Hi Friends! I’ve shown you quite a few ways of how to decorate stainless steel cups and today I have the ultimate glitter tumbler tutorial for you! I finally took the plunge and tried using epoxy to seal my glitter cups and it was so much easier than I thought. I was scared of it for a long time and preferred just spray painting my cups but I wanted a really glittery one and it came out so cool!
Just to forewarn you, this is relatively easy but they take days to make! There is a lot of drying time and after you apply the epoxy you need to turn the cup for a few hours so you have to do it on a day when you are going to be home. This glitter tumbler tutorial is pretty long so stay with me! I will go back and forth between cups to show you as many pics as possible. I’m definitely not an expert but I learned a bunch from watching youtube videos and figured some stuff out on my own! I even have a video of how I apply the epoxy because it was too hard to take pictures of since I had sticky gloved hands. Ok, let’s get started…
Materials Needed for Glitter Tumbler
- Stainless Steel Tumbler – I use Ozark Tumblers (found here) and Mossy Oak tumblers from Walmart.com – Homepage
- Epoxy – I use Alumilite from Amazon found here
- Glitter – extra fine or chunky. I used Caribbean, Jumbo True Silver, Marquee Love glitter
- Spray paint
- Mod podge and paint brush
- Vinyl, HTV or Decals and Cricut or other cutting machine (If you have a Cricut, check out my resource guide of Cricut Ideas here!)
- painter’s tape
- wet/dry sand paper
Directions for Glitter Tumbler
First thing you’ll want to do, is tape off the top and bottom (if you want). The Alumilite is FDA approved but I still don’t like my mouth on it so I tape off the top. The epoxy also can break if it falls hard on the bottom edge so something to think about. If I’m taping off the bottom I also add a piece of press and seal so paint won’t get on the bottom. Turn cup over in well ventilated area and spray paint from about 12 inches away. Just circle around it as you spray a little dusting over it. I know in my previous tumbler tutorials I said you had to use a specific brand of paint but for some reason I used two different kinds and they both worked perfectly. I don’t know if the stainless steel composition changed or what because other paint than the enamel used to run for me, but not anymore!
For my large glitter tumbler, I used Krylon Satin Sea Glass spray paint from Walmart.
For my smaller blue glitter tumbler I used Rust-oleum spa blue.
I put a little bit of Mod Podge in a separate bowl and use a flat paint brush to put it on. I “paint it on” so that the whole mug is covered in a uniform and smooth layer. I use long brush strokes from the top to bottom so that I don’t get a lot of lines.
I just take the lid off of the container and start dumping the glitter on the cup as I rotate it. Just keep pouring the caribbean glitter on the cup as you move down its length until it’s completely covered.
Tap the bottom a bit to get the extra glitter off, remove the painter’s tape, and then stand it up to dry (I had mine upside down since the bottom had glitter on it.) Once it’s dry, usually after a few hours, you can tap it again to see if anymore glitter comes off. Then take a clean dry flat brush and stroke it down all the glitter to get off any pieces that are not glued down.
It’s pretty already!! Then add another piece of blue tape just a little bit above the glitter line. You want the epoxy to be able to seal above the glitter so leave a few mm of space. Do on bottom too if you had it taped off before.
Now you are ready for the fun part! Make sure you have a few hours that you can stay close by. I set up mine in my kitchen with the windows open and put things away or did dishes in between turns. At this point, you need to rig up a turner. If you have a rotisserie turner, there are great tutorials on how to use those on YouTube. With those, you just put the epoxy on and leave it and let the motor do the work. If I were going to make a large amount of these glitter tumblers I might invest in one, but for now I am ok with the hand turning.
So here is my setup… super technical!
I saw something similar online somewhere and modified to use whatever I had in the house! I started by punching two round holes in the sides of a box with a stamp punch. I had a long rod that we use to attach to paint rollers so I slid that through and added pool noodles to each end. I then wrapped paper towels or bubble wrap around the foam until the glitter tumbler was secure. I’ve also seen people use small foam footballs from the Dollar Store and cut a hole in them and attach them to the ends. If I’m not making two cups I just put another tumbler on the other end to balance it out. Then add a sheet of wax paper underneath where your cup will be spinning because the epoxy is super sticky and will fall off! I did make a mistake on the bigger cup with not having enough paper towels around the foam to keep it straight. I think that’s why I got a few diagonal lines because the epoxy was sliding slightly sideways since it wasn’t flat. A football probably would be better for the 30oz cups. For the second round of epoxy I stuffed a lot more paper towels in the mug and it helped.
This is what you’ll need to epoxy your glitter tumbler. The Alumilite Epoxy resin comes with a few plastic measuring cups and wood sticks. I ended up ordering extra measuring cups since they were so cheap (found here!). You’ll also need a plastic cup and gloves.
You are going to measure out equal amounts of solution A and B in the two separate measuring cups. I typically use 15 ml each for the smaller mugs. The larger mugs could use 20 ml each.
Pour them both in a cup making sure to scrape down the sides with the wood stick to get everything out of it. I tell Alexa to turn on a timer for 3 minutes and sit down and stir at a slow to medium pace. Popping bubbles as I see them with the stick.
Get your gloves on and your ready to epoxy! Take a deep breath and watch this video…. it’s not as hard as you think!
For the blue cup I used these glitters. I did the epoxy slightly different. I actually mixed in a little bit of the jumbo glitter and purple rainbow glitter into the epoxy. I think I added a bit too much on the jumbo glitter but I still like the end result. Kind of looks like it’s raining!
Here is another video of me applying the epoxy with the glitter mixed in. It’s about the same as the last video, but in case you wanted to see another one in action!
So, like I said on the video you are going have to keep your eye on the glitter tumbler and turn it often!! For the first half an hour it might be every minute to two. Depends a lot on the temperature of where you are doing it at. Warmer temps will dry faster. I watch the bottom side of my tumbler and when I see a drip start to form I turn it 90 to 180 degrees. Just keep watching and turning until the drips aren’t coming as frequently then you can maybe go to 3-5 minutes between turns. I like to take my tape off at about 45 minutes to an hour in. The first cup I ever made, I forgot to take the tape off for two hours and it ended up pulling up some of the edge making it jagged and some of the tape I couldn’t even get off! So now I set Alexa again for 50 minutes so I remember!
I spin mine for about 5 hours (the last few hours I only turn it every 20-30 minutes). It’s still not totally dry at that point but I just leave it on the foam overnight.
The next day I sand the glitter tumbler. Get a spray bottle with water and spritz some water on it and gently rub it with wet sandpaper. You can find it in the automotive department of Walmart or on Amazon here. I used the 400 grit.
Now is time to put on your decal. I designed my monogram on an app called Monogram Lite. It’s super easy to use and free or you can upgrade for $0.99 to get more options. I design it on my phone and then email it myself so I can download it on my computer. I upload it into Cricut Design Space and I cut it out of glitter vinyl for the caribbean mug. I weeded the design and applied the Cricut strong grip transfer tape.
Then transfer it to the glitter tumbler. If you want step by step directions on how to apply vinyl to a tumbler click here.
For the big tumbler, I cut out my turtle and mandala design out of heat transfer vinyl. I tried cutting it out of regular vinyl but it was too intricate and too hard to weed so I ended up mirroring the image and cutting it out of HTV.
He’s so cute, isn’t he?? I adore sea turtles so knew I wanted one on my glitter tumbler. The HTV was pretty simple to apply. Place it on your mug and use the tip of an iron to press it down. Keep moving the tip of the iron all over the vinyl until the plastic paper starts to pull up. I wouldn’t recommend a big design like this one on the 30 oz tumbler where it dips down. It’s not so easy to iron down unless you are used to working on curves.
Let the decals sit for a few hours and then you are going to add another layer of epoxy the same way you did before. Add another piece of blue painter’s tape on the same line the other one was on. Watch the video again if you need to! Remove the tape after about an hour. Turn the glitter tumbler for 4-5 hours again and let it fully dry. Once it’s fully dry (I wait overnight), it’s done! Woo Hoo!! Now you get to enjoy your sparkly glitter tumbler!
Make sure to check out my other posts on how to decorate stainless steel mugs! Click pics below to check out each tutorial!
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day!
Want to save this tutorial for later? You can Pin it now if you’d like!