Hydrographics, water transfer printing, water transfer imaging, the different names of one process that apply printed designs to 3 dimensional objects. The process was first introduced in 1982 by Motoyasu Nakanishi.
How its done?
The object to be patterned is first allowed to go through a series of processes including surface preparation, priming coating. A polyvinyl alcohol hydrographic film, which is already gravure-printed with the graphic image to be transferred, is carefully placed on the water’s surface in the tank. When dipped, the surface tension of the water will allow the pattern to curve around any shape.