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DIY Alcohol Ink Tumbler Video & Written Tutorial!

Learn how to make your own custom tumblers with alcohol inks and vinyl decals. Check out this video tutorial on how to make cute DIY alcohol ink tumblers!

Hi Friends!!  I am so excited about this post I finally got around to making an alcohol ink tumbler and let me tell you, they are so easy and fun!

I have been making more custom tumblers with this new technique and this might be my favorite one yet (I wish I could keep it!!)

The fun thing about these alcohol ink epoxy tumblers is that none of the tumblers will ever come out the same!  Totally unique gifts, woohoo!  I also have a free Motherhood SVG cut file for you too.

custom tumblers pinterest

I made an alcohol ink tumbler for beginners video tutorial for you on how I applied the alcohol inks to the tumbler so you can actually see how easy it is. 

Let’s get down to business on how I made this beauty!

Materials Needed for Alcohol Ink Custom Tumblers

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, Expressions Vinyl and/or Cricut.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links.

  • stainless steel mug – I used a Built brand mug (found here on Amazon) or at Walmart, but I also like Ozark and Mossy Oaks from Walmart.
  • white spray paint (Rustoleum gloss protective enamel) – found here on Amazon or you can find it at your local Walmart
  • Alcohol Inks – I used Mermaid, Indigo and Cranberry for this tumbler
  • rubbing alcohol 91% – I got mine at Walmart
  • makeup sponges
  • Vinyl
  • Cricut or another cutting machine
  • squirt bottle, paper towels, gloves
  • Free Motherhood powered by love, fueled by coffee, sustained by wine SVG cut file! – Download SVG here  (As with all my files, these are for personal use only.  If you would like to purchase a commercial use license, click here.)


You can always browse my Amazon storefront with my complete DIY Tumbler supply list.

What is Alcohol Ink?

Before we get into how to do alcohol ink on tumblers, let’s talk about what alcohol inks are.

These are alcohol-based inks that are highly pigmented and dry super fast. The alcohol actually evaporates once the ink dries leaving the vibrant colors. Alcohol inks work great on non-porous hard surfaces such as ceramic, resin, glass, plastic, and metal.

There are now many brands of alcohol inks because they have become a popular medium to craft with. Alcohol inks usually come in small bottles with a lid to squirt out.

I’ve always used Tim Holtz Ranger brand which I haven’t had any problems with!

Alcohol Ink Tumbler Tutorial

Ok, so let’s look at how to use alcohol ink on tumblers.

The first thing I did was to tape off the top of my stainless steel mug and spray paint it white.  You can use any base color, but white really makes the colors pop.  For a video tutorial on how I spray paint tumblers click here.

Once the paint is dry, it’s time to apply the alcohol inks! 

I cut the cosmetic wedges in half so there’s less waste.  Decide on what you want for your base layer.  I wanted the teal (mermaid) color to be most prominent so I started with that one.  Squeeze a little on the wedge and start dabbing.

It is much easier to explain this through video.  Make sure to watch the video at the top or on the side! 

I’ll also explain the steps for those of you who do better with written instructions.

custom tumbler using alcohol ink

Once the first layer is dabbed on, do the same thing for the second color.  I used Indigo next. 

You have the option of dabbing in all random areas like I did, or you can put colors in certain areas.  It’s entirely up to you!  Have fun with it!

Then I dabbed the cranberry color on, trying to make sure all the white was colored up. 

Now it’s time to spread the ink out a bit and dilute it. So once you have all the color on the tumbler, put a little bit of 91% rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and start dabbing the mug. 

The colors will start blending!  If you want more color on it, you can always dab on another layer.

dabbing on alcohol ink on tumbler

Once you have the entire tumbler blended, you can do this optional step which I think is the best.  Put a little bit of the rubbing alcohol in a squirt bottle. 

Hold it about 8-10 inches away and squirt it on the mug.  Start slowly so you can see what it is doing.  You’ll see the cool drop effect form!

Rotate the mug as you continue slowly squirting on the alcohol.  It’s more like misting the mug! 

This is how my tumbler ended up after I squirted it.  You’ll notice it doesn’t look the same as my finished product.  That is one thing you have to be mindful of or you need to seal it! 

custom tumblers diy with alcohol inks

Don’t be totally in love with it and get upset if it changes a little during the epoxy step.  If you really want it to stay exactly the same way, spray a sealant over it as I did in my wood grain tumbler before you apply the epoxy.

Once it’s dry, you can put your first layer of epoxy on the alcohol ink tumbler.  Remove the tape and add a new piece on just a few mm above the paint line. 

If you’d like to watch a video tutorial on how I apply the electrical tape click here.

I wanted a little bit of glitter in it so I added some glitter into my epoxy (totally optional!).  For my detailed step by step tutorial on how to epoxy a tumbler, click here. 

I remove the tape about 45 minutes after I apply the epoxy while it’s turning.

applying epoxy to alcohol ink tumbler

I finally built a tumbler turner and used it on this custom tumbler.  What a different experience!!  It’s so much easier.  Find out how to build your own tumbler turner.

Apply the Vinyl Decal to the Tumbler

Once the first layer of epoxy resin is dry, you can add your vinyl decals.  If you’d like to use my free Motherhood cut file, make sure you download it from the link above. 

If you need help with this step, check out my video tutorial here on how to upload files to CDS.  Use your Cricut to cut out the vinyl and then weed off the extra.

motherhood svg file

To layer the vinyl, put your transfer tape over the top layer first (that’s my pink layer).  Scrape it down and pull up the transfer paper with the vinyl adhered to it.

applying decal with tranfser tape
motherhood love coffee svg
layering vinyl with transfer tape

I like to start from the bottom.  I line up the bottom section, place it down on the shadow layer and then start pressing down towards the top making sure it is all aligned.  Motherhood was the last section I pressed down.

You can use the hinge method to apply the vinyl to your tumbler if you have trouble getting it straight.  Check out my post and video tutorial on applying vinyl to a tumbler.

applying vinyl decal to epoxy tumbler

Press down the vinyl with a scraper or your fingers and then slowly remove the transfer paper.

scraping down vinyl decal
peeling off transfer tape from tumbler
custom tumblers diy

Let the vinyl set for a while and then you can epoxy the second layer of the alcohol ink tumbler. 

Apply another piece of tape to the top.  My top coat of epoxy is also just a clear coat, with no extra glitter added. 

Again, remove the tape from your alcohol ink tumbler about 45-60 minutes into the turning.  I turn mine for 4-5 hours.

applying second coat of epoxy to tumbler


You’re all done!!  Sit back and admire your beautiful unique custom tumblers made with alcohol inks!

custom tumblers

Look at these gorgeous colors!!

custom alcohol ink tumbler with blue and purple

I think this is one of my new favorites, but there are a ton of other ways to make custom tumblers.  Click here to check out my ultimate guide of personalized tumblers!

custom tumbler with minnie mouse monogrammed decal

For the monogram side, I used a Cricut cut file from the Disney collection or you can easily google Minnie mouse and download it. 

I used one of my favorite apps, MonogramIt, to create the monogram.  I uploaded it to CDS then used the slice tool to cut it out so the background would show through.

alcohol ink tumbler with Motherhood vinyl decal
custom tumblers
blue purple and pink watercolor effect tumbler

Cute, right??  I absolutely am in love with how it turned out!!

For the full video tutorial, make sure to check it out on my YouTube channel.

If you’d like to save this alcohol ink epoxy tumbler tutorial for later, please PIN it now by hovering over the top left corner of the image below!!

Make your own alcohol ink tumbler with a step by step tutorial and free Motherhood SVG cut file. #tumbler #alcoholink

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please let me know if you have any questions!

leap of faith crafting
monogrammed disney tumbler pinterest
custom tumblers pin

Sharing is caring!

MICHelle

Sunday 14th of June 2020

Do you sand in between coats of epoxy?

Thank you.

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