For those unfamiliar with the term, “hydro dipping” is a unique form of graphics application that allows you to apply a hydro film to a 3-dimensional object. The Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) film, floating on the surface of a water tank, wraps the object as it is dipped into the tank.
Much like you would with painting any object, your object has to first be prepped, primed, and applied with a base coat that gives the film a surface to adhere to and acts as a secondary color.
The graphics are printed on the PVA film using a water-soluble ink using a rotary printer. This film is applied to the surface of the water and, after fully hydrated, is sprayed with an activator to liquefy the film. Now, when you place your object in the water, the film naturally latches onto the surface.
Once the film has been applied, you can rinse it down and apply a clear coat to preserve all your hard work and give it a nice finish.
It sounds complicated when you have to explain it, but thankfully the guys at Custom Arts Pintura Hidrogafic make it easy to understand with their amazing hydro dipping videos. Enjoy.
While hydro dipping is most commonly used to paint car and motorcycle parts, it can also be a way to add custom designs to almost anything solid. Your smartphone case, video game controllers, and even your toys *ahem* I mean action figures, can all be hydro dipped, provided you remove the electronic parts first and only dip the enclosures.
Heck, you can even paint your toilet seat covers to make your “me time” more personal:
And should you ever want to apply a wood finish to something that isn’t made from wood… hydro dipping has you covered as well:
It is a delicate art for sure, one which takes loads of time and practice to perfect. But when you get it ‘to a T’ as these guys have, the results speak for themselves.
You can check out more of Custom Arts Pintura Hidrogafic’s work on their webpage, where you can see the activators and films they use on their projects (Note: the page is in Portuguese). If you want to see more of their hydro dipping videos however, you can find them on their Instagram page.