There are various methods you can use to customize your tumbler. But the use of epoxy resin is by far, the most interesting and fascinating approach.
It’s a simple and fun process that can be done by anyone. However, if you don’t know how to do it properly, it can be a little difficult. But that shouldn’t worry you though!
To make things easier, I am going to walk you through all the comprehensive steps you should follow when making epoxy resin tumblers. So let’s get started –
What Do You Need To Make Epoxy Resin Tumblers?
Like any other DIY task out there, the first thing is to gather all the necessary supplies. In this case, you’ll need the following items;
- Non-Yellowing Epoxy resin
- Insulated double-walled SS tumbler
- Acrylic spray paint/primer
- Epoxy Release Tape
- Stir sticks OR, Magnetic Stirrer
- Resin mixing cups
- Epoxy heat gun
- Decorative craft materials
- A cup turner
- Epoxy resin polish
- A pair of nitrile gloves
However, buying each item individually for the first time can be confusing and time-consuming.
So f you’re a first-timer and are thinking about giving a resin tumbler making a go here is the kit we recommend –
Why Choose A Stainless Steel Tumbler?
As you know, tumblers are made of different types of materials. For instance, some have plastic, while others may even contain silicone components. Unfortunately, epoxy will not adhere to some of these materials. But that’s not the case with stainless steel.
Instead, epoxy adheres well to metals like stainless steel. Therefore, once you coat your tumbler with resin, the layer will not peel off the surface. On top of that, stainless steel is firm, enabling it to resist cracks when the tumbler expands or shrinks.
Now that you understand the best type of tumbler for epoxy, let’s get to work!
How to Make Epoxy Resin Tumblers [STEPS]
1. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Most Epoxy resins are purchased as part A (resin) and part B (hardener). When combined, these components form a chemical reaction that produces dangerous fumes. But this is not the case with all epoxies, with some even claiming to be free from VOCs.
Nonetheless, it’s always good to be safety conscious when dealing with epoxy. That’s why you need protective equipment like Nitrile gloves and respiratory masks. If you don’t have Nitrile gloves, you can go for alternatives like neoprene or PVC gloves.
But you should never choose latex gloves. This is because latex can swell when it comes into contact with the epoxy. Also, latex is too porous, thus exposing your skin to solvents.
In general, before you start making epoxy tumblers, wear the necessary PPEs first. On top of that, the room you’re working in should be well-ventilated.
2. Prepare the Work Surface and Tumbler
Using a plastic drop sheet, cover the work surface to protect it from the drips. Dirt may prevent resin from adhering to your tumbler. For that, you need to clean it to get rid of any dirt, including oils and greases.
To do that, you can use a cleaning solution like Isopropyl alcohol. It removes anything adhering to the cup’s surface including adhesives and stickers. Once the cup is clean, you can now tape off its top and bottom. Then spray paint the tumbler until you get a uniform base coat.
Also, if you want to do a dirty pour on the tumbler, you can use acrylic paint.
To decorate your cup, apply a thick layer of glue and then add your decorative pieces. Alternatively, you can add colors or glitters to the epoxy and apply them when the cup is turning. But that is all up to you!
3. Set up the Cup Turner
A tumbler tuner is one of the most important supplies needed when making epoxy tumblers. This is because epoxy want requires a flat surface, yet a cup is curved. For that reason, you need the cup to keep moving when the epoxy is still wet.
Otherwise, your epoxy will not coat your tumbler uniformly.
Thankfully, there are various DIY and ready-made options for creating a cup-turner. For instance, you can use a piece of PVC to turn the cup manually or make one yourself. Also, you can buy a ready-made cup turner on Amazon and use it for your project right away.
Once you’re done setting up your cup turner, place it on a perfectly level work surface. Afterward, insert the cup turner’s split rod into the small foam football. Then insert it into the cup and push the foam football to the bottom of your tumbler.
4. Mixing and Applying Epoxy
Once everything is set up, measure and mix the hardener and resin. We recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for that. If you intend to add different colors to your resin, divide it among your cups.
Then add the tints to each cup and mix thoroughly with separate sticks.
Turn on the cup turner and as the tumbler starts turning, slowly pour the mixture. Use a stir stick to carefully spread the resin over the cup’s surface. Repeat the process with the other tinted resins until you cover the entire tumbler.
After applying resin, pass a hot air gun/ kitchen torch across the spinning cup. This will help to pop air bubbles that may be trapped in the epoxy.
5. Leave the Cup to Cure
Resin can take about 18 – 24 hours to dry to the touch. As for curing, the process can take up to 72 hours to cure fully. So, leave the cup spinning as you wait for it to dry. When it’s dry to the touch, turn off the cup turner, remove the tumbler and leave it to cure fully.
6. Sand the Tumbler
Spray the tumbler with some water and wet sand it with 180-220 grit sandpaper. This will help to smoothen the surface by eliminating any imperfections on your cup. When the sanding process is complete, treat the surface with a finer polishing compound.
That makes the surface precisely polished and increases the glossiness. Later on, rub it with alcohol and dry it with a clean cloth to finalize.
7. Sealing Vinyl/ Decal on the Tumbler
If you want to customize or modify your cup’s beauty with decal/ vinyl, this is the perfect time. However, after its application, you need to apply another resin coat. Luckily, you just need to repeat the steps we’ve mentioned above.
And by the time you’re done, you’ll have a sparkly, beautiful, and customized tumbler!
Why Does My Resin Tumbler Have Dimples?
There are various reasons that can cause dimples to occur on your epoxy tumbler. Here are the main ones;
1. Over Torching
As we stated earlier, you can use a kitchen torch to remove bubbles trapped in resin. What we did not mention is that you should not heat a certain spot for a long time. Otherwise, it will cause imperfections and dimples in the resin.
Instead, quickly pass the torch over the surface back and forth.
2. Temperature Fluctuation
Change in temperature while resin cures is another factor that can cause dimples. To avoid that ensure the room temperature remains stable (24 to 30 degrees C) while the tumbler cures.
3. Dust Particles
Lastly, dust particles that settle on curing resin can cause dimples. So, make sure you cover your piece as it cures. Also, reduce the dust in your working space.
Can You Epoxy Over Powder Coated Tumbler?
A powder coating finish is durable, environmental-friendly and cheaper than liquid coating. But even with its incredible longevity, it’s vulnerable to damage over time. This will increase the chances of the material being oxidized.
To prevent that, you should paint over the powder coating.
And one way to do that is the use of epoxy-based products since they adhere to most materials. In short, yes, you can apply epoxy over a powder-coated cup.
How Long Do You Wait Between Epoxy Coats?
You can apply more than one coat of resin to fix an imperfection/ mistake. However, there is a certain period you need to wait before you apply another layer. In most cases, that duration can vary from 4 to 24 hours since epoxies are slightly different.
Make sure you read the manufacturer’s directions before you start the project. Doing so will help you determine the exact time you need depending on the product you’re working with.
Considering how handy and convenient tumblers are, they should be more than containers. And resin will help you with that by giving it a beautiful artistic touch. Besides, it’s a task that you can do by yourself. Just make sure you follow the steps highlighted above and you’re good to go!
Explore your creativity and make your customized resin tumbler today!