How to Etch a Tumbler

Make a thoughtful gift without breaking the bank with this eco-friendly method for personalizing tumblers with beautiful engraving. Plus, it only takes minutes!

First, cut and weed your vinyl. Next, attach it to your tumbler using transfer tape, making sure all edges adhere. For optimal results, rub down the edges gently for best results.


Citristrip is a paint and varnish stripping gel composed of Benzyl Alcohol that produces no hazardous fumes when heated, and does not damage glass, plastic, or ceramic surfaces.

Your specific tumbler must be thoroughly evaluated to test its efficiency in removing paint. Time required can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours for complete removal of all colors.

Make sure to track how long it takes your tumbler to be ready for etching, this will allow you to accurately determine how long to leave Citristrip running for future projects.

Vinyl Decal

Decals resemble stickers in that they include backing paper and vinyl graphics with transfer tape on top. Similar to stickers, decals need to be applied using an application tool or even something as simple as an old credit card to be properly adhered onto surfaces.

Decal letters are die cut, meaning they adhere to their shape inside and out, unlike script text which typically prints as one solid sheet with blank vinyl between its letters.

Once your vinyl has been weeded, it’s time to install it. Place transfer tape over the back of it, peel slowly up while keeping all small pieces on it as you go along, ensuring all small bits remain stuck to it.

Painter’s Tape

Personalizing tumblers has taken an exciting new turn with the advent of CitriStrip applications over vinyl stencils – giving the designs an etched appearance without needing expensive tools like lasers.

Make use of painter’s tape to mask off areas where the CitriStrip will go on your tumbler, which will prevent it from leaking or running onto other parts of the cup. This will also help ensure it remains intact over time.

Make sure your painter’s tape has light adhesion to avoid damaging surfaces beneath, and to facilitate easier removal. Some brands provide special tapes for different surfaces and applications – 3M ScotchBlue All-Purpose Masking Tape provides clean removal up to 21 days!

Transfer Tape

Powder coating is a process for covering various products, such as tumblers and drinkware, with durable paint-like material known as powder. Powder can last longer than traditional paint methods while providing decorative branding opportunities.

Use painter’s tape to cover areas of your tumbler where CitriStrip gel could come into contact, such as vinyl. This will prevent stripping solutions from stripping paint that isn’t part of your design and potentially ruining it.

Once your design has been cut out and applied to transfer tape, place it inside a tumbler. Now use a scraper or burnishing tool to smooth down its edges before applying it back inside your tumbler.

Heat Gun

Heat guns are electric-powered tools that emit hot  air  through  a  stream.  This enables it to perform various tasks such as stripping paint, bending plastic pipes and welding some plastics. Heat guns also feature various nozzles which help direct their flow of hot air towards specific areas for efficient heating.

The gun features an electric heater, an on/off switch mechanism and digital display which shows its temperature setting. In addition, there is also a built-in or external stand to make hands-free use possible, along with thermal cut-out functionality which turns off the tool if it overheats.


Tumblers are popular containers for drinking various liquids. Available in an array of sizes and materials – plastic, glass or stainless steel – tumblers can even be personalized using decals or etching techniques to add your personal touch.

This project provides an exciting and cost-effective way to personalize tumblers with laser engraving-esque detailing at a fraction of the cost. All you need is some Citristrip gel, painter’s tape and transfer tape – vinyl thick enough not to be affected by stripping gel will also come in handy! Additionally, heat gun and squeegee tool applications may be required. It’s an awesome way to add unique drinkware sets for your bathroom!

Leave a Comment

We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.