How to Seal Vinyl on Tumblers: Ultimate Guide for Every Crafter

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Tumblers as gifts look boring if they’re plain. However, with adhesive vinyl decals customization, you can make them colorful, personal, and artistic.

Moreover, the process of customization doesn’t end here. You need to protect the vinyl on your stainless steel tumbler from harsh elements, including wear and tear.

How? Through sealing the decor. Thus, in this article, learn how to perfectly seal vinyl with the best sealant to keep your decor from peeling away and last for years.

But, let’s have a brief overview of the different types of adhesive vinyl used for tumblers, so you can see where sealants enter into the scene of crafting.

seal vinyl on tumblers

Image source: Teckwrapcraft

Outdoor Vinyl vs. Indoor Vinyl: Overview

These two are types of adhesive vinyl. Furthermore, removable vinyl is also called indoor vinyl and permanent vinyl is also called outdoor vinyl.

Indoor adhesive vinyl usually has a matte finish while outdoor adhesive vinyl has a glossy finish.

As the name suggests, this vinyl is removable and is best used for crafts that don’t need washing or constant cleaning.

Outdoor adhesive vinyl is permanent and can last several years depending on wear and tear conditions. Often, this is the best vinyl for stainless steel mugs, plastic cups, and tumblers.

So, why do you need to seal them? Because daily handling of your tumblers can take a toll on your adhesive vinyl decals.

No matter how high the quality of your vinyl is, it might still peel away from your tumbler if you constantly use it and wash it with water.

We know, it’s painful to see your craft be ruined when you can do something about it. So, this is where sealants come into the scene.

Importance of Sealing Vinyl

 

sealing vinyl on tumblers

Image Source: Teckwrapcraft

Many crafters say vinyl doesn’t need sealing because most types of vinyl are waterproof or water-resistant. These types of permanent vinyl can last for years, which is true by the way.

If you want to create more long-lasting vinyl mugs and tumblers, you might want to consider applying some sealant. Why decorating your tumbler shouldn’t end with vinyl and transfer tape?

Sealing your vinyl tumblers with a heavy-duty sealant is important for several reasons. First, it prevents the vinyl from peeling or cracking.

Second, a sealant protects the vinyl from fading over time. Finally, sealing prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the cup.

Types of Sealant

Sealants are clear coats that are applied over the vinyl decal to protect it from wear and tear and harsh elements such as the dishwasher. There are two main types of sealants: water-based and oil-based.

Water-based sealants have a lower VOC (volatile organic compound) content. The VOC makes them more environmentally friendly.

They're also easier to clean up if you make a mistake while applying them. However, they may not be as durable as oil-based sealants.

Oil-based sealants, on the other hand, provide a stronger barrier against moisture and wear. But because they're made with petroleum products, they're not as eco-friendly as water-based sealants.

Sealants for Every Crafter

Tumblers are incredibly versatile and you can use them for hot or cold beverages. Thus, you should consider the sealant to use.

There are a few different options available, and each has its own pros and cons. Here are just a few of the sealants you may want to consider for your tumblers with vinyl:

Polycrylic

Polycrylic is a water-based versatile sealer that you can use for a variety of applications. It has two variants: spray form and liquid.

When compared to other sealants, this sealant is relatively easy to apply. However, the biggest drawback is its application.

You need to apply thin layers at a time. If you're looking for a thicker, more protective coating, allow the polycrylic to dry between layers.

Patience is key when working with this sealant. It's also important to choose polycrylic over polyurethane as polyurethane may cause damage if handled incorrectly.

When used correctly, polyacrylic is an excellent option for sealing and protecting surfaces.

Mod Podge

 

mod podge sealer

Image Source: Flicker

This versatile and non-toxic product is easy to find in art and craft stores, whether in small bottles or larger quantities. To seal vinyl, simply apply a coat of mod podge over your vinyl decal using a brush, just like you would with paint.

Mod Podge works great for adding a personalized touch to mugs, tumblers, plates, and other dishwares. With its wide range of finishes, from matte to glossy to glitter, there's an option for every style and taste.

One potential downside is the minimum curing time. You’ll need at least 28 days after it has been applied, so make sure you don't lose track of time.

Additionally, there is also a special dishwasher-safe version. This version is a great option if you often wash your tumblers in a dishwasher..

Triple Thick

Triple Thick is an inexpensive and easy-to-use sealant that can give your DIY creations a professional, high-gloss finish. With its thick consistency and smooth texture, this sealant will give all of your projects a smooth, polished appearance.

Plus, it's non-toxic and easy to apply with a brush directly onto the surface of your project. Although Triple Thick may not be dishwasher safe like some other sealants on the market, it does have a strong and durable finish that can withstand most wear and tear.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is a sealer that you can use for many things, including keeping your vinyl tumbler safe. You prepare it by stirring two different liquid components together. This starts a chemical process in which the liquid slowly starts to harden.

Different types of epoxy resins are available online and in craft stores. They can differ in their viscosity or their curing time. This type is a heavy-duty sealant with self-leveling, creating an even layer.

Regardless of which type you choose, your vinyl will last a long time and will be 100% dishwasher safe. With proper curing of at least 72 hours or 3 days, you can achieve a scratch-resistant surface.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Of course, there are some downsides as well. Some epoxy resins need to be stirred constantly during the hardening process or they will not harden properly.

This can be tedious and time-consuming. Plus, you’ll need to use the mixture immediately. In addition, epoxy resin can be quite pricey depending on the brand and type that you choose.

There are many sealing products on the market today, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Some sealants can yellow over time, while others may not be compatible with the types of adhesive vinyl you use.

Ultimately, the best sealant for your vinyl tumbler is the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Cost Of Sealant

The cost depends on a few factors, including the type of sealant and brand. Generally speaking, you can expect to spend around $10-$20 on a good sealant.

However, if you have a particularly large tumbler or you're looking for a high-end sealant, you may end up spending closer to $30 or $50, depending on the brand.

For instance, one popular brand of sealant is available for around $10 per ounce. Another option, Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge Waterbased Sealer, costs around $13 per 8 oz bottle.

Polycrylic Minwax is selling for almost $20 for 1 quart with various finishes ranging from matte to gloss and from satin to flat.

Triple Thick on the other hand is a lot cheaper than these two. An 8-ounce jar of this sealant will cost you around less than $10. Epoxy resin set costs around $30 for a 32-ounce variant.

Ultimately, the cost of your sealant will depend on your specific needs. But whether you're looking to save money or ensure your tumbler vinyl lasts for years, investing in a quality sealant is a smart idea.

How to Choose the Best Sealant for Your Vinyl Tumbler

There are a few things to consider when choosing the best sealant for your vinyl tumbler. The type of sealant you use will depend on the material of a tumbler and how you plan to use it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a sealant:

Image Source

Tumbler You Use

The type of vinyl tumbler you have: Some tumblers are made with double-wall construction, while others have a single wall.

Double-wall construction means there is an inner and outer layer of plastic with air in between. This creates insulation, so your beverage stays hot or cold longer.

Single-wall construction means there is only one layer. These tumblers are less expensive but do not insulate as well. Often, stainless steel stumblers may need some sort of sealing.

How You Use It

How you plan to use your tumbler: If you are using your tumbler for hot beverages, you will need a different type of sealant than if you are using it for cold beverages. Hot beverages can cause the plastic to warp, so it is important to choose a sealant that can withstand high temperatures.

Wear and Tear Conditions

The environment you will be using your tumbler in: If you plan on using your tumbler outdoors, make sure to choose a sealant that is UV resistant. This will help prevent the color from fading and the plastic from cracking.

Image source: Pixabay

Process of Sealing Vinyl on Tumblers

The process is simple, depending on the sealant you choose. First, gather your supplies.

  • Tumblers with Your Vinyl Design already in place
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean cloth
  • Brush, if you’re using liquid instead of spray sealant
  • Separate container
  • Painter’s tape
  • Of course, a sealant of your choice

Step 1: Cure the Adhesive Vinyl

Apply vinyl on your tumblers using the hinge method. Smoothen design with a scraping tool. Make sure the decal is in place before removing the paper backing.

Then, cure the first. Let the adhesive vinyl cure or dry for hours or even days. To make sure these types of vinyl stick well, see the package instructions for more details.

Don’t use or wash the tumbler after curing. Instead, proceed with sealing.

Image Source: Teckwrapcraft

Step 2: Clean the Tumbler

Before using sealant, use rubbing alcohol with a clean cloth to remove remaining unwanted adhesives on the tumbler.

Doing this will remove any residue that will prevent the sealant from adhering properly. The cloth should be damp, not soaked with the solvent. Let it dry for a few minutes.

Step 3: Apply Sealant on Your Vinyl Decal

Place a painter’s tape on the mount of the tumbler. This would prevent sealant from getting into the mouthpiece. Sealants might be dishwasher safe but they’re not really food-safe.

In a separate container, pour a sufficient amount of sealant for the first coat in a separate container. This step applies for liquid sealant. Use a brush to coat the vinyl and tumbler.

Why do you need to pour a separate amount for every coating? To protect the remaining sealant from dust and other contaminants while you work on your current project.

For spray form, you can proceed by spraying a thin layer first, instead of one thick layer. Let the first coat dry before applying or spraying the next layer.

If you like a thick layer of sealant, allow a few hours of drying for each coat.

Image Source: Pexels

Step 4: Cure the Sealant

This is important to ensure the sealing process creates long-lasting protection for your adhesive vinyl tumbler. Curing days depend on the sealant you use.

For Mod Podge, you might need 28 days before you can use your tumbler. Read the instructions carefully because every sealant has different curing days.

So, that’s it. You’re done with the sealing process and ready to drink from your new mug or tumbler. It’s painstakingly long but the result is worth it.

With sealant as protection, the vinyl on your tumbler and even the tumbler itself can last for years. Some could even last 10 years or more before the sealant breaks down.

Tips on Keeping Sealed Vinyl Tumblers Last Long

Even with sealant, you still need to take care of your tumblers. Here are some tips for a longer-lasting adhesive vinyl on your cups and tumblers.

Hand Wash

Hand-washing is still the best way to handle your tumblers, especially for stainless steel. Avoid putting them in the dishwasher as much as possible.

It’s not about the sealant but it’s the property of the tumbler. According to some, a dishwasher can interfere with the tumbler’s mechanism of keeping hot and cold beverages.

So, hand-washed utensils with adhesive vinyl on them can last longer than those put in a dishwasher.

Intended Use

Tumblers are versatile utensils. But, if possible, use different tumblers for various purposes. If you’re going to use a tumbler for cold beverages, use a different one for hot drinks.

 

seal vinyl on tumblers

Image Source: Teckwrapcraft

FAQs

When to seal adhesive vinyl to your tumbler?

Experienced crafters would often use sealers when working with glitter finishes. Extra love for your tumblers doesn’t hurt, especially if you have the money to buy the supplies needed to seal vinyl.

Does vinyl surface area affect its adhesion to a tumbler?

Yes. Thicker letters have a larger surface area than thinner letters. Thus, they will provide better adhesion. But, you might still consider sealing the decal for a longer lasting design.

How long do sealed permanent or outdoor vinyl decals last?

The answer still depends on many factors. These factors include daily handling, usage of the tumbler, sealant you used, quality of the adhesive vinyl, design, and even the way you applied the decal.

Can you wash tumblers with adhesive vinyl and sealant applied on them?

Yes. Even without any sealant, tumblers with outdoor vinyl (also called permanent adhesive vinyl) are waterproof. If you need to put them on a dishwasher, position the tumblers on the top rack.

How many coats are enough to seal vinyl?

This depends on the sealant you use. But usually, you will need 2 to 3 coats to create a protective barrier for your adhesive vinyl design on your tumbler and mug.

Are sealants food safe?

Unfortunately, not all sealants are food-safe. Read the label when buying a sealer to make sure it is food safe.

Conclusion

Adhesive vinyl coming off your tumbler, mug, or dishware is certainly a nightmare for every crafter. Thus, applying vinyl with a transfer tape might not be enough even if you've used the best Cricut cutting machine and permanent vinyl. So, it’s still best to give an extra TLC by giving your tumblers a glossy coat.

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