Designing Custom Graphics for RC Planes

by FliteTest | March 22, 2018 | (7) Posted in How To

What's the best way to spice up the look of your scratch builds? Well, one thing you can do is create your own custom decals and designs to add that personal touch to your RC airplanes. All you need is some basic software and a printer - it's easy! Here's how to do it. 

As mentioned, all you need is some very basic software. I used a program on Mac called Pixelmator which is good as it is vector based. All you need, however, is something that you can type text into and position shapes around.

I decided to make a vintage looking logo for my FT Pietenpol to give it that old-timer vibe. This sort of logo or design is a good one to start with as they tend to be rather simple. You can find inspiration for vintage designs all over the internet, but I like to use Pinterest for this sort of thing.

Going back to the design software, I started drawing a design by drawing a few shapes.


I had decided that I wanted my Pietenpol to be a 1930s mail plane, the sort that would deliver letters about back in the early 20th century. To do this, I slapped on some text using the name of my personal youtube channel alongside 'Postal Service' to get that idea across that the plane is for transporting important letters and small parcels. 

Something was missing though. A quick search for inspiration gave me the idea to add some more text and a few more lines. 

With that, the logo was done! The solid block colours and simple shapes made it super simple to put together, but that's all you need to capture the spirit of the era. The next step was to print the graphic out to the right size and glue it to the model. I used a product called Mod Podge, but you can use anything that would do the job. 

The model was sprayed with a varnish sealer to ensure that the graphic wouldn't peel away or get wet and smudge. This is also a great way to make non-waterproof foam board water resistant. Here is an FT Mini Scout receiving this treatment.  

So what does the result look like? Here's the finished Pietenpol in all it's silvery goodness. 

You could design any sort of custom graphics that you like in exactly the same way. If you'd like to download this one to try modifying or sticking to your own planes, here's a link to the file.

If you decide to design some of your own graphics and customise one of your own planes, do make sure to let us know by posting in the forums or on the Flite Test Facebook Group so that everyone can see. You may inspire someone to do the same! 

Remember to get creative!

Article by James Whomsley

Editor of

Instagram @jameswhomsley


frank.wolf.502 on March 25, 2018
Great explanation of the process. You are very creative and your sticker definitely added to your aircraft.
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Designing Custom Graphics for RC Planes