Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Melissa Smith |

Hey there, craft enthusiasts! Are you ready to take your creativity to the next level? Today, we’re going to dive headfirst into the vibrant world of resin art – specifically, how to apply epoxy to a tumbler. Exciting, right?

The amazing Misty Leonard of MD Leonard Designs is teaching us all about how to get the best resin application, every time! And, as you can see from all the pictures in this post of her fabulous creations, she is definitely an expert of the topic!

First things first, what is resin art? Well, it’s a form of creating stunning, glossy designs using epoxy resin. This versatile material is loved by artists and crafters worldwide. Why? Because it offers an impressive depth and clarity that can truly bring your artwork to life!

Tumblers themselves give us an opportunity to create beautiful art that can be customized to fit any style or interest. No matter what kind of artist you are, tumbler making will be something you can apply it to.

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Now, let’s talk tumblers! You know those mugs and cups with lids that keep your drinks hot (or cold) for hours on end? Those are tumblers! And guess what? They make the perfect canvas for your resin art. Intrigued? We thought so, that’s probably why you’re here! Tumblers are already super popular as a way to tote your favorite beverage.

But custom tumblers are so much more fun because everyone gets to use a cup that they love and that tells the world something about them! If you spend just a few minutes scrolling through our Counter Culture DIY Artist Support, you’ll see tons of amazing custom tumblers. Each one uniquely beautiful.

That’s what we mean when we say that tumblers make the perfect canvas for your resin art. There is an infinite amount of ways that you can turn a tumbler into a work of art!

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

What Tumbler Should I Use?

You can use any stainless steel or sublimation tumbler that you want. We, of course, are partial to ours and they come in lots of shapes, styles and sizes. It helps to have at least a basic plan for the tumbler you will be making in order to pick the right style cup for the job. There are straight cups, curved ones, mugs etc. And each one is a blank canvas waiting for you to pretty it up!

Another option that many tumbler makers use is to go thrifting for new tumblers. It may not happen all the time but you can find tumblers at resale or thrift stores that are still in the wrapping. People win them or get them as gifts and already have too many cups. So they end up in the give away pile. And we can snag them up as a low cost option for our craft!

So, now we have our tumbler, one more thing before we get started, remember, it’s always important to work in a well-ventilated area when handling epoxy resin. And to use your gloves and filter mask/respirator. Safety first, folks. Other than that, just have fun!

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Epoxy to a Tumbler

1. Gather Your Materials:

All great artists need their tools, right? For this project, you’ll need Artist Resin and a stainless steel or sublimation tumbler, your PPE, and any decorations or colors you want to include in your design. We listed the full supply list for you below. Your best bet is to have everything you need on hand at the beginning. That way you aren’t having to step away at a critical point to grab something you need.

2. Prep Your Tumbler:

Now let’s get our tumbler ready for epoxy. Clean your tumbler thoroughly and let it dry. Then use sandpaper or a sanding block to scuff it up a bit. This will give your colorant something to adhere itself to. Next, clean any debris from your cup with rubbing alcohol.

Afterward, attach it to a tumbler turner dowel if you have one. This nifty gadget will rotate your tumbler, giving you access to your whole cup and ensuring an even coat of epoxy.

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

3. Apply Your Basecoat and Glitter:

Now it’s time to give your tumbler a coat of color and glitter! There are so many different colorants that you can use for your tumbler from Pop of Color Paints to colorant in your resin. We talk about them all in detail in our post, Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Make Epoxy Tumblers. So check that out to see which options you want to try first.

Once you have chosen and applied your basecoat of color, it’s time to add the glitter! There are many ways to do this step too. One of the simplest is to use your Pop of Color Paint to coat your tumbler and give your glitter something to stick to. To do this, apply your basecoat and, while the paint is still wet, sprinkle your glitter evenly onto the entire tumbler.

This is just one of many options, however. To see some of your other fabulous options, check out our post How to Put Glitter on a Tumbler: 7 of Our Favorite Methods! You will probably want to try them all at some point!

Once your tumbler is glittered, apply a layer of Quick Coat to seal your paint and glitter in. This will ensure that your resin won’t repel but will give you a smooth even layer.

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

4. Mix Your Epoxy:

Ok, so we have our tumbler prepped, painted, and glittered. Now it’s time to get your epoxy ready!

Measure equal amounts of Parts A and B. Then pour part B into part A and mix well for 2-3 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your cup as you go, as well as your mixing stick. This ensures that all of your epoxy will be well incorporated. Then transfer your combined resin into a separate cup and continue mixing it for another 2-3 minutes.

There are some tips and tricks that can ensure your resin mixing will go well every time. To learn all about how to get it right every time, check out our post Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Mix Epoxy Resin. It’s a quick read and worth it for the information!

5. Apply Your Epoxy:

And now for the main focus for today, how to apply your epoxy to the tumbler. Slowly pour a small amount of the mixed epoxy onto your tumbler, towards the top. While it’s rotating on the turner, use your gloved finger to gently press and smooth the epoxy out. We do this because we just want a thin layer of epoxy. Once you have added all the resin, use your fingers to guide it down the tumbler and spread it evenly over the surface of your whole cup.

Next we are going to be proactive in order to avoid a common tumbler making issue. As Misty explains in the video below, sometimes if you have an uneven turner or apply a little too much epoxy, you can get pooling at the top and/or bottom rim of your tumbler. In order to avoid this, run your finger along the top an bottom edges of the cup to remove any excess resin.

Now we can let the epoxy take over! Epoxy is self leveling. So, as long as we haven’t applied too much, it will take care of itself as your tumbler turns. Just use a torch with green camping gas to quickly pass heat over your tumbler from about 6 inches away. This will pop the bubbles that rise to the surface. Check back with your tumbler in about 15 minutes and use the torch to pop any more bubbles that have risen to the surface.

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

6. Let it Cure:

Now let your resin cure before moving on to the next step. Try not to touch it during this time (we know, it’s hard to resist!). At this point you can add more details to your tumbler, like a decal, bling, or sprinkles if you want to. Then you would add another layer or two of combined epoxy until your tumbler is nice and smooth. Or you can go straight to your final layer of epoxy and let it cure for 24-48 hours before using it.

Once you get the hang of it, applying epoxy to a tumbler will become second nature to you. Just like it is for Misty and so many tumbler artists. But until then, watch the video tutorial below to see exactly how Misty makes a simple resin tumbler.

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Watch the Video Tutorial Here!

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Supply List
Yield: 1 tumbler

The Finishing Touches

And that’s all there is to it! Voila! You’ve just created your very own resin art tumbler. Now, fill it up with your favorite beverage and enjoy! These custom tumblers also make fabulous gifts for family, friends, teachers…you name it. And many of our resin artists have started their own businesses where they sell their amazing tumbler creations.

With a little patience and creativity, you can transform a simple tumbler into a dazzling piece of art. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your epoxy and tumbler, and let’s get crafting!

A big thanks to Misty for sharing her time and talent with us! If you loved learning from Misty you can find her all over social media! Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And, at the time of this writing, all of the amazing tumblers in this post can be found on her website.

We hope you have a blast creating and we can’t wait to see your tumblers!

Tumbler Making for Beginners: How to Apply Epoxy to a Tumbler

Pop of Color Shock Paints are sold exclusively at Counter Culture DIY. So now you have even more reasons to stop by!

You can find more awesome video tutorials like this one on our YouTube channel!

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest so you can stay on top of everything that’s new and never miss a blog post!

If you want more inspiration and information we have a Facebook group for that. Join us in Counter Culture DIY Artist Support where we, and other artists, offer ideas, answer questions, and support each other!

Do you have an art project using any of our products that you want to share? Send it to us at support@counterculturediy.com, and we can feature them here!