How to Hydro Dip Shoes: Create a Masterpiece by Yourself!

It is common to see people wearing the same type or design of shoes. Nike Air Force, Vans, Jordan, etc are nothing strange to a fashion-conscious person. However, have you ever found it boring to wear the same thing as other people every day? Have you ever thought of sprucing up your footwear?

If the answer is yes, this article is for you. You will see how a pair of hydro-dipped shoes makes its wearer outstanding. Basically, all you need is to deepen the shoes into a solution. But more tricks are still unknown, including the spray paint and water transfer printing. If you are a fashionista who has a good taste in art, what are you waiting for? Jump in to know how to hydro dip shoes.

What Is Hydro Dipping?

This technique may sound unfamiliar to you if you don’t spend much time reading about art. For those who don’t know yet, hydro dipping shoes is a one-of-a-kind method for nearly any three-dimensional item. Its other names may be water transfer printing, hydro imaging, or immersion printing.

Water transfer or dip-coating technology is becoming very popular these days. You can see a lot of videos about hydro painting shoes on social networks like Youtube, Facebook, Tiktok, and Pinterest, and most of those videos show how beautiful the product after dipping is.

Hydro dipping is an aesthetic way to make your shoes stand out. If you have a pair of sneakers that you want to personalize or an old pair that you want to breathe new life into, go for it!

It makes no difference what the textile is — hydro soaking functions on all types of cloth as long as the priming and paint are applied appropriately. But Nike sneakers, Vans, or Canvas Shoes are the most practical options.

The Advantages of the Hydro Dipping

Sneakers are undoubtedly the most significant component of your everyday appearance. They not only offer comfort and utility, but they also enhance and characterize your style. We’ve all experienced the thrill of donning a new pair of shoes for the first time.

Sneakers like Nike AF1, are available in a limited number of hues. Plain white shoes are attractive, but they also provide an excellent basis for customization. When you hydro dip sneakers, you may have a unique and customized aesthetic since the second version is nowhere to be seen.

Preparation to Hydro Dip Shoes

After knowing what and why we should hydro dip canvas shoes, prepare these materials:

  • Sneakers: White footwear is preferred.
  • Lukewarm water
  • Acrylic spray paint
  • Surface primer
  • Spray acrylic polish
  • Plastic bag
  • Stir Stick: Optional but you should use a silicone or metal one instead of wood. Otherwise, the color will adhere to it and destroy the swirl.

And don’t forget these tools:

  • A tub
  • Tape
  • Tape cutter
  • Gloves
  • Mask for respiration

Step by Step to Hydro Dip Shoes

Once you have all the materials ready, begin the process. You will find here two different ways to hydro dip your shoes, including hydrographic and spray painting.

Step 1: Remove dirt out of your shoes

Both procedures outlined here necessitate the same shoe setup. Cleaning your shoes appropriately is a critical step. If you don’t execute this, your color may not adhere properly or spill in areas you don’t want it to. So, take additional precautions. Use a clean cloth to wipe your footwear to get rid of dirt and stains. Then, remove laces.

Pro Tip: In case of stubborn stains, a dry brush can be helpful!

Step 2: Tape the shoes

Hide the places that you don’t want to paint using tape. Wrap the soles of the sneakers for a neat appearance. Pro Tip: Stuff the insoles with newspaper to avoid undesired stains.

Step 3: Read the instruction and prepare water

To reach the best outcomes, make sure you pay attention to the precautions listed on the spray-painting container. Processing in a well-ventilated environment is recommended when it comes to hydro dipping.

We discovered that when it is too chilly outdoors, the paint thickens” too rapidly and does not provide a good dip. So, if the temperature outside is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, I would recommend doing this project another time.

Also, prepare a tub filled with water above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4: Hydro dipping vans or any other kinds of sneakers:

As I said above, there are two different ways and they have all the above-mentioned steps in common. But from now on, they will no longer be the same. Read carefully and opt for the best solution for you.

First Trick: Spray Paint

Spray a little primer on top for the paint to stick better. Now, fill the tub with water and spray the acrylic paint over the water randomly. Some suggested ideas are:

  • You can use the idea of custom shoes by dipping in hydrogen paint to develop an interesting theme on the shoes, such as representing ocean waves or forests.
  • Or you can choose completely random, blended colors. The results will still be amazing.

Pro Tips:

  • I discovered that spraying each shade of color in a different section of the tank instead of on top of one another worked best.
  • Three hues of spray paint can perform better than two. If you desire two-tone footwear, I advocate incorporating white paint into your color palette.

After forming an even and nice layer, dip your shoes upside down in the water. Dip them slowly and keep them underwater for a while. When you take them out, remove the excess paint, let them dry, and remove the tape. Finally, spray the shoes with polish to finish them off.

Second trick: Water transfer printing

Instead of spray paint, this approach involves purchasing a pre-made film to lay on the liquid. Since this method is more professional, it is advised to begin with the spray paint approach before progressing this one.

First, apply primer on the surface and wait until the paint is completely dry. Then, cut the pattern to be printed with the area. Use masking tape around the surface of the film for easy handling, and put the hydrographic film in a basin of water. Its surface will float above the water.

Then, use a solution to dissolve the film and spray it on the surface of the film in water. The film will disintegrate and the binding agents will be activated as a result of this. Give it a few seconds.

Embed the shoes to be printed in. This requires your skill to make sure every point on the surface is adhered to by the film. You can try sinking your shoe at a modest angle and slowly guiding it lower.

After a few seconds, take it out, and wash it with water from the nozzle. Finally, apply a layer of paint to increase the gloss and increase the durability of the product. Your shoes are done!

Once you have finished all the steps, your shoes are ready to be worn. But there are still some common mistakes you might have while hydro dipping your shoes:

  • Forget to tape your shoes: Not taping your shoes might lead to undesirable stains caused by paints and these stains are very stubborn. It affects not only the aesthetic of your footwear but also the quality of the fabric.
  • Dipping twice: Some people say “the more the better”. But it’s not the case for hydro dipping, especially with the film. This will not help and will most likely make matters worse. If you wish to redo your dip, you’ll need to let the shoes dry before reapplying anything.
  • Low-quality materials: This process requires artistic features that you must prepare with good materials and tools. Adhesion and pattern will be ruined if your film is folded or curling at the edges. Before you put it in the water, ensure it’s as flattened as possible. Do not come into contact with the top side.

My Extra Tips

  • Feel free to try different combinations of colors. Complement your spray paints with various colors for artistic effect
  • A stick or a stirrer can help you draw the paint diagonally with ease, but remember a metal stirrer is best for this job.
  • You can highlight your paint job by placing panels on your boots to create a contrast display of color.
  • If you have an inkjet printer, you can try to print your custom paint job on the hydrographic film.
  • When you are familiar with the process, try out different base colors. The base color plays a huge role in reflecting and displaying your design, depending on what base coat you use.
  • If you want, you can also have two different paint jobs on the same shoe. For example, one side is blue and the other yellow. All you have to do is tape and dip it in yellow paint and repeat the same process but with blue paint.


Above is all the information you must know about how to hydro dip shoes. It’s rather simple, but minor details can have a major impact on your shoes therefore practice is required to achieve perfection.

You can try these methods out with some cheap shoes (or objects) first to avoid unwanted mistakes when it comes to hydro dipping expensive ones. Maintain your optimistic attitude since it just takes a little effort to progress to an expert footwear dipper.

Share with us if you have created a hydro dipping masterpiece yourself!

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