It is priceless to see someone’s face when they receive a personalized tumbler. A personalized tumbler or Yeti cup is not that difficult to make.

You only need to clean and prime your tumbler before applying the first layer of epoxy. After 12-24 hours, apply the vinyl decal to the decals you prepared. Let the epoxy cure before applying another layer of vinyl decal.

You can make a personal tumbler or Yeti cup by following this step-by-step guide. In addition, we discussed common epoxy crafting issues, such as uneven coatings, delaminations, discolorations, and dumplings, and discussed tips on how to resolve them.

INSTRUCTIONS STEP BY STEP

1. Create the blank document

  1. Rub rubbing alcohol on your stainless steel tumbler or yeti cup before using it. Using this method, all dust and adhesive residue will be removed.
  2. Allow an hour in between every coat of flat black paint spray. Other colors can also be used as the base of your tumbler.   
  3. Your design will be added. Paint or glitter can be used.

2. Apply epoxy to the surface

Apply epoxy to the surface
  1. With your gloved hand, spread a thin layer of clear epoxy over the tumbler.
  2. A:B ratio should be 1:1 when you mix your epoxy. The colors can be achieved using pearlescent or metallic mica powder and Alumilite dye. Depending on the color you add, Alumilite will make the mica darker or lighter. 
  3. The epoxy should be applied as desired. There are several ways to pour epoxy on a cup: direct pour, modified pour, brush, or rub with a gloved finger. You can also use a popsicle stick or silicone brush to lightly drizzle epoxy on the cup. Different techniques will produce different results, so experiment to find what works best for you. 
  4. Remove air bubbles from your finished tumbler by lightly torching it.  
  5. Give the epoxy 24 hours to dry completely. 
  6. Prepare your personalized tumbler for the next step by sanding and cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.

3. Create the decal

  1. Create a design or font layout on your computer to use as your decal. 
  2. You can use a Cricut to print your design. You can then reveal the design by removing the uncut parts.
  3. Apply the transfer tape to the design after removing the backing.
  4. Burnish both sides with a burnishing tool to remove air bubbles. By doing so, the design will also adhere to the tape.

4. Stick the decal on

  1. Your decal should be positioned on the part of your tumbler.
  2. To transfer the design to your tumbler, rub a popsicle stick over it. 
  3. The backing should be carefully peeled off.

5. Coat with epoxy the final time 

 Coat with epoxy the final tim
  1. Make a 1:1 mixture of clear epoxy. 
  2. Rub the epoxy gently over the tumbler as it turns, applying it all over the tumbler. 
  3. Using a torch, remove any air bubbles from your tumbler. Dry the tumbler.
  4. Repeat steps B and C and sand again. 
  5. The cup turner should be left to dry for at least 12 hours. It should then be removed and left to cure for 48-72 hours.      

THE COMMON ISSUES OF PERSONALIZED TUMBLER AND YETI CUPS

Epoxy resin crafting can pose some challenges to beginners. The following tips and tricks will help you avoid these challenges.  

Inconsistent Coating

There are several reasons why your personalized tumbler may have an uneven coating:

  • The epoxy is catalyzed by adding catalysts

It is not necessary to add catalysts to your epoxy. To shorten the curing process, manufacturers add catalysts, but this can have adverse effects on the quality of the end product.

As a result of catalysts, the epoxy underneath hasn’t sufficiently cured, causing premature hardening. Polymerization of the epoxy can be achieved by the A and B components alone. 

  • Turning unevenly

If the wand or cup holder are wobbly, the coating will be uneven, especially if the method is pouring or modified pouring.  

For a wobbly cup turner, make sure your setup is correct first. Add thread lock to the screw on the motor and the wand so that it won’t pop out when you remove the wand. 

There are also cup holders that fit better. It is a good idea to use a foam football or foam roller that fits properly. There is also the option of moving the middle support closer to the cup. Rolling bearings can also help with turning stability. 

  • Turning the cup too slowly

When using the pour or modified pouring method, the epoxy moves to the bottom of the cup or tumbler when the cup turner is too slow (2.5-3 RPM). Using a silicone brush or gloved finger, apply epoxy slowly and smooth it as you go, if using a slow cup turner. 

Gloss loss / cloudy

You might have a cloudy epoxy finish due to excessive moisture, especially if you worked on your personalized tumbler during the winter when the temperature was uncontrolled. Among other reasons, you shouldn’t apply the subsequent coating before the drying process is completed. 

In addition, you should avoid adding a catalyst to enhance drying. Be sure to thoroughly dry and clean your cups and tumblers before you begin. Take a break from crafting if the humidity is too high, unless you want to risk the quality of your work. 

The epoxy itself can also cloud and lose its sparkle if it is too cold. You can solve this problem by measuring out your A and B components and letting them soak in warm water.   

Layers are separated

When the first and second epoxy layers fail to bond together, the layers separate (delamination). Two methods are available to add another layer. 

There is one method that takes 3-5 hours. You should use this method if you are working on a simple design, like adding glitters, and you will then seal the design with two coats of epoxy. It takes five hours for the epoxy to gel enough, but it hasn’t hardened yet, so you can add another layer and then bond it to the first.

In the second method, the epoxy is allowed to completely dry for 12 hours, then the first layer is sanded. Remove dust and any foreign matter that may interfere with bonding by wiping it down with rubbing alcohol. The next layer of epoxy should be applied and allowed to dry for another 18-24 hours. A 72-hour cure is achieved by the yeti cup. 

Discoloration and yellowing

Keep these tips in mind to prevent discoloration (yellowing or browning) of your customized Yeti cup. 

  • Don’t over-torch

Tumblers can become discolored when over-torched or if the wrong materials are used. You should pass your torch over your work once or twice to avoid discoloration. If there are any air bubbles, you should remove them with the torch.  

  • Epoxy resin that is UV-resistant should be used

Make sure the epoxy resin you use is UV-resistant. Your personalized tumbler should be protected from excessive UV exposure. 

  • Choosing materials that are compatible with each other 

It is also helpful to read the dye’s user guide. Some colors will react with the epoxy and turn blue. Make sure that your epoxy and dye are compatible. 

  • Oxidized epoxy should not be used

Discoloration and yellowing can sometimes be caused by the epoxy itself. As the hardener is not airtight, oxidation is bound to happen since the container itself is not airtight. Ensure that your epoxy has a shelf-life of at least a year. 

Hardener can still be used if you notice slight yellowing without affecting curing time. Very noticeable discolorations should be avoided.  

Dipping 

Dimpling can be caused by a number of different factors. Here’s how to avoid them:  

  • Particles of dust and air bubbles 

If you are not careful, hours of hard work can be wasted. However, some crafters suggest popping the air bubbles with a toothpick or blowing the bubbles out with a straw. These methods are both very time-consuming and ineffective. 

Heat guns and hair dryers may work. Unfortunately, these will introduce dust and hair.

A blow torch is the best tool for removing air bubbles. By adjusting the gas knob on your blow torch, you can control the intensity of its flame. 

  • Torching too much

In order to torch your tumbler effectively, you need to pass the torch over it once or twice, just close enough to see the bubbles popping. When you pass over a part more than twice or too close, you may over-torch, which will also result in dimpling.  

  • Temperature fluctuations 

Unstable temperatures can also cause dimpling. For an even drying process, your personalized yeti cup should be kept between 75-86°F (24-30°C). Unless you can heat your workshop while the product is drying, this is a challenge, especially in winter. To solve this problem, you can build an inexpensive DIY heat box. You should also avoid using a heat gun or torch, since prolonged heat will prevent the epoxy resin from drying properly.  

Summary

There are some people who take this business seriously, as the crafting market is currently worth $43 billion. Personalized tumblers and yeti cups can become a lucrative career if you learn how to make them and incorporate your creative designs.

Would you like your yeti cups to be personalized? Is this something you would like to try? Comment below.

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