Hydro dipping tumblers is a fun and easy way to decorate tumblers. Learn how to make one of a kind unique painted tumblers now!
This one is a little different than the glitter tumblers I normally make. Today we are going to be hydro dipping tumblers!
My son has been seeing hydro dipping DIY on YouTube lately and kept begging to dip some of his toys. We finally got around to it and I loved how they came out and how easy it was.
You all know I love my glitter, so I did have to add a little sparkle to it in the epoxy step, but that is totally optional!
I do have a video of the hydro dipping part, so make sure to check that out at the top or the side (the video moves around depending on what device you are reading this on!)
What is Hydro Dipping?
Hydro (water) dipping is the process of transferring images to a 3D surface with water. It is used in a variety of fields with all different kinds of printed graphics. But it all involves the similar steps of dipping or immersing the surface into water.
There are kits and different things you can get, but we are going to be hydro dipping DIY style… with spray paint and water!
Materials Needed for Hydro Dipping Tumblers
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- Tumbler – I used a Built stainless steel mug
- Spray Paints – I used a flat white for the base coat and other colors I had on hand including candy pink, berry pink, and a Color Shot spray paint (most of these you can find at Walmart)
- Bucket and water
- Epoxy Resin and supplies- check out my favorite tumbler supplies here
- Glitter (optional)
- Cricut or another cutting machine
- Adhesive vinyl for decals
- electrical or painter’s tape
How to Hydro Dip a Tumbler
Make sure to take all the stickers and wrapping off of the tumbler and clean it well. You can use soap and water or rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.
For hydro dipping to work, there needs to be a base layer or primer on the surface for the other paint to stick to. So we need to paint the tumbler, just like I’ve shown you in my other tutorials.
I like to tape off the top of my tumblers so that my mouth doesn’t touch the resin and so there is less probability of the epoxy cracking if it’s dropped. Use electrical tape or blue painter’s tape to tape all around the top of the tumbler. (Taping video here)
If you need additional help with this step, make sure to watch my spray painting a tumbler video here. This is just a base coat so it doesn’t need to be perfect!
Once it’s dry (a few hours), it’s time to hydro dip! You’ll want to cover the lid and inside so the painted water doesn’t get inside. I put my lid in a Ziploc and stuck it back in the tumbler. (leave the tape on)
Fill a bucket with water to about 3/4 full. Make sure all of your paint is shaken and the lids are off. I would recommend only using 3-4 colors.
The paints tend to dry fast on the water too so you want to make sure you have your tumbler nearby and ready and not take too long spraying the paint. I was doing this in 95F degree weather which made it dry even faster!
Now you are going to spray the paint in alternating colors. It’s kind of just a burst of paint (about 1-2 seconds) from about 8 inches above the water.
I started with the dark pink and then did some light pink.
Then I spray the teal. Always spraying the paint in the middle of the bucket so it pushes the other paint to the outside. Keep alternating the colors. I did about 3 blasts of each color.
You can use a stick to gently swirl the paint together but try not to stir it together.
Hold on to the tumbler from the wrapped lid and slowly insert it at an angle and slowly rotate it to get a more swirly effect. Make sure to wear gloves!
Keep pushing it down through the water slowly until it is fully immersed. You’ll notice all of the paint pulling toward the tumbler while it goes down!
When it’s underwater try to break up the remaining paint and pull it over to the sides so it doesn’t stick to the tumbler on the way back up.
Then pull the tumbler out of the water. Try not to touch the bottom like I did! My gloves pulled a little bit of paint off so you can see a little bit of the white.
Try to shake the extra water off. If you have an air hose, you can blow off the extra water, but I didn’t have one.
I did get a few chunks of paint on mine, I think because it was so hot and the paint dried fast. I accidentally wiped it off with my finger which caused a little smudge, but again with the marbling effect, you can’t really tell. Try to blot it down if you get one.
Now the marbled tumbler needs to dry. I turned it upside down and let it sit. I would recommend taking the lid out before allowing it to dry.
I left mine in and some paint accumulated inside the cup but it was easy to scrape out with my fingernails.
You can reuse the water in the bucket again. Just scoop all the paint out and spray new paint on top!
After it’s dry to the touch about 30-60 minutes or so remove the tape at the top.
Then let it fully dry overnight. That’s it for the hydro dipping tumblers part. So cool looking, right??
Sealing a Marble Painted Tumbler
Once the mug is fully dry, it’s time to seal it. I prefer to use epoxy resin for my top coats because they come out so shiny and smooth. Plus it’s FDA compliant.
I have a full detailed tutorial on how to apply epoxy with a manual hand turner so make sure to check that out since this post was mostly about how to hydro dip. I also have a full video of epoxying a tumbler here.
Tape the tumbler off again about 1-2mm above the paint line and wrap it all the way around so that it overlaps by an inch or two.
Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area or outside when adding the epoxy resin.
I wanted some sparkle to the hydro dipped tumbler so I added 4 different colors of glitter to the epoxy mix. I mixed 15 ml of each solution together for about two minutes and then added about 1/2t. of each glitter and mixed that in.
I use my handmade motorized cup turner with a Dollar Tree football at the end of it. I stick the tumbler on there, turn it on, and start pouring the epoxy on.
Then I used my gloved fingers to smooth it out up and down the tumbler and for this one I put some on the bottom too. All of this is in the video at the top or the side, so make sure to watch the second half.
Then I let it spin. After 30-40 minutes I remove the tape. Don’t forget this step!! I have and the tape will cause all sorts of problems if you try to remove it when it’s dry. Set a timer!
Try to remove the tape straight or angle it a little towards the paint. If you remove it while you are pulling towards the top of the tumbler some of the resin might pull with it and create an uneven line.
Depending on the temperature, I let mine spin for 3-4 more hours. It will dry faster when warmer and slower if you live in a place with humidity or if it’s cold.
After it’s done spinning, let it fully dry, usually overnight.
Adding a Decal
Since I added glitter to my resin, sometimes I end up with some bumps. If you don’t have any, you can skip this step.
I use a wet sandpaper (from Walmart automotive area) and with the tumbler wet and the sandpaper wet, I gently sand the tumbler up and down.
Then I washed the tumbler and cleaned the outside with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.
Make sure to check out my post on how to apply vinyl to a tumbler so it’s always straight if you need additional help with these steps.
We’re getting there! Now we need to seal the vinyl on the tumbler.
I let the vinyl sit on the tumbler for a few hours to cure a bit so that the epoxy won’t leak seep under it (which it might do if you add the epoxy right away).
Then go through all the same steps to add one more layer of clear epoxy resin. This time no glitter so that it’s nice and smooth.
Tape off the top at the same line as before. Mix the epoxy and add it to the tumbler. Let it spin for 3-4 hours, but remember to remove the tape after 30-40 minutes.
Once it’s done spinning, let it dry overnight and it’s finally done! Enjoy your new hydro dipped tumbler! I know I am!
It’s just so pretty! I love that I was able to make the marble effect with my favorite colors and also add some sparkle to it with a little bit of glitter.
If for some reason you can’t use epoxy, then make sure to check out my tutorial on how to sublimate tumblers that are waterproof and permanent or a rhinestone tumbler or etched tumbler where no sealant is needed!
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Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!