Collection: Primaloc Epoxy Blog

An epoxy tumbler resting on a live edge wooden table with a scenic vista in the background.

Primaloc Guides: How to Make an Epoxy Tumbler

Crafting an epoxy tumbler is an excellent opportunity to showcase your creativity, perfect for those just venturing into the world of resin art. These tumblers are not only a manageable project in terms of time commitment but also result in a practical item you can use yourself or give as a personalized gift.

A Beginner-Friendly Endeavor

Now, the idea of starting such a project might feel overwhelming at first, especially if you're new to crafting with resin. However, there's no need to be apprehensive—the process is much simpler than you might think!

Our guide is designed with beginners in mind, offering clear, step-by-step directions for creating your own epoxy tumbler. We'll also cover the preparatory steps, from selecting the right tools and materials to setting up your workspace, to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable crafting experience.

What is an epoxy tumbler?

At its core, an epoxy tumbler is simply a sizable cup designed for drinking.

The metal and plastic versions that most people are familiar with typically feature vacuum insulation, which maintains a beverage's temperature over time. An epoxy tumbler, however, takes this a step further by adding a sleek epoxy resin finish to its exterior.

Crafting enthusiasts often take pleasure in creating these unique items at home, though one can also pick up the technique in specialized resin art workshops.

What makes an epoxy tumbler so interesting is how easily it can be personalized by any creator interested in the DIY experience. It can be adorned with a wide array of designs, colors, and personal touches like stickers and decals. Each embellishment is ultimately encapsulated by the epoxy resin, which cures to form a robust, long-lasting shell that preserves your design.

For an epoxy tumbler, we'll begin with an insulated metal tumbler as the foundational piece, which we recommend for its receptiveness to epoxy bonds.

Next, we'll outline ways to customize your tumbler.

Epoxy tumblers of different sizes resting on a countertop surface.

What Can You Customize an Epoxy Tumbler With?

There are numerous creative methods to adorn epoxy tumblers, including:

  • Incorporating epoxy pigments or resin dyes directly into the epoxy for rich colors and eye-catching designs.
  • Applying Mod Podge and glitter to give the tumbler a shimmering effect.
  • Attaching decals for adding text or images within the layers of resin.
  • Spray painting the tumbler, which is especially common when creating glittery tumblers.

But what exactly are epoxy pigments and resin dyes?

Epoxy pigments are powdered colorants, often derived from ground mica or similar minerals, available in both natural and synthetic varieties. These pigments consist of tiny particles that lend a sparkling or pearlescent sheen to the resin, with some even incorporating fine glitter or offering glow-in-the-dark properties.

Conversely, resin dyes are liquid-based, single-tone colorants that are incredibly concentrated. Just a small quantity can deeply color the resin, maintaining its translucency. Adding more dye can intensify the color, achieving a deeper saturation or even complete opacity, blocking any view of what lies behind it. A variety of high-quality resin dyes can be found in our store.

Both types of colorants can be effortlessly mixed into the resin in small amounts, allowing for easy customization by stirring them together thoroughly.

How to Make an Epoxy Tumbler

We like to separate epoxy tumbler projects into three main phases:

  • Phase #1 is to gather any supplies you'll need.
  • Phase #2 involves setting up your work area to make the process easy and safe.
  • Phase #3 is the fun part: making your epoxy tumbler.

Let's get started with Phase #1!

An epoxy tumbler with urban-themed art.

Phase #1: Gather Any Supplies You'll Need

Here's a comprehensive list of essentials (and a few optional extras) you'll need to bring your epoxy tumbler project to life:

  1. Insulated Stainless Steel Tumbler: Often referred to as double-walled tumblers, these come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Pick one that suits your style.
  2. Epoxy Resin: Choosing a high-quality product like our Primaloc Epoxy Resin is ideal for making tumblers. Our epoxy is food safe once cured and adheres well to a tumbler's rotating surface.
  3. Stir Sticks (Wooden or Plastic): Essential for mixing your epoxy resin in small, manageable batches.
  4. Heat Gun or Propane Torch: Necessary for popping any air bubbles in the freshly applied resin, ensuring a smooth finish.
  5. Wet/Dry Sandpaper: Opt for grits between 220 and 400. It's used to sand down the initial epoxy layer for better adhesion of the final coat, with any sanding marks disappearing under the new layer.
  6. Nitrile/Latex Gloves: Keep your hands clean and protected from the epoxy, which can be irritating to the skin.
  7. N95 or KN95 Respirator: Safety first—always wear a respirator to avoid inhaling potentially harmful fumes from the resin.
  8. Painter's Plastic Sheeting: Protect your workspace from spills and drips with this sheeting.
  9. Tumbler Cup Turner: This device rotates your tumbler slowly to ensure even application of the resin, preventing drips and pools. While you can technically make a tumbler without one, having it makes the process smoother and reduces errors.

Optional but helpful items include:

  • Utility Knife: Handy for cleaning up any resin that overflows onto the tumbler's rim.
  • Painter's Tape: Useful for those creating glitter tumblers who want to leave a band of exposed stainless steel at the top or bottom.
  • Epoxy Pigments: Add powder or liquid colorants to your resin for vibrant or deep-toned effects.
  • Spray Paint: Essential for covering any gaps in glitter coverage on glitter tumblers.
  • Glitter: For adding sparkle to your tumbler. Mix and match as you please for full or partial coverage.
  • Vinyl Decals: Personalize your tumbler with decals, sealed under the top layer of resin.
  • Mod Podge and Paintbrush: Some crafters prefer using Mod Podge to adhere glitter to the tumbler before spinning and resin application.

With these supplies at hand, you're well-equipped to tackle your epoxy tumbler project, whether it's your first or one of many.

Two small nature-themed epoxy tumblers resing side by side on a wooden table top.

Phase #2: Setting Up Your Work Area

This part of the process involves setting up your work area so that everything is easy to reach as you proceed from one step to another.

Try to achieve the following setup for a smooth crafting experience:

  • Secure a solid table or workbench where you can comfortably engage in your crafting activities.
  • Ensure the room can be adjusted to maintain the temperature recommended for your specific epoxy resin, which is typically around 75°F.
  • Choose a space that offers ample room for movement, allowing you to spread out your materials without overcrowding.

In your chosen workspace, lay down protective sheeting over any surfaces vulnerable to resin drips, spills, or other mishaps. Even experienced crafters encounter the occasional slip-up, so it’s wise to safeguard your area.

This protective layer will keep resin from adhering to surfaces such as wood or laminate, simplifying the cleanup process afterward.

Arrange your materials in a way that keeps them easily accessible yet out of the path of your activity. This organizational strategy minimizes the risk of accidentally knocking items over during the process.

Proceed to Phase #3, Step A if you'll be making a glitter tumbler.

Otherwise, you can move directly to Phase #3, Step B.

An epoxy tumbler on a table top during a sunrise.

Phase #3: Making Your Epoxy Tumbler

Phase #3 has a few optional steps. Which one you do depend on the type of tumbler you're making. For any step that doesn't apply, simply move on to the next one.

These steps are:

  • Step A: Apply Mod Podge and Glitter to Your Tumbler
  • Step B: Prepare Your Cup Turner, Then Mix and Apply Your Resin
  • Step C: Remove Air Bubbles from the Your First Resin Layer
  • Step D: Lightly Sand Your Epoxy Tumbler, Then Apply Decals/Stickers
  • Step E: Prepare and Apply a Second Layer of Epoxy
  • Step F: Remove Air Bubbles from Your Second Resin Layer

After all that, you'll allow your project to cure, and when it's done you'll have your very own customized epoxy tumbler.

Let's begin!

Step A: Apply Mod Podge and Glitter to Your Tumbler

Now, you're ready to prep your tumbler for the epoxy application. The approach you should take will vary based on your aesthetic goals and the type of tumbler you intend to make.

Firstly, ensure your tumbler is clean. This can be done with dish soap and water, or for a quicker method, rubbing alcohol works well to strip away any residue, oils, and contaminants before you start your project.

These first two parts are optional:
  1. (Optional) Spray Painting: Begin by spray painting your tumbler for a base color. Do this in a ventilated area or outdoors, wearing a mask for safety, and allow the paint to dry completely before proceeding further. Ensure it's clean once again after drying.

  2. (Optional) To Keep Part of the Metal Exposed: To leave a portion of the tumbler's metal exposed at the top or bottom, apply painter's tape around the desired area. The taped section will indicate the metal that remains visible upon project completion.

    For instance, taping half an inch from the rim means you'll retain a half-inch band of visible metal.
After any optional parts, do the following:
  1. Mod Podge Application: With a small, flat brush, apply Mod Podge over the areas you wish to glitter, using smooth, vertical strokes. Remember to cover the bottom if you're adding glitter there too.

  2. Adding Glitter: Secure the tumbler by holding it from the inside. This can be done with your arm or by improvising a handle with round foam and PVC pipe.

    To apply the glitter, you can either pour it directly from the container, sprinkle it with your fingers, or use a shaker cap for a more gradual application, depending on your preference. Once you've applied the glitter to your satisfaction, proceed to the next part.

  3. Remove Excess Glitter: Gently shake and tap the tumbler to dislodge loose glitter, saving the surplus by returning it to its original container.

  4. Review and Repeat: Assess the glitter coverage. If there are sparse areas and you want more coverage, wait for at least 4 hours before applying another layer of Mod Podge followed by glitter.

  5. Tape Removal and Drying: Carefully remove any tape from the rims and allow the tumbler to dry, ideally for a minimum of 4 hours, though many recommend leaving it to set overnight to ensure thorough drying.
  • Step B: Prepare Your Cup Turner, Then Mix and Apply Your Resin

  • From this point, you'll be moving on to the epoxy resin phase, so it's crucial to thoroughly understand the instructions provided with your specific epoxy brand.

    Users of our Primaloc Epoxy Resin can find a digital version of the instructions on our support site here.

    1. Ready the cup turner. First, get your cup turner ready, ensuring the tumbler is securely in place and rotates evenly without sagging. Then, gear up with your gloves and respirator for safety.

    2. Prepare your epoxy resin mix: The required quantity depends on your tumbler's dimensions, usually ranging from 1 to 1.5 fluid ounces (approximately 30 to 45 milliliters). If in doubt, it's better to mix a bit extra than to fall short, as any surplus can be properly disposed of later.

      Adhere strictly to the mixing guidelines for your epoxy.

    3. (Optional) Blend colorants into your resin: Should you wish to enhance your tumbler with epoxy pigments or resin dye, mix these into your resin now.

      Begin with a modest amount, adjusting until you achieve the desired color intensity. Once you're happy with the hue, proceed to the next step.

    4. Pour the mixed resin: Gently pour the resin onto the rotating tumbler, starting at the bottom rim.

      Position the side of your index finger close to the tumbler to guide the epoxy, ensuring an even coat and minimizing drips. Gradually work your way up to the top rim, but halt just before reaching it to avoid resin spilling into the tumbler’s interior.

      Near the top, carefully apply the resin just below the rim and then smooth it upwards with your finger, which helps keep the interior epoxy-free.

      Remember, if some resin does end up inside the tumbler, it can be removed afterwards.

    5. (Optional) Coat the Bottom of Your Tumbler: To finish, apply resin to the tumbler's bottom using your finger to spread it evenly. This step ensures coverage for any glittered bottom but is not mandatory for non-glitter tumblers. The epoxy will level itself as the tumbler turns, so aim for an even spread to prevent excessive dripping.

      Note: Opting out of coating the bottom is a personal choice, though you should definitely do so if it's glittered. Otherwise, it's not strictly necessary.

    Step C: Remove Air Bubbles from the Your First Resin Layer

    Next, we'll remove air bubbles from this first layer of epoxy.

    Here's how to do so:
    1. Perform a first sweep with your heat gun/torch. Maintain a safe distance, holding the device several inches above the resin, and move it smoothly back and forth across the surface as the tumbler spins. Ensure you cover the entire area with these motions.
      Remember: Avoid concentrating the heat on any one area for too long—no more than a second. Especially with a torch, ensure the flame never directly contacts the resin by keeping it several inches away.

    2. Inspect the tumbler. Carefully look at the tumbler from various angles to spot any lingering air bubbles. If any are found, make another pass with your heat device. If not, proceed to the next step.

    3. Allow it to cure. Let the resin start to cure as per your product's guidelines.
      In the absence of specific instructions, a general recommendation is to allow the tumbler to rotate for 12 hours, followed by a stationary period of another 12 hours to ensure thorough curing.

    4. Inspect the tumbler once more. Examine the tumbler's rim for any excess resin. Gently use a utility knife to trim away any resin that may have crept over the edge. This step is crucial to ensuring a smooth fit for the tumbler’s lid and to avoid any resin buildup.

    Step D: Lightly Sand Your Epoxy Tumbler, Then Apply Decals/Stickers

    Next, you'll sand the epoxy layer lightly. You can either wet sand or dry sand. Wet sanding is easier to clean up, but dry sanding can be easier to perform.

    Be careful not to over-sand; the goal is simply to roughen the resin surface slightly to improve adhesion for the final resin layer. Rest assured, any sanding marks will vanish after the new layer is applied.

    After you finish sanding, clean the dust off your tumbler. Then you can apply any stickers, decals, etc.

    Step E: Prepare and Apply a Second Layer of Epoxy

    We're nearing the finish line, and this step is very similar to the earlier resin application.

    1. Return the tumbler to the cup turner.

    2. Prepare a new batch of epoxy. Use roughly the same quantity as you did previously.

    3. Proceed to coat the tumbler with the resin. Pay particular attention to areas with decals. It's crucial to ensure these sections are adequately covered without allowing the epoxy to accumulate excessively.
    The aim is for a smooth, even finish across the entire surface, with the decals seamlessly integrated, showing no raised edges. The cup turner's rotation will help achieve this even distribution.

      Step F: Remove Air Bubbles from Your Second Resin Layer

      Finally, you'll repeat the air bubble removal process. See Step C again if you've forgotten how.

      Once that's finished, allow the epoxy to cure for the final time. Though 12 hours is usually enough, you should consult your epoxy instructions or contact the resin dealer to be sure.

      And with that, you'll be done! Your epoxy tumbler will be completely cured and ready for use. Enjoy!

      An epoxy tumbler on a wooden railing in broad daylight.

      FAQ: Can you wash an epoxy tumbler in the dishwasher?

      No. Epoxy tumblers need to be hand-washed because dishwashers use intense heat to clean dishes, and many types of plastic, including epoxy, can become deformed during direct exposure to this.

      It is possible to use a low-heat setting for this if your dishwasher offers one, though it's still not recommended for vacuum-sealed tumblers because the insulated double-walled seal can be damaged by most dishwasher cycles, reducing its efficacy in keeping its contents hot or cold.

      Primaloc Epoxy: Premium Epoxy for Premium Results

      When it comes to epoxy resin, Primaloc Epoxy gets the job done. Our epoxy resin is premium-grade, with high performance in every category, making it exceptional for epoxy tumblers.

      Epoxy resin can be beautiful, strong, and long-lasting—which is why you shouldn't compromise on quality. With Primaloc Epoxy Resin, you get the ultimate finish in durability and visual appeal.

      Protect your surfaces by giving them a rock-solid epoxy finish. Choose strong. Choose reliable. Choose Primaloc.


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