Let’s start with your needs…
First, let me give you just a quick introduction! I'm Nikki, the creator of the team. I make decorated tumblers as well as shirts, decals and my favorite passion...jeep stuff! 0|||||||0
I am going to be posting a blog every week. The first few are going to be the basics. So, if you're a beginner and have no idea how this works...start here! If you are an experienced cupper, feel free to scan through and see if I have any helpful tips or resources!
So, you have probably seen these beautiful cups people are creating and wondering how do I even begin? These first few entries will give you a little insight on how the process works. Let’s first talk about the things you will need to get started!
- Spray Paint- I recommend the Rustoleum Paint and Primer. I have found that it doesn’t run like Krylon tends to do.
- Adhesive Spray- There are several brands, but I have always used Locktite without issue. Just make sure you get the red can that sprays as a “mist” and not “web”.
- Glitter- When I first started making cups, the first brand I ever tried was Southern Bling. I have found their glitter to get chunky with bad coverage. I tried Yaya’s, Glitter Glamz, and Mr. Nola’s ang highly recommend them! You can find their groups on Facebook. But my go to place is Southern Bees Bling! I will post a few pictures later! I also purchased these jars on Amazon to hold my glitter:Amazon Glitter Containers
- Cups- Our cups at The Steel Magnolia Company are made for this! Other companies use a raised logo on their tumbler. The problem with these is they can cause the paint and epoxy to apply with blemishes. I learned from experience which is why we designed our cups without a logo. Whether you are running a company or creating for family and friends, we want you to make this tumbler your own!
- Turner- A turner is need so that your cup can rotate so the epoxy will dry evenly around it. I started out with the chicken rotisserie from Lowes. It lasted about a week before I had to upgrade. The uneven distribution of weight caused it to turn inconsistently. It was a mess! I upgraded to the Cup-a-saurus 9-cup turner. There are more sizes available and can be found here on Etsy: Cupasaurus This has been a game changer! If you want to increase productivity, you need this turner! If you’re handy, then you can build your own with a rotating motor. We will post a DIY tutorial soon!
- PVC, Pool Noodles and Football Holders- This is what you need to hold your cup while it is drying. ¾” PVC pipe approximately 8-10’ long with a male connector. At Dollar Tree you can find these: Footballs Cut a hole in one side. *Lesson Learned: DON’T glue them to the PVC! I did this and eventually had to rip them off so that I could interchange the footballs and pool noodles.* Footballs will fit the 30oz tumblers and pool noodles will fit the 20oz and 12oz tumblers. I recommend the thick and skinny noodles as well as shelf liner. The shelf liners help when the noodle doesn’t fit quite as snug as you would like. Cut little strips to wrap around the noodle and then place a rubber band to hold it in place.
- Drying Rack- You will need a place to hold your PVC pipe while your cup dries. I built a whole table with drying rack underneath. My drying rack used female PVC connectors so that the PVC pipe screwed in and couldn’t fall. I will post a tutorial showing how you can build one too!
- Disposable Measuring Cups and Dixie Cups- You will need these for mixing epoxy. I use these disposable 1oz measuring cups I found on Amazon: Disposable Cups And large dixie cups to pour part A and part B.
- Epoxy- Here is another personal preference. I have always used Pro Marine since day 1. It does have a strong odor, but I love the finish. Before I mix part A and B together, I heat up part A just a little bit to pull out some of the air bubbles. Use a popsicle stick to stir slowly. Scrape the sides occasionally and stir until it is clear. Then let it sit for a few minutes to help air bubbles rise. Then you will be ready to apply!
- Vinyl- Printable vinyl or Oracle 651 vinyl is what you will need. You need a vinyl cutter as well. I have always been a Silhouette girl!
- Waterslide- This comes in clear or white. The first time I used it, I didn’t know the difference. White works about like printable vinyl. The only advantage is being able to adjust it when you apply it. Clear on the other hand, is useful when you want the color to show through. This doesn’t need a vinyl cutter. The down side to clear is it needs to be applied to light colored tumblers. We will be adding this to our product line SOON!
- Acetone- You will need this to clean up when the tumbler is finished.
- Alcohol- You will need this for cleaning the cup between layers of epoxy or any epoxy spills. I love using the little pump bottles! This makes it so much easier to put a little on a paper towel without taking a lid off and spilling it when you are in a hurry. I found mine at Dollar Tree.
- Alcohol Inks- You can make your own or buy them. We recommend the Tim Holtz brand for vibrancy. We will tell you how to make them in future posts!
- Hear Gun or Torch- I have tried both and prefer the heat gun! But this is all personal preference. You will need one to pull out the bubbles after you apply epoxy.
- Gloves- A must have! And using the glove method is also the best way to apply your epoxy!
- Straight Edge- You need this to clean up the edge of your cup and remove excess epoxy. You can also use an Exacto knife.
- Tape- Electrical tape is best! This will be used to tape off areas and even use it to make stripes! Washi tape can be used to decorate your cup!
- Sand Paper- Between layers of epoxy you will need to do a light sanding so that the next layer can adhere better. I recommend the 150 grit.
- Miscellaneous Items- paper towels, paint brush, popsicle sticks, wax paper, disposable metal cookie sheet, paper plates, spray bottle, silicone mat, silicone bowls, FIFO bottles
These are the things I bought before I started. You may find you don’t need everything right off the bat but to give yourself a few options to learn it’s a great place to start.
For a video tutorial, subscribe to our YouTube channel!
- Nikki Hamilton