Aircraft Skins Made Simple - Quick Tip

by FliteTest | August 3, 2016 | (26) Posted in Tips

Flite Test community member 'Rasterize' showed us how to apply custom sticker designs to your foam board airframe! Steven’s designs are amazing and can be seen on the Baby Brits and Baby Barons from our WWI Gotha Bomber episode.

To start, create and print out your graphics. Tiled plans make a great cookie cutter template for creating designs. It’s recommended to print on 24lb bond paper or lighter, and use 11” x 17” paper to reduce the amount of tiling needed.

Cut out the stabilizer designs. Leave paper around one and use a razorblade or scissors to cut out the other.

Remove the paper from both sides of the foam. Use Super 3M 77 Spray to glue the piece with the extra paper around the edges to your foam board. Then cut out the design, foam and all!

Take the other stabilizer design and make sure it lines up correctly with the design on the other side of the foam. Hold down one side, peel the skin back and use the Super 3M 77 spray to glue it down. Once it’s glued, peel up the other side of the skin and use the spray to glue down the other side.

Thanks to Steven (Rasterize) for sharing his tips to apply plane skins and for sharing his incredible designs!

Look for the download & donation page for Steve and his skin designs
COMING SOON! 

In the meantime, let us know what designs you'd like to see! 

Have tips for applying plane skins or cool designs? Share them with us! 

COMMENTS

GTSoundGuy on December 2, 2016
4 months guys... Coming soon??
I'm really looking forward to this!
Putting in an order for the SE5 but I
REALLY digg that Pietenpol Air Camper
Josh built in the video blog! Hope that one
goes to production next!!
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Countrymlb on August 4, 2016
If anyone has trouble peeling the paper off DTFB I ran across an idea some time back that works like a charm. Get a spray bottle and fill it with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Evenly saturate the foamboard paper and while wet it will peel off without problem. The foam is uneffected by the use of the alcohol. It works great and dries quickly.
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RedBar0n on August 12, 2016
This is so cool! I want to do this the same thing, but I can't find any programs for Mac that can do what I need. Any suggestions? Thanks
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THEMILKMAN on August 4, 2016
Wouldn't it be slick if there was a redbull air racer design for an FT3D?
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Desert Wings on August 4, 2016
How about this one: FT-3D RedBull
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THEMILKMAN on August 4, 2016
Oh this is killer. Everyone check this out!!!
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doensi on August 16, 2016
I am rather interested in creating our own design with my daughter. Therefore I would like to see how you design them - maybe even with "inkscape"???
Is there any schedule when the plans are able to be downloaded (could not find the download&donation page)
Thanks for this great work and sharing
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Navydiver71 on November 25, 2016
Why cant I access Rasterize information/posts etc... Says I am not registered, however I have signed in 3 times with no issue except forums?
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kheatherly13@gmail.com on August 5, 2016
Would love to see Skins for the other warbirds that you produce.
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deanwesterburg on August 11, 2016
Im trying to take the PDF and fill on top of the objects, however I am having troubles because many of the shapes are not "Closed". How are you getting past this? Are you zooming in and closing all the lines? I'm using CorelDraw. Thanks!
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Desert Wings on August 14, 2016
I also use Corel Draw. Flite Test plans are usually designed for laser cutting and include purposeful gaps to keep the resulting laser cut pieces from falling out after cutting. If you use one of Sponz's revised plans he takes many of the gaps out but also adds many additional lines. generally you will have to remove elements from Sponz's or join lines on an original plan. Both are simple in Corel. Start by importing the PDF in Corel, next highlight the elements of the object you want to make into one (say all the exterior cut lines making up a horizontal stab). Do this by holding the shift key down while selecting each of the disjointed lines that make up the element. Then while the objects are selected hit CTL-L to combine the elements. Next zoom in on an area where there is a gap; double click on one of the lines near the gap (this will put Corel in Node edit mode); you will see the two nodes that need to be joined near the gap. Select the two nodes by left click-n-dragging a small square over the two nodes, which will highlight them; then with the nodes highlighted choose "join nodes" and the line will fill in and become one node. Proceed to each gap around the element joining the two nodes at each gap. This becomes a very quick process and you can do a whole FT plan in about as much time as it took me to write this. Once the shapes are completely closed for each element you can more easily apply fills, smart fills, etc.
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Extreme Air Pilot on August 3, 2016
Great video. I really like the design of the one plane and can't wait to be able to use it. I would like to see some ft build videos with this.
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finnbradley98 on August 4, 2016
Interesting article. On the subject of new designs I would love to see a Douglas Dc-3 model in the near future, or perhaps plans for that Gotha bomber!
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Syed rayan on August 4, 2016
Man can't wait for skins
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Ouch! on August 12, 2017
I'd love to see an authentic skin for the Simple Storch! Wow!

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Ron DuBray on August 4, 2016
I would be much more interested in how to make the skins, then how to cut them out and glue them to foam. :) .... So how are the skins made. Nice looking work by the way.
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Travos on August 9, 2016
I'd really like some cool mini arrow skins, I'm working on one now with gimps, but its not exactly an easy learning curve :)
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TheJuan on August 3, 2016
What program are you using for creating the overlays. Are you just adding a layer over the existing pdf?
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Rasterize on August 3, 2016
I use Adobe Illustrator but a similar program that's free is called Inkscape. You are correct. The original PDF is on a bottom layer and I design right on top of that.
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flying-coqui on August 4, 2016
Hey make an article of how make the design and make a forum post or page for free FT designs plans + skins
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SPADXII on June 11, 2020
Is photoshop (7.0 in my case) any good?
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Yogenh on August 7, 2016
I would love to get the plans of the Goth Bomber

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fireshovel on September 11, 2016
Awesome work Rasterize!!! Your talent is remarkable!
Will your download and donation page be available soon?
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Joker 53150 on August 3, 2016
Arguably the best part of this video is the cool guy in the background building the balsa Mini Telemaster. :)
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Gryf on August 4, 2016
Excellent article! As a retired graphic artist myself, I really appreciate the effort Rasterize has put into this. The skins look great!

I just wanted to mention an alternative to peeled DTFB; one of the vendors at Flite Fest, Mike Spring, provides some really good materials at http://www.modelplanefoam.com. I have a sample of his stuff here on my desk. It's the same thickness as DTFB, but uncovered... and is a good deal stiffer than peeled foamboard. He also has some really nice kits for sale at onesheetkits.us. Shameless plug, yes, but combining these cool skins with the other foam might be a better solution than DTFB. Cheers!
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mvx800 on August 3, 2016
Hey Steve, that is extremely cool!!! How about some cool colors and strips designs and some that are high resolution so some of us noobs can maintain orientation. I'd gladly pay for a design.
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Rasterize on August 3, 2016
I'm hoping that soon they will have a place where the highly talented people on this thread (I'm not the only one!) can post skins and take requests. Instead of there being some sort of "pay scale" there would be a place to donate to your favorite designer as the feeling strikes you.
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flying-coqui on August 4, 2016
Also Flite Test can add some additional plans with optional 2 or 3 skins
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Daniel1801 on August 9, 2016
Where i can get The plans i want to Build a skin plane
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flying-coqui on August 4, 2016
Flite Test love Mountain Dew wee see it on a lot of videos including this make a Mountain Dew Baby Brit Skin.
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webdragon on August 4, 2016
i'd like to see more about the steampunk arrow
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Desert Wings on August 3, 2016
Great article. I have been doing this on FT planes for quite sometime. I use Corel Draw for the graphics. See the Article below for links to some of my skins. If there is a page created for skins I would love to contribute the skins from my article or future skins to the cause.
http://flitetest.com/articles/foam-board-that-looks-great

FT-Skins Article

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OttoMan on August 11, 2016
I'd really like to see an american flag design for a pun jet and also ,flitetest, you guys should come out with the black, red, and white micro R/C plane from your guys ''Micro plane Projects video.''
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PlaneAddicted on October 19, 2016
Are designs still coming?

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multimaster on January 10, 2017
any news on this?
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amissall on June 1, 2017
Can flitetest please come out with:
Instructions on how to make the skins,
or
The page with the skins.
My airplanes need the upgrade to fly at Flitetest east.
Thanks
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Abouttime67 on July 18, 2018
Rasterize, you mentioned that you put the PDF on the bottom layer and then you make your graphics on another. How do you bring to original outlines of the piece to your graphics? You mentioned eliminating two cut outs on one side from the original plans. The plans I have seen from FT are usually PDF files... do you have a way to separate the parts and print only what you want?
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ai5eeDave on February 23, 2019
I just figured out how to do something like this, but I don't use layers. See https://forum.flitetest.com/index.php?threads/inkscape-making-drawings-and-skins.33794/post-457685 for my post on the subject.
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Aircraft Skins Made Simple - Quick Tip