Nothing quite beats a good tumbler. Sturdy, insulated, and stylish, they allow us to take our favorite beverages with us wherever we go, making sure we all stay nice and hydrated.
If you’re going to carry this thing around with you wherever you go, why not turn it into a fashion item? Sure, you can go out and buy one with a fancy design, but nothing showcases your unique personality quite like some old fashioned arts and crafts work.
Epoxy tumblers — sometimes called glitter tumblers — are perfect personalized versions of these handy accessories. And they’re relatively easy to make, so long as you have the right materials and follow the process.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to make glitter tumblers with epoxy.
What is an Epoxy Tumbler?
Quite simply, an epoxy tumbler is a tumbler that has been decorated using epoxy. The benefits of using epoxy is that it is a durable finish, one that won’t chip away over time.
Plus, it dries clear, allowing you to put all sorts of designs on your tumbler. And it also gives it an exciting gloss finish, meaning it will not only sparkle but also shine.
Different Types of Epoxy Tumblers
You can use any type of tumbler to make a glitter tumbler with epoxy. Some of the big brands out there today include Kleen Kanteen, Hydroflask, and Yeti, though there are many others.
These particular tumblers are made from stainless steel, which is durable and rust-proof, and also BPA-free. They are also insulated, keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.
Other tumblers are made from plastic. These are okay, but just make sure the plastic is BPA-free. This is a chemical additive put in many plastic products that has been linked to all sorts of health problems. Most people are aware of this issue, and so there are lots of BPA-free brands out there.
Once you’ve got your ideal tumbler, it’s time to get to work making it shiny and glittery.
How to Make Glitter Tumblers With Epoxy
Below we will cover everything you need to know about how to make glitter tumblers with epoxy. We’ll discuss the supplies you will need, what kind of epoxy to use on tumblers, how to epoxy a tumbler, and some things you can do to add extra personal touches.
Ready?! Lets begin.
Supplies You Will Need
To make glitter tumblers with epoxy, you will need the following supplies:
- Stainless steel tumbler
- Spray paint
- Art Resin or Tabletop Epoxy from Upstart Epoxy
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Protective latex gloves
- Two measuring cup
- Mixing cup
- Cup turner
- Paper plate or paper towels (for catching glitter and epoxy)
What Kind of Epoxy to Use on Tumblers
There are two types of epoxy — art resin and table top — that are ideal for this type of project.
These are great because they both can be poured to ⅛-inch increments, which allows you to get just the amount of epoxy you need. Plus, each of these products cure to a crystal clear high-gloss finish. This will really help your glitter pop, making for a truly dazzling tumbler.
Additionally, both are approved by the FDA as being 100 percent food safe, and are crafted using the highest-quality ingredients. And, as an added bonus, they are 100 percent American made.
The only real difference between these two epoxies is cure/working time.
The Table Top Epoxy cures faster than the Art Resin Epoxy, which also means it has a shorter working time. But this may be ideal for your glitter tumbler since you don’t need to spend a lot of time applying the epoxy.
But either will produce that shiny, professional finish that will help make your glitter tumbler really stand out from the crowd.
The Cup Turner
On our supplies list, you surely noticed that we included a “cup turner.”
For those who don’t know, this is a device upon which you place a cup (or in this case, tumbler) to spin it horizontally.
It’s necessary on this project for two reasons.
First, it makes it much easier to apply the glitter evenly. Of course, you can do this on your own by simply sticking your hand inside the tumbler and slowly applying the glitter. But a cup turner will just make it that much easier.
However, a cup turner is really necessary because you’ll be working with epoxy. When it dries, epoxy, which is a thick solution that hardens as it cures, drips.
Therefore, if you leave your epoxy tumbler in one position while it dries, you will get all sorts of streaks and drips that really don’t look good.
A cup turner spins the cup constantly so that the epoxy dries evenly and no streaks appear.
The advantage to buying one is that you can leave your glitter tumbler alone as it dries. You just set it to spin and walk away.
If you decide to make a DIY cup turner, you will need to sit around and spin the cup manually. For the first half-hour to hour, this could mean spinning it every 30 seconds to a minute. This isn’t inherently problematic, but just make sure you have some sort of system set up to ensure you don’t miss out on a rotation.
How to Epoxy a Tumbler: The Process
Okay, now that you have all the supplies that you need, it’s time to talk about how to make glitter tumblers.
The steps involved are fairly simple, but it will take a day or two from beginning to end, largely because of the drying times involved.
Step 1: Spray paint Your Tumbler
The first thing you want to do is to spray paint your tumbler. While technically not required, this is good for two reasons:
- Spray painting gives the glitter a different surface to adhere to; stainless steel is often smooth and stuff doesn’t stick to it.
- Painting your tumbler will really make the glitter pop, producing a more exciting finished product.
If you do decide to spray paint your tumbler, make sure you tape it up first. Depending on the design of your tumbler, you may want to leave a strip at the top and bottom without glitter.
Simply apply some painters tape to these parts, covering all the areas you don’t want painted. It may also be a good idea to fold some paint over the lip of the tumbler and down into the mug. Then, stuff some paper towels in there to make sure no spray paint gets inside.
Once you’ve done this, take the tumbler to a well-ventilated area (outside, perhaps) and spray it down. Apply a thin, even layer, and once you’re happy with how it looks, leave it to dry.
Note: If you’re using a plastic tumbler, make sure you buy spray paint that is designed to adhere to plastic. Not all do, so make sure to check the label before making a purchase.
Step 2: Apply first coat of epoxy
After you’ve painted your tumbler, it’s time to add the first layer of epoxy. Some people use Modge Podge, a type of craft glue, for this part. But it can be rather clumpy and difficult to apply evenly.
Using a quality epoxy is a much better option.
Start by removing the tape you put on for spray painting and applying some fresh strips. However, this time, move the tape up just enough so that the epoxy will overlap the glitter and make sure the top lines don’t erode over time.
Then, continue by mixing about 5ml of each epoxy solution. Now, put on your gloves, and place your tumbler on your cup turner. Put a piece of paper or a cloth underneath the cup turner to catch any dripping epoxy or fallen glitter.
Now, dip your fingers into the epoxy solution and use them to spread it evenly over the tumbler.
Step 3: Add glitter
As soon as your epoxy layer is on, remove your gloves and grab your glitter. Sprinkle it onto the tumbler as it spins on the cup turner until it's covered to your liking.
After the glitter looks the way you want, it’s time to wait. If you’ve got your tumbler on an electric cup turner, just leave it. The epoxy should fully dry in 5-6 hours, though it’s probably best to just leave it overnight.
If you’re using a DIY cup turner, get some help for this part so that someone can turn the cup while you apply the epoxy and glitter. Then, set a timer to make sure you’re turning the cup every 30 seconds for at least the first half hour.
After that, you can start turning it less frequently. Pay attention to the epoxy. As it hardens, it will drip less. Eventually, after an hour or two, you should be able to just leave it, though turning it every so often is not such a bad idea.
Step 4: Add epoxy
When this first coat of epoxy dries, you will want to apply a second one to seal in the glitter and really give your epoxy tumbler that signature shine.
Repeat step 3 (without applying the glitter) and then let the tumbler dry overnight.
At this point, you have successfully made a glitter tumbler! Congratulations! If all you wanted to do was add some sparkle to your cup, then you’re done.
However, if you want to go a little further and add either some vinyl decals or more glitter, follow these steps.
Step 5: Sand tumbler and add decals or more glitter
Two things you can do to further spice up your tumbler are adding more glitter and placing decals.
In either case, you will need to apply another layer of epoxy. But before doing so, it’s a good idea to sand the area where you’re going to work with a fine 220-grit sandpaper.
This will scuff up the epoxy a little bit, which is scary at first. But don’t worry! You’ll get that shine back soon.
If you’re placing a decal, put it on the spot where you sanded, and then apply another coat of epoxy to the entire tumbler following the instructions in step three.
For those adding more glitter, you’ll need to add a step. First, you’ll need to epoxy the sanded area, then add the glitter, and then let it dry. Effectively, you’re repeating steps two and three.
Once this layer is dry, you’ll want to seal everything again with another coat of epoxy.
Now you’ve a shiny, glitter, personalized epoxy tumbler to take with you wherever you go!
Enjoy Your Glitter Tumbler
Now that you know how to make glitter tumblers, the only thing left to do is let the crafts begin. Once you make one and see how easy and fun it is, watch out! Before you know it, your house will be filled with epoxy tumblers of all shapes and sizes.
But you can also do this type of craft with other items, not just tumblers. Remember, when it comes to art, the only limit is what you can imagine!