How to Make an Epoxy Glitter Tumbler
You’ve probably seen glitter tumblers of all shapes, sizes and colors in the store, but have you ever tried making your own? Don’t be put off that you need a ‘turner’ as well as ‘epoxy’. What are those, you might be wondering.
Even if you don’t know what these terms mean, making a cute and sparkly glitter tumbler is really easy. It can be lots of fun too!
I checked several tutorials online but found them confusing, which is why I wanted to come up with my own process and write this.
We can look at how to mix epoxy, working with steel, whether mod podge is a good idea, which paint works best, and how to clean up glitter (yes, it can get everywhere!)
When we are done, you can be proud of your own DIY epoxy and glitter tumbler. You will definitely have fun making it and will want to make more afterwards.
No matter whether you do arts and crafts projects all the time, or you’re new to this, making a DIY glitter tumbler isn’t hard at all.
Why Make Your Own Glitter Tumbler
There are several reasons why making your own tumbler is a great idea:
- They encourage you to stay hydrated. Whether you’re making the glitter tumbler for you or the kids, a homemade glitter tumbler is a great way to encourage everyone to drink more water.
- They’re easy to make. You don’t need any weird or complicated gadgets (and those you might use are optional anyway).
- You can play with glitter! When is playing with glitter not fun?
- Get creative and customize your tumbler with vinyl decals if you want.
Although it might sound intimidating at first to work with epoxy resin or use a turner. Also, glitter can get everywhere. Spray paint needs to be used in a well-ventilated room or even outside.
But trust me, this project is well worth it. Since I’ve become a stay at home mom, I’ve found some fun craft projects to do with the kids. This has to be one of the most fun though.
I have tried to make this tumbler tutorial as simple as possible. It’s up to you whether you want to make an epoxy tumbler as a one-off or even make them for Etsy or similar or make several for friends. Anything is possible!
These tumblers are gorgeous. When your kids or friends see your homemade tumbler, they are all going to want one. Maybe you have an upcoming bachelorette party. If so, you should get ready to make a LOT of these!
Oh, and there are also some tips for making these along with a method that does not require any epoxy resin.
So read on and find out what you need to make this along with some tips to ensure it comes out great.
Supplies for Making a Glitter Tumbler Using Epoxy
The first thing you need to do is get together all the supplies you need. Even if you don’t have them yet, you can still familiarize yourself with this tutorial.
This will give you a good idea of how the supplies can be used so you can choose which you want to use in your project.
A lot of the equipment is optional so you can pick which you want to have and not feel like you have to use everything.
That means of course you can keep the budget down without sacrificing the quality of your epoxy tumbler. We can probably still make the project work even if you only have the bare essentials.
So let’s take a look at the materials you are going to need to make your very first DIY epoxy tumbler:
- A stainless steel tumbler such as Ozark or Yeti or a plastic one
- Plenty of glitter
- Spray paint
- Epoxy resin
And these items are all optional:
- Mod podge
- Vinyl (or some holographic)
- A turner
- A nerf football (you will see why!)
- Cricut cutting machine (if you’re using vinyl)
- Tape, depending on the design you’re using
And the following are to mix and apply the epoxy:
- Disposable plastic cups
- Popsicle sticks
- Nitrile gloves to protect your hands
- Parchment paper, cardboard or newspaper to protect the work surface
Step by Step Tutorial
Step 1: Tape the top and bottom
This step is optional. You don’t have to tape the top and bottom but you can if you like.
You might want to expose some steel on the top and/or the bottom. If so, you will need either gaffer tape or masking tape over those areas.
Maybe you prefer drinking from the steel instead of having the epoxy next to your mouth. This would be a reason for the top.
Epoxy is completely food-safe and fine to drink from, so it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Apply tape around the top if you don’t want epoxy at the lip if you want to. Else just omit this step.
Step 2: Spray paint the tumbler
Glitter looks better when applied on a coat of color. This is why I love to begin with spray paint. It really makes the glitter pop! I like using matte paint here since the epoxy will add plenty of shine, but you can use any kind of paint you choose.
Bear in mind some spray paint types will need you to sand the tumbler down before application. I read about this in other tutorials but have made all kinds of DIY tumblers without doing that. I often try out different ways of doing things and if a step doesn’t seem necessary there’s no point in making things trickier than they need to be.
I like to use Rust-oleum American Accents Paint and Primer. This bonds to metal, plastics and wood.
Another option is Krylon’s Colormaster Paint and Primer.
There are other kinds of spray paint but it’s a good idea to try it out before you start sanding your tumbler in case it sticks just fine without the sanding.
Any steel tumbler is fine to use. I usually use Yeti tumblers.
If you’re using plastic then make sure the spray paint will bond to it.
This type of paint dries fast especially if you’re working outside.
Step 3: Get the turner ready
A cup turner will help your tumbler dry without streaks and give a professional looking result.
Even if you spray paint it, stainless steel won’t absorb much moisture. This means if you don’t use a turner you will probably get glitter and epoxy streaks on the tumbler.
Now, if you prefer, you can turn the tumbler by hand. You need to turn it every 3 minutes while drying for about 30 minutes in all.
If you want to do it that way, use an egg timer or the timer app on your phone so you don’t lose track of time.
Step 4: Mix the epoxy resin and apply it
This step is about applying an adhesive to get the glitter to stick. You can use any of these:
- Spray adhesive
- Mod podge
Mod podge can come out thick and streaky when you apply it so use the same epoxy you coat the tumbler with.
If you have spray adhesive, you can use it. If you have Mod podge and have experience applying it, you shouldn’t have any problems.
A lot of crafting is about personalizing your projects and making different choices to see what results you get. That’s why this tutorial can be followed as it is or you can experiment however you like.
You can learn more if you experiment with various methods yourself, so just treat this tutorial as a simple guide to look back at when you aren’t sure what comes next or if you’re having an issue with any part of the project.
Make sure you’re using FDA approved, food safe epoxy from a reputable source. The last thing you will want to do is use something that isn’t food safe which is going to come into contact with your mouth and water.
If you aren’t sure whether the epoxy you have is safe, you should probably find another kind which is definitely safe.
Now you will need to apply the glitter immediately after applying the adhesive. So put the tumbler on the turner and begin to turn it. Ensure the glitter is next to you so the adhesive doesn’t dry too soon.
Epoxy comes with instructions but typically you will mix equal parts of each liquid together and stir it gently for about 3 minutes.
Combining the two ingredients activates the epoxy, so it’s easy to store since you don’t have to mix it until you need it.
Stir more slowly if you see bubbles coming up or pop them using a popsicle stick.
Now you can put on your gloves and apply the prepared epoxy. Spread it over the entire painted surface evenly. Once the coat is even, you can move on to the next step.
Step 5: Apply the glitter
As soon as you have applied the adhesive you need to apply the glitter. You can use a brush if you want but that is optional.
Have the tumbler turning on the turner so your glitter goes on evenly.
There are two methods you can use for this. Either apply glitter to a part of your tumbler then add more epoxy or adhesive to another part and apply glitter there or do the whole thing at once.
At this point, I should probably remind you that if you aren’t careful glitter can get everywhere. Honestly you can find bits months later so it’s best to make sure you contain the glitter as well as you can.
How to Not Get Glitter Everywhere!
- Put something under where you are working like a cloth, newspaper or parchment paper. Cardboard would work too.
- A lint roller is good for picking up bits of glitter.
- Work somewhere that is simple to clean up with hard surfaces. It’s much easier to remove glitter from a tiled floor than a carpeted one!
- It’s important to make sure the tumbler is sealed properly so you won’t shed glitter from the tumbler. We will look at this later.
Another option to consider if you don’t like the mess of loose glitter is to use glitter paint. The effect won’t be the same but it’s definitely easier to clean up afterwards.
I typically begin with a small amount of glitter and pour it over the tumbler as it’s turning. Scoop up what falls off so you can reapply it instead of wasting it.
Also, don’t skimp on the glitter. Make sure the tumbler is going to be well covered in it. Whatever you have left after you finish can be put back in the glitter container for your next project.
Don’t mix the glitter into the epoxy and apply it that way. It won’t shine as much or stick as well. It also makes it more difficult to reuse the glitter.
I usually let the tumbler dry for about 12 hours at this point and then apply another coat of epoxy followed by another glitter layer. You can do this part by part or do the whole tumbler at once.
Step 6: Add more glitter or a vinyl decal
This step is optional.
Decals stick to smooth materials best. You will know this if you have worked with vinyl in the past.
This means if you will apply vinyl you should apply another layer of epoxy on top of the glitter to get the surface nice and smooth. Then you can add the decal on top of that when it’s dry.
If you also want to add more glitter to another area of the tumbler you can do this too.
It’s possible to apply the decal right over the glitter layer to save time but if you do that you need to be careful and gentle with it.
Now remember to stop the tumbler from spinning before trying to add the vinyl decal!
Step 7: Add the last coat of epoxy
Now your tumbler is almost done!
It’s important to turn the tumbler so you can apply resin smoothly with your finger. I find that if I use my finger to make strokes from the top to the base of the tumbler as it is turning I never get streaks.
If you applied a decal be careful with that part of the glitter tumbler so you don’t accidentally pull it off.
Step 8: Clean the tumbler and take the tape off
Did you use tape? If so, you can take it off about 45 minutes after applying the last coat. Peel it evenly and slowly.
If you chose not to use tape, you can go ahead and use acetone to get rid of any glitter or adhesive that got inside the tumbler.
Nail polish remover cuts through resin and works well on stainless steel, so you can just put some on a paper towel to buff the areas out.
That’s all! You are now the proud owner of a gorgeous DIY glitter tumbler!
Now you just need to know some care tips along with what to avoid when working on this project.
Things to Avoid
The first time I did this project it didn’t go all that smoothly! I wasn’t good at applying mod podge, I got glitter literally everywhere (including in the carpet) and I wasn’t successful at sanding down the epoxy.
Of course if you’re going to make your own DIY glitter tumbler, you will want to know some tips for making it along with what to avoid.
- Don’t put the tumbler in the dishwasher. If you must, put it on the top rack only. The abrasive water and the heat will destroy even the most well-made glitter tumbler.
- Don’t put a vinyl decal on top of the glitter because if the surface isn’t smoothed out with an epoxy layer it will be bumpy and probably won’t stick properly. You will also have problems with what the transfer picks up.
- Don’t forget your cup turner. Although you can turn the tumbler by hand it’s best to use a turner for the most professional finish. A turner doesn’t cost much and will help you get a perfect, glossy and smooth finish.
- Don’t skimp on your glitter. You need to use plenty for this project. The more you use the better it is going to look!
- Don’t sand the steel before painting it. You can if you want but it’s time consuming and really not necessary.
Things to Do
Now you know what to avoid, you will want to know what to make sure you do.
- Although spray painting isn’t compulsory it does help get the tumbler perfect. It doesn’t take long to apply. Without it you might have to have additional layers and use more glitter, so I would really recommend it.
- Don’t go to the next step until the previous layer is completely dry. The drying time can be longer in a wet or cold climate.
What is a Turner?
You might be wondering at this point what a cup turner is and how to use one. A turner is used for steel tumblers or cups so whatever you choose to apply won’t streak.
They aren’t expensive and they are really handy when creating a glitter tumbler.
You could even make your own with some wood and a rotisserie kit. This is what you need:
- Rotisserie kit motor from somewhere like Lowe’s or Home Depot
- Self-tapping screws
- Wood screws
- Flat wooden board
- 2 x 4 scrap piece
- PVC pipe plus end-cap
Step 1: Use wood screws to secure the 2 x 4 on to the wooden board. You can predrill the holes if you want to make sure the wood doesn’t split.
Step 2: Next you can attach the rotisserie motor bracket to the 2 x 4.
Step 3: Put the flat rotisserie bracket on to the front of the 2 x 4. Make sure they are well aligned.
Step 4: Now secure the motor to the back of the motor bracket.
Step 5: If the rotisserie rod is more than 10 inches, trim it down.
Step 6: Next you can cut a hole in the PVC cap so the rod can slide through it.
Step 7: Now secure the bushing on to the rod. This will allow it to turn evenly.
Step 8: Finally attach the rod in the motor and you’re good to go! If you want, you can also attach a foam football to the pipe end to help secure the tumbler on the rod and to ensure it turns evenly and smoothly.
Q: Will spray adhesive work as well as mod podge?
A: Actually spray adhesive is better to use than mod podge when making a glitter tumbler. The glitter will stick better and this helps minimize the risk of streaks. I use epoxy resin for all my suitable projects. Because you are already using it you can choose which kind of adhesive you are using on each layer. Epoxy gives a good result and is easy to mix. However if you prefer to use spray adhesive or mod podge, go ahead!
Q: Do I have to use epoxy?
A: You might be wondering whether you have to use epoxy or not. Honestly I think at least a single coat of epoxy on the outside makes the glitter tumblers look better. I would use at least one coat at the end, although if you like a rougher texture you can play around with see if the glitter still sticks.
Q: Do I have to use a cup turner?
A: Unless you have worked on a similar project before, you might not have a cup turner. You can either make your own using the instructions above or use any rod with a toy football on the end. Make a stand like this then turn it every couple of minutes. I do recommend that you make or buy your own though.
Q: Should I use glossy or matte paint?
A: It’s totally your choice. Glossy paint would work as well as matte paint. Another option would be using glitter spray paint.
A Final Word
So now you know how to make your very own glitter tumbler!
If you aren’t sure whether this is a good project for you, I would encourage you to go ahead and have fun. Sometimes it can be fun experimenting with different materials and techniques to see what happens.
Even if you are new to this type of crafting project, it shouldn’t be difficult.
You might feel out of your depth but this project is much simpler than you might expect. Even if something doesn’t work, you are still learning new techniques.
Trust me, I’ve had lots of failures but also some great successes. It’s all part of the fun and a learning curve!
So go ahead and try different kinds of tumblers, plastic, stainless steel, fine glitter, coarse glitter, adhesives, vinyl decals, and so on. This way you can truly make your homemade glitter tumbler a unique work of art!