Hydro Dip Painting in the Classroom


Lessons are more impactful with visuals. As they say, seeing is believing. Add that to the worth of getting your students engaged in a hands-on activity, and you’ll see why hydro dip painting in the classroom is effective and enjoyable.

Hydro dip painting is the perfect blend of science with art and sure to excite your students when you demonstrate it in the classroom.

Teaching the Science of Hydro Dip Painting

Hydro dipping consists of transferring paint that is resting on the surface of water onto an object through dipping. The visual effects are incredible, but the science behind it is also interesting.

Hydro dip painting is a great tie-in for teachers to discuss how temperature affects volume and the differences between volume and weight. Depending on the age of your students, you’ll want to adjust your lesson. Here are some specific examples of what to discuss:

  • Density: Water is denser than the spray paint used in hydro dip painting, so the paint floats on top of the water instead of mixing with it. This causes the effect we see on the finished product.
  • Temperature and Density: You’ll notice that the instructions call for you to use warm water when hydro dip painting. Molecules usually speed up and become further apart when heated, decreasing density. Therefore, this demonstration and the outcome of the art depends on the temperature of the water being correct to allow for the right density.
  • Volume and Weight: This experiment is a great time to point out the difference between volume and weight. Volume is the quantity of space occupied, and the same volume of two different substances may have different weights.

You can also mention the real-world application of the art form and science. This art form is widely used in various industries. Hydro dip painting is used on many items, including helmets, gaming equipment, and even cars.

Hydro Dip Painting: Supply List

Here’s what you’ll need for this activity:

  • A large bucket or plastic container
  • Three to five cans of spray paint in different colors
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Spray sealant
  • A wooden stick or paint stir
  • Rubber gloves

If you’re letting your students work on their own instead of simply demonstrating, you might need to get more of these materials.

Many objects work well with hydro dip painting, including cups, vases, jars, and canvases. The process can be used with plastic, metal, wood, and more. If you’re allowing all your students to participate, it would be fun to let them choose the item to hydro dip paint in the classroom. Be sure what you’re painting won’t be damaged by the process. For instance, electronics should not be dunked into water.

Hydro Dip Painting: Step-by-Step

Hydro dip painting is an exciting activity for students, and most importantly, simple to pull off for a teacher. Here are the steps to hydro dipping:

  1. Spray the item you're hydro dip painting with a base coat of paint.
  2. Wait a few hours while the item dries. (It’s best to do this step ahead of your presentation in class.)
  3. Fill the bucket or plastic container three-quarters of the way with warm water.
  4. Prepare your plastic sheeting to avoid a mess after the item is dipped.
  5. Spray paints onto the water’s surface and swirl it together with your wooden stick or paint stir.
  6. Dip your object into the water and paint.
  7. Allow it to dry.
  8. Spray sealant on to the item to hold the paint in place.

Interested in more ideas like hydro dip painting? We offer many courses that discuss using art in your instruction. Consider these courses from Advancement Courses, a Wiley brand, about how art and creativity can effectively play a role in your classes:

  • The A in Steam Stands for Art: Develop strategies for integrating arts into STEM lessons and designing, implementing, and managing STEAM projects. After taking this course, you will be better prepared to weave the arts into your entire curriculum to inspire your students’ creativity and digital literacy.
  • Fostering Artistic Literacy Using the National Core Standards: To ensure your lessons are appropriately rigorous to prepare your students for the future, you’ll examine how to align art instruction to national standards, such as Common Core and the National Core Arts Standards.
  • Arts Education for Early Learning and Emergent Literacy:Cultivate arts-based educational strategies that foster creative thinking skills and nurture the growth of children’s literacy skills and cognitive development. After this course, you will be better able to intentionally plan arts activities and lessons.

Advancement Courses offers K-12 educators more than 200 online, self-paced professional development courses covering both foundational topics and emerging trends.

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