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.