Can You Hydro Dip With Acrylic Paint?

Hydro dipping is an amazing and easiest method to rule the crafting world by storm. Industrial applications are the main sector to use this painting method. Not only that, today people use this technique to design their household along with any of your desired objects. 

Using this painting technique, you can ensure a psychedelic effect on your items. The process isn’t tough yet simple. All you need to manage colors and a large bowl with water. 

That’s all not sufficient in this journey; rather this article about “hydro dipping with acrylic paint” will notify you more. So, let’s get started. 

Can You Hydro Dip With Acrylic Paint

What is Hydro Dipping?

Hydro dipping is popular in multiple names like water transfer printing, immersion printing and hydro imaging. Actually, it is a process of applying any of your desired printed designs to any 3-dimensional object. In this process, the paint will rest on the water’s surface. 

Then, you need to dip the object into that solution to make a delicate design. Any materials like wood, metal, plastic and others are suitable to accept this painting. 

Interestingly, the aftermath of painting will be durable and clear. Your applied top coat will result in a beautiful and durable finish. 

Having those blissful features make this painting’s extensive use in the automobile industry and other fields. Also, helmets, firearms, game controllers can be imaged using this technique. 

Types of paints for Hydro dipping?

If you ask me, what type of paints could be best for hydro dipping, then the answer would be, it depends on two variables.

  1.  The type of items you want to hydro dip and 
  2. What effect you want to get. 

Usually, you will find three types of paints for hydro dipping, including: 

Spray paint – 

Oil based paint-

  • Perfect for hydro dipping in a flat surface ( canvas or paper).
  • Best for making marble effects on the objects.

Acrylic paint-

  • You can try it for hydro dipping but it isn’t popular as spray paint

What kind of paint is best for Hydro dipping?

According to Lawrence W. Lee (A professional artist for 40+ years), the best paint by far would be Acrylic spray paint for Hydro dipping.

It is popular as the most awaited item used by painters for any hydro-dipping projects. But do you know Why?

Because this paint is made to float as a thin film that sticks simply onto the submerged items.

What other paints are used for hydro dipping? 

Most significantly, while hydro dipping at home, investing on acrylic spray paint could be best. Nevertheless, choosing oil-based paints and acrylic paints could be a worthy choice for different areas. 

Note: According to your choice and finish, you may select different paint, but among all, choosing acrylic spray paint could be best especially for beginners. 

Can you hydro dip with acrylic paint?

Yes, you can hydro dip with acrylic paint, easily. The nature of acrylic paint is heavier. Hence, you need to add water to make it thinner. 

While thinning, you can use plastic cups or ramekins to pour water into acrylic paints. 

Note: Add a few drops of water into a teaspoon of acrylic paint. 

Then, take a paintbrush and mix until the paint becomes thinner.

Afterward, it becomes ready to add into dipping water. Some paint demands to add density to the water, so add some borax or cornstarch. 

Can you use oil-based spray paint for hydro-dipping?

In the market, you’ll find synthetic or oil-based spray paint which can give you a smooth result while hydro dipping. 

How to hydro dip with acrylic paint?

Ingredients Supplies:

  • A bucket or a tray
  • Water
  •  Borax
  • Acrylic paint
  • Dropper or Paintbrush
  • Toothpick or small size stick
  • Wrapping tap
  •  Hand gloves
  • Objects ( Wood, paper, glass, mug, or shoes)


1.     Take a medium-size bucket. Or you can use a tray if you want to get paper marbling paint.

2.     Wear hand gloves to save your hands from chemicals or paints.

3.     Mix hot water with borax, and the ratio should be 1/3 in the tray or bucket.

4.     According to your design, if you need to skip some portion of your items like the bottom of the shoe or top and bottom line of mugs, tape the area properly.

5.     Select the different acrylic colors and check their thickness. Mix some water to get the right consistency if you need to thin them.

6.     Now use your dropper or paintbrush to lay the paint on the water. Drop the paint from a different angle and apply them one by one. The color should float on the surface of the water. If they sink after dropping, you need to thin them more so they can see in the floating situation.

7.     When you finish dropping all paints, use a toothpick or stick to swirl the paints to make your wanted design.

8.     Then dip your desired objects from the right angle slowly (Medium speed/ not very slow or fast). Stir the paints so that the objects can absorb the paints faster. It may take just 60-seconds.

9.     Get the items out of the water and leave them for complete air dry. You have to wait for 30-minutes to 48 hours to dry fully.

10.  If you have taped any area, get it out after drying and enjoy your Dying things before your eyes. That’s it!

How to hydro dip other methods?

There are various methods of hydro dipping. One, you can get from the previous section, now, we will teach you another method. So, let’s get started. 


  • Item you want to design.
  • Gloves.
  • Spray paints (the rust-oleum works the best)
  • A bucket. 


  • To begin with, you need to wear a pair of rubber gloves because you don’t have time to spend hours to get the paint off your hand
  • Now, take the bucket and fill it with water. Don’t overflow the bucket so, keep it empty two inches from the top. 
  • It is nice to have at least two colors. Also, you can take as many as you want. The spray paint needs to shake up before spraying. 
  • So, once you shake, then spray the paint over the water for a couple seconds. Then, use the other spray can and spray on that. You can keep going back and forth between colors. 
  • Now, take the item you want to design and dip that in the water. Though we want to paint the phone case, we dip it at a 45-degree angle. 
  • Once you design the item, now let it dry in the Sun for a couple hours. 

Hydro Dipping Using Marble paint

You can use Acrylic Marble paint to hydro dipping your stuff like guitar, bags, shoes etc. And there are lots of sets of colors available for hydro dipping with marble paint on amazon or online to buy.

Hydro dipping using Marble paint

How To Hydro Dip Shoes With Acrylic Paint?

Hydro dip shoes with acrylic paint are wonderful customization. It is great that people can’t use spray paint for toxicity. Let’s move on and see how to hydro dip shoes with acrylic paint.


  • A medium-size bucket
  • Acrylic paint
  • Toothpick or small size wooden stick
  • Painting tap
  • Paintbrush
  • Shoes (runner/crocs)
  • Hand gloves


1.     Prepare your shoes and yourself first. Decide which portion of your shoes you want to DIY.

2.     Tape the shoes to your desired pattern. Wear hand gloves before starting the next steps.

3.     Now select the place where you will finish the whole task. Select an open place where the air is moving all time. You can do it in the garden or beside the window or door inside your home.

4.     Take a bucket and fill it with lukewarm water of 1/3 ratio.

Keep aside the paints that you have brought for this task. For acrylic paint, you can choose the Flash Acrylic Paint Set.

5.     Dip a paintbrush into the paint bottles and drop the paint into the water.

6.     Don’t drop all paints together. Drop them one after one so that it can make a design easily. Here you need to use separate brushes for different paints.

7.     When you have finished dropping the paints, use a toothpick or stick and move on the paint and make a design.

8.     It’s time to dip the shoes. Dip one shoe the first time, get out, and leave it to dry.

9.     Use the same water for another shoe. Laying the paint in a similar way that you have done for the first one. And dip it into the dropped paints like the previous one. Keep in mind to use the toothpick in the same way to give a similar design.

10.  Leave the shoes for 2 or 3 days to dry completely. Put off your gloves and wait.

11.  When the shoes dry properly, you can take off the tap from the shoes and see the design that you have desired to get before hydro dipping paint. Wow, it’s amazing and has changed the look of your plain shoes.  

Video Link:

Is Hydro dipping permanent?

No, Hydro dipping (Hydrographics) isn’t a permanent process. Though Hydrographic or Hydro dipping finishes are very strong and will last for a couple of years, but they can be scratched.

According to the research, though some studies claim that Hydro dipping is kinda permanent, but you can paint over it if needed.  

Note: A painted and hydro dipped products mean they are protected with car grade clear coat but scratching the coat can cause failure to the Hydro dipping finish.

How long after hydro dipping can I clear the coat?

At least, you need to wait for 8 to 24 hours to clear the coat after hydro dipping. If you find that the clear coat is no longer sticky to the touch, then you can use your item.

Do you need to prime before hydro dipping?

Yes, you need to prime before hydro dipping because it is the primary ingredient. Priming before hydro dipping enhances the sticking of the transfer film to the item.

Note: After priming, you need to allow it to dry (you should do it before transferring a film to your portion which may need 2 hours at least).

Do you need to use spray paint to hydro dip?

No, this isn’t needed if you plan without spray paint, But it’s also a popular method of hydro dipping using spray paint. You will find several productive methods for hydro dipping which will protect you from the mess and fumes of spray paint.

Can you use water based spray paint to hydro dip?

No, when hydro dipping you shouldn’t use any water-based spray paint because they will not float.

Do you need a base coat for hydro dipping?

Yes, a base coat for hydro dipping is essential.  But what is the most recommended base coat color? Selecting a white base coat color could be one of the best choices (especially for an item displayed on the product page).

What are good hydro dipping materials?

  • Spray Paint
  • Water
  • Primer
  • Top Coat
  • Painter’s Tape
  • 3D items (cell phone cases or water bottles)

What do I need to Hydro dip at home?

Things you need for Hydro dipping at home (DIY projects):

  • Deep, large plastic container for storing paint
  • Hydro dipping printing materials
  • Item to be submerged
  • Rags
  • Sandpaper (to smooth the surface)
  • Vessel of light cleaning solution plus water

What do you need for hydro dipping with spray paint?

  • Gloves (Latex)
  • Bucket to hold water
  • Spray Paint and primer
  • Paint stirring stick

Can you hydro dip twice?

Yes, you can do so, because it may happen that you are not satisfied with a first-time hydro dip and you want to cover it with another coating. On the other hand, you can hydro dip more than once to give your item a cool effect. Before hydro dipping twice, make sure the item is dry enough.

Can you hydro dip in cold water?

While hydro dipping, the most common mistake that is performed by people is using cold water. If you use cold water for dipping, you will not get better results because at that temperature range the film will not melt thoroughly.

According to the research, you might get a sticky result if the water temperature is under 75°F. The best temperature for water for hydro dipping is 80 ° – 90 °F

How long should paint dry before Hydro dipping?

 According to manufacturers’ recommendations, before Hydro dipping you should wait 20 min to 8 hours. You should wait because the paint requires it to be a bit soft for the hydrographic film to stick to the product.

What does Borax do in hydro dipping?

It is better to add sodium borate or borax to the water especially in borax paint dipping. Borax can change the tension properties of the water which allows the paint to flow without breaking. In hydro dipping, Borax can make the swirl effect.

Do you clear coat after hydro dipping?

Yes, Clear coating after hydro dipping could be one of the best practices because it offers highly cleaned finished items. Applying the top coating is recommended when you find the dipped part in dry condition.

Does Hydro dipping last?                           

Usually, under normal use, Hydro dipping lasts for a long time and you’ll find the Hydrographic finishes highly strong. Nevertheless, the paint can scratch like a car finish. scratching the clear coat can cause damage to the hydrographic finish.

How do you seal Hydro dip?

 Choosing the best spray sealant could be best for keeping your hydro dip paint look clean and fresh. Spray an even coat over the item and allow it to dry for hours. when the item is looking 100% dry, then you should apply the sealant.

Note: Available Clear spray sealants: gloss finish, semi-gloss, matte etc.

Is Hydro dip waterproof?

Yes, Hydro dipping is waterproof. It works because the spray paint doesn’t mix on the water. Also after Hydro dipping when you submerge the item, the paint adheres to the fundamental coat giving waterproof sealant on the outer shell of the item.

How much does it cost to have something Hydro dipped?

 Usually, the cost to have something Hydro dipped is between 200-500 USD (based on make and model). For example, if you want Hydro dip gun accessories, then you need to invest approximately 50-200 USD.

On the other hand, the average cost of hydro dipping a smaller item, for example,  cusp begins at 30 USD.

Furthermore, if you want to hydro dip wakeboards or water skis, then spending 150-300 USD is a normal phenomenon.

What is hydrographic film and why is it important?

Hydrographic Film
Hydrographic film Samples

Hydrographic film (also known as hydro dipping film) is a durable and high-resolution coating that can be applied to any kind of hard surface. If you want to get a quality and custom finish on your item, hydrographic film plays a significant role. 

In a word: hydro dipping Film is best for getting a more customized look. 

What kind of film is best for hydro dipping?

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) film is a water soluble biodegradable film which is best for hydro dipping. It is a special item to give your item an iconic look. 

Note: In floating condition, this water soluble clear film breaks down and the activator chemical makes the coating. 

How much does hydro dip film cost?

Depending on the labor wages, activator and finish, the cost of hydro dipping film varies. For example, you need to spend nearly $150, if you want to hydro dip a wheel for a car. 

Note: [But based on the above mentioned variables the costs may change up to 20% to 50%.]

On the other hand, if you want to hydro dip your guns, you need to invest around 200 to 500 USD (it also depends on the make and model of your guns). 

What are the best paints for hydro dipping?

1. Acrylic Spray Paints

People usually prefer acrylic spray paint to deal with their hydro-dipping tasks. Here the hack behind is it is formulated as a thin film. Plus, the used material makes it sticky. Therefore, you can easily paint any object by submerging. 

On word of caution: While spraying, you need to avoid spraying too closely because it may generate air bubbles on the surface and retard you to ensure your desired pattern. 

2. Regular Acrylic Paint

Also, you can use regular acrylic paint for your hydro dipping project. This type of paint is heavier, so you need to add water to make it thinner. Then, you get any of your desired designs. 

A Quick comparison chart: Best Paints For Hydro Dipping

Our top choices of hydro-dipping paints are as follows. 

Product nameFeatures and specification Check price
Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray PaintOil-based spray paint
Metallic finish
Krylon ColorMaster PaintPaint + primer spray
gloss finish
Size: 12 Ounce
Uses For : Interior Product
Castle Art Supplies Fabric Paint Set24 3D fabric paints
Volume: 29 Milliliters
Surface: Fabric, Wood, Metal, Glass
Marabu Easy Marble (Rose Pink)Paint Type: Acrylic paint for dipping
Volume: 15 Milliliters
Surface: Metal, Plastic, Wood
Flash Acrylic Paint Set16 Colors; 50 ml paint 
Non Fading 
High Pigment Strength
best for both indoor and outdoor 
Neon Nights UV Paint SetPaint Type: Acrylic
Surface: Fabric
Color: White, Purple, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Red
Liquitex Pouring Medium Technique SetPaint Type: Acrylic
Color: Pouring Set – Primary Colors
Finish Type: High-Gloss
Volume: 208 Milliliters

Three Best products for hydro dipping

  1. Rust-Oleum 249127 Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover (oil based)

Our first pick is suitable to deal with any hydro dipping project. It comes with an amazing formula to ensure a delicate design in plaster, wood, masonry, metal and clay pots. Plus, the manufacturer injects the oil based formula, therefore, it won’t attract water. 

One eye-catcher benefit you will get from here is durability. So, you can expect a prolonged life of your hydro-dipped project. Also, its first drying formula is really amazing, hopefully, you don’t need to wait a long time to ensure it dries off. 

Sometimes, the painting in the hydro dipping system becomes uneven on the surface. Luckily, our picked multi purpose spray paint will give you a flat finish surface, hence you can hide imperfections. 

After all, we can recommend this paint spray as one of the best to deal with any hydro dipping project effectively. 


  • The oil based formula retards attracting water during painting. 
  • You will get a durable and flat finish surface after using. 


  • This painting may be prone to cracking. 
  1. Rust-Oleum Pure Gold 245221 Universal All Surface Spray Paint (Spray Paint based) 

Our second pick offers almost the same feature as our first but here a slight difference may be noticeable to you. You will find metallic color herein to ensure a shimmering, attractive, and rich metallic look on the item’s surface. 

Interestingly, the item becomes touchable in 30 minutes, considerably the perfect timing for the hydro dipping project. Another blissful feature is its rust and corrosion-resistant feature that results in ensuring durability.  


  • Lead to durable and realistic metallic finish. 
  • Ideal to work with any surfaces. 
  • Here used oil base formula to retard attracting water. 


  • You may need some time to get used to the quirks of the nozzle.

3. Flash Acrylic Paint Set (Acrylic Paint)

If you are a hobbyist Painter or pro- artist who is looking for a paint set for your hydro dipping project, then perhaps, this non-toxic Acrylic Paint Set by Flash is a good choice. 

With this premium quality paint set with 16 different colors, you can enjoy the many different finishes you need. It doesn’t matter if you are a kid or adult, you will surely love the versatility of this paint while hydro dipping.

Final Takeaway

By now, you get some basic ideas on can you hydro dip with acrylic paint. Hopefully, this article will make you ready to generate an artistic look in any of your desired items. We are eagerly waiting to see your project, so don’t forget to share with us.