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If you are new to the tumbler making business (or maybe its just a hobby for now), you're in luck! I have created the ultimate guide to creating your first epoxy free tumbler.
When you first step into this creative art it can feel totally overwhelming. There are so many questions you are probably asking yourself.
What kind of tumblers are best?
What products do I need?
How do I add glitter smoothly?
How do I add vinyls?
WHAT AM I EVEN DOING?!
I had all the same questions when I started tumbler making! Although I have been an artist all my life, I still had things to learn when I started tumbler making. And then when I jumped into the world of epoxy free tumbler making, it was a whole new ball game (batter up!).
If you've followed me for awhile you know that community is really important to me. I love inspiring and being inspired. I love sharing knowledge and tips and advice. And that's why I created the Ultimate Guide to Creating Your First Epoxy Free Tumbler.
Why go epoxy free?
I started creating epoxy free tumblers because I wanted a safer alternative for me (and my family) while doing my best creative work. Now that we have moved to a larger place and I have place outside to do epoxy now, I still really enjoy creating epoxy free. It is what I'm known for and what I work most with nowadays.
The main product I use to create epoxy free tumblers is Grande Finale 2.0 Gloss by Crystalac. The following guide will tell you how to prep your tumblers, how to apply glitter and other embellishments, and how to apply the Grande Finale to create beautiful, high-quality, epoxy free tumblers.
The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your First Epoxy Free Tumbler
Alright, you're ready to start creating your very first epoxy free tumbler. Whether you are totally new to tumbler making or a seasoned expert wanting to up your game, this guide will show you exactly how to do it.
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Things you need to get started on your first epoxy free tumbler
Ok babes. There are things you need to get started on your first epoxy tumbler and then there are things you neeeeeed (read: don't actually need but want, but you want it so much it's a need, haha!).
Things you definitely need:
Grande Finale 2.0
Sanding pads (400 grit)
Low grit sanding pads
Things you neeeeeed:
Sanding Pads (400 grit)
Prepping your Tumblers
The factory coating of your blank tumbler must be removed so that you don't have any problem further down the line with adhesion issues
You can prep your tumbler by one of the following;
Hand sand with a higher grit sand paper. Then wash with dawn dish soap and towel dry with a lint free rag or coffee filter (be sure to use protective gear when sanding. The elements can easily be breathed in and can cause damage).
Spray your tumbler with 2-3 light coats of Zinsser Shellac
Use a product like Krud Cutter to eat away the factory coating.
Your tumbler needs to be base painted with something that will properly adhere to metal. Acrylic paint will NOT do because it doesn't have those adhesion properties and could peel off in the future. Let's do this right and start off with one of these:
Universal White (alone or mixed with pigments)
Flip N Awesome Paint & Primers (Pre-colored paints)
Spray Paint (Needs to off-gas 24-48hrs)
One of the Crystalac colored glosses
Grande Finale 2.0 (you can go right into glittering with Grande Finale 2.0 on a stainless tumbler BUT I personally don't recommend this)
Pro tip: I spray all my tumblers with Universal White Restoleum paint and then sand them down as soon as they arrive. This way when I'm ready to design a tumbler it is ready to go- I don't have to wait for it to gas-off after painting.
Let's get fancy- Glittering your tumbler
Ok babes, it's time to make this tumbler fancy. There are several different ways you can glitter your tumbler. There are two different ways you can do this when creating an epoxy free tumbler- with Grande Finale or with Glitter Glue.
Glittering your tumbler with Grande Finale
I love applying my glitter with Grande Finale! Doing it this way really allows you to get a good blend with your colors.
I keep Grande Finale stored in a condiment bottle for easy application.
I apply a thicker than normal coat over my sanded and prepped tumbler with my finger while my tumbler is on the turner horizontally.
I allow the tumbler to spin a few rotations to self level and even out before I start to apply my glitter.
Apply glitter by gently tapping it out of the bottle and any pieces that are sticking up on your tumbler can be easily tapped down while your Grande Finale is still wet. You want your glitter as flat as possible.
Glittering your tumbler with Glitter Glue
I love using Glitter Glue to apply glitter for more detailed designs like templates, areas that I need to tape off, or even a simple one color glitter tumbler.
I apply the glitter glue with a damp WetnWild blush brush. This helps the glue glide on and prevent streaks.
Apply your glitter, let dry for one hour and then "smoosh" your glitter down flat. You can do this by rolling the tumbler parchment paper and pushing glitter flat with your palms, using a brayer or a flat object like a credit card.
Wait another hour (2 hours dry time total), dry brush and then go in with another coat of glitter glue to seal or right into your first coat of Grande Finale 2.0.
If another application of glitter is needed after your first coat simply dry brush off excess glitter, apply another coat of glitter glue and glitter repeating the process above after that 2hr dry time.
Sealing your glitter
If your tumbler has a glitter design where you don't want your glitter migrating into each other you may want to seal your glitter with a spray sealer. You can use:
Glitter Glue mixed with water (2:1 ratio)- 2 hour dry time.
e6000 spray (clear, non-toxic waterbased spray, not the tube) - Approximately 2 hour dry time (until no longer tacky).
Clear spray paint- like a matte clear spray by Rustoleum. This must off-gas for 24-48hrs because it's a solvent based product.
Grande Finale your epoxy-free tumbler
Now that we have our glitter as flat as possible and sealed, if needed, we can move onto our layers of Grande Finale!
Our layers need to be thin (approximately 2 pieces of paper thin laters) and have 2 hours dry time in between coats.
Each coat of Grande Finale will be dry to the touch in one hour. You can easily take your tumbler off your turner and set aside upside down to dry for the next hour or so and move onto other projects. We need to keep our coats thin so that we're setting our tumbler up for success.
Apply your coats of Grande Finale until you feel your glitter is covered and you won't scratch it.
For chunky glitter this will take longer, for fine glitter you should be good for your first sand after about 4 coats.
And that's all, folks!
Once your tumbler has dried you will have made your first official epoxy free tumbler. Wahoo! If you're wanting to learn how to add vinyl, use the Arteza paint pens, or create other fun designs, head on over to my Creative CommUNITY where we talk about all sorts of these things. You can also check out my Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube channel for tutorials on all sorts of different processes!