Top 2 Epoxy Alternatives for Tumblers

Are you looking for the best epoxy alternatives for tumblers? Then you are in the right place.

Some people are intimidated by epoxy (or resin) and others simply prefer to avoid working with it because of its' toxic effects. Whatever is your case, I will share with you 2 of the best resin epoxy substitutes I have found.

Can you make a tumbler without epoxy?

Some people wonder if it's even possible to do a tumbler without epoxy. Well, you can.... however, you have to take some things into account. 

#1. The wet look and depth that you can achieve with epoxy won't be exactly the same when you use an alternative coating. However, you can achieve a very similar look as long as you add several coats of whatever coating you choose.

#2. If the tumbler you are going to be coating is going to be used for hot beverages, you'll have to make sure you choose a coating that is heat resistant. Some coatings are not heat resistant, so you will have limited options to choose from.

Now, let's take a look at two of the best epoxy alternatives for tumblers.

***The options listed below are NOT listed in any particular order. The first product is not the best and the last is not the worst. Just choose the one that suits your needs the best.*** 

#1. Crystalac Brite Tone

Crystalac Brite Tone High Solids is one of my favorite epoxy substitutes for tumblers. It is a water-based polyurethane that dries super glossy and crystal clear. Plus it is also non-toxic and non-yellowing because of it's uv resistant properties.

A lot of artists use this coating to make polyurethane tumbler cups. Just take a look at the video below to see the awesome results that this artist was able to achieve by using Crystalac Brite Tone.

Honestly, those tumblers looks pretty amazing to me!!!

Crystalac vs Epoxy

Now, what is the difference between Crystalac and Epoxy? What are some pros and cons between these two?

  • A lot of epoxy brands out there release toxic fumes when you mix the resin and the hardener. This is one of the biggest reasons why many people avoid epoxy and want to find a substitute for it.

    But keep in mind that now a days there are many epoxy brands that sell art resin with no fumes or VOC's (volatile organic compounds).

    Take a look at the Best Artists Resin Brands in 2022

    Crystalac is water based, non-toxic, and safe to use indoors.
  • Application is harder with epoxy than with Crystalac since epoxy consists of two parts that need to be thoroughly mixed at specific ratios.
  • You will have to add more coats of Crystalac than epoxy to achieve the same depth. Epoxy has a more viscous consistency than Crystalac and hence the difference in number of coats.
  • Alcohol inks are not as compatible with Crystalac as they are with epoxy.

#2. KBS Clear Diamond High Gloss

Next, let's talk a little about KBS Clear Diamond High Gloss. This product is heat resistant and gives coasters and tumblers a diamond-like shine.

KBS has a liquid and a spray varnish version. Most artists use the liquid version for their cups. 

Take a look at the following video to learn how to do a tumbler using KBS Clear Diamond. It's as easy as brushing it on!

What is Diamond Finish Clear Liquid:

  • It is a High Gloss clear coat that remains somewhat flexible while still being durable. Can withstand harsh environments without yellowing, cracking or peeling.
  • Can be applied with a brush (without leaving any brush marks), a roller, or a conventional spray gun.
  • Because it is heat resistant up to 300° Fahrenheit, it works great for tumblers that will hold hot liquids. 

Apply several thin layers of liquid Diamond Finish (with drying in between each coat) until you build up to the desired thickness. Think layers will also help you avoid any potential issues with bubbles, tackiness, or yellowing. 

I really believe this is one of the best safe epoxy alternatives for tumblers.

The only downfall of this brand's product is that it is more expensive than other varnishes. 

In my opinion, Crystalac Brite tone is probably the best epoxy alternative for tumblers but give both a try and let me know which one you like best!

I hope that you can find an epoxy alternative that fits your budget and gives you the desired results for your tumbler cups!

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