How To Epoxy A Tumbler & Inspiring Designs That Sell
Summer will be upon us sooner than we know, and hydration is essential. So, why tote around boring drink containers when you can do better by learning how to make an epoxy tumbler?
You can make an epoxy tumbler by following three simple steps: prime your blank, apply glitters and put it in the epoxy. Remember to sand between layers, torch it to remove the air bubbles, and let it cure for 72 hours.
We put together this tutorial for beginners and threw some fantastic epoxy tumbler designs for more seasoned crafters. We also included some tips and tricks for the most common issues that newbie crafters might encounter in the process.
How to Epoxy a Tumbler
Customizing your epoxy tumbler is a breeze, even for beginners. Here are the tools you need and the complete step-by-step guide on how to make an epoxy tumbler.
What You’ll Need
- Stainless steel tumbler
- Blue spray paint (flat)
- 91% rubbing alcohol
- Non-toxic epoxy resin
- Clear vinyl transfer tape
- Glitters of choice
- Painter’s tape
- Mod podge or adhesive spray
- Clear coat spray
- P220 sandpaper
- Silicone baking tray
- Measuring cups
- Popsicle sticks
- Silicone brush
- Nitrile gloves
- Cup turner
- Blow torch
1. Prepare your blank
- Remove the labels from your tumbler.
- Wet a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub off all adhesive, dust, and grime off the stainless steel mug.
- Tape around the mouth and the bottom of the steel cup.
- You can also use flat paint spray to serve as a base before adding the glitters, so you can’t see the stainless steel through gaps in the glitters. Use the same color for the paint and glitters.
2. Apply glitter
- Lay a piece of kraft paper or old newspaper, large enough to catch the glitters.
- Apply an even layer of Mod Podge or adhesive spray to the tumbler. The adhesive spray gives a better hold to the glitters and dries faster. However, it is more expensive than Mod Podge.
- Sprinkle glitters of choice, tapping the tumbler as you go to remove unattached glitters. Let dry.
- You can add a layer of glitters if you want to by repeating steps B and C.
- Seal your glitter by spraying clear coat spray.
3. Apply epoxy
- Mount your glitter tumbler on the cup turner. Line a silicone baking sheet or foil tray to catch drips.
- Mix a 1:1 ratio of the A and B components of the epoxy.
- Turn on the cup turner and apply your epoxy, carefully spreading the epoxy as you go. You can use your gloved fingers or a silicone brush.
- Torch to remove air bubbles.
- Set a timer to 30 minutes, then remove the tape from the mouth and bottom of the tumbler.
- Wipe off any excess resin with a paper towel wet with rubbing alcohol. Let dry for at least 5 hours.
- Tape the mouth and the bottom of the tumbler again. Sand off any imperfections. Wet a piece of cotton with rubbing alcohol and wipe.
- At this point, you can add the decals if you want to.
- Repeat steps C to F.
- Cure for 48 hours.
Best Epoxy Tumbler Designs
Making an epoxy tumbler is easy, but do you know how to epoxy a tumbler to turn them into beautiful creations that sell? We included these inspiring designs that might come in handy if you want to turn your hobby into a business.
Alcohol Ink Epoxy Tumbler
How to Make It
- Prime your stainless steel tumbler with matte paint and apply your epoxy as usual.
- While the epoxy is still wet and the cup turner is still turning, add drops of alcohol ink using different colors as desired.
- Remove the tumbler from the cup turner and add white piñata ink. The colors you added earlier will be visible now in beautiful swirls.
- Do not forget to torch it lightly to remove air bubbles.
- Return the tumbler to the cup turner and turn for at least 6 hours to dry.
Unicorn Burst Epoxy Tumbler
How to Make It
- After priming your tumbler with flat white paint, paint it with unicorn colors, such as blue, pink, and yellow acrylic paint. Alternate the colors until the tumbler is painted over.
- Remember to rinse your brush and dab it dry before using another color.
- Blend the colors over with a clean, wet paintbrush. Let it dry.
- Spray on flat white paint and let it dry.
- Apply a 1:1 Tack-it and water mixture and let it dry for 15 minutes.
- Cover it with white pearlescent glitter, then rub it down to remove the excess glitter. Add two coats of clear acrylic spray.
- You can now apply epoxy and torch to remove the air bubbles.
- Without letting it dry, add the chunky white glitters. After the first layer dries for 4 hours, you can add the second and third epoxy layers.
Ombre Epoxy Tumbler
How to Make It
- Wipe off your tumbler with 91% rubbing alcohol. The example used black and light pink, but you can spray it with your flat paint of choice.
- Alternate spraying the paint to achieve the correct ombre effect. When it is dry, add a thin layer of epoxy and drizzle it with hot pink glitters.
- Apply a new layer of epoxy after the glitters dry. Sand, let dry, and add the vinyl leopard spots.
- Apply the first layer of epoxy, blow torch, and let it dry. Sand again and apply the last layer of epoxy. Torch again and allow to cure for 72 hours.
Pour-on Epoxy Tumbler
This one teaches you how to epoxy a tumbler without using a cup turner. Start by priming your stainless steel cup using rubbing alcohol.
How to Make It
- In a small bowl, pour in your pouring paint, alternating colors to achieve the marble effect later. Do not mix.
- Invert your cup to a plastic cup, allowing some space between the table and your cup.
- Pour the paint over the bottom of the tumbler, allowing the color to pour to the sides of the tumbler. Let it dry.
- You can now apply your epoxy resin. We recommend adding two layers, letting it dry for at least 6 hours in between.
- Don’t forget to torch your tumbler before drying it and sand in between layers.
How Long Does It Take For The Epoxy To Dry on a Tumbler?
If you’re still working on your tumbler, allow 12 hours between applying coats. When the first layer is dry enough to sand off imperfections, you can add another layer of epoxy.
Generally, the second layer is the last coating, so you need to leave it on the turner for another 12 hours. You can now remove the tumbler from the cup turner.
The tumbler is fully dry to touch after 18-24 hours, but you should leave it for 48-72 hours to cure. Following this timetable, you need at least 86 hours to work on a tumbler from start to finish.
Common Issues with Epoxy Tumbler
Here are some of the most common issues about commercial cup turners and how we addressed them with this DIY cup turner tutorial:
Leaving your mixed epoxy in the container can cause flash curing. The epoxy gets warm and starts to harden so that the resulting finish is lumpy. It won’t dry even, too.
Do not mix your epoxy until you’re sure you can devote the time you need to do it. Multitasking is not in the hacks of how to epoxy a tumbler.
The tape won’t come off
We recommend leaving at least ½” space between the lip of your hot beverage tumbler. This step will give you enough space to drink directly from the cup without touching your lip to the epoxy. Taping around the lip is the best way to do this.
However, do not leave the tape on until the epoxy dries. Let the epoxy set for at least 30-45 minutes, then slowly take it off. Clean off the messy adhesive residues with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol.
Bunching up epoxy
The epoxy should not be too viscous so that it won’t bunch up. The change in the surface tension pushes the epoxy to gather where gravity favors them.
You can solve this issue by using a slower cup turner as it evens out the drying process. Also, try applying a thinner layer of epoxy, keeping it well-spread with your gloved finger.
Another hack is to apply a layer of clear, acrylic-based spray. This sets as a base and lets the epoxy bond better when compared to a cup without a base.
These are three reasons why your epoxy doesn’t dry or cure perfectly:
Don’t be tempted to add more hardeners to your epoxy mix, hoping the resin will harden faster. In fact, it won’t harden at all. Stick to the 1:1 ratio recommended by the manufacturers.
Components are not well-mixed
Don’t skip the mixing process. Mixing achieves two results: combine the components and achieve better epoxy consistency. Poorly integrated epoxy resin is terrible because it can also result in a tacky finish that doesn’t cure at all.
Good consistency means better results. Your goal is an epoxy mix that pours but doesn’t drip easily. Don’t worry about the bubbles; you can easily remove them by torching over the epoxy.
Fluctuating temperature and humidity
It can be challenging when the temperature falls below 70F. The recommended temperature range is 275-86F when working on resin crafts. So, keep your working station in the said temperature range within the first 24 hours, allowing the resin to dry first. You can do this by heating your space or making a heat box.
The resin itself should be between 20-75F. If it is too cold, measure out your resin components using two measuring cups, and let it set on a bowl of warm water to get the right temperature. Remember to warm each element in separate containers before mixing it.
Humidity is another crucial factor to consider when doing your epoxy tumblers. A heat lamp with a thermostat and hygrometer is an excellent investment to protect your work from damage due to fluctuating environmental conditions.
This complete guide on how to epoxy a tumbler is perfect for newbie crafters. We hope you enjoyed the designs and tops we included to make your crafting journey more enjoyable.
Now, all you have to do is choose what to work on - a tumbler, cup, or water bottle. Whatever you decide, gather the supplies and make a cup turner for cheap. If you don’t want to build one, check out these excellent cup turners for beginners.
Which design do you prefer: glitters, decal, plain tumbler, or combi? Do you think all the effort is worth the result? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.