Hydro dipping is a great way to create a unique piece of art onto almost any surface. Through a quick google search, you can find numerous videos on hydro dipping, including cups, shoes, game controllers, and even guns. There are ways that you can hydro-dip electronics without destroying them, but it takes more work than hydro dipping other objects that are not electronic.
Many of us want to make our paintball guns look unique and give them a very specific artistic look. But can you?
You can hydro dip the shell of a paintball gun. Let me explain: you cannot hydro dip any portion of a paintball gun that can be damaged by water, but you can hydro dip the outer portions and reassemble it.
If you have been anywhere on the internet lately, you know that there is a new trend known as hydro dipping. People are pretty much hydro dipping anything they can get their hands on, including electronic devices. We are going to go over the way that you can hydro dip pretty much anything and everything in a safe manner.
What is hydro dipping?
Hydro dipping is the process of taking a printed design and applying it to an object. With this process, you can apply pretty much any design to any object as long as you take the necessary precautions.
The key to hydro dipping is the design film. This design is created by using special ink that is printed onto a specific type of chemical paper that contains PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol). This paper becomes warm and sticky when it comes into contact with water.
The design ‘film’ then is activated using another chemical that makes is almost ‘melt’ into the water and becomes a paint-like consistency. This process allows the film to maintain the design while also sticking to an object.
Hydro Dipping a Paintball Gun
In order to properly hydro dip a paintball gun, you will have to disassemble each portion of the gun (watch YouTube video below), and hydro dip them individually. By using this method, you are protecting the electronics and motorized portions of the paintball gun so that they do not become damaged by water.
Just like a phone, a paintball gun has little tiny motorized parts in the gun that can easily be damaged by water. If they are touched or submerged in water, they will stop working completely and then your paintball gun will be broken.
You can still hydro dip your paintball gun; you will just need to take it apart beforehand in order to not break it.
You can hydro dip any portion of the gun that is made from plastic or metal, so long as it is not a part of the interior chamber. On a typical paintball gun, this means you can hydro dip the gun body, the gun barrel, the trigger frame, the loader/hopper, feed necks, foregrips, and expansion chambers.
If you need help taking apart your paintball gun, this video is a great guide to taking it apart! Just be sure to take the screws completely out of the shell portions before you hydro-dip it. Otherwise, the screws can become stuck in the hole.
Or if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, there are websites that allow you to send in your paintball gun parts, and they will hydro dip them for you. One of the websites that offer such services is hydrodip.com. You can also simply buy pre-hydro dipped parts for your paintball gun.
How to Hydro Dip Step-by-Step
- Clean the surface you want to hydro dip. Basically, just rinse it off with soap and water.
- Buff the surface with sandpaper or steel wool. This takes off any imperfections that may prevent the hydro dip from applying evenly
- Tape off any portions you don’t want to be dipped. Just like when you are painting a wall in your house, and you tape off the crown molding, you want to put painters tape on any portions that you don’t want colored.
- Add a primer. Just like when you paint on a canvas, you want to add a primer that adds an extra layer of protection.
- Add a base coat. The base coat of paint makes the surface of your object tacky and provides something for the film to cling on to.
- Prepare the water. Most people will use a plastic container as their dipping area. Make sure the temperature of the water reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the temperature that the water much reach in order for the film to become soft.
- Prepare the design film. Cut the film to the proper size of the object with extra room on each side. There are lots of retailers, like this one, that provides design film for sale.
- Place the design film onto the water. Place the glossy/sticky part of the design film on the surface of the water, ensuring that no water gets onto the back of it. The film should float. Make sure there are no bubbles or imperfections on the design as this can cause your hydro-dip to become imperfect.
- Add the activator. Once the design film has hydrated (usually about a minute), spray the activator on the portion of the design film that is facing upwards.
- Dip your object into the design, ensuring that the object is placed face down into the design. Try to force the object through the water at an angle so that the design is not ripped.
- Take it out and rinse. Take your object out of the water and rinse off the design. This allows the film to harden and stick to your object.
- Add a clear coat. The clear coat locks in your design so that it doesn’t come off of the object.
How Long Does a Hydro Dip Last?
If you follow all of the steps listed above, a hydro dip can last for years! Hydro dipping has actually been used by some people to help ensure the durability of their paintball guns. Hydro dipping paint is UV protected, and virtually scratch-resistant.
This means that over the course of a few years there may end up being some slight scratches and maybe some fading, but overall it will still look slick and clean. Compared to other methods, this way of creating a unique artistic look to your paintball gun is the most long-lasting.
Other Ways to Paint a Paintball Gun
There are of course other ways to paint a paintball gun: including spray paint, and acrylic paints. These methods are cheaper than hydro dipping, but they are not as popular as they will not have the longevity and durability of a hydro-dipped paintball gun.
If you are interested in using these methods, however, you would use a similar technique to hydro dipping. You would still need to take apart your paintball gun so that you do not accidentally paint over some parts of the gun and make them ‘stick’ when you are using it later.
If you are looking for a happy medium between hydro dipping and normal painting, there is a way to use spray paint and the hydro dipping technique. If that is something that interests you, you should check out this video.
Hydro dipping is a great way to make a product look unique and new. You can apply your favorite design onto pretty much every portion of a paintball gun; just make sure you take it apart before so you don’t damage the interior of the gun.