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How to Paint a Yeti Cup or Ozark Tumbler Easily!

Want to learn how to paint a yeti cup or stainless steel tumbler easily?? I’ve tried all different kinds of paint and in this tutorial I show you how to paint one with chalk paint!

Hi Friends! My last post was about applying vinyl decals to an Ozark Tumbler or Yeti but you can also paint them! 

There are a lot of different options on how to paint a yeti cup or Ozark tumbler and I have tried many.

I’ve read a lot about having to sand the cup because the paint won’t stick and that is true with a lot of paints.  The stainless steel is too slippery and the paint just runs off.  

Yes, I’ve had it happen, ugh!  *** (Update, I have found that spray paint works great now!  Scroll down to check out tumblers I’m spray painted.)

However, I have found that using chalk paint works!  It isn’t quite as smooth as using spray paint because if you get up close you can see some vertical paint lines but I kind of like the look.  It gives it some fun texture.  I used a paintbrush and a foam brush and they both came out the same.

applying paint to stainless steel mug

How to Paint a Yeti Cup or Stainless Steel Ozark Mugs

You can buy Yeti mugs or Ozark Mugs by clicking here for 20 oz or here for 30 oz!

These are really easy to do.  Start by taping off the part you want to stay gray.  I do a line on the top and one on the bottom so that the person’s mouth is not on the paint.  

I just line up the tape with the edge of the cup and wrap around.  If you’d like to check out a video tutorial on how I tape off my tumbler click here.

how to paint a yeti cup

Next clean off the cup with rubbing alcohol.  I just use a cotton round and wipe it all over.

how to paint stainless steel

I like using FolkArt Chalk Paint.  I simply applied the paint with a foam brush.

how to paint a yeti cup

Apply all the way around.  Wait a little bit and apply another coat.  I do 2-3 coats depending on what it looks like.

chalk paint stainless steel

I let the paint dry for just a few minutes and then remove the tape.  I don’t let it dry fully because sometimes when I pull off the tape it will pull some paint with it…eek!

ozark yeti painting

I let that fully dry and then add my decals.  You can check out my video tutorial post here on how to apply vinyl decals to the cup.

On this cup, I applied Triple Thick gloss to it but I didn’t like the glossy finish.  

decorating yeti ozark mug

After it dried, I ended up putting a coat of Matte Mod Podge over it so it reduced the shine.  I added it over the paint so it doesn’t chip off and the bottom.

On the top rim, I didn’t add the sealant because I didn’t want mouths to be on the glue.  

A little leaked over, but I took out my favorite cleaner that gets everything off, Tea Tree Oil, and used a q-tip dipped in it and rubbed the glue off.  You can read my post here on the magic of Tea Tree Oil!

Here’s the finished product.  I love how it came out!  Please share if you have tricks on painting mugs.

painting stainless steel

Update, I have found a way to spray paint a stainless steel mug that works perfectly!   Check out my post here on how to paint a Yeti cup or Ozark Tumbler with spray paint like these ones:

how to paint a yeti or ozark stainless steel mug

If you want to add some sparkle to your mug, check out my post here on how to spray paint a stainless steel mug with glitter!

painting stainless steel mug

If you want to learn how to make the ultimate glitter tumbler with epoxy click here and make sure to browse through my roundup of all my personalized tumbler ideas.


Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a great day!

leap of faith crafting


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Can you paint a tumbler with acrylic paint clear coat then epoxy?

Leap of Faith Crafting

Tuesday 14th of January 2020

I haven't done that but I'm sure you can epoxy almost anything. You don't need to glitter if you don't want to.


Sunday 8th of December 2019

Do you sand your cups before you paint them

Leap of Faith Crafting

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

No, I haven't had any problems with the paint sticking when I use the paints I list in the materials!


Friday 13th of September 2019

Thank you so much for all of your detailed information!! Few questions (keep in mind I am unable to use epoxy AT ALL)...1) if I spray paint a stainless steel tumbler, should I seal with modge prior to placing my decal on? 2) after I’ve spray painted and placed decal, should I seal with modge podge?

Leap of Faith Crafting

Thursday 19th of September 2019

Hi Connie, you are so welcome! I've sealed with Mod Podge over. I have a tutorial on applying decal and then Mod Podge at and Hope those help!


Thursday 25th of July 2019

Hello, I'm going to be painting on a Yeti cup for a friend and it will be used by a construction worker that is outside most of the time. Does the Triple Thick work good for high use and does the design fade at all or chip?

Leap of Faith Crafting

Sunday 28th of July 2019

HI Delia, the tumblers I have done with triple thick have held up great over the years but they are used mostly inside and on desks, so I really can't give you a great answer. Sorry! I would think it holds up pretty well though!

Darolanne Peterson

Thursday 27th of June 2019

Can you use Deco Art Triple Thick on flat porcelain christmas ornament blanks , with oracle 651 vinyl wording? I am looking for a way to protect the vinyl on the christmas ornament over time. What is the curing time too?

Thank you in advance. Darolanne

Leap of Faith Crafting

Saturday 29th of June 2019

You know, I've never worked with those before. I would think you would probably see the streaks from the triple thick, but I'm not totally sure. Have you tried Cricut's permanent vinyl? I haven't done a comparison so I'm not sure how different it is to 651. I always run an embossing gun (or hair dryer) over the vinyl once it's applied and then press it down firmly (once it's cool enough to not burn your hands!). It activates the adhesive and seems to stick better. I've even had mugs with vinyl go through the dishwasher without issues! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to