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How to: Covering with lightweight Mylar
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By Bill Griggs
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DEC. '99
Five-micrometer Mylar film is the best covering for many RC micro aircraft. Here’s how to apply it to a balsa frame airplane. To work with Mylar film, you’ll need a Fiskars self-healing cutting mat. I tried cutting Mylar without it and had bad luck. Single-edge razor blades are the only cutting implements that consistently give a clean cut, and they should be changed frequently. A variety of adhesives will work well with Mylar: Coverite Balsarite (film formula), Sig Stix it, glue stick, Balsaloc, etc.

The Mylar is full of static electricity, which works to our advantage when we use a self-healing cutting mat.

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• 1  Spread the Mylar out and smooth it carefully on the cutting mat. The static electricity will hold it tightly to the cutting mat and allow us to make straighter cuts leaving an ample surplus all around to work with. I like to leave enough extra covering to grab easily. Store the unused Mylar rolled up on an old cardboard tube.

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• 2  Before applying the Balsa-rite, sand the surface as smooth as you can. I apply one coat of Balsarite to all the surfaces I plan to cover. I recommend a second coat for the leading and trailing edges. The wing being covered here is for my 5-year-old daughter Angela’s plane; its unique coloring is provided by Magic Markers. For best results, color the parts while they’re still in the balsa sheet. Balsarite does not attack the marker colors.

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• 3  Lay the Mylar on the part to be covered, and cut around it, leaving an ample surplus all around to work with. I like to leave enough extra covering to grab easily.

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• 4  Work with the temperature of the iron set to 250 degrees F—low enough to activate the Balsarite adhesive without melting the Mylar. Tack the covering lightly at each corner of the surface, gently pulling out wrinkles as you go. If you get a large wrinkle in the covering, simply peel it up and then iron it back down again.

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• 5  Apply the covering for the other side of the wing as described in steps 2 through 4. Trim off the excess Mylar, and seal all the edges down.

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• 6  When properly applied, the Mylar is nearly invisible.

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5-micrometer Mylar is available from:

Bill Griggs Models, 3137 Whitelaw Rd.,
Canastota, NY 13032;
(315) 697-8152;

Todd’s Models, P.O. Box 827,
Snoqualmie, WA 98065;
(425) 888-8530;

Northeast Sailplanes Products, 16 Kirby Ln.,
Williston, VT 05495;
(802) 658-9482;

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