Instructions & Storage Information for HydroGraphix© Film

  1. Clean and Degrease the part. Before proceeding, make sure the part is dry and free of debris…
  2. Prime the part you plan on dipping. If plastic, use CPO or ATV primer (this is a primer used to promote adhesion on plastic surfaces and can be purchased at any automotive paint supplier) any brand will do. If using on bare metal, we suggest using DuPont etch primer; then go over with a primer sealer; and then start with your basecoat. Let the part dry at least three hours but not more than six. MAKE SURE THE PART IS SOMETHING YOU CAN SAFELY SUBMERGE INTO WATER without damaging it!
  3. You’ll need a base coat of paint on the item. Since we have no idea what pattern you’ll be printing, we have no recommendation for the color you should pick. Usually the color is one of the colors in the print – but that is up to the dipper…  Just be sure to use a good quality acrylic paint!
  4. Print your pattern onto the HydroGraphix film©. Make sure the shinny side is up! The pattern must be printed on using an ink jet printer loaded with pigment based inks (see our list of recommended printers). Dye, solvent, eco-solvent and latex type of inks will not work on this film – nor will laser toner printers.
  5. After your printed pattern comes out of the printer you’ll need to spray a coat of HydroFix© – part A liquid onto it. Spray enough of this liquid to fully and evenly coat the picture; try not to soak it… The newly sprayed print pattern will need to air dry at least 10 minutes. Note: HydroFix©– part A liquid is available through our e-store…  Our film can not be successfully used without this liquid…
  6. Use a container about the same size in length and width as the film you’re using (example: if your film is 8.5 x 11 inches; the ideal size container would be 9 x 11.5). Most importantly – make sure your container is deep enough to fully submerge the entire part and be careful not to bang your object onto the bottom or side of the tank when dipping. If you are using a tank that is larger than your film, you’ll need to use some masking tape around the film to control the expansion. We do not cut the corners for relief expansion, but that is up to you… There are tons of videos on YouTube showing this procedure….
  7. Fill the container with water.  The water temperature must be between 81.6-86.0 °F or 27-30 °C.  Use a thermometer! If the water is too cold, the film will dissolve too slowly… To warm = too quickly… Keep in mind that water temperatures & thermometer readings may vary due to different elevations. You’ll need to play around a bit for the best temperature for your area…
  8. Carefully remove the paper backing from the film.
  9. Gently place the film onto the vat of water (INK SIDE UP)– do it slowly and on angle to keep from trapping air bubbles under the film. The film will immediately ruck – but will slowly disperse. If air bubbles are noticed, try to gently blow them out.  Do not touch the floating film.
  10. Once the film is on the water – wait 60 to 80 seconds.
  11. Then spray the floating film with HydroActivate© – part B liquid. Spray an even amount of this liquid onto the floating film and allow the HydroActivate© to work for 5-15 seconds. (Note: HydroActivate© liquid is available ready-to-spray through our e-store… If you are a dipper and have a supply of a quality activator on hand, you may use it.  If you do not have access to activator and would like to save money making your own – visit our STORE PAGE and buy our formula with step-by-step instructions… We even supply you with a complete list of information where to buy all the needed chemicals – most everything can be purchased locally.
  12. After spraying the activator  – slowly and steadily dip the item through the film.  Do this by holding the item in an area which will not be covered… Enter the water at an approximate 35 to 40 degree angle. Once through the film – gently shake the item below the water level to separate the remaining film on top – so you won’t get it on the item when you come back up. Continue slowly and gently shaking the item while submerged  in the water for about 30 seconds more…
  13. After removing the dipped part from the vat of water set it aside for 30 minutes, then rinse it off under moving water for several minutes until all shiny residue on the part is gone and the item is dull without shine. Do not rub the item. Allow slow moving water to do it for you.
  14. After all shiny residue has been removed by the rinsing process. Set item aside and allow to completely air dry.
  15. When fully dried – you must clear coat the item to protect the dip. Depending on the item you are working on -you may want to consider your options about flat, semi-gloss, or gloss finishes for the final clear coat. (Example: a camouflage stalk on a shotgun for turkey hunting would be useless with a gloss finish – and a motorcycle helmet may, or may not,  look good in flat…) If using in an a place that may be exposed to high temperatures, some form of his temp clear would be needed…

Storage Information:

  • The film should be covered by plastic when stored… A heavy / dark trash bag will work great for t
  • Lay film face down on flat surface with a flat item such as a book on top for weight to keep paper from curling.
  • Film Storage: 18-25°C – 64.4-77.0°F
  • OPTIMUM TEMPERATURE: 21.5°C – 70.7°F
  • HUMIDITY: 45-65%
  • Do not open until ready to use to prevent contact with the air. Water Transfer Printing Film is a Hygroscopic Substance. It has  the ability of attracting and holding water molecules from the surrounding environment… Do not store near water or in the room where your dip tank is located…
  • Do not fold, crumple, crush or wet this film
  • Avoid direct sunlight.