Yes you can.  The compact PrismJET VJ24 and VJ24X are ideal choices for creating colorful, engaging and durable decals for YETI mugs and similar drinkware items.

Since these are washable items that get handled daily, there are a few unique considerations regarding durability of your prints. But this is a very lucrative market, so it’s well worth pursuing.

How lucrative is it? What does it take to print YETI mug decals with a PrismJET VJ24? Let’s find out.

VJ24 Printed Mug Decal Application

Because of its compact size, the 24″ PrismJET VJ24 is a perfect choice for decorating small items like mugs and other personal products.  YETI mugs are very popular and just one of many things people want to customize.  Just in case you only think of ‘yeti’ as another word for Sasquatch, here’s a quick summary.  YETI makes a complete line of coolers and related items for outdoorsmen. Perhaps they’re designed for people to use while they’re out in the mountains looking for bigfoot. One of their most popular products is a double-walled stainless steel thermos with a brushed metal surface. The Yeti mug excels at keeping your coffee hot and your iced tea cold.

FIG 1: Full color decals from a PrismJET printer enhance any item

FIG 1: Full color decals from a PrismJET printer enhance almost any personal item.

The Market: It’s very popular with thirsty sportsmen & women. These are outdoorsy types who spend a lot on bass boats and fish trackers, so YETI mugs don’t come cheap.  The average retail for a 30 Oz is just under $40. There’s fierce demand for customized Yeti mugs. I suppose if you’re going to spend $40 on a premium mug, it makes sense to spend a little more to keep your camping buddy from ‘accidentally’ walking off with it. Printed YETI decals sell on etsy for up to $14.00 each, with most in the $4.00 to $8.00 range. These are 3″ x 5″ decals. Your ink and media costs using a PrismJET VJ24 and PrismJET 230 Ultra vinyl are less than 15¢ per decal. We’re talking serious profit opportunities.
In addition to nature lovers, these premium mugs and thermoses are becoming popular in the corporate world and mainstream culture. It’s a great place to add a logo.  This provides another business opportunity selling upscale ad specialties.

The good news for sign makers is that there’s a lot of demand for customizing Yeti and similar mugs with vinyl.  Recently we covered the ins and outs of applying glitter vinyl to Yeti mugs.   In addition to spot color graphics with metallic vinyl, printed decals are a growing market. People love color and they love themselves, as anyone with a selfie stick will attest. So a digital printer makes a perfect vehicle for customizing high end drinkware.

Protect Your Prints

Any print application that needs to be cleaned regularly requires a little extra consideration.  Fortunately,  Yeti mugs are not recommended for dishwashers, so you don’t have to worry about harsh temperatures and water jets degrading your decals. But  the decal must stand up to hand-washing. The eco-solvent inks used in the PrismJET VJ24 are completely water-proof, but repeated exposure to detergents and abrasion may affect your prints. To protect the print, lamination is recommended.

Equipment

Unless you want all of your Yeti decals to be square or hand-cut with scissors, you’re going to need a Print & Cut package. The VJ24 ValuPRINT-CUT package, including a Vinyl Express EnduraCUT 3, is a perfect choice. With this dynamic duo, you  can design and create professional quality contour-cut decals. For abrasion protection,  the 25″ EnduraLam desktop laminator  is a perfect companion product. If your budget won’t quite accommodate an EnduraLAM, consider getting started with a Big Squeegee Laminator Tool.

White, Fluorescent, & Metallic Options.

Metallic spot colors are a good fit for stainless steel mugs like this one.

FIG 2: Metallic spot colors are a good fit for stainless steel mugs like this one.

The PrismJET VJ24X adds another practical and exciting design element with options for white, metallic, or fluorescent inks. Here are a few ideas for using these to enhance your drinkware decals.

White Ink: White ink is ideal for applying opaque colorful decals on clear substrates such as clear double-walled tumblers. A layer of white beneath your CMYK print means you can create a complex graphic like a tribal or splash image without having to contour-cut every nook and corner.

Metallic Ink: Yeti and similar mugs are made of stainless steel and have an elegant brushed metal finish.  A metallic spot color accent in your decal is a nice compliment to the substrate. To preserve the full effect of the metallic ink, choose an optically clear Overlaminate film like PrismJET 231 or OraGuard 290F (Fig 2).

Fluorescent Ink: The PrismJET VJ24X can be configured for white and metallic or for fluorescent yellow and fluorescent magenta inks. Opting for the fluorescent ink enables you to create decals with intense eye-catching color. It’s another way to give your customers something truly unique.

Whether you use a PrismJET VJ24, or the VJ24X,  you’ll find the decorated drinkware market is an excellent opportunity to cash in on customization and get big returns from small format printing.