Last week, we posted an article on New York’s graffiti tours. This week, we’re highlighting a brand-new trend: graffiti art that is only visible in the rain.
Artists are spraying a water-repellent product called NeverWet onto dry concrete surfaces. The result? Words, pictures, and phrases that are revealed only when the concrete becomes wet, creating a brilliant contrast to the aqua-resistant surface art.
But NeverWet wasn’t developed with art in mind. The product is mostly used for shoes, car tires, clothing, and electronics. Here’s how the product works.
Water either sits or glides across a surface depending upon the angle in which it is resting on. A 180-degree angle would mean that the water is resting on a flat surface, allowing the material beneath to become soaked or damaged.
NeverWet coatings create a contact surface that is measured between 160-175 degrees, which allows water to slide right off. Contact angles greater than 90 degrees are classified as hydrophobic. Contact angles greater than 150 degrees are classified as superhydrophobic. So while water repellent products have existed for years, none have been as effective as NeverWet’s superhydrophobic spray.
But while the mechanics of the product are quite impressive, don’t get too excited: it doesn’t last forever. Artists report that their art lasts an average of two weeks before it starts to wear off.
For those who want to create the art, here’s how to do it. But before getting started, make sure to check up on local laws and city regulations to ensure that spraying the product on public surfaces is legal.
First, create or purchase a stencil. There are numerous designs available online. All that is needed is a printer, a stencil knife, and plastic stencil sheets. Simply print out a design, lay the stencil sheet over the design, and start carving out the image using the stencil cutter.
Next, place the stencil on light-colored concrete. This is the part where we inform you that NeverWet isn’t completely invisible; it has a slightly milky-white color to it. This color is far more visible on asphalt and other dark surfaces, that’s why we recommend opting for light-colored concrete.
Secure the stencil to the surface using tape or some other adhesive. Wind or accidentally bumping the stencil can ruin the image.
Spray NeverWet onto the stencil. Let the product sit for a few minutes before removing the stencil. Pour a bucket of water over the surface and voila!