Hydro dipping, also known as immersion printing or watermarbling, is a water transfer printing method of applying a printed design to a lightsaber hilt or other three dimensional surface (e.g. helmets, car parts, cellphone covers, household items, etc.). Since the process involves submerging a lightsaber hilt in water, all electronics and anything that could be damaged by water must be removed from the hilt prior to hydro dipping.
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Hydro dipping enables a lightsaber enthusiast to apply an ornate, complex pattern to a lightsaber hilt. The hydro dipped pattern is flat rather than textured. The Jawa’s Junkyard O-Din’s Wrath lightsaber features a decorative woodgrain pattern applied through hydro dipping.
The hydro dipping process involves several steps: surface preparation (sanding/scuffing the item, if necessary), priming, painting, dipping, rinsing, and clear coating (to protect the finish). During the dipping process, the desired pattern is applied to the lightsaber hilt through a water-soluble, hydrographic film.
What is the quality and durability of hydro dipping? The higher the paint quality and clear coat quality, the higher the quality and durability of the hydro dipping as whole. A lightsaber enthusiast may attempt hydro dipping, at their own risk, as a DIY project (several hydro dipping YouTube tutorials exist). Alternatively, local companies commonly offer a hydro dipping service as well.
COVER IMAGE CREDIT SaberSourcing
Image depicts a Jawa’s Junkyard lightsaber hilt, which features some hydro dipped woodgrain pattern sections.