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Step by step directions and video tutorial on how to make your own glitter tumbler using epoxy resin! This post was updated on April 14, 2019.
Are you tired of my tumblers yet?? I’ve shown you quite a few ways of how to decorate stainless steel cups and today I have the ultimate glitter tumbler tutorial for you!
I finally took the plunge and tried using epoxy to seal my glitter cups and it was so much easier than I thought. I was scared of it for a long time and preferred just spray painting my cups but I wanted a really glittery one and it came out so cool!
Just to forewarn you, making glitter tumblers is relatively easy but they take days to make! There is a lot of drying time and after you apply the epoxy you need to turn the glitter tumbler for a few hours so you have to do it on a day when you are going to be home.
This glitter tumbler tutorial is pretty long so stay with me! I will go back and forth between cups to show you as many pics as possible. I’m definitely not an expert but I learned a bunch from watching youtube videos and figured some stuff out on my own.
I even have a video of how I apply the epoxy because it was too hard to take pictures of since I had sticky gloved hands. Plus there are printable instructions at the end of the post with key steps.
Ok, let’s get started…
Materials Needed for Glitter Tumbler
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- Stainless Steel Tumbler – I use Ozark Tumblers (found here) and Mossy Oak tumblers from Walmart.
- Epoxy – I use Alumilite from Amazon found here
- Glitter – extra fine or chunky. I used Caribbean, Jumbo True Silver, Marquee Love glitter
- Spray paint
- Mod Podge and paint brush
- Vinyl, HTV or Decals and Cricut or another cutting machine (If you have a Cricut, check out my resource guide of Cricut Ideas here!)
- painter’s tape
- wet/dry sandpaper
You can always browse my Amazon storefront with my complete DIY Tumbler supply list.
Directions for Glitter Tumbler
The first thing you’ll want to do is tape off the top and bottom (if you want). The Alumilite is FDA approved but I still don’t like my mouth on it so I tape off the top.
The epoxy also can break if it falls hard on the bottom edge so something to think about. If I’m taping off the bottom I also add a piece of press and seal so paint won’t get on the bottom. If you’d like to see a video tutorial on how I tape off the cups, click here.
Turn the cup over in a well-ventilated area and spray paint from about 12 inches away. Just circle around it as you spray a little dusting over it.
I know in my previous tumbler tutorials I said you had to use a specific brand of paint but for some reason, I used two different kinds and they both worked perfectly. I don’t know if the stainless steel composition changed or what because other paint than the enamel used to run for me, but not anymore!
**Update** I now have a video tutorial of how I spray paint stainless steel tumblers, click here to watch!
For my large glitter tumbler, I used Krylon Satin Sea Glass spray paint from Walmart.
For my smaller blue glitter tumbler, I used Rust-oleum spa blue.
Adding the Glitter to a Tumbler
Once the tumbler is dry, it is time to add the glitter. Make sure you have a container or wax paper underneath the mug to catch your glitter!
I put a little bit of Mod Podge in a separate bowl and use a flat paintbrush to put it on. I “paint it on” so that the whole mug is covered in a uniform and smooth layer. I use long brush strokes from the top to bottom so that I don’t get a lot of lines.
I just take the lid off of the container and start dumping the glitter on the cup as I rotate it. Just keep pouring the caribbean glitter on the cup as you move down its length until it’s completely covered.
If you’d like to watch a video tutorial of me applying mod podge and glitter, click here.
Tap the bottom a bit to get the extra glitter off, remove the painter’s tape, and then stand it up to dry (I had mine upside down since the bottom had glitter on it.)
Once it’s dry, usually after a few hours, you can tap it again to see if anymore glitter comes off. Then take a clean dry flat brush and stroke it down all the glitter to get off any pieces that are not glued down.
The glitter tumbler is pretty already!! Then add another piece of blue tape just a little bit above the glitter line. You want the epoxy to be able to seal above the glitter so leave a few mm of space. Repeat on the bottom too if you had it taped off before.
Now you are ready for the fun part! Make sure you have a few hours that you can stay close by. I set up mine in my kitchen with the windows open and put things away or did dishes in between turns.
DIY Double Manual Hand Cup Turner
At this point, you need to rig up a DIY tumbler turner. So here is my setup… super technical!
I saw something similar online somewhere and modified to use whatever I had in the house. I started by punching two round holes in the sides of a box with a stamping punch.
I had a long rod that we use to attach to paint rollers so I slid that through and added pool noodles to each end. I then wrapped paper towels or bubble wrap around the foam until the glitter tumbler was secure.
I’ve also seen people use small foam footballs from the Dollar Store and cut a hole in them and attach them to the ends.
If I’m not making two glitter tumblers with my double tumbler turner I just put an extra stainless steel tumbler on the other end to balance it out. Then add a sheet of wax paper underneath where your cup will be spinning because the epoxy is super sticky and will fall off!
I did make a mistake on the bigger glitter tumbler with not having enough paper towels around the foam to keep it straight. I think that’s why I got a few diagonal lines because the epoxy was sliding slightly sideways since it wasn’t flat.
A football probably would be better for the 30oz cups. For the second round of epoxy, I stuffed a lot more paper towels in the mug and it helped.
How to Make Glitter Tumblers with Epoxy
This is what you’ll need to epoxy your glitter mug. The Alumilite Epoxy resin comes with a few plastic measuring cups and wood sticks. I ended up ordering extra measuring cups since they were so cheap (found here!). You’ll also need a plastic cup and gloves.
You are going to measure out equal amounts of solution A and B in the two separate measuring cups. I typically use 15 ml each for the smaller mugs. The larger mugs could use 20 ml each.
Pour them both in a cup making sure to scrape down the sides with the wood stick to get everything out of it. I tell Alexa to turn on a timer for 3 minutes and sit down and stir at a slow to medium pace. Popping bubbles as I see them with the stick.
Get your gloves on and your ready to epoxy! Take a deep breath and watch the video at the top…. it’s not as hard as you think!
For the blue cup, I used these glitters pictured below. And I did the epoxy slightly differently. I actually mixed in a little bit of the jumbo glitter and purple rainbow glitter into the epoxy.
I think I added a bit too much on the jumbo silver glitter but I still like the end result. Kind of looks like it’s raining!
Here is another video of me applying the epoxy with the glitter mixed in. It’s about the same as the last video, but in case you wanted to see another one in action!
As I said on the video you are going have to keep your eye on the glitter tumbler and turn it often if you are hand turning!! For the first half an hour it might be every 30 seconds to two minutes.
It depends a lot on the temperature of where you are doing it. Warmer temps will dry faster. I watch the bottom side of my epoxy glitter tumbler and when I see a drip start to form I turn it 90 to 180 degrees.
Just keep watching and turning until the drips aren’t coming as frequently then you can maybe go to 3-5 minutes between turns.
I like to take my tape off at about 45 minutes to an hour in. The first cup I ever made, I forgot to take the tape off for two hours and it ended up pulling up some of the edges making it jagged and some of the tape I couldn’t even get off! So now I set Alexa again for 50 minutes so I remember!
I spin mine for about 5 hours (the last few hours I only turn it every 20-30 minutes). It’s still not totally dry at that point but I just leave it on the foam overnight.
**Update** I have finally made my own DIY motorized tumbler turner. Find out how to make one for cheap here!
The next day I sand the glitter tumbler. Get a spray bottle with water and spritz some water on it and gently rub it with wet sandpaper. You can find it in the automotive department of Walmart or on Amazon here. I used the 400 grit.
After it’s all sanded and smooth, I clean the whole thing with rubbing alcohol.
I’d love if you come craft with me on Instagram! I post a ton of short video tutorials on all sorts of different DIY projects. Click the button below!
Applying a Decal to a Tumbler
Now is time to put on your decal. I designed my monogram on an app called Monogram Lite. It’s super easy to use and free or you can upgrade for $0.99 to get more options.
I use a Cricut cutting machine and love it! There are endless Cricut projects you can make and I’ve made a ton.
I design it on my phone and then email it myself so I can download it on my computer. I upload it into Cricut Design Space and I cut it out of glitter vinyl for the Caribbean mug. I weeded the design and applied the Cricut strong grip transfer tape.
Jump over to my posts, if you’d like to learn more about how to use the Monogram It app and make monograms or learn how to make your own split letter monograms.
Then transfer it to the glitter tumbler. If you want step by step and video directions on how to apply vinyl to a tumbler click here.
For the big tumbler, I cut out my turtle and mandala design out of heat transfer vinyl. I tried cutting it out of regular vinyl but it was too intricate and too hard to weed so I ended up mirroring the image and cutting it out of HTV.
He’s so cute, isn’t he?? I adore sea turtles so knew I wanted one on my glitter tumbler.
The HTV was pretty simple to apply. Place it on your mug and use the tip of an iron to press it down. Keep moving the tip of the iron all over the vinyl until the plastic paper starts to pull up.
I wouldn’t recommend a big design like this one on the 30 oz tumbler where it dips down. It’s not so easy to iron down unless you are used to working on curves.
Let the decals sit for a few hours and then you are going to add another layer of epoxy the same way you did before. Add another piece of blue painter’s tape on the same line the other one was on. Watch the video again if you need to!
Remove the tape after about an hour. Turn the glitter tumbler for 4-5 hours again and let it fully dry. Once it’s fully dry (I wait overnight), it’s done!
Full Glitter Tumbler Video Tutorial From Start To Finish – Update!!
If you’d like to see a start to finish video tutorial on the entire process of making glitter tumblers, hop on over to my ombre glitter tumblers tutorial.
Woo Hoo!! Now you get to enjoy your sparkly glitter tumbler!
You can also make personalized stemless wine glasses with glitter. Plus you can grab my FREE SVG and PNG Cheers file of eight different fonts!
Make sure to check out my other posts on how to decorate stainless steel mugs. Click pics below the glitter tumbler printable directions to be taken to each DIY tumbler tutorial.
If you want some more ideas, click here to check out my ultimate guide to making personalized tumblers from beginners to advanced!
Frequently Asked Questions About Glitter Tumblers
- Are glitter tumblers dishwasher safe? No, they are not. It is because stainless steel tumblers, in general, should not be put in the dishwasher. There is a coating on the inside of them that keeps them cold and also hot that can get messed up in the dishwasher.
- Can you glitter acrylic tumblers? Yes, you can! I glittered a cute unicorn acrylic cup.
- How do you get the line straight at the top? I agree, this is the trickiest part, and takes time to perfect!! Try to pull the tape straight up and slightly over toward the glitter part of the cup. If you pull it towards the top of the tumbler, the epoxy will spread taller with the tape before it let’s go.
- Can you make glitter tumblers without epoxy? Yes! I have used mod podge to seal some glitter tumblers and they hold up well. They do have a different look to them and are not as smooth. You can see my comparison of the two methods here.
How to Hand Glitter Tumblers Printable Instructions
As promised, here are some printable directions on how to make glitter tumblers. There is a print button in the card.
- Wash tumbler.
- Apply tape to top (and bottom - optional).
- Spray paint the tumbler if needed. Let dry.
- Apply a layer of mod podge with long even strokes.
- Dump glitter all over while you are turning the tumbler so the mod podge is all covered. Tap bottom so excess falls off.
- Remove tape.
- Let dry fully (over night). Use flat dry brush to remove excess glitter.
- Time to epoxy. Tape off top, 1 -2 mm above paint line (and bottom if you did before).
- Mix A and B solution of epoxy thoroughly, should take a few minutes.
- Tumbler should be on a hand turner or cup turner. Apply epoxy, smoothing it up and down the tumbler while you rotate it slowly. See videos in post for full instructions.
- Continue rotating for 4-6 hours depending on temperature. Remove tape 45 minutes into rotating. Set timer so you don't forget!
- Once it's fully dry, spritz some water and wet sand around the entire tumbler until it's smooth.
- Clean the tumbler off with rubbing alcohol.
- Apply decals and let rest for an hour or so.
- Tape off the top (and bottom if you did before).
- Repeat epoxy step (stir solutions, apply to cup and turn for 4-6 hours).
- Enjoy your nice new personalized tumbler!
** Make sure you are using epoxy resin in a well ventilated area.
If using a hand turner, you will need to stay by the turner and rotate every minute or so for the first 10 minutes, then every couple minutes for another 20-30 minutes, then maybe every 5-10 minutes for another hour and then every 30 minutes until it's done. Watch it and if you see buildup on the bottom, turn it.
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