Learn how to make a buffalo plaid glitter tumbler the easy way with masking tape and Mod Podge! I also show you how to add an extra layer of lines to make a more detailed plaid, including a Christmas-themed plaid glitter tumbler.
There’s just something about glitter tumblers. They are so shiny and sparkly and smooth that we all just want them. You can buy them, or you can make your own glitter tumblers! I’ve chosen to make mine and give them as gifts. And, I love to experiment and try new techniques, too, so recently I tried a buffalo plaid glitter tumbler — AND IT TURNED OUT AMAZING! In fact, it was way easier to make than I thought, and I want to show you how I did it!
I’m also sharing the warm & cozy fall and winter decal designs I used on these tumblers, plus 8 more others, for free!
I want to show YOU how to make plaid glitter tumblers, too! The secret is a combination of painter’s tape and Mod Podge!
Now, I could just show you the plaid glitter tumbler technique, but I’m going to include the prep and sealing as well so you have a full tutorial, from start to finish!
Key concepts taught in my plaid glitter tumbler tutorial include how to tape your tumbler for a plaid pattern, how to spray paint a tumbler, how to apply Mod Podge and glitter, seal your glitter, how to mix and apply your epoxy resin safely, and how to put your vinyl decal on your tumbler!
See exactly how to make buffalo plaid glitter tumblers in my step-by-step video.
Are you ready? Let’s make some super cool buffalo plaid 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 Buffalo Plaid and Fancy Plaid Glitter Tumblers
- Stainless steel tumblers, cups, and/or mugs — I used the inexpensive ArtMinds stainless steel tumbler available at Michaels
- Wet/dry sandpaper (about 220 grit)
- (Optional) Spray paint base coat — good choices are Plutonium , Krylon ColorMaxx, and Rustoleum 2X Ultra Coat
- Mod Podge, matte or gloss
- A 1″ wide brush with a good angled edge — I used the 1″ brush in this set
- Glitter, extra fine. For basic plaid, you want two colors (I used Red and Black). For fancy plaid, you’ll want 3-4 colors (I used Red, Green, Silver, and Gold)
- Spray sealer (I recommend this EXACT brand)
- Epoxy resin (I recommend this EXACT brand which I used and loved) — if you are sensitive or allergic to epoxy and need an epoxy-free alternative, try the water-based Crystalac Brite Tone Instrument Finish Polyurethane instead
- 1″ wide Painter’s tape (I prefer painter’s tape if you painted your tumbler — it’s less likely to accidentally remove paint)
- Electrical tape (I prefer this for taping edges where epoxy will be because it forms such a nice, tight seal)
- 1/8″ wide double-sided tape (only needed if you want to make the fancy plaid pattern)
- 91% isopropyl alcohol
- Disposable nitrile gloves (I used four pairs)
- Respirator — this is the one I use!
- Apron and long sleeves
- Extra plastic cups (for epoxy and glitter mixing) — I think it’s better if they are bigger, like at least 8 fluid ounces
- Extra popsicle sticks (for mixing)
- Paper (used to capture your glitter and drips)
- Permanent adhesive vinyl and transfer tape
- A way to keep your glitter tumblers rotated (I used the We R Memory Keepers Spin It! and a little grip tape)
- A way to cut your vinyl (I used the amazing Cricut)
- My free SVG/DXF/PDF cut files/patterns for the vinyl decals (available in my free resource library—get the password at the bottom of this post)
How to Make Buffalo Plaid and Fancy Plaid Glitter Tumblers
Video Available: Details on these steps to make plaid glitter tumblers are in my step-by-step video!
Safety Tip: This tutorial uses epoxy resin — please watch my Epoxy Safety Video before using epoxy!
Step 1: Prepare and tape your tumblers for the glitter.
First, take off all the labels on your tumblers and hand wash them.
Once your labels are off, tape your tumbler to cover the areas you don’t want any paint, glitter, or epoxy on. 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.
Tumbler 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. You can also allow the glitter to come all the way up to the top of your tumbler, in which case you’d want to tape the inside edge. It’s really just personal preference.
Tumbler Tip: When you tape your tumblers, fold over the edge of your tape so that you can remove it later much easier.
After you’ve taped everything, I also recommend you sand the outside of your tumble. Sanding roughens up the surface a bit and helps any paint, glitter, or epoxy stick to it better.
Finally, wipe the surface of your tumbler down with 91% isopropyl 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 tumbler.
You can paint your tumblers if you wish. For this tutorial, I did one tumbler without paint and one tumbler with paint. I thought the tumbler without paint required more touchup with glitter, because it was easier to see the shiny metal underneath. So I think it works better to paint your tumbler if you plan to do the plaid glitter effect
Tip: When spray painting, use short bursts, instead of just going all out and just holding down that button. These short bursts will help you avoid drips and give you a more even paint coverage.
As for spray paint, you can use Plutonium spray paint, Krylon ColorMaxx, or even Rustoleum paint with a primer in it. I recommend you use the same color as your lightest solid color glitter (for example, I used red spray paint on the plaid glitter tumbler with red and green).
If your spray paint your tumbler, wait at least 3 hours (or longer if necessary) for the paint to dry.
Step 3: Tape your plaid pattern.
Tape is the secret to a great plaid tumbler!
First, tape the edges you do not want any epoxy on at all, such as the top and/or bottom edges.
Next, cut off a long piece of 1″ wide masking or painter’s tape (about two feet) and place it over the center of your tumbler, then down the sides in straight lines.
Stick the tape under the tumbler and cut/tear off any excess. Check that your lines down your tumbler look straight, then cut/tear the section over the mouth of the tumbler and tape it down inside.
Do the same thing again, only this time turn your tumbler about 120 degrees. Your goal is to get about 3/4″ to an inch of space between your taped lines this time. (How much space you can get will depend on how big around your tumbler is.) Adjust your tape as necessary until it looks good and striaight, then again cut/tear the tape over the mouth and press it to the inside of your tumbler.
Again, turn your tumbler another 120 degrees and put on a third strip of tape similar to the other two, only this time you’re filling in the remaining space. You still are trying to get 3/4″ to 1″ of space between your tapes lines, so adjust your tape as necessary until you have it.
When you’re done with the vertical lines, it’s time to start the horizontal lines. I recommend you start at the bottom, lining the tape up to the bottom edge and taping around the full circumference of the tumbler.
Continue taping up the tumbler, leaving about 3/4″ to 1″ between the tapes lines. Feel free to adjust tape lines until it looks good. Your goal is evenly spaced grid of tape up and across your tumbler.
Once all the tape is in place, press down firmly on all of the edges to make sure they are well adhered to your tumbler.
Step 4: Apply Mod Podge and Solid Color Glitter
It’s glitter time!
Yes, the glitter is going to make a mess, but if you put a few pieces of plain white copy paper on your work surface you can catch most of glitter.
Using your 1″ wide brush, dip the tip into the Mod Podge and apply it to your tumbler between the lines of tape, 1-4 sections at a time. Make sure you don’t have too much globbed on in one section or the other. Also be sure you get the Mod Podge in every corner of the section(s).
Once the Mod Podge is applied to a few sections, you must glitter it right away or it will dry. Just sprinkle your one of your solid glitter colors (for example, red) onto the areas with Mod Podge, being sure you get into all the corners and along the tape line.
When done, gently tap the bottom of your tumbler so the extra glitter falls onto your paper.
Tip: You can pick up your paper on your work surface and pour the extra glitter back into a container to use again.
Repeat this process until all untaped sections of your tumbler have glitter. Do a double check before you finish and touch up any missing corners or edges.
Step 5: Prepare a Glitter Mix
Mix a portion of your two main colors of glitter together in a cup to create a glitter color that looks halfway between the two colors. I just use the end of my brush to mix them together well. I recommend you error on the side of too much mixed glitter rather than not enough so you don’t run out halfway through.
How much mixed glitter you’ll need will depend on how big your tumbler is. If you use a plastic cup like me, about a 1/4″ or 1/3″ of mixed glitter at the bottom should be enough for one tumbler.
Step 6: Remove the horizontal tape, apply mod podge, and sprinkle your Mixed Glitter.
Now you need to REMOVE THE HORIZONTAL tape in the middle of your tumbler. Do not remove any tape where you don’t want glitter or epoxy. So in the case of my plaid glitter tumblers, I remove the three horizontal taped lines in the middle/top, but I didn’t remove the one at the very bottom because I don’t want glitter or epoxy there.
Using your 1″ brush again, very carefully apply Mod Podge in the squares right next to the solid glitter you applied in step 4. Again, just do a few sections at a time. (If you’re doing the red and black buffalo plaid, you would put your Mod Podge next to the red squares.)
Sprinkle your glitter mix onto the Mod Podged sections, then tap to remove the extra.
Repeat until you have all the squares next to the solid glitter filled in with your mixed glitter.
Step 7: Remove the vertical tape, apply Mod Podge, and sprinkle again
Now remove the vertical tape. Leave on any tape over sections you do not want glitter at all.
Using your 1″ brush again, carefully apply Mod Podge to the sections above and below your solid colors (from step 4). Sprinkle the glitter mix onto those sections.
Finally, finish up the glitter by putting Mod Podge on the remaining sections and sprinkle your second solid glitter color in them. For example, if you’re doing the red and black buffalo plaid, you’d apply the black glitter now.
Look for any areas where your tumbler is showing through the glitter and touch it up before proceeding.
Step 8: Seal the glitter on your tumblers with a clear coat.
Seal your glitter with clear coat of acrylic 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, you need to have things a bit more in control. Sealer is also required if you plan to do the optional lines in step 9.
Note: Don’t worry if the plaid glitter tumbler looks a little cloudy after spraying. It will dry clear and you won’t notice it at all later.
Wait about 30 minutes after applying sealer to your glitter tumbler before moving on to the next step.
Step 9: (Optional) Add lines of glitter to your plaid glitter tumbler pattern.
If you want to make a really fancy plaid glitter tumbler, like my Christmas plaid glitter tumbler, you can do it by adding strips of 1/8″ wide double-stick tape. Just apply the tape in strips down the centers of every other section, pressing down well before you remove the backing. Be aware that this sort of tape is very sticky, and isn’t likely to reposition well without removing some of your glitter or messing up other lines of tape. Just go slowly and carefully.
Once your 1/8″ thick double-sided is in place, sprinkle on a contrasting glitter color (I used silver) and press the glitter against the tape before tapping it off.
For a second line with a different color, add more tape in the other sections, and apply glitter as before.
Once all of the glitter is on the tape, use a dry paintbrush to brush the excess glitter away.
Step 10: Prepare your tumbler turners.
While your sealer is drying on your plaid glitter tumblers, you’ll want to prepare a method to turn your tumblers. Epoxy resin — which we’ll be applying in the next step — will drip something awful if you don’t keep your tumblers turning to avoid it.
You can make a manual tumbler turner, and I have a tutorial for that. You can make an automated tumbler turner from a rotisserie turner, and I also explain how to do that in the tutorial.
These days, I just use the Spin It tumbler turners sold by We R Memory Keepers. I bought one recently, after I heard from my friend Holli Mostella that there were updated over the summer. I tried it, liked it, and now own three of them. I prefer them over my homemade tumbler turner because they are MUCH smaller, more portable, have a variable speed, and are just generally easier to use. Oh, and they are USB powered, which is convenient for me because I can plug them into a power bank and move them around wherever I need to.
Most of my tumblers fit on the Spin It without slipping (a problem many people report) — for those tumblers that tend to slip, I just put some grip tape or duct tape inside the tumbler and they no longer slip. I re-use my grip and duct tape from tumbler to tumbler, so it’s an easy and simple solution. Yes, there are lots of other tumbler turners out there. I love that I can just buy this one at my local Michaels and that it’s not expensive. I am all about accessibility and easy. That’s how I ended up with three so I could do more tumblers at a time!
Tip: You can get the Spin It tumbler turners from Michaels and use a coupon for a great price!!
Once your tumbler turner is set up, position your tumbler on it and spin it for a few minutes to make sure it’s stable and not slipping. If it is slipping, adjust it and/or put some grip tape or duct tape inside it so the turner has a better grip.
Step 11: Mix and apply high gloss resin to your plaid glitter tumblers in a safe manner.
First, a word about epoxy safety. Epoxy resin is toxic after you mix it and while it’s curing, and it’s really important to wear proper protective equipment. I recommend nitrile gloves, a full face respirator, a PVC or Tyvek apron, long sleeves, and plastic sheets over your work surface. I also recommend you do it outside or in a well-ventilated area. You should understand how to handle epoxy safely before you use it.
When you’re ready, put on your nitrile gloves and your other protective gear, and get out your high-gloss resin for 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 and I want you and your house to stay safe.
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 solutions individually in their own cups for about one minute. Then combine them together and mix for three minutes. I just pour cup B into cup A (that’s why I like to use bigger plastic cups). Make sure you get all the liquid out when you combine them, because you don’t want it your mix 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 with this brand of epoxy resin, but keep an eye out for them.
Once your epoxy resin is mixed, immediately head on over to where you prepared your tumbler turner. Carefully pour your epoxy resin onto your plaid glitter tumbler — I just lightly poured it and used my gloved fingers to spread it down the tumbler. 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. Just be sure to wear gloves!
Be sure to rotate your tumbler as you pour and spread, whether by motor or by hand.
Keep rotating your plaid glitter tumblers after you’ve applied the epoxy to keep them from running and dripping. If you’re doing it manually, you’ll want to keep the tumblers rotating constantly for the first five minutes, 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.
Important: Follow the proper handling for unused and uncured epoxy — do not throw uncured epoxy in your household trash. It’s dangerous because the curing process generates heat and when left in a closed container like a trash can, it can cause a fire. Additionally, most uncured epoxies and curing agents are toxic or harmful to aquatic organisms and may cause long term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Wait until your epoxy is completely hardened and cured before disposing of it.
Step 12: 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 towel and rubbing alcohol).
Step 13: After at least five hours, tape your tumblers and wet sand them.
Be sure to wear a respirator and gloves when you wet sand your tumblers to avoid epoxy contact, buildup, and potential allergic reaction. I recommend you use sandpaper appropriate for wet sanding and sand them in running water. Be sure to wash any exposed skin with soap and water after sanding, too.
Safety Tip: If you don’t wait for the epoxy to fully cure, you should wear gloves while applying the decal to avoid skin exposure.
Step 14: (Optional) Apply your vinyl decal.
You’re freely welcome to use the decals I put on my tumblers — I have 10 awesome fall- and winter-themed decals! See all the “warm & cozy” DIY vinyl decals designs over on my blog at JenniferMaker.com.
To do this, resize the decal so it fits on your size tumbler (mine were about 3.5″ wide) and cut your decals on premium permanent vinyl.
Once your vinyl is cut, weed the excess vinyl away and transfer it to a piece of transfer tape or masking tape.
Clean your sanded glitter tumbler surface with rubbing alcohol, center the decal, and press from the inside outward. Use a scraper to adhere the vinyl really well to your pretty plaid glittler tumbler, then remove the transfer tape.
Step 15: Apply your second coat of resin.
Tape your plaid glitter tumblers again as needed and apply a second coat of epoxy like you did the first. You probably won’t want to use quite as much epoxy this time. Don’t forget your proper protective equipment. I want you to be safe.
Step 16: Remove your tape and allow to cure.
Get my free SVG cut files for the Plaid Glitter Tumbler Decals
You can get my free “warm and cozy” vinyl decals for fall and winter in my free resource library!
Want to remember this? Save the Plaid Glitter Tumbler Step-by-Step Tutorial to Your Favorite DIY Pinterest Board!