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Wood Grain Tumbler Tutorial: Video Tutorial from Start to Finish!

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Watch a wood grain tumbler tutorial from start to finish. Learn how to spray paint, apply the alcohol inks, decals and epoxy.

I’ve shown you how to decorate a lot of different kinds of tumblers over the past year, but most of them have been primarily for the women in your life.  Well, not anymore!

I made a beautiful wood grain tumbler and I’m so excited to show you how easy it is to do!  I added decals and photos on it, but you could decorate it however you’d like.

That’s the beauty with making your own DIY tumblers, the sky is the limit on what you can put on them!  They can be so personalized to the person you are giving them too which always puts that beaming smile on their face!

Make sure to browse all of my other tutorials on how to make a glitter tumbler, how to make a fabric tumbler, how to apply waterslide pictures to tumblers, and how to make an alcohol ink tumbler.

I have a full video tutorial from start to finish on how to wood grain a tumbler (before the epoxy section) along with some printable instructions at the bottom.

wood grain tumbler pin

What Color Alcohol Ink for Wood Grain?

There are quite a few different alcohol ink brands and colors on the market.

Let’s Resin, DecorRom, SigWong, and more have all come out with alcohol inks since they are becoming so popular and are such a fun thing to add to resin crafts.

If you are going to start making for crafts with resin, then a large set of a bunch of different colors might suit you well.

I had been using the Ranger Tim Holtz brand so I stuck with that one and honestly it’s the only one I’ve used so I can’t comment on the colors of the other brands.

The best wood grain alcohol ink colors are in the brown range.

Ranger has a great pack of 3 different brown colors that I think work perfectly to mimic the color of wood grain. I used this pack from Amazon that came with Caramel, Ginger, and Latte alcohol ink colors.

If you want even more variety there is a 7 pack of different brown alcohol inks available here.

Materials Needed for Wood Grain Tumbler

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

Now…How to Make a Wood Grain Tumbler

I will go over all of this in the video below, but here are the bullet points:

wood grain tumbler tutorial

Start off by taping off the top of the tumbler with electrical or painter’s tape. 

Place it upside down on a turn table or piece of paper in a well-ventilated area and spray the tumbler until every part is covered.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

Let the paint fully dry (read side of the can on how long it should take).

I used all three alcohol inks from the pack I mentioned under the materials to make a three tone wood grain tumbler. 

You could just use one if you want it all the same color or two for a two tone wood color. As I said every one of these comes out unique!

wood grain tumbler tutorial

This is much easier to explain how to do it in the video, so make sure to watch it;)  I started by using the darkest color (ginger) and squirted a line of the ink down the tumbler.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

Then using the tips of a bristle brush, I brushed the ink back and forth down the length of the tumbler.  

wood grain tumbler tutorial

There is no right or wrong way of making a wood grain tumbler!  That’s what makes them all one of a kind. 

Continue adding different colors of the alcohol inks and brushing them one at a time until the entire tumbler is covered.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

To make wood knots on the tumbler, dab a small drop of the ink and let it ripple out in a circle.  Use the brush to gently brush the edges. 

Add another drop or two in the middle to add a more layered look.

One of the best thing about alcohol inks is that they dry very quickly! 

How to Seal Alcohol Ink

After about an hour, it is time to seal the wood look tumbler. 

Spray a clear coat of enamel over the entire alcohol ink tumbler.  This will prevent the inks from running together when the epoxy is added.

Spray the enamel on like we did the spray paint. Spray in a well ventilated area and either spin it on a turntable or walk around it while you spray from about a foot way.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

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!

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How to Add Photos to a Tumbler

On the glitter tumblers, I posted tutorials about before, I used waterslide paper to add pictures.  You can really do either. 

The one thing with waterslide decal paper is that it comes in clear or white.  I only had the clear one on hand.

The clear one will show the wood grain if there is any white in the picture.  White does not print!  So, on a white glitter tumbler using the clear water slide paper was fine.

I looked through my stash and I actually had printable vinyl that I had never used before.  It was so easy!  I think it might be my new go too!

I printed out pictures of the five grandchildren with a little edge border using Cricut Design Space.  You can use any program to print the pictures on the vinyl though.

If you are new to CDS, make sure to check out my series of Cricut Design Space 101 tutorials to get started.

Once they are printed, let them fully dry.  Then you’ll need to seal them (just like water slide paper).  Spray a light layer of enamel or gloss all over them.

(I believe if you have a laser printer that you don’t have to seal, but since I don’t have a color laser printer, I can’t be certain. Maybe check by adding a little epoxy over the printed vinyl). 

Wait about 30 minutes and do another layer, making sure to spray in all directions.  I waited another 30 minutes and did a third layer just to be safe!

wood grain tumbler tutorial

While they are drying, add a vinyl decal cut from a Cricut cutting machine or another machine to the front if you want.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

Once the pictures are fully dry to the touch, cut out the pictures (or you could have the Cricut cut them out!).  Peel off the back of the vinyl and place on the wood grain tumbler. 

Press down well with your fingers.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

Add tape to the top of the tumbler 1-2 mm above the paint line.  I wanted to make sure the tumbler would be shiny so I added another light layer of the glaze over the entire tumbler and let it dry.

wood grain tumbler tutorial

Step by Step Wood Grain Tumbler Video Tutorial

The entire process is in the video and will seem so much easier once you see how to do it!  Make sure to turn your sound on so you can hear the details. 

You can also watch the video over on my YouTube channel here.

Time to Add Epoxy to the Tumbler  (it’s not as hard as you think!)

I built a DIY tumbler turner that I always use now.  If you don’t have one, check out my post here on how to apply epoxy with a homemade hand turner.

Stick the tumbler on the turner and prepare the epoxy.  I used 10 ml of both solutions for this wood grain tumbler.  Mix them both together well in another cup for at least 3 minutes.

Starting pouring a little epoxy over the tumbler and smooth it all the way up and down the tumbler with a gloved hand.

wood grain tumbler tutorial
wood grain tumbler tutorial

Add the entire mixture of epoxy over the tumbler and make sure it’s fully covered, including the bottom.  Let it turn!  I set a timer for 45 minutes and then remove the tape.

Let it turn for another 3-4 hours and then I let mine sit overnight before I remove it.  That’s it!

Here’s how the front of the DIY wood grain tumbler turned out with the vinyl layered decal.

wood grain tumbler

And here are the cute photos!

wood grain tumbler
wood grain tumbler

I got to admit, I’m in love with how this turned out.  I think I see one for myself in the future, but I’m not sure my cupboard can hold any more tumblers!!

If you’d like to save this tutorial for later, hover over the top left of the picture below and PIN IT now. 

DIY wood grain tumbler tutorial from start to finish! Watch a full video tutorial on how to apply alcohol ink to achieve a wood grain appearance. #tutorial #diy

Here are the printable directions.

wood grain tumbler

Wood Grain Tumbler Tutorial: Video Tutorial from Start to Finish!

Active Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Learn how to make a beautiful wood grain tumbler with a vinyl decal and photos.

Materials

  • alcohol Inks
  • tumbler
  • white spray paint
  • spray enamel or glaze
  • chip bristle brush
  • epoxy

Instructions

  1. Tape off the top of the tumbler. Spray paint a white base coat over the entire tumbler and let dry.
  2. Apply a thin line of an alcohol ink down the length of the tumbler. Use the top of the bristle brush to spread it out in long strokes.
  3. Continue adding alcohol inks all the way around the tumbler and brushing them one at a time. Use all the same color or mix up the colors as you go around. Let the inks dry for an hour.
  4. Spray an enamel or gloss over the entire tumbler to seal the inks. Remove the tape.
  5. If adding photos, print out photos on printable vinyl. Let fully dry. Spray on three layers of enamel 30 minutes apart to seal the printer ink. Let fully dry.
  6. Cut out vinyl decal if using and apply to tumbler with transfer tape.
  7. Add the photo by peeling off the back paper and press firmly on.
  8. Apply tape to the top 1-2 mm above the paint line.
  9. Spray one more light layer of gloss or enamel.
  10. Mix 10 ml of type A and B epoxy and stir well for 3 minutes. Place tumbler on a tumbler turner.
  11. Pour small amounts of the epoxy over the tumbler and spread in long strokes up and down with a gloved hand while the cup is spinning until the entire tumbler is covered.
  12. Let spin for 45 minutes and remove the tape. Continue spinning for 3-4 more hours.
  13. Let fully dry before handling. Enjoy your new wood grain tumbler!

Notes

Make sure to watch the full step by step start to finish video tutorial first to fully understand all the steps!

Recommended Products

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Have a creative day!

leap of faith crafting
DIY wood grain tumbler tutorial from start to finish! Watch a full video tutorial on how to apply alcohol ink to achieve a wood grain appearance and how to add photos to a tumbler. #gifts #tumblers.

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Janie

Thursday 20th of August 2020

Hi! I’ve recently tried using the spray to seal the printed vinyl but I keep getting bubble-like imperfections. I’m using the same sealant spray you show here. Any suggestions?

Leah

Monday 27th of July 2020

Do you think this same epoxy sealing process would work with ceramic mugs? I want to have a super long lasting seal, but every tutorial I find only has you add mod podge or a spray sealant. Just wondering if you think the epoxy would work on ceramic as well. Thanks for a great tutorial!

Leap of Faith Crafting

Wednesday 29th of July 2020

Hi Leah, I've never done it so I'm not sure. For mugs you need something without a handle or the epoxy is going to run all funky in the spinning process. If it's a ceramic mug without a handle, I would think it would work.

Angela Turner

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

Can you remove the wood grain effect if the sealer turns it a green color . I just wanna give up on this cup already

Liz

Thursday 19th of December 2019

Any suggestions on how to fix a tumbler?? I’ve been working on making a few of these for gifts and they looked great! I did a good layer of clear coat and let it dry for a few hours, I hit it with epoxy and as I kept checking on it the more it started to get a yellow/green tint to it and hardly looks brown anymore. Very discouraging! :( any way to fix this or any tips on how to start over? I’ve read in some places there’s a chance the color will come back but it doesn’t seem to be the case for me. Thanks!!

Brittany

Friday 6th of December 2019

I'm about to attempt my first wood grain cup, and I have a question that may or may not be silly. I bought some 20oz tumblers that are repainted white (instead of stainless steel), and was wondering if I needed to put anything on the cup before starting the alcohol ink portion. Maybe painting it with acrylic paint or something? I just didnt want to start it until I figured out if the ink would work properly on that surface or if I'm missing a step! Thanks in advanced, your tutorials have helped me from day one, and I couldn't imagine doing my crafts without you!

Leap of Faith Crafting

Friday 6th of December 2019

Hi Brittany, you know, I'm not exactly sure since I've never tried it on a painted one. Is it totally smooth or does it have a bit of grit to it? If it's not totally smooth I would think it would stick fine. You can always try it and if it starts to run all over just wash it off or paint over it! Good luck and have fun!

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