Process of Making A Tumbler

Posted by Chelsea Poff on

A typical tumbler takes about 24-48 hours to make and then another 48 hours to fully cure. The more in-depth the design, the longer it takes. 

Before I start applying paint, glitter or epoxy, I have to come up with a design. I generally do most of my work on the Cricut app on my laptop. Once I have the idea, I can lay out the steps it will need to take. 

I'll use the Lord of the Rings tumbler as my example for this.

The first thing that I would do for this style of cup would be to clean the cup. I wipe every cup down with Isopropyl Alcohol to clean the surface of any dust or particles that are on it. I then spray the cup with a base layer of paint. With this cup, I paint it green.

I use the epoxy glitter method when applying my glitter. I have found that it coats better than Mod Podge and I don't generally have to do so many coats of the glitter. To do this, I put a very thin layer of epoxy on the cup while it's spinning and then pour the glitter over the cup onto the epoxy. 

The cup now spins for 6 hours for the epoxy to harden. I have heard that when doing this method, you can apply another coat of epoxy on top of the glitter after two hours, but unfortunately, I have had no luck with this and have moved the glitter around and caused lumps. 

After 6 hours, I will apply another coat of the epoxy to the cup, hit it with a heat gun to get rid of any air bubbles, and then it spins again for 6 hours. After this I turn the turner off and let it sit for another 6 hours. The epoxy is generally still tacky and I need it hardened in order to apply the vinyl. This step is important to get a smooth surface for the vinyl to adhere to. Believe it or not, vinyl does not stick to glitter.

Once it's cured enough to attach a vinyl, I will lightly sand the cup to get out any imperfections. Then another cleaning with the alcohol. I will then place the vinyl and my business sticker onto the cup. One to two more coats of epoxy will go onto the cup for another 6 hours of spinning each layer. When I'm happy with the finish of the cup, it gets moved from the spinner onto a drying rack where it will cure for 48 hours. 

Once the cup has fully cured, I will clean up the rim of the cup with an X-Acto knife. The cup is now ready to ship.

Even though on paper, it only takes 4 days to make a cup, I will always ask for a few more days than that. I've had weird things happen and like to plan for any fixing a cup might need. Example: Just last week I had a fly land on a cup while the epoxy was still tacky and get stuck, so I had to strip the cup and start over. 

What other topics would you like me to discuss? Any questions?



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