Car parts, wheels, custom designs and two-tone paint


  • Hydro dipping is a way to print unique designs on any three dimensional object.
  • Steering wheels, rims, fenders and other auto parts can transform drastically when soaked in water.
  • Bryan from Liquid Concepts shows us the hydraulic dipping and two-color painting processes.

Here is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Hydro-dipping, or water transfer printing, is a unique process used to apply intricate designs to almost any three-dimensional surface. It’s a great way to personalize auto parts with custom graphics that are too difficult to hand paint. Online there are hundreds of thousands of models to choose from. And with more designs created every day, the number of customization options is virtually limitless. Bryan of Liquid Concepts specializes in everything from water dipping to custom paint and vinyl wrapping. The first step in the hydro-dipping process is to sand the part so that the design adheres to the material. Typically, the piece is covered with a white or beige base coat to help bring out the vivid colors of the finished design. The designs are printed on a special water soluble film. This causes the film and ink to soften and melt when placed in water. It is important to lay the film properly to avoid warping. Then the activator is applied to dissolve the film and liquefy the ink. The part is then slowly plunged into the tank. The surface tension of the water pushes the liquefied film over the item, allowing the design to cover the entire surface. After soaking, the part is rinsed to remove any residue. Finally, a clear coat is applied to protect the fully personalized piece.

If you’re looking for something more subtle, a custom wheel set with colorful accents might be more your speed. The first step is to apply a thick clear coat on the base. This is done so that any excess paint can be wiped off later during detailed work. The wheels are obscured by an intricate ribbon pattern. This step takes time but is crucial in preventing any paint from seeping in and ruining the design. With the four wheels hidden, they are suspended. Several coats of metallic paint are applied. Likewise, the center cap of each wheel is painted. After painting, the masking tape is removed to reveal the color accents. Isopropyl alcohol is used to remove any unwanted paint. Finally, the design is sealed in a clear coat. This protects the design and gives it a smooth glossy finish.

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