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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Olsen

STEAM Activity: Hydro Dipping

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

Hey STEM Sparkers. How are you all doing? So during our summer of quarantine, we watched a lot of YouTube. Okay, so Jack watched YouTube while Bobby and I worked. There are so really cool STEM and STEAM makers on YouTube, like Slick Slime Sam and Ryan's World Easy and Fun Science Experiments. But not all YouTube channels are created equal. I felt my brain melt over some of the content we watched.

However, we did stumble over some interesting (aka sometimes I find them entertaining, sometime I find them cringe worthy) Mine Craft gamers who introduced us to hydro dipping. We're not talking the professional process where "a polyvinyl alcohol hydrographic film, which has been gravure-printed with the graphic image to be transferred, is carefully placed on the water's surface in the dipping tank." We're talking the amateur process of spray paint on the water's surface and dipping an item into the tank.

The amateur process still nets some cool results, and Jack found the dipping fun. I will note that this activity definitely requires adult help and supervision: don't want spray paint in the eyes or what not. Jack also did not have the tensile strength to use the spray paint nozzle. But if you want a new, STEAM inspired way to paint plastic (or real, although we did not test with real pumpkins) pumpkins this year, then hydro dipping is for you!

You'll Need

Spray Paint

Tube/Tank of Water

Item(s) to Dip

Mask and Gloves for Spray Paint Safety


Please watch my YouTube video on how to Hydro Dip. Note that we primed each item to be dipped with a coat of white paint:

Then here we are hydro dipping our plastic pumpkin:

It's cool how the surface tension on the water applies the paint to item being dipped. And don't worry. I didn't let the boys have all the fun; I dipped my own nerf gun too! I hope if you try hydro dipping, you have as much fun as we did. So of course, happy STEM-ing!

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