In 2023, I'm going Epoxy-Free
My decision to begin stepping away from Epoxy Tumblers was neither easy nor quick. And while I LOVE Epoxy, and will continue to use it sparingly, 2023 marks the beginning of my Epoxy-Free Tumber Journey!
I want to share this ongoing experience with you in an open, honest, and supportive way so that maybe, just maybe, I can help someone else out there.
I'm not going to tell you what you should do or lecture you on proper PPE. I PROMISE! I'll just give you a little background on my experience and why I'm making changes for myself.
Like so many Tumbler Makers and Epoxy Artists, I jumped in headfirst and without doing my due diligence to ensure I was protecting myself. As a result, it wasn't long before I had my first reaction. This is in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM anyone's fault but my own. And you will never hear me speak "negatively" about Epoxy. I did not take my own safety seriously.
I saw other people's reactions, and I thought, "Oh, mine is not nearly as bad! I will be fine," and did little to change my day-to-day epoxy handling.
I won't bore you with too many details, but after several instances of swollen eyes and dry/cracked skin, I finally got wise and started researching the best PPE and precautions I should take.
But admittedly, I didn't do EVERYTHING I should have. And why not? Because it was inconvenient.
It's not convenient to 'suit up' (as recommended) every time I want to head down to my Craft Cave and work on a single cup or pour a single mold. Hell, it's not convenient when I'm working on 10. Maybe it is for some people. Maybe I'm just lazy (lol). But I simply didn't do it.
It's not easy to go live and do tutorials with a face mask on!
Time passed, and my reactions were few and far between. But there was always this gnawing in the back of my head telling me that I needed to make a change.
I was also hesitant because I LOVE my Epoxy company. After trying several brands back when I first started working with Epoxy, I found Counter Culture DIY, and let me tell you, I never looked back. I love the products, and I love the people! And I wanted to support them in any way possible.
Maybe I was just making excuses because change can be scary.
But life has a way of slapping you in the face after a while, and that's what happened to me!
I've never been good at taking care of myself. I rarely visited the doctor and considered myself to be 'fairly healthy' and young enough that I'd "worry about that when I'm older." And without realizing it, I GOT OLDER!
Something wasn't right with me...physically. And after a year of my husband and mother hounding me, I finally had enough of a scare that I made an appointment with my doctor. 6 months, 4 doctors, 5 ultrasounds, 2 biopsies, and 3 MRI's later, I was scheduled for surgery.
For reasons completely unrelated to epoxy, I was thrown into Surgical Menopause after my Hysterectomy and Oophorectomy at the age of 36.
Just like with puberty and pregnancy, weird things happen when you go through Menopause. My hair (in addition to thinning) bleached much more quickly. My stomach was more sensitive to certain foods. Our freezer became filled with ice packs to help manage my Hot Flashes and Night Sweats. And my skin became more sensitive.
I began to break out and have more allergic reactions to everyday products and ingredients I had used for years without issue. Lotions, essential oils, and walking through a room (jk) would result in rashes over most of my body. I lived on Benedryl and hydrocortisone lotion.
And of course, reactions to Epoxy began to increase again.
I started doing more Sublimation Tumblers. Blanks were a lot easier to find from great suppliers than they had been in prior years when I first purchased my Sawgrass Printer. And while I still and will continue to do sublimation, it just wasn't the same.
I MISSED MY GLITTER!
Yes, I was still making Epoxy Tumblers, just fewer and in more strategic fashion so that I could properly protect myself, but it began to have a negative effect on my business.
So, throughout 2022, I started doing my research into Epoxy Alternatives. I followed people on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram who make Epoxy-Free Tumblers.
I know it is going to be a big change. But I also know it's the right decision for me right now.
So, Grande Finale 2.0 is currently on its way to my home. I've joined a paid Epoxy-Free community group. I'm ready for the latest adventure in my crafting journey. And I'm going to share it with you!
I'll be sharing my own personal experiences with you all as I progress and learn. And yes...I WILL STILL BE USING EPOXY. I love using silicone molds, and I love creating content for my social media and tutorials for my own paid mentorship group Maker Magic with Meg & Sara.
To some people, it may not make sense to only use Epoxy some of the time.
That's ok to think. I can totally understand that point of view. But that's the thing about the crafting community (and the world in general to be honest) ...Everyone is on their own journey and what's right for some, isn't always right for others.
We are all on our own paths, and we all need to discover and do what is right for us.