One of my favorite things to make right now is epoxy resin tumblers. But when I was starting out I had no idea what I needed. To help you out, I have compiled a list of the best tumbler making supplies for beginners so you’ll have what you need before you start your first cup.
Obviously if you’re going to make an epoxy tumbler, the first thing you will need is a tumbler. You’ll want stainless steel, insulated tumblers. I order all of mine online. My top two stores are Stainless Steel Depot and Makerflo.
They both have AMAZING products, really quick shipping times and great customer service is you should need it (which I never have).
I highly recommend starting with a simple order of 20 and 30 oz tumblers. I have a zillion oddly sized tumblers that I will probably never use because I got order crazy in the beginning and just decided I needed a little of everything “just in case”. Knowing what I know now, I would wait and order special sizes when someone asks for something special.
So, you’ll hear tumbler makers use the terms epoxy and resin interchangably. While there are differences between the two, I tend to use both words myself. A resin tumbler and an epoxy tumbler are the same thing.
My go to epoxy is Mr. Nola’s Speed Dry. It doesn’t take much to mix, I NEVER have any bubbles and it dries really quickly. Once you have made some cups and have some practice, this is the brand I recommend. It is not a good beginner brand, however, because it dries so quickly.
Alumilite Amazing Clear Cast is what I used starting out, and it never let me down. You have more working time with this one, so it’s really good for beginners. It can be bubbly, however, so make sure you run it over with a heat gun once your tumbler has it’s epoxy layers.
Both of these brands have a part A and part B that you mix together in equal amounts.
You are going to want to put your parts A and B in smaller bottles to make it easier to handle. I just bought honey bottles and they work really well.
You are going to need something to mix your two parts together when working with epoxy. I use popsicle sticks. I break them in half to get extra use out of them.
I’ve had a fancy silicone stir stick before, and they are ok. I just hated cleaning them and found that popsicle sticks work better.
Like stir sticks, I have had the silicone mixing cups before. Again, I hated cleaning them. Now I just use medicine cups. They are cheap, easy to use and make enough epoxy for most of my projects.
You’ll need a heat gun to get rid of air bubbles in your tumblers. I have used this one for years. A heat gun can also be used to move epoxy around when working with alcohol inks.
Word of caution: It’s a good idea to unplug you’re heat gun when you aren’t using it.
Stainless steel tumblers come with a water repelling coating on them that helps with rusting. I always strip the coating off of my tumblers before I paint them. You can accomplish that with sandpaper or a liquid stripper like Citistrip Stripping Gel.
Tip: Some people say you can skip this step, but I never have. I don’t want anything that could potentially cause my tumbler to not be perfect because I HATE having to strip and remake cups.
People don’t give mod podge enough credit. I find it a highly effective way to glitter a tumbler. I get this one and it works great. You can also use it for other things, like coasters.
I normally try to find flat Rustoleum 2x Ultra Coverage brand spray paints. Glossy will work too, I just find that the flat dries a little more quickly.
When you get done glittering your tumbler and it’s dry, you are going to want to spray your tumbler with a layer or two of clear coat spray to help keep the glitter in place. Trust me. If you try and put the epoxy layer straight on your glitteres tumbler, you’ll end up with glitter in places you didn’t want it to be.
I don’t use one, because I am a horrible person. But after wearing masks in the hospital for the past three years, I don’t want to wear anything else on my face.
But do as I say and not as I do. EVERY epoxy brand recommends only working with their products with gloves and a respirator. All I can tell you is do your research and find a good one.
If you’re really concerned with safety, you can use Crystalac products instead of epoxy. I have never used it, but I have heard it works great.
Gloves are gloves. They help protect your hands because epoxy is sticky and messy and gets literally everywhere. I normally get these and they work great.
When I was a baby tumbler maker, I got this motorized cup turner. It still works almost 5 years later. But I quickly realized I needed additional ones because I was using normal epoxy that takes a zillion hours to dry.
So I upgraded. I bought a cup turner kit and my husband made me a 6 cup turner. Its been working for two years and I haven’t had the first problem with any of the peices.
Helpful hint: Get some extra foam holders. It really helps.
If you plan on making lots of cute tumblers with infinite design possibilities, I recommend getting a vinyl cutting machine. I have had my Cricut machine for YEARS and have never had a problem with it. It works great, does exactly what I ask it to and never messes anything up. Vinyl decals are my favorite.
I also pay for Cricut Design Space so I can have access to all kinds of fun designs, templates and modification options.
In terms of vinyl, I normally use whatever is cheapest. I get a lot of my vinyl at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby when it’s on sale.
Helpful tip: You can also use tomporary tattoos on your tumblers. Those are really fun and are just as easy as putting them on yourself.
Helpful hint 2: You can also use your Cricut machine for tons of other projects, like homemade cards, car decals, and tons of other things.
Tumbler Making Supplies: Runner Ups
There are a couple of other things that are absolutely necessary, but definitely help to have in your craft room.
Paper towels /Old rags- like I said earlier, epoxy gets everywhere. I ALWAYS have a rag handy.
Extra paper- just plain old paper. I use whatever comes out of my kids backapcks at the end of the week. I use these to help me catch glitter when I am making tumblers. It’s especially handy to have when you epoxied a cup already on a turner and forgot to epoxy the bottom of the cup. You basically have to just throw glitter at that point.
Play clothes- I get MESSY when I craft. After ruining several of my favorite shirts and pairs of pants, I now have clothes speciifically for crafting.
A big plastic tote and a container of acetone (not nail polish remover): The easiest way I have found to strip tumblers is to put them in a big airtight tote with a small bowl full of acetone and let them set for a few days. The epoxy will fall right off.
Helpful tip: it’s the fumes and NOT the liquid acetone that cause epoxy to come off. Soaking your tumbler isn’t necessary.
This list of tumbler making supplies will get you started on your way to making some awesome tumblers. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
A few questions I get asked pretty regularly about making tumblers:
Can I use an old sublimation tumbler to make a glitter tumbler?
Absolutely! You don’t even have to strip them first. Just make sure the original image is completely covered with spray paint and you should be good to go.
Can I epoxy on a plastic tumbler?
No. You should only use an insulated tumbler for epoxy.
I have a post about some of the most frequently asked tumbler making questions and you can read it here.