What are Hydrographics?
Hydrographics was first used in the motor industry in the 1970’s. It is a relatively new concept here in the UK. Hydrographics is the process of transferring a printed design film on to a pre-sprayed 3D object. It is also known as water transfer printing, carbon dipping, cubic printing, hydro dipping, immersion dipping and custom dipping. The films can be transferred to almost all plastics, wood, metal, glass, ceramics and fibre glass. As long as the material can withstand being painted and immersed in water then the list is endless.
Applications of Hydrographics
The Hydrographics process is used worldwide to decorate a variety of items. Ranging from aeroplane and vehicle interiors to very small items like mobile phone cases. Films can be applied to almost all types of materials including plastic, fiberglass, wood, ceramics, and metal. For the most part, if the item can be dipped in water and be painted (using traditional techniques) then the hydrographic printing process can be applied.
First of all the process uses a water-soluble film which contains a printed design. After the item is prepped and painted with your choice of base colour the design film can then be applied. Finally it is washed and protected with a clear, hard wearing lacquer. Because most films (apart from the full colour films) are black, silver, gold or white on a transparent background, it means you can add any colour as the base colour and this will be visible through the design. As a result this can make it unique to you. We can match almost any colour as well as being able to add custom paints such as candies, fluorescent’s and metal flakes (at an additional cost).
There are hundreds of films available that we are able to supply. A large selection of which can be seen on our Design Patterns page.
To see some examples of our previous work showing a selection of paint techniques and film applications take a look at our Gallery page.