The complete guide for DIY hydro dipping
DIY Hydro dipping is a fantastic way to decorate any 3D item which can be submerged in water without harm. While there are many companies specializing in hydro dip art for large items (e.g. cars interior, airline interior, yacht, RV interior, and sports equipment), it’s possible to do the DIY hydro dipping process on your own with a home size hydro dip kits.
Step 1. Using a Hydro Dipping Kit
Purchase a kit. Look it online for home hydro dip kit, which helps you to transfer a specific print or design onto a 3-D object (that can be submerged in water without harm) without specialized equipment. In general, companies making these kits will offer an assortment of designs to choose from to customize your kit. Basic home hydro dip kits should include:
- Patterned film
- Top coat
- Universal primer
Step 2. Choose a suitable container.
Most DIY kits do not come with a container to be used during the dipping process. So choose a watertight plastic, glass, or aluminum container which is deep enough to fully submerge the object you are dipping. It should also be long and wide enough to leave 5-6 inches (approximately 12-15 cm) between the edge of the container and the object.
Step 3. Prepare the item.
Make sure that the item you are dipping is free of dust and debris. Spray the item with the primer provided in your kit, enough to coat, but not enough for the primer to run. Apply 1-2 light coats of the base coat spray provided in your kit, and leave the item to dry for one or two hours.
Before applying the primer and base coat, use masking tape to block off any parts of the item that you do not wish to have an image printed on.
Step 4. Size and cut the film.
Measure the size of the object you wish to cover and add 4-5 inches (approximately 12-15 cm) on each side. Cut the film accordingly. Make sure that the film remains dry during this process, as getting it wet could cause the image to warp.
Place masking tape around the edges of the film to keep it from rolling.
Step 5. Set up the container.
Fill the container with hot (but not boiling) water, approximately ¾ of the way full. Carefully pick up the film and bring the opposite sides together, holding it like a sling. Place the bottom of the sling onto the middle of the surface of the water, and slowly bring the sides down to place the film flat on the water.
Step 6. Let the film hydrate and apply the activator.
Use your phone or a stopwatch to ensure that the film dissolves for sixty seconds. After the sixty seconds, spray the activator provided in your kit evenly over the film. Once coated, the film should take approximately 5-10 seconds to turn into liquid ink on the surface of the water.
- When the film is fully activated it will have a distinctly glossy appearance and will expand to fill the entire surface size of the container.
Step 7. Dip your item.
Hold your item at a 45-degree angle and slowly submerge it into the water. Once the item is fully submerged, even out the angle by pushing it down towards the ink. Keep your movements fluid for best results.
- Put on gloves before dipping your item. If they are not supplied in the kit, purchase a pair before starting the whole dipping process.
Step 8 Rinse the item.
Slowly remove the item from the water by rinse tank. Hold the item lightly and carefully, and avoid rubbing its surface. Rinse it under cold water immediately for approximately 3 minutes to remove any PVA residue.
Step 9.Apply the top coat.
After air-drying the item, apply an even coat of the aerosol top coat spray provided in your kit. Let the item air dry before applying the second coat. Continue the process until the finish is to your liking.