How Base Colors Affect Hydrographics Selecting an accurate base coat color is essential in hydro graphics. There are regular base coat colors like white or tan for films, and then there are more versatile choices. Your base coat can change the final look of a dip to make it better or worse. There are different things to look at when choosing the right base color to put underneath different films. Below are some of the commonly used films with the preferred base coats to be used. Custom Films With custom films, white base coats are the most preferred type of base coats. That’s why it’s rare to find a white hydrographic film. The white base shows the design printed in its original color and design. For example, when hydro dipping, blue ink remains blue, and red ink remains red. The color is retained because the ink has a certain degree of opaqueness and the color of the base coat impacts the actual color after dipping. If you want your design to look as it appears on product pages where you buy your films, use a white base coat for a popping look unless the customer or vendor specifies another color. Camo Films When it comes to using camo film designs, using a white base coat makes the camo prints brighter. However, if you don’t want your camo design to be very bright, you can use a tan or a beige color as a base coat. Using such base colors can omit some of the design’s bright color but still keep the design the same as its original look. A tan or beige base coat gives the camo design an earth-toned appearance. You can also experiment with other bright colors like red, depending on the customer’s specifications. However, some camo patterns won’t look good with bright colors. Therefore, put the camo print over colored material and see how it looks first before doing your hydro dip. Black and Clear Carbon Fiber You can see through this type of carbon fiber and you can use the base color to change the carbon fiber’s appearance. You can get creative with this film and use any color for your base coat or even several colors together. However, a black base coat for this film won’t impact the final look because it matches the film’s color. You can use spray out cards or any colored materials you have to show your customer what the colors look like underneath the black and clear carbon fiber. Ensure you pick the right base coat color to make sure the finished product looks as you expected. You can do this by doing a test dip on an object while you try something new. Testing allows you and the customer to know what the finished product will look like and how different base colors affect different films in future dips.
Getting a Smooth Glass Clear Coat Finish With Hydrographic Film There are many reasons that you might not get a perfect clear coat, like if your part has a run in it or there is some trash in the clear coat. There are a few methods you can try to get a smooth glass clear coat finish. Putting the First Layer Down The first method that you can use to improve the clear coat on a particular section is to scuff it down and put a new clear coat on it. The other method of getting a better clear coat on a section is to buff it. Buffing out the part makes more sense if you are pressed for time, and buffing out small areas of the clear coat usually works out just fine. The first way is scuffing a section using a Scotch-Brite pad to remove any blemishes and then scuffing the rest of the part to get a dull finish all the way around. A red Scotch Brite pad could work, but it is also important to note that using a red Scotch-Brite pad could cause some additional sand scratches. A good clear coat will usually cover up these sand scratches, but it is something you should be aware of. A gray Scotch-Brite pad might work a little better for actually scuffing down a part because the sand scratches likely won’t be as bad and possibly show through. Another method of scuffing down a section is to use sandpaper. An 800 or 1000 grit roll of sandpaper is a good choice for scuffing down an area so you can redo the clear coat if you don’t have major runs in it. One advantage of dry sanding the clear coat is that you can quickly see which areas have a dull finish and which have a glossy finish. You can also see which areas you’ll need to keep sanding. As you are sanding the clear coat, you are removing the specs and spots in the clear coat. You should keep your sandpaper clean. You can even use air to get rid of the buildup on your sandpaper. If the section you are sanding has holes in it, you should be careful when sanding around those edges so you don’t go through your clear coat. If the clear coat does have a lot of specs in it, you could even put a second coat on it. Can You Put Too Many Coats on a Section? You probably should not put more than four coats of clear on a specific area. Adding a second, third, or even fourth coat of clear gives you more layers of clear coat so you can sand out all the specs. Additional coats of clear help you sand out all the specs because you are less likely to actually get rid of all the clear coats on the section. Just make sure as you are sanding, you don’t sand too much and go through all the layers of clear coat. Can You Use Sandpaper and a Scotch-Brite Pad Together? You can use a Scotch-Brite pad if you are sanding sections with lots of corners and edges and your sandpaper cannot scuff those areas. After you are done sanding down the area and the clear coat is smooth and dull, you can spray on more coats of clear and give the parts a smooth clear coat finish that makes it look like glass if done correctly.
How to Hydro Dip a Shotgun Barrel The hydro dip is also known as water transfer printing, water transfer imaging, or water marbling. In the hydro dip, printed designs are applied to three-dimensional surfaces. Nowadays, hydro dip is extensively used for decorating all manner of items, guns included. To upgrade your shotgun’s appearance through the hydro dip, you need to follow a few easy steps. A mistake or non-conformity in any step may compromise the overall quality of print on your shotgun barrel. The following are procedures that can give your shotgun barrel a brand new look. Remove the Old Paint Strip the barrel of its old paint. Apply a thick coat of paint remover on the barrel. Leave the remover undisturbed for about 20 minutes until the paint starts to bubble up. Use a plastic scraper to remove the peeling old paint. Clean and Dry When you have completely removed the old paint, clean the barrel using 91% isopropyl alcohol. Wear gloves while handling the barrel to avoid re-contamination. Prep the Barrel After the barrel has been wiped down with Isopropyl alcohol make sure to either sand blast or scuff the barrel with either a red Scotch-Brite pad or 220-320 sand paper. If you scuff it with a pad or sand paper you will need to re-wipe it with isopropyl alcohol again. If you sandblast the part, you can go straight to the next step. Prime You need to choose the right primer for the material that your coating. Apply the primer evenly on the surface of the barrel. The primer promotes adhesion to the surface. Allow up to two hours to dry in some cases before proceeding to the next stage. Consult your tech sheet to find out more. Apply Base Coat Your standard base coat is usually white. Most films are compatible with a white base coat. Evenly apply the coat on the barrel. It may take 2-3 coats to get full coverage. Film Placement on the Water Place your film on the surface of the water. Ensure the water you are using has a temperature of 80-90 degrees. Take caution that no air is trapped between the water surface and the film. Film Hydration Placing the film on the water allows it 50-60 seconds to absorb water. Films are usually temperature-sensitive, hence the need to keep the water at the right temperature. Taping In case there are sections on the barrel you want to mask off, you can use any kind of painting tape. Taping will aid you in getting clean lines. Activate the Film With the spray gun approximately 6-10 inches from the water surface, spray the activator in an overlapping manner. The amount of activator deposited depends on the speed of spraying. The Dip Wait for three to five seconds after spraying the activator. Dip the shotgun barrel through the surface at a 30-45 degree angle. Rinse Remove any residual film on the shotgun barrel. You can use a light spray, shower or tap water. If you decide to use tap water, ensure that the water pressure is not too much. The tap water pressure can compromise your print in some cases. Dry the Shotgun Barrel You can choose to dry the shotgun barrel by either convection heating or air dry. Make sure after the barrel is rinse off that the water is removed as soon as possible to help prevent any rusting on the inside of the barrel. Application of Clear Coat We recommend applying clear coat on all hydrographically decorated items. Application of clear coat will seal in the inks and allow for a smooth, custom barrel. Ensure that the barrel is dry before applying the clear coat. You can apply matte, semi-gloss, or high-gloss clear top coating. If you need a finer finish on the shotgun barrel, you may opt to apply multiple coats as needed.
How to Double Hydro Dip a Gun Hydro dipping helps to enhance the surface of your gun and offers complete concealment. Double-dipping a gun involves dipping the gun twice to achieve the best results. Step-by-Step Procedure The first step of double dipping involves cleaning the gun. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean. Then either scuff the gun or sandblast it for the coating to stick to it properly. Next, you’ll want to prime the gun to ensure proper adhesion of the paint. The third step involves applying the base coat that determines the overall look of the gun. For the fourth step after the paint is dried, tape up half of the gun to prep it for dipping. In the fifth step, the printed film is placed on the water that is between 80-90 degrees, with no air trapped between the film and the surface of the water. The film is hydrated for about 60 seconds and then the activator is applied and the gun dipped the first time. Make sure to rinse off all the PVA from the dip and dry it thoroughly. When taping, it is important to use blue tape or a very low tack tape. This helps to prevent pulling the pattern off excessively when trying to pull the tape off. In the second dip, ensure that there is at least an eighth of an inch of the film showing from the first dip so that the second pattern will overlap the first pattern. This also makes sure that the final pattern looks seamless. Double dipping is ideal for guns with many different intricate parts. When dipping the gun for the second time, it is essential that the gun is dry and rinsed to achieve the best results. To keep the film from rolling over the edges, you can apply tape on the sides before getting it in the water. The film is held by dividers in the water, and you can pull out any wrinkles in the film using air from the activator gun. After hydrating the film for about 60 seconds, you can apply an activator along the film. Hold the gun at a slight angle when dipping the second time to allow all the film to cover the entire part. Once the gun is submerged in the water, move the film around to move all the excess film from the dip, and then pull it out of the water. The main advantage of using the blue tape is that you can let it sit underwater and it can release some adhesive to make pulling it off much easier. It is also important not to push down on the blue tape very hard when applying it. Apply just enough pressure for the tape to stick so that it can come off easily. Pulling the tape in the water ensures that the pattern stays intact. You may need to touch up some areas that trap air and miss the pattern. The gun can be dried using conventional heating or air drying, depending on your preference. This is usually done at lower temperatures to enhance the final appearance of the gun. The final step is to apply a clear coat, which is highly recommended for a hydrographically decorated gun. This gives it a cleaner finish and helps to seal the ink. The clear coat is applied after the gun is dry. A second coat may be necessary, depending on the gun and requirements of the customer.
Laying a Large Piece of Hydrographic Film on the Water There are a few steps when laying hydrographic film on the water. Here is a step-by-step procedure. Step 1: Get the Right-Size Tube The first step in laying hydrographic film on the water by yourself is getting a tube. This tube could be made of many different materials, as long as you can roll hydrographic film on it. A few of the most common types of tubes you could use for this process are a cardboard tube or a metal tube. If you don’t have either kind of tube, you could also use an old broomstick if you so choose. The other piece of information you should know about is that you can use a tube that is wider than your water tank. Using a tube that is wider than your water tank is not necessarily required, but it often makes the process of laying a large piece of hydrographic film on the water by yourself much easier. Step 2: Adjust the Film for Your Tube Once you have a tube that is wide enough for your water tank, you should first measure how much hydrographic film you need to use and cut off that amount of hydrographic film. After you have cut off the amount of hydrographic film that you require, you should check and make sure which side of the film should be facing up and which side should be facing down. You can then flip over the hydrographic film if necessary and place the tube on top of the film. Next, you should roll the hydrographic film onto the tube. Step 3: Lay the Hydrographic Film on the Water Following that, you can set the dividers or use the sides of the tank to lay the hydrographic film on the water. This depends on the size of the water tank you are using. You may have to use one of the ledges of the water tank and the center divider to lay the hydrographic film on the water properly. At this point, you should have laid the tube with the hydrographic film on top of the water tank. Your tube and film should be balanced on the dividers and the ledge of the water tank. To get the hydrographic film off the tube and into the water, you can simply peel the hydrographic film off the tube slightly. You can make the tube roll across the top of the water tank. The hydrographic film should roll off of the tube and into the water at this point. You should be careful not to let the tube get wet and drip water onto the hydrographic film once it is in the water. This would make the hydrographic film not stick to something else properly. Step 4: Turn on the Water Tank’s Timer You can then turn on the water tank’s timer and slide the center divider until the hydrographic film is held tightly in place. You should slide over the other dividers in order to ensure that the hydrographic film remains securely in place. You may find that it is much easier to make sure that the hydrographic film stays in place if you are laying more hydrographic film on the water in a larger water tank.
How to Get Started With Hydrographics When you like to show off your personal style, consumer goods can seem too mundane. A standard leather baseball glove, ceramic platter, glass vase, or metal knife might be too boring for your tastes. You can add a personal touch to just about any product by applying a hydrographic film to it. Hydrographics have been around for a while, but now the supplies are more available and affordable for everyday people to try the process. Here’s what you need to know about how hydrographics work and some tips on getting started with your first project. Know What Hydrographics Are Hydrographics are films that allow you to coat a three-dimensional item. These films are used on items that won’t get damaged by water. For example, a knife, rim, or steering wheel can be hydro dipped. The film creates a chemical bond with the paint on the item. This allows the film to remain in place after dipped. A clear coat is applied on top of the dried film for additional protection. Prepare an Item for Hydrographic Dipping Before you do a hydrographics project, you’ll need to prepare the item. The product needs to be free of oil and grease. These substances prevent paint and hydrographic film from adhering to the item you want to dip. Measure your item and cut the film big enough to fit it. Choose a vessel for the water. A dishwashing tub, cooler, or glass washtub may be a good choice. Understand the Painting Step Before you can hydro dip, you need to paint the item. All hard items need to be painted. This includes knives, rims, vases, and similar items. Use high-quality paint as recommended by the manufacturer of the hydrographic film. You may want to use an epoxy primer before applying the paint. Use lighter coats of paint on each coat. You may need several coats to get full coverage of the paint. Allow the paint to dry between coats. Dip the Item Once the paint is dry, prepare your hydro dipping tank. Heat the water to the required temperature. Most manufacturers require the water to be at 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply the film to the surface of the water. Make sure you hav the correct side of the film on the water. The side of the film that sticks to your finger when wet goes down on the water. Wait 60 seconds for it to hydrate. Spray the hydro film activator. Allow it to react and glass out the film. Dip the item at a 45-degree angle at a steady downward pace. Finish the Project After dipping the item in the tank with the hydrographic film, lift it out of the tank. You’ll need to rinse the item with tap water in order to remove any excess film. After this, the item needs to dry until it’s smooth. Some manufacturers recommend using a heat source for faster drying. When the item is dry, you’ll need to apply a clear coat. Use the brand recommended by the manufacturer of the hydrographic film. The clear coat also needs several hours to dry before you use the product.
Tips for Successful Hydro Dipping a Piece After Painting The first time you do a hydro dipping project, you might feel a little overwhelmed. There are a lot of steps you must follow in order to come out with a successful project. Each of these steps has to be done in the right order. Not only do you have to follow the right order, but there’s also a timeline requirement. If you do a step too soon or too long after the previous step, the finished results might not live up to your expectations. An important part of the timeline involves when to do the dipping with the hydrographic film after you paint the item. Read on to learn some tips for how long you need to wait after painting to do the dipping. Recommended Timeline for Hydro Dipping After Painting Most manufacturers of hydrographic dipping film recommend that you wait for a minimum of 20 minutes to eight hours after the painting step to do the dipping step. That’s because the paint needs to be a little soft in order for the hydrographic film to adhere to the item but hard enough to be handled. Keep in mind that each manufacturer’s requirements vary for both temperature and timing. If you’ve done a few hydro dipping projects and are using different films from different manufacturers, always read the instructions in full every time before starting the new project. If the last manufacturer’s film required an eight-hour wait, don’t assume this is what the next manufacturer’s film requires. Extended Dipping Timelines Some manufacturer’s hydrographic paints offer extended dipping timelines. These timelines are usually dependent on the paint line that you are using. If you plan to dip an item that has been painted with a hydrographic paint, you can sometimes wait for as long as six months between painting it and using the hydrographic dipping film. If you are using other hydrographic paint, some manufacturers recommend completing the hydro dipping step within six weeks after painting the item. How Long to Wait for the Clear Coat The initial base coat layer of paint is not the only coating you need to apply to a hydro dipped item. After the item is dry from the dipping step, you’ll also need to apply a clear coat. This clear coat chemically bonds to the hydrographic film. The final clear coat protects it from fading when exposed to sunlight. It also adds a layer of scratch and moisture resistant protection. You’ll sometimes need to wait about two hours or more to apply the clear coat after dipping. If you’ve used a convection oven or another heat source to dry the item after hydro dipping, it may be ready for the clear coat in as little as 30 minutes. It will dry faster under low humidity conditions. Dry the item in an area with less than 60% humidity. The clear coat should be allowed to dry for at least 8-24 hours. Your item will be ready to use when the clear coat is no longer tacky to the touch and has sufficient time to fully cure out. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on dry times for the clear coat you are using.
What to Expect for Hydro Dipping Prices When you want to have some items finished with hydro dipping, you might be unsure of the cost. The prices for hydro dipping do have some geographic variation. Pricing will also be determined by the size and type of item you want to have hydro dipped. You should keep in mind that the complexity of your project will also be a factor in how expensive it is. These are some general guidelines on what you can expect when arranging for hydro dipping of different types of products. Why Hydro Dipping Is Not Cheap Hydro dipping, which is also called hydrographics, applies an image to a hard surface. This type of printing works on 3D products. It works for glass, plastic, wood, metal, and more. It is a popular method of customizing common products. The technology for hydro dipping received patents in the 1980s, and shops have perfected their techniques and equipment. The process is still hands-on, which is why it is not cheap. While machines can apply paint or sew stitches for customizing different products, hydro dipping still requires a lot of hands-on work. When you pay for hydro dipping, you are paying for quality materials and the technician’s expertise. How Hydro Dipping Prices Are Determined Hydro dipping prices are determined by four factors. One is the size of the item. In general, a large item, such as a wheel, costs more to hydro dip than a small item, such as a ceramic bowl. Another factor is the finish. If you want a special sealant or other finishes on the product, this will add to the price. A third factor in hydro dipping pricing is the complexity of the image. Actual images of people or animals are more challenging to get right than abstract images. The final factor in hydro dipping pricing is the type of preparation that the item needs. If you want a dirty car wheel hydro dipped, it will take a lot more work than if you want a newly fired porcelain trinket box hydro dipped. Keep in mind that in artisan shops, hydro dipping may cost more than if it is done by a hobbyist. Hydro dipping may also cost more in urban areas, which generally have a higher cost of living overall. Average Costs for Hydro Dipping The average cost for hydro dipping a wheel for a vehicle is roughly $150, and that pricing can vary by as much as 20% - 50%, depending on the type of activator, finish, and labor costs. Hydro dipping fees for guns typically range from $200 to $500, depending on the make and model. Gun accessories cost $50 to $200 to hydro dip. The average cost for hydro dipping a smaller object, such as cups starts at $30. Unusual items, such as water skis and wakeboards, usually cost $150 to $300 to hydro dip. Hydro dipping can provide you with an excellent finished product, but be sure to get an estimate before you begin the process so that you know exactly how much you are going to spend.
Water Transfer Printing Explained Everything old is new again, and so it goes with the water transfer method of printing, which has been around for many years. Only recently, with the advent of transfer wrap printing seen extensively on vehicles, has interest in water transfer printing come back. This manner of printing has attracted attention during the last 10 to 15 years although it has been in use for more than 40 years. The name of this technology is often referred to as hydrographic printing or hydro dipping. With the use of this process, colorful graphics can be applied to a 3D surface. It utilizes a film that dissolves within the water. What Industries Use Water Transfer Printing? In the past, you might have seen camouflage applied to a helmet or a gun stock. Vehicle interiors have used this type of printing to add a statement of design to steering wheels or rims. Today, industries such as manufacturing, engineering, and construction well as the automotive industry might use water transfer printing. What Types of Patterns Can Be Done? From woodgrain to camouflage to geometrical to carbon fiber, there is an extensive list of patterns and textures that have been used in water printing. Even cartoons have been water printed. Dashboards, entire all-terrain vehicles, and even small items like bike helmets have incorporated designs and patterns accomplished through water printing. What Is the Process for Water Transfer Printing? The pattern is printed on a water-soluble film. As the design is put in the water, the film slowly dissolves, leaving the ink to float on the surface of the water. The item about to be printed has gone through a process of coating with an adhesion promoter or primer. After the primer has dried, a base coat is applied; this can be a color, such as green or neutral for camouflage or brown for the grain of wood. The object is ready for the bath after it has dried. A chemical activator is added to the film in the water to prepare it for adhesion. The next step is to dip the item in the water, allowing the ink to adhere to its shape. After it is decorated, the item is thoroughly washed and dried. A drying room, heat lamps, flash drying, and other means of circulating air are used. After it is completely dry, a clear topcoat is added to preserve the color and design. What Type of Materials Is This Method Suited For? Some of the substrates used in hydrographic printing include: Plastic Wood Ceramics Fiberglass Metal Hydrographic printing has been used in a number of different industries, such as sporting goods, home decor, automotive, marine, and many others. Vibrant color as well as muted designs can all benefit from this type of printing on a 3D surface.
Make Sure to Wait Long Enough After Spraying Your Base Coat Correctly applying your base coat is one of the most crucial of all steps in a hydro dipping project. If you make mistakes, it will end up posing a significant issue later. The base coat is the foundation for your final design. It is essential to apply the base coat right; you must wait long enough before moving to the next stage and dipping. Indeed, you want the base to remain in place before dipping. Providing a nearly permanent base coat is essential to hydrographics. Make sure the surface dries thoroughly after applying the base coat for best results. This gives you a more durable finish that looks fantastic and will last for years. Dry is always better than wet when you transition from step to step. Let Your Base Coat Set You have to wait long enough for the base coat to set, or you will experience problems with the finish. Avoiding problems later is the main reason to be thorough and patient with all aspects of the water transfer printing process. Hydrographics requires using a design strategy to get your details the way that you want them. The base coat color should be white for almost all designs. If you use other colors, they could blend with the ink to create variations in color that may not be desired. Either way, you need a dry base coat before moving on. It usually won’t take over a few minutes to see the results you desire. You should gently touch a small part of the design if you’re not sure, but be careful not to impact the overall design if you decide on that. Temperatures Decide on Final Drying Times If you have a dry room, the coat will dry out fast. With too much humidity, it will take longer. Temperatures as well will impact the dry times. Cooler air temperature will slow down the process significantly. It doesn’t take that long for base coating, but patience is still a must. The same holds as you move your way through the water transfer printing. What matters most is that the final design meets your artistic objectives and expectations. One tip that works well is to warm up paint before applying it. Simply placing it in a warm room is sufficient to make it looser and easier to be sprayed. Let the paint set in the room until you’re ready to use it, or for around twenty minutes, and then you’ll see the improved performance. Hydro dipping takes standard printing practices and adapts them to a variety of surfaces. It’s possible to put a unique print on almost any material, but some look better than others. It’s worth checking out tutorials or other learning resources to familiarize yourself with all the essential information you need. Many people who now do this type of work professionally are self-taught. After you’ve worked once or twice on hydro dipping, you’ll get a feel for precise times for drying. Then, the projects get easier. You may even decide on using one style over another, depending on how the items look.
Learn About the Durability of Hydrographics When you’re preparing to do a hydro printing project, you might want to know how durable the film will be on your finished item. There’s an investment of your time and money when you do hydrographics, so it’s important to know what to expect. Find out how long hydrographics typically last on different types of items and whether or not the film is likely to wear off over time. Typical Lifespan for Hydrographics A typical lifespan for the hydrographic film adhered to an item is five to fifteen years. For many types of items that you’d want to hydro dip, this would cover its full lifespan. Items that aren’t handled much, such as a vase or figurine, may have a much longer lifespan. Like items that are painted, if you handle the item a lot with bare hands or abuse the item by leaving it out in the direct sun or a windstorm, the hydrographics may not last as long. What Causes Hydrographics to Wear Off Improper handling is the leading cause of hydrographics that wear off. If the item is allowed to rub or scrape against other items, this could lead to a faster deterioration of the film. Leaving the item outdoors in inclement weather could also make the hydrographics wear off faster. Improper Technique If you don’t clean the item before starting the hydro dipping process, you could end up with a film that doesn’t adhere properly. The film may also deteriorate faster. The film’s instructions will explain how to prepare the item. Another issue is how you handle and touch the item. If your hands are greasy, oily, or dirty, those substances will be transferred onto the item you want to hydro dip. Oil, grease, dirt, and petroleum products can interfere with the bonding and adhesion processes. Not allowing the film to dry for the correct length of time or applying the clear coat too quickly before the film is cured could also shorten the lifespan of the hydrographics. Choose the Right Adhesion Promoter If you’re doing the hydro dipping yourself, make sure you choose the right adhesion promoter. This is a material that you apply to the item before you do the primer and painting. The type of adhesion promoter you need will depend on the material of the item, the type of coating you’re using, and what you’ll do with the item. Consider a Protective Clear Coat To make your hydrographics last longer, consider a protective clear coat. Use the clear coat produced by the same manufacturer as the film you applied to the product. The two products are designed to work with each other and are compatible. A clear coat provides an additional barrier between your hands or the environment and your hydro dipped item. The clear coat also has a UV inhibitor that prevents the hydro film from fading if it’s exposed to sunlight.
Pick the Base Coat That Best Suits Your Design Hydro dipping has a lot of different steps that are all crucial. One of the most vital of all is choosing the proper base coat. Without doing this step correctly, the chances of having beautiful finishes are less likely. Let’s take a look at how to pick the one that does the job best. There are many different base colors to choose from to start your project. The standard ones are tan and white. Tan is usually the selection for a camouflage-style design. Your Print Determines Which Base Coat to Use The choice for a base coat also depends on the film you use. For the most part, most you pick up will work well with a white base coat. This type of coating allows the printed design to show through, revealing a full range of colors. Blue and red ink stay the right colors after you dip them because of the base coat. Most colors have a degree of opacity that empowers the base coat to have an impact. Experience Helps You Learn Which Coating to Select Working with base coats is an excellent teacher about what to expect. You can follow a specific ruleset, but you have to remain flexible in case some colors don’t appear as you expect. Almost always, the white base coat is the best option because it will make the design look as true to its original format as possible. If you decide to use different colors for your base coat, expect wildly varying designs. For those people who’s prime love is to experiment with the art, that’s the most direct way to alter the final presentation. The ink and the base coat combine to create colors, so things turn out depending on the combination. There are several hydrographic films on the market that are transparent in areas to allow you to fully customize the design by changing the base color. We have found that the quickest and easiest way to determine the final look is to put test colors under the film of your choice. You can pick up color swatch books (cardstock books) at your local art/hobby store that will give you a variety of colors to choose from. You can lay these color sheets under the film to get an idea of what the final product will look like. Do keep in mind that the film look will vary but this will help you and the client get on the right track towards the correct base color. We do always recommend spraying a sample speed shape of the color and dip it prior to completing the job to ensure you get it right the first time. This will save you time and money in the long run. Hydro dipping always looks incredible when you do the process right. Getting to that stage may take some practice, but fortunately, once you get the hang of things, you don’t have any issues. The base coat selection will always be of prime importance. It’s the starting point for your design, so it has to be correct. Take the time to research/test the best colors and then use them for your project. If you do, you will end up with amazing and aesthetically pleasing designs.
The Ins and Outs of Hydrographics The word hydrographics has two separate meanings. The first meaning refers to the science of measuring and describing the physical features of bodies of water. The second meaning refers to the process of immersion printing or water-transfer imaging. Below, we’ll discuss what hydrographics is, how it’s used, and how to create your own. What Is Hydrographics? The water-transfer imaging process is used to apply designs onto a 3D surface. This method prints images onto glass, plastic, metal, hardwoods, and other materials. A few examples of materials used for hydrographics are water bottles, drinking glasses, steel tumblers, and even shoes, car parts, helmets, and other items. A team member for Kabushiki Kaisha Cubic Engineering, an individual by the name of Motoyasu Nakanishi, created hydrographics in 1982. While anyone can hydro dip objects nowadays, the company still holds the patent for the hydrographic equipment. People may confuse hydrographics with tie-dye, but the equipment used for each one is different. In tie-dye, the process requires various colored dyes. If you are tie-dying a shirt, you would only dip each section of the shirt into a specifically colored dye. Hydrographics, on the other hand, uses printed images and a large dipping container filled with water. While wearing gloves, you would fully submerge the item, taking care to tape any location on the item to prevent printing. Then you would move the rest of the print away from the object before removing the newly printed object from the container. How Are Hydrographics Used? People use hydrographics to customize anything from firearms, bicycles, to even the interiors or exteriors of their motor vehicles. Hydrographic applications, especially if done professionally, last for many years under everyday use. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about frequent reapplications, which would result in a changing pattern each time you choose to reapply the hydro dip. How to Create Your Own Hydrographics One way to hydro dip at home is to purchase a hydro dip kit either in the store or online. These kits typically contain the necessary supplies needed for creating hydrographics at home. If you don’t wish to purchase hydro dip kits, then you can put together your own supplies, such as paint or spray paint, gloves, tap water, a container large enough for the object, hydrographic activator, film, and tape to cover areas of the item you don’t want to be printed. You will also need to properly prep the item prior to painting. There are several ways of approaching DIY hydrographics; it’s just a matter of searching for videos online for a solution that works best for you. While it’s inadvisable to dip your entire vehicle in water, hydro dipping lets you customize your vehicle one part at a time.
Check Out All the Things That Can Be Hydro Dipped When you want to customize things you use every day or some of your favorite items, hydro dipping is a smart choice. This process allows you to turn an ordinary item, such as a coffee cup or hard hat, into something that shows off your style and personality. If you’ve been wondering what can be hydro dipped, you might be surprised to learn about the long list of things that qualify. Read on to learn about what can be hydro dipped and get ready to start creating one-of-a-kind items. How Hydrographics Work Hydro graphics, water printing, immersion printing, and hydro dipping all refer to the same process. You place the film in a tub of water and apply a chemical activator. As you slowly dip the item into the water, the film adheres to it. A unique feature of hydro dipping is that it offers 360-degree coverage. The printed film gets into the curves, crevices, and corners of the product you’re dipping. This results in total coverage of the item’s three-dimensional surfaces. The process doesn’t take long. It’s also permanent, so the design won’t rub, wash or flake off once a proper top coat is applied. The newly-printed item won’t fade, peel or crack if exposed to sunlight, water, or wind. Vehicles and Parts One of the top categories of items that people use for hydro dipping is automotive parts. You can dip your engine cover, spoilers, wheels, or any other interior or exterior part of your car, truck, van, SUV, ATV, snowmobile, or other types of vehicles. Plastic and metal parts can be dipped. Personal Items The things you use every day for hygiene and self-care can also be hydro dipped. You could use the process on your cell phone case, hairdryer or razor. Game controllers, clothes hangers, and refillable lotion or soap bottles can be hydro dipped. Customize Your Items If an item can be painted, it can be hydro dipped. There are specialty paints for, plastic, metal, ceramic, and other materials. With hydro dipping, the same film will work on any product that you want to customize. This makes the hydro dipping process simpler and easier to do.