You dream it, we make it
You dream it, we make it
So you want to make your own cup.
I'd like to explain the process of creating a cup. You might say, "Wow, that looks pretty easy." And I will have to admit, at first I thought it wouldn't be too hard, but I was mistaken. This process takes a lot of time, but it is a work of heart. I really love doing it and I can appreciate all of the work that went into the finished product. The excitement in the eyes of the beholder after they have received their finished piece of art.
First, I have to start by sourcing my canvas. In this case, my canvas is the cup. Think about all of the cups out there. You see them at Walmart and Target and other retail stores. I try to find cups that are of high quality and will outlast time. I always choose a tumbler that is double walled and stainless steel. Some projects call for a plastic cup (i.e. the Starbucks tumblers, but that's a different ball game). I really try to find high quality products. If I can find something on sale, all the better as I can pass the savings on to you. If the customer wants a higher end product, (Ahem, i.e. name brand, Starbucks, YETI, etc) then the end price will reflect that choice.
After the canvas has been chosen, we start the prep. The cup needs to have a color painted on it to match the customer's request. I usually use spray paint because of it's good adhesion qualities. But wait, before it can be painted, it needs to be prepped. This includes cleaning, sanding then wiped down with alcohol prior to the application of color. Do you want to have glitter? Next you apply a substrate, either mod podge or resin to allow the glitter to stick. Then you wait for it to dry. But that doesn't complete this process. Next you tap and wipe the cup down of any loose glitter. Then you apply more glitter, you want that cup to sparkle and shine, no blanks or gaps. Now you can seal the glitter in place. I use resin as it holds the best and creates a crystal clear, flat surface for decorating with vinyl. This takes 4-6 hours of cup turning then another 6-8 hours to completely dry. You have to have a well ventilated area (safety first), safety equipment including vinyl gloves and a respirator. You have to prep the floor or work surface to ensure nothing gets dirty or permanently damaged. I usually work in my bathroom so I can have the vents running while the resin dries.
You now have a blank "color filled" slate to start your creative work. I use the Cricut machine to cut my vinyl. Other cutting machines include Silhouette and larger more expensive machines used in sign businesses. I like the software that Cricut has available and of course I pay for my subscription so I have access to all the best decals and artwork.
What if I have to make a custom design? Well I take a photo or idea that someone has and convert that image into an SVG file. It's a special type of format that allows the cutter to recognize the image and cut it appropriately. I've spent hours on one single design, or sometimes it takes me only a half hour. There's special software that I can use to help me convert files from different formats. This can be the trickiest part as I am trying to determine how many cuts the machine has to make, how thin the line is going to be and what color combinations I can use with which types of images. This has taken a lot of practice and I still feel like I am learning the process.
Now I have to determine the size of the image, the font of the phrases and determine the cut process. It's not difficult but it does take time. Even if I have a pre-set template, I still have to set up the mats and the colors and the correct sizing. Overall I'd say this process can take anywhere from a half an hour to four hours per piece. Each item adds up.
OK. You have your cup, check. You have the colors on your cup, check. You have your cut outs, check. But wait you have to weed your decals/cut outs so you can apply them to your cup. Are you good at lining things up? Can you do it just by looking at it? Don't make a mistake or you have to restart, reprint and re-weed your cut out.
After applying your decals, you can finally start to see the cup come together as a cohesive piece of art. But you're not done yet. Now you need to seal all that goodness in so it doesn't fall apart during daily usage.
Again I use resin for this part of the process. It's important that you use a food safe resin, because you will be drinking out of this cup. So we get the "resin room" prepped again, get all of our safety gear on, protect the floors from spills and drips and get that cup turner spinning. I apply a generous first coat, let that baby spin for 6 hours, then sit another 6-8 hours to harden and dry. If there are any bumps or missed areas, get that resin ready again and spin for another 6 hours and another 6-8 hours of dry time.
Now you have a perfectly sealed cup. Get your sanding paper out and start making a perfect shiny surface. Lastly, you are going to buff out any small or tiny imperfections.
You may have once said, "Wow, that looks pretty easy." But now you can appreciate all of the hard work it took to get your beautiful piece of art. Oh, and that super awesome, totally cool customized cup can be shared with the world, or everyone in your world. We want to see your cup, share your feedback with us on facebook, instagram, twitter.