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What is hydro dipping?

Hydro dipping (also known as immersion printing, water transfer printing and hydro imaging ) is a unique process that allows you to apply graphics to almost any three-dimensional object. This process has been used for years in the auto industry along with many other fields. Other items like firearms, helmets, gaming controllers & ATV’s are widely decorated with hydro films these days. There are many different materials (substrates) the film can be applied on such as plastic, metal, wood, and more.

I know that I shouldn’t have to get into this, but I am just to be safe. Keep in mind when hydro dipping, that if water would damage the item any other time such as with electronic devices, then you do not want to dip it as the item will be fully submerged under water. In other words, DO NOT dip your Xbox, PlayStation or even your gaming controller. You need to take it apart (this will most likely void any warranties) and only dip the shell without the electronics. This goes with almost any electronic device.

On a side note, if you want a pair of camouflage socks or a lamp shade with dragons on it? Then go for it!!


What goes into the process of dipping a item?

1.Prep Work:

After you have decided on an item to be dipped and what design you want to use, it is time to prep the item for dipping. The prep process is no different than if you were just going to be painting the item. You still need to sand/scuff up (if needed or required) the item, prime it, apply a base coat and a clear coat to protect it.

  1. Base Coat:

The base coat is the layer of paint that gives the film something to adhere too and provides the backing color or secondary color to the hydro film design

  1. Film:

Designs are printed using a special kind of ink on a PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) film usually with a rotary printer and some small batches on wide format printers using special inks. This film is water soluble and is designed to absorb moisture which allows the film and ink to soften and become more pliable.

  1. Activator:

Activator is a chemical that is used in the dipping process that makes it all possible. This chemical is applied to the film after the film has finished hydrating. When the activator is applied, it makes the film dissolve and liquefies the ink.

  1. Dipping:

After the film has hydrated and the activator has been applied, the item that is having the graphics applied on is slowly lowered (dipped) into the film. As the item is being lowered into the water that has the now liquefied film on top, the surface tension of the water presses the film/design to all angles and surfaces of the item being dipped. This allows the design to be applied on curves and different angles. This film adheres to the surface of the base coat as a result of a chemical reaction between the activator and base coat. The activator softens the outer layer of the base coat which allows the design to bond with the base coat on the item rather than just being another layer over the base coat.

  1. Rinsing:

After your are done dipping, you will notice that the dipped item has a slimy residue all over it now. This residue needs to be rinsed off

  1. Clear Coat:

This is the final process and probably one of the most important steps in the process. The clear coat is what protects the dipped design and gives it the glossy or matte finish you want.

  1. Durability:

Hydro dipping is as durable as the paints and clears you use. If you use an automotive grade paint, then your graphics will be as long lasting and beautiful as the paint on a new car. Different paints are used for different applications, such as auto grade paint (for rims and auto parts) or Cerakote (for firearms and bows). You need to choose the right paint for your project.





*** 50mm to 1100mm Max sized items Clean/Prep/Primer/Base/Uv/Clear Coat ***

Pricing differs from part to part, get in contact with us for a estimated quote , Generally we work on R2100.00 per Square meter we need to cover,

Pricing includes all prep work, Primers, Base Coats, Hydrographic films / image prints, Clear Coats and labour…….Please note this excludes all special mixed base colours and candy colours……

Calculate your estimate costs for us to dip your part with the below link:

Estimate Calculator @ R2100.00 Per Sqm


Car Rims 13 inch to 19inch  –  2k Primers/Base/Clear Coat Price per Rim


Single Rim 13 inch – 330.2mm  R490.00      – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R1850.00

Single Rim 14 inch  – 355.6mm  R560.00      – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R2000.00

Single Rim 15 inch –  381mm  R610.00          – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R2250.00

Single Rim 16 inch –  406.4mm  R680.00      – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R2600.00

Single Rim 17 inch – 431.8mm  R750.00         – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R2800.00

Single Rim 18 inch 457.2mm  R820.00           – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R3000.00

Single Rim 19 inch – 482.6mm  R900.00         – 4 Rims ” Set Deal”  R3400.00


Custom Base Extra’s: 

Powder Coating Base –  10% Added

Matalic Bases  – 15% Added

Candy and Florescent Base –  20% to 30%  Added – Depending on Custom Colour of Choice……..


Mail us for more information concerning Hydro-Dipping & Powder Coat Pricing ” Also Remember to visit our Online store for your DIY Needs”