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.