Hydrographic Dipping Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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What is Hydrographic Dipping?
Hydrographic dipping (also known as water transfer printing, hydro dipping, hydro imaging, or camo dipping) is the process of applying decorative finish to 3D products. Any non-porous surface that can be submersed in water can be decorated. If you can get paint to adhere to the part most likely you can decorate it with this process. Examples of such materials are alloys, plastics, glass, hardwoods, fiberglass, ceramics, and metals. Products are decorated using a high quality pre-printed image, which resides on a thin base of water-soluble film. This printed film is then placed on the surface of the water causing the base to dissolve. The film is activated causing the ink to remain floating on top of the water. Next the prepared part is immersed in the water, and the upward pressure of the water causes the ink to wrap around and adhere to the item. After the item has been immersed, it is removed from the water, cleaned and then coated with a high quality powder coat or automotive wet spray clear coat.
What is the cost?
Hydrographic dipping is economical, and provides solutions that many other techniques cannot provide. Compare our process against custom airbrushing, wraps, and decals. None have the performance our process offers. We have found considerable savings in comparison. We can offer you a no cost estimate with the most accurate pricing when we fully understand the scope of your project. Volume orders can also bid individually.
What markets do you serve?
Automotive: Is how we are known best. We can help you create the most amazing custom car interiors, exteriors, dash bezels, engine bays, wheels and more. Some common choices include carbon fiber finishes, wood graining camouflage, skull patterns, true fire, zombies, and brushed steel finishes.

Marine: Customize a new boat or bring an old one back to its glory by hydrographic dipping your dashboards, cup holders, motor covers, and more. Hydrographic dipping brings richness to your boat’s interior and revitalizes one that has been weathered.

Bikes and ATV's: From tanks and fenders to exterior skins and shells to wheels, hydrographic dipping allows you to customize your motorcycle, ATV, side by side, dirt bike, go-carts & more. We can customize your ATV in camo, give your motorcycle tank and wheels a carbon fiber graphic, flame job or even a skull finish.

Aviation: Customize a new aircraft, or restore one that’s seen better days. Our materials are the same used in high-end hot rod painting, and with the largest dipping tank in the region, we can accommodate just about anything you can throw at us.

Home Decor: Faux finishes are the new black and they are an intelligent design choice. Hydrographic dipping is more affordable and customizable than wood trims, and it can be applied to anything from cabinets, fixtures, frames, to hardware and switch plates.

Professionals: From mechanics to chefs, electricians to hairdressers and more, there’s practically no limit to customizing your tools of the trade with hydrographic dipping. Personalize your shears, test equipment, tool boxes, curling irons, carts, bins, small appliances, and more.

Gadgets and Gaming: Electronics can also be customized. Remotes, web cams, keyboards, and monitors can all be dipped. Gamers, we can do some incredible stuff with your Xbox, Play Station or other consoles and controllers. Now you can out-perform your competitors in both gaming & appearance!

Outdoor Gear: Hydrographic dipping is especially popular with tree stands, compound bows, arrows, and trail cams, but we don’t stop there. We can customize skateboards, helmets, snowboards, and skis. Our oversized tank is also perfect for custom hockey sticks, golf clubs, and baseball bats.
Is hydrographic dipping durable?
We like to let our product speak for itself. Some of our largest repeat clientele are custom car, motorcycle & commercial accounts who demand the highest standards of quality and durability. We only use the highest grade powder coats and automotive quality clear coats. The hydrographic materials have been engineered to work with these products. Rest assured this is the same process used by the large original equipment auto manufacturers not available to the general public until now. These high quality clear coats are scratch resistant and offer superior UV protection. We have three high quality clear coat gloss level finishes to choose from: High Gloss, Med Gloss (or Satin), and Flat. Be sure to let us know what you would prefer.
What if I already have a finish on my part?
No problem, we use several different methods for prepping parts prior to dipping all of which include mechanically abrading any previous coatings off of the substrate to allow us to start from scratch with a bare clean part. We do all of this in-house to keep quality control at the highest level.
Can or should I paint my item before I bring it in?
We prefer items be "paint ready" but not prepped with a coat of primer. This process has specific chemicals that cross link and allow the bonding process to happen all the way through the layers of materials. If your product is in its raw material state free from other coatings & materials, we will take it from there. This is the only way we can guarantee you the performance you want and offer you a warranty.
Can you match my vehicles factory wood grain or factory pattern exactly?
Our suggestion with this scenario is: If you have one or two parts that you would like to have matched, we can do our very best to match them. Please be understanding with this. We have found that to have the parts matched exactly as the original manufacture, they would need to be re-printed at the original manufacturer if known. The reason being, we do not know the exact base color used, or the exact pattern number the factory used. No cross reference materials exist with this information. We will use our best judgment to create a solution for you and your project, however we will not guarantee an exact match. The only way for your parts to match EXACTLY will be to have us dip them all at the same time.
Can you double dip items?
Yes we can, many of our patterns are excellent for this purpose. The only limit is your imagination.
What types of items can be dipped?
This process is perfect for complex 3-dimensional objects. They need only be semi rigid to rigid objects. We can hydrographic dip to items such as:
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Fiberglass
  • Many other items that can be powder coated or painted
Contact us with questions if your products material is not listed.
What types of items cannot be dipped?
  • Rubberized Items (Paint won't stick to a surface that is too flexible)
  • Clothing, cloth, or other porous items
  • Items larger than our tank which is 96" x 40" x 30" deep
  • Your entire vehicle’s body (tailgates, some doors, fenders, most hoods & trunks do fit in the tank!)
  • Any item that cannot withstand being fully submerged in water
Can you dip electronic products?
Yes, but only the cases of electronic devices. We will not disassemble your items, please bring us the empty shells only.
What size of items you can dip?
We are limited by the size of our dipping tank. Our tank measures 96" long x 40" wide x 30" deep. We are also limited by the size of the pattern films. Some films are only produced in 50cm (aprox 19") wide rolls. We also have 60cm (aprox 23") 80cm (aprox 31") and 100cm (aprox 39") wide rolls. We can process golf cart bodies, 4-wheeler plastics, vehicle interior components and more. This process was designed to coat very intricate, complex items, and as a bonus, we can process larger intricate items.
Can you change the color of a pattern?
Yes and no. Some patterns allow for the base tone to be changed so that you can achieve a wide variety of colorful looks. While other patterns such as branded camouflage patterns require us to use a standardized base tone due to licensing regulations. Call for more information.
How long does the process take from start to finish?
It varies from part to part, depending on the condition, bodywork needed, complexity of shape and size, parts in our queue before your project, etc. We will give you an estimate of time when we process your order, but generally speaking, expect a wait time of around 2-4 weeks. We have found the industry standard to be 3 to 6 weeks. Please be patient, we will process your order as rapidly as possible to the highest standards you demand. If a rush job is required, we can accommodate your needs, so please notify us, as pricing will need to be adjusted. And remember, please be patient.
Does my item really need a clear coat?
Yes, we must apply a clear coat over every product we dip as this is a 4 step process with a 3 stage paint/clear:
  1. Primer
  2. Paint (Base color)
  3. Dip (The pattern of your choice)
  4. Clear (The UV and scratch protection to seal it in from the elements)
We offer the option to finish your products in a flat, semi-gloss, and high gloss for a show stopping quality shine. We also have the ability to add tinted pigments to the clear coat giving your project the "candy" look so many people desire to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Please contact us with your specific needs for pricing.
Does my item need to be disassembled?
Yes. Before bringing your parts to us for hydrographic dipping, you or a professional should break it down and clean it so it is ready for paint. Please bring in only the parts that are going to be dipped and printed. Un-cleaned, oily, greasy etc. parts will be subject to additional charges.
Do I pay sales tax?
Only Ohio residents are required to pay sales tax if being shipped to an Ohio address.
What if I refuse an order because I changed my mind?
Please be certain of your purchase. We do not offer a refund after we have been given the authorization to begin work. Materials have been used, time has been spent, and processing has started. Again please be confident in your purchase. We are quite confident you will find value in your decision.
How long do I need to wait until my clear coat is fully cured?
Our paint manufacturers recommend a 30 day full cure period before full performance is achieved. Even though your item can be handled within a day after the clear coating process, it is still soft and curing to its final finish for a full 30 days.
How do I care for my item after it’s been dipped?
Your parts are now protected with a powder coat or a high performance automotive grade clear coat. Parts can be easily wiped down with an automotive quick detailer, or mild soap and water. There is no longer a need to use any sort of oil or solvents.
Will the film or paint fade?
UV protection is maximized by coating each item with the highest grade clear coats on the market. Your item will have the same quality finish that is on your car or truck. If your item is left outside all of the time and not cared for it might fade after a few years, just like your vehicle.
How to order a custom color?
We will need a paint code that can be input to our computer system allowing us to mix the color in-house. Typically you can find your paint code in areas specified by the manufacturer or by contacting the manufacturer directly. If you would like a color we do not keep or can’t mix in-house, please call and we can discuss different places where you can look at color options. Price will vary from color to color.
How much will it cost to have hydrographics applied to my parts?
Streetwerkz is a custom shop. This means that each order is different from the last. We have had orders to apply hydrographics to car and motorcycle parts, outdoor artwork, airplane parts, iron furniture, ski poles, snare drums, and antique electric fans to name a few. The cost for any given part could vary substantially depending on the part's condition. For example: We get a pristine clean part, the charge - $45. That same part with three layers of paint, excessive rust and grease all over it could go to $150.
Can you tell me how much it will be to ship a.....?
No, but we have an easy way to find out. Since we don't know your address and the exact size and weight of your parts we can't quote you a price. You can calculate shipping your item with UPS at www.ups.com, FedEx at www.fedex.com, or the US Post Office at www.usps.com. Any carrier will do but we suggest you use a service that uses tracking numbers. Please remember that you are responsible for shipping your package to and from Streetwerkz so ask the shipper for a return label.
What about my privacy?
We respect your privacy so we do not allow anyone outside of our company to view the information we collect for your quote. We only use your information to contact you in response to your quotes or questions or measure our business. We may post a picture of work we have done which could be your property but we will not identify you. If you send us comments we may post them and your first name. If you do not want your comments or pictures posted please e-mail us and we will remove them if they have been posted. If you have any questions about our privacy policy, please contact us. We hate SPAM and junk mail as much as you do and do not wish to add to the problem.
Where are you located?
We are located at 469 Bonham Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43211.
How can I contact you?
Please visit our Contact Us page for contact information. We check for messages several times a day so if you have a question we should be able to get back to you in a few hours. A quote will still take the normal time to respond to since we have to check availability for the color you want and determine the cost for your particular project.
Do you offer a warranty?
Streetwerkz will warranty products for one year for any failure that is determined to be Streetwerkz' responsibility for the original purchaser only. The following are not considered warranty circumstances: negligence; improper care; high friction areas; discoloring due to chemicals; and normal wear and tear. Examination of clear coat and film, cracking, flaking, and peeling are considered warranty issues for one full year. Non warranted items include: scopes, trigger guards, bolts, slides and floor plates.