Creative savants, I applaud you! For some of us, even centering labels straight up and down on our DIY tumbler cups is a challenge. Here is an easy way to do it when your eyeballs can’t go it alone.
Making those personalized tumbler cups with the up-and-down names on them is pretty straightforward. 1) Buy or create a vinyl name label, 2) clean the cup surface with alcohol, 3) and apply the decal. You did it!
Getting it straight and centered on the cup is not as easy. And doing it without too many false starts that tug and ruin the vinyl.
The process is the same whether you are personalizing insulated stainless steel tumblers, plastic tumblers, or Starbucks-style lidded cups. Here’s how I made sure my labels were perfectly centered and straight when I made vertical-name skinny tumblers as my cousins’ wedding shower gift.
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Make or Buy Name Decals
Before you begin, you will need a name label. Heavy-duty adhesive vinyl is the material of choice for most.
- If you have a way to design and cut vinyl yourself, you will probably want to do that if you have time. You’ll need vinyl and contact or transfer paper.Vinyl to Cut. If you don’t already have vinyl, you will need to buy some. Oracal is my favorite brand. Their 651 permanent vinyl seems to be the overwhelming choice of the crafting community. It’s both high quality and affordable.Sticky Tape to Transfer. Even cheap contact paper to line drawers will work fine. So, if buying transfer tape will be a new learning experience for you, get Con-Tact clear shelf liner with the grids or something similar.
- If you prefer to buy decals, you can’t go wrong with ordering from Angela.Buy Vinyl Word Labels. Choose from multiple color and font combinations. Name sizes range from 3″-11″ long. They will already have transfer tape on them.
Perfectly Centering Decals on DIY Tumbler Cups
When you have your decals in hand, you are ready to apply them to your tumbler.
What You Need
- Tumbler blanks
- Name decals that you made or bought above, with transfer tape and backing attached. Make sure the transfer tape is a bit larger than the decal backing at the bottom of the letters.
- A credit card or scraper for burnishing the vinyl name onto the cup.
- Something thin and rigid with a perfect 90-degree right angle. I call it a “right angle tool” in the rest of this written tutorial. In the video, I used a plastic square triangle ruler similar to these.
- Cotton balls
- Rubbing alcohol
- Air pillows or something else to steady the tumbler as you work.
5 Steps to Applying Decals to Tumblers
1) Clean the outside of the tumbler.
2) Measure and compute the center position.
Soak a cotton ball with alcohol. Then swipe over the outside surface of the cup and let dry. Cleaning removes dirt and oil, helping the vinyl stick better.
Using a tape measure or other measurer, figure out the height of your tumbler and the length of the decal from the beginning of the first letter to the end of last.
Then subtract the decal length from the tumbler height and divide by 2. The result is how much space you will leave between the bottom of the cup and the beginning of the decal to center it.
In the video, the word “bride” I use to demonstrate was 4,” and my tumbler was 8″ tall. So I started the decal 2″ from the bottom.
In some of the photos and the already-applied decal in the video, I used a larger “bride” label. That one needed only about an inch on each end.
3) Attach the decal to the right angle.
Stick the overhanging part of the transfer tape to the vertical section of your right angle. Remind yourself of the number you computed in step 2. Then begin the decal that length away from the horizontal section. Please make sure you align the letters perfectly with the straight edge, and the name or design is oriented the way you want it.
In the video, mine was 2 inches from horizontal with the beginning of “bride” oriented to the bottom.
4) Peel off backing.
First, check that the decal is securely stuck to the transfer tape. Briskly rub the burnisher over the letters.
Then peel the backing from the decal. All the letters should stay on the tape while the paper backing comes off.
5) Apply the decal to the tumbler.
Stand the right angle too up on the table, so the vertical is in position. Then press the decal to the tumbler and detach the tool.
Lay the tumbler cup sideways on the pillow to stabilize it. Briskly rub the decal onto the cup’s surface. Be especially diligent along the edges.
Then carefully peel off the transfer tape. If any piece of the decal begins to come off the cup surface, rub that area some more with the burnisher.
Congratulations, you’re DIY tumbler cups are done!
To make sure your cup lasts a long while, wait 72 hours before using it. Then hand wash each time you clean the tumbler.
Video Showing How to Center DIY Tumbler Cup Decals
Watch the video showing how to center DIY tumbler cups decals on on YouTube or below.
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