Learn the complete process of making DIY glitter tumblers, from selecting the right tumblers and adhesive to applying the glitter and epoxy resin to create a tumbling/curing rack to prevent drips! I break it down step by step to make it EASIER for you to have success!
A couple of weeks ago I showed you how to put vinyl on mugs (and shared some fun designs). Those were such a hit that today we’re making glitter tumblers with vinyl decals! Glitter tumblers are stainless steel insulated mugs and cups that you glitter, seal, and decorate! They are VERY popular because you can personalize them and they look FABULOUS when they are all done. Also, the sealing process completely protects the vinyl decal so you never need to worry about it coming off. These glitter tumblers are on trend and SO fun!
The process to make a glitter tumbler may seem complicated, but I’m going to take you through it step-by-step. Everything from selecting the right materials to creating a way to turn your freshly sealed tumblers so they don’t drip.
So, let’s start at the beginning! The materials you need for glitter tumblers are all listed below, but essentially you need a stainless steel tumbler or cup — I’m using a variety of brands and shapes so you can see how they look. Each type of tumbler/mug I’m using is linked below in my materials list.
You also need glitter — I’m using both extra fine glitter and chunky glitter so we can see the differences in the finished tumblers. Again, check my materials list for the exact brands of glitter. In the photo below, the aqua tumbler on the left is chunky glitter and the purple/black tumbler on the right is extra fine glitter.
To apply the glitter, you need an adhesive. Some folks like Mod Podge, others like spray adhesive. I tested both to see what works best.
And, of course, you need the epoxy resin to seal your glitter tumblers. This is what will keep your glitter contained and protected on your tumbler!
Other things you’ll want to have are rubbing alcohol, painter’s tape, sandpaper, cups, popsicle sticks, freezer paper, and disposable gloves.
While the epoxy on your glitter tumblers is curing, you need a way to suspend your tumblers and keep them turning so they don’t drip. You can do it the low-tech way with a cardboard box, some PVC pipes, some dollar-store footballs, and duct tape, or you can step up your game with a tumbler turner we built from a rotisserie turner. I show you both up close in the video linked below.
Last but not least, you need your vinyl decal. So I’ll show you a couple of different ideas for decals you can put on your glitter tumblers.
Many thanks to the readers and viewers who requested I explain the glitter tumbler process!
Key concepts taught in the video tutorial include how to choose materials, how to tape your tumbler, the best adhesive to use, how to apply and seal your glitter, how to mix and apply your epoxy resin, how to put your decal on your tumbler, and how to get a smooth mirror-like finish on your tumbler!
See exactly how to make glitter tumblers in my step-by-step video.
Enough talk — let’s make some fabulous glitter tumblers! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials for DIY Glitter Tumblers
- Stainless steel tumblers, cups, and/or mugs — I used four of these Mossy Oak 30 oz. tumblers, this stemless wine tumbler, this powder coated pink water bottle, and an older powder coated water bottle I had lying about the house)
- Spray paint base coat — I tried Plutonium (my favorite), Krylon ColorMaxx (good enough), and Rustoleum 2X Ultra Coat (good for covering colors and powder coating)
- Glitter, extra fine or chunky — I used these chunky glitters (Teal, Copper, Pink) and these extra fine glitters (Purple, Black, Red, Pink, White)
- Epoxy resin (I recommend this EXACT brand which I used and loved)
- Spray adhesive (I recommend this EXACT brand which worked like a charm)
- Spray sealer (I recommend this EXACT brand)
- Painter’s tape or electrical tape
- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- Disposable gloves (I used two pair per glitter tumbler)
- Respirator (if sanding epoxy resin)
- Extra plastic cups (for mixing)
- Extra popsicle sticks (for mixing)
- Freezer paper (used to capture your glitter and drips)
- Adhesive vinyl and transfer tape
- A way to keep your glitter tumblers rotated (we used both a cardboard box with PVC pipes and a homemade tumbler turner)
- A way to cut your vinyl (I used the amazing Cricut)
- My free SVG/DXF/PDF cut files/patterns (available in my free resource library—get the password at the bottom of this post)
How to Make Glitter Tumblers
Step 1: Prepare and tape your tumblers for the glitter.
Note: Details on these steps are in my step-by-step video!
Take off all of the labels and wash your tumblers. You may also wish to sand the outside of your tumbler, as may help any paint you apply stick to it better.
Once your labels are off, tape your tumbler however you wish. When you tape it, use a continuous piece of tape that goes all the way around the circumference of your tumbler, and you can decide how thick you want, how much of your tumbler you want showing, by how much tape you use. I think using a half an inch of tape works really well.
Tip: Some tumblers have a little line that you can use as a guide but I just use the width of my tape as a guide to keep it straight, and it actually worked out really well in that regard.
I taped both the bottom and the top of several of my tumblers. But you can also put glitter all over the bottom of your tumbler. I did one like that as well, so that you can see it. But I really like this method, because it leaves nice, clean lines. It just really looks really classy.
Tip: When you tape your tumblers, fold over the edge of your tape so that you can remove it later much easier.
Note: I experimented with using both electrical tape and painter’s tape, so we could see if there was a difference (there’s wasn’t).
After you’ve taped everything, you need to wipe the surface of your tumbler down with alcohol. This is important to get any dust or impurities, especially the adhesive from the labels, off of your tumblers. You want everything to stick, and the cleaner the surface of your tumbler is, the more likely that is to happen.
Step 2: (Optional) Spray paint your tumblers.
You can paint your tumblers, and I did this with three different kinds of paint. You don’t have to spray paint your tumblers first if you plan to use a lot of glitter, or extra chunky glitter. But if you use transparent or translucent glitter, you’ll want to paint first.
Tip: When spray painting, use short bursts like this, instead of just going all out and just holding down that button. These short bursts are the way to go.
Note: I used Plutonium spray paint, which is amazing. I love that spray paint. I also tried Krylon ColorMaxx. It also did an okay job. I also painted a powder-coated tumbler with the Rustoleum paint that had a primer in it.
Step 3: Put adhesive on your tumblers and glitter them.
You have at least two choices. I tried two things for this tutorial: Mod Podge and spray adhesive (my preference is the spray adhesive).
To apply the Mod Podge, get a brush and put the Mod Podge on your tumbler in nice, even strokes. Make sure you don’t have too much globbed on in one section or the other.
Once the Mod Podge is applied, you must glitter it right away or it will dry. When glittering tumblers, I recommend you put something on your surface to collect the falling glitter. I used freezer paper and a little plastic bowl
Sprinkle your glitter onto the tumbler on as evenly as you can.
Note: The Mod Podge did not adhere the glitter to the tumbler very well in my experiment. There are sections with no glitter. So I don’t know if I had my Mod Podge too late there, but I wasn’t particularly happy with the Mod Podge. And the tumbler made with Mod Podge required a second coat of glitter.
Tip: When you’re done glittering your tumbler, just pick up your freezer paper or whatever you had underneath, and pour the glitter back into a container, so you can use it again.
To use spray adhesive (100 Loctite spray adhesive, not the 300 Loctite spray adhesive), be sure you spray in a well-ventilated area (not your craft room). When you spray your tumbler, use short bursts, just as Greg is doing in the video. We sprayed out tumblers in a box to avoid getting the adhesive anywhere it didn’t belong.
Once you have spray adhesive on your tumbler, glitter again right away just as described earlier. Your goal is to get glitter evenly on the surface of the tumbler.
Now let’s compare the tumblers — below is a photo of three tumblers made with Mod Podge and Loctite.
The Loctite and paint combination is the winner, but you don’t have to spray paint if you don’t want. If you don’t mind seeing just a tiny bit of the aluminum peeking through, just go with the no paint.
Step 4: Seal the glitter on your tumblers with a clear coat.
Seal your glitter with clear coat of sealer in a well-ventilated area. Why do this? Even though you’ve adhered the glitter to your tumbler, it still tends flake off. And when you put on your epoxy, yo need to have things a bit more in control.
Wait about 30 minutes after applying sealer to your glitter tumbler before moving on to the next step.
Step 5: Prepare a way to rotate your tumblers while they cure.
While your sealer is drying on your glitter tumblers, get this part set up, or you can do it in advance, of course, because some of the ways are a little bit more complicated than others. There are two good methods of curing glitter tumblers.
The manual turning method is made with a cardboard box and PVC tubes. At the end of the PVC tubes are dollar store footballs that we’ve just duct taped to the ends, and they actually fit right in. Your soft little footballs fit right the glitter tumblers –they smoosh in and then they’re really stable. The cardboard method is a really inexpensive way, but you have to manually turn these, quite frequently in the beginning, to keep the epoxy from dripping down. So you need to have like several hours to sit and babysit your glitter tumblers when you do it this low-tech way.
The power turning method involves building (or buying) a tumbler turner from a rotisserie turner, which I also did. We simply mounted a rotisserie turner to a board, and it turns the tumbler for you as you work. Here is my DIY Tumbler Turner tutorial to show you how to make one yourself.
Between these two methods, I much prefer the motorized version, because it was easier to apply the epoxy. I didn’t have to babysit it, I could just let it do its thing, and I didn’t have to worry about the epoxy dripping down, the way that I did with the manual turning method.
Step 6: Mix and apply high gloss resin to your glitter tumblers.
Put on gloves and get out your high-gloss resin to your tumblers. I used this EXACT brand of resin and I did not experiment with anything else because I know that this works really, really well. It’s high-gloss, and the directions are on the back. I recommend you read everything through, because this is messy stuff.
For these big tumblers, I used 25 milliliters of the A bottle and the B bottle for my resin. If you have smaller ones, you could do less. Note that the A bottle is a lot thicker, so don’t be surprised by that. Make sure you have a good supply of plastic cups and Popsicle sticks on hand for mixing, because it’s really important that you mix your resin well.
Mix the A and the B individually for about one minute. Then combined them together and mix for three minutes. Make sure you get all the little liquid out when you combine them, because you don’t want it to be off — you don’t want to have more of A or more of B. I didn’t really have any issues with the air bubbles.
Once your resin in mixed, immediately head on over to where you prepared your tumbler turner and put your tumbler on it. Now put your epoxy resin onto your mugs — I just used poured it on and used my gloved fingers to spread it down the mug. I can tell through my gloved finger which sections had resin on them and which did not. So even if I couldn’t see the reflection, which usually I could, I could tell by the way it felt. And there’s no reason to waste a brush, or several brushes, really, because this stuff hardens and then your brush is ruined.
Be sure to rotate your tumbler as you go.
Keep rotating after you’ve applied it. So for the first five minutes, we rotated the tumblers constantly, and after that, we would do it every 10 to 15 seconds. Then we monitored it after that, based on drips that we saw forming, so for the first half hour we were sitting there tumbling our tumblers to keep them from dripping. But after the half hour, you can just do it every few minutes.
Step 7: Remove your tape after 30 minutes (and before 45 minutes)
It’s important you remove your tape between 30-45 minutes. Any later, and you won’t be able to clean up the edge of the glitter tumbler (which you can do with a little paper toel and rubbing alcohol)
Step 8: After at least five hours, tape your tumblers and sand them.
Be sure to wear a respirator and gloves when you sand your tumblers to avoid epoxy contact, buildup, and potential allergic reaction.
Step 9: (Optional) Apply your vinyl decal.
Note: If you’re curious about the fonts used for the decals, here is a list:
- N (Natalie) – Mother Nature
- M (Megan) – Roland Emerald
- K (Kimberly) – Black Django (for the initial) and Roland Emerald (for the name)
Step 10: Apply your second cost of resin.
Repeat everything in step 6.
Step 11: Remove your tape after 30 minutes (and before 45 minutes) and allow to cure for 24-48 hours.
Making Glitter Tumblers: What’s Best?
Glitter tumblers make amazing gifts, because they are perfect for personalization. There are really so many different variations you can have with the glitter and decals. You can make a really glam tumbler, or something more understated.
When you make your own glitter tumblers, I recommend you use the spray adhesive — it really worked quite a bit easier and drying time was considerably less than mod podge.
And I found no real difference between spray painting the tumblers first vs just glittering the tumblers as is. Perhaps if you were using less glitter it would be noticeable, but otherwise I think you can skip the spray painting step.
The difference between the extra fine glitter and chunk glitter really comes down to personal preference. The extra fine glitter is definitely more sleep and smooth, but not as sparkly. I think I prefer the chunky glitter. If I’m going to glitter something, I figure I should just go all out and be extra glittery.
I definitely preferred the automated tumbler turner we made from the rotisserie turner to the low-tech cardboard and PVC method. I didn’t have to worry about the tumblers when they were on the rotisserie turner. So if you’re serious about making more than one or two of these, I recommend you build a rotisserie tumbler turner.
Finally, when it comes to decals, the regular vinyl decals looked better than the foil vinyl decals. And you have to be careful about having too much detail in your decal when you do the chunky glitter tumblers, as they already have so much going on.
All in all, this was a SUPER fun project that I’m so glad I made! I’m giving most of these tumblers away to my family for Christmas, and I cannot wait to see what they think of them!
Get my free SVG cut files for the Glitter Tumbler Decals
You can use my Mama Bear decal, as well as my cute face decals for your glitter tumblers! Both are in my free resource library!
See all of the projects, tutorials and free designs in The Great Maker Show and Tell Challenge! There is one for each day of the 25 Days of Christmas! This is my gift to you for the tremendous support, enthusiasm, and love you’ve shown to me and my little blog over the past two years. To “open” a gift, hover over the day’s image and click the download icon.
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