Home / Black Sheep Arm Water Transfer Printing

TWN CertifiedBlack Sheep Arms is Central Texas' primary provider of water transfer printing services.  Our staff is TWN factory trained and certified and supported with the latest training and technology.

Water transfer printing is known by many names: dipping, hydrographic printing, immersion printing and 3D printing.

This process uses photorealistic images on a clear film that once activated, allows those images to be transferred to any item that can be submerged in water.  Water transfer printing is used in the automotive industry (wood grain trim elements), firearms industry (camo and complex patterns), ATV and Watercraft industry (camo and complex patterns) in addition to household items like cups, mugs and dishes.

Our staff has developed unique quality control procedures necessary to ensure repeatable high quality results and reduced production times.  We have experience working with small projects and corporate accounts and can tailor project cost to realistic budgets.

In the firearm industry water transfer printing acquired a negative opinion early on due to the finished products inability to stand up to the harsh solvents used for cleaning and the general wear and tear these items received.  However, recently, Black Sheep Arms utilizing Cerakote Firearms Matte Clear has a process in place that provides a similar level of protection provided by Cerakote to items that have been "dipped."  By applying the ceramic based clear coat, you avoid most if not all of the chipping and paint issues that plagued water transfer printing in its infancy.

The Process

The preparation used in the Cerakote process and the water transfer printing process is very similar.  Items are cleaned, degreased and then either scuffed or sandblasted prior to receiving a base coat.  Like Cerakote, all items must be completely disassembled to ensure that any oils and/or other contaminants are removed from the items surface prior to receiving the base coat.

After receiving the base coat, the items are then ready to be "dipped."  Film is cut to the dimensions of the object and that film is then placed on top of the water in a tank made specifically for this purpose.  The film is then sprayed with an activating chemical that causes the clear paper backing of the film to separate and the remaining ink floats in place for about 10-20 seconds which is your dipping window.

Items are then rinsed in a rinsing station to remove any remaining chemicals leaving only the paint/image.  Once dry, the items are taken into a paint booth and a clear coat is applied.  As stated previously, Black Sheep utilizes Cerakote Firearms Matte Clear. 



Additional samples can be seen as we post daily updates to our Instagram feed. (Note: clicking the above picture will take you to our Facebook feed with all of our latest pictures if you prefer Facebook over Instagram)

Getting Started

First thing you need to do is pick the pattern or film that you would like applied to your item.  The easiest way to do this is download the free app supplied by TWN which is available on the iTunes App Store or the Android App Store.  The TWN film gallery can also be seen on their website.  So to recap, first find the film or films you like, then write down the film number (WTP#) and then contact us and we can estimate your project.  We can be reached at 512-772-3813 or toll free at 888-237-2944.