How to tint model airplane canopies

by Andy
(San Diego, CA)

Household items needed for tinting canopy

Household items needed for tinting canopy

What is the best way to window tint a military aircraft canopy? I've tried the black transparent window tint from Model Master and the canopy gets an uneven, almost blotchy, look to it. Are there better products for this?

SMH Responds Dye works great if you give it time to work and check it often.
Rit dye, available at any fabric store, walmart, or grocery store. more.

Just makes sure you don't melt the canopy...

Like any other coloring process be sure to clean the canopy of mold release, fingerprints etc.

Even though we're talking about small parts you will want to mix up a gallon of dye to keep the ratio correct. Read instructions for proper size container.

The package instructions say you need to use boiling water and salt...ignore them.Those instructions are for dyeing fabrics and don't apply to what you are doing.

Put a 2 gallon bucket in a deep sink...I have an old two compartment wash sink in the basement that works great for this... 

If the hot water from your tap is good and hot (uncomfortable to keep your hand in for more than a few seconds) put about 1 gallon of water in one of the 2 gallon the bottle of dye OVER THE BUCKET and empty it into the water.Slowly refill the bottle about half way ,recap and shake it and empty that into the bucket as well.ADD THE DYE TO THE reduces splashing and extra messes.
IF the water from your tap isn't hot enough boil about 1-1/2 gallons of water before putting it into bucket.then add the dye.
Stir the dye/water mix thoroughly.


Drop the parts in it's that easy. Stir the dye from time to time to prevent settling or layering of the dye.If you hang your parts from a string or wire it makes extracting them to check the colors much easier.Check the progress every 5-20 minutes depending on what you are trying to dye and how dark you want it.Some materials such as urethane  take color quickly others like Polycarbonates either won't take dye or take a long time.

Once the desired shade/color is reached pull the parts out and thoroughly rinse them with clear COLD water. Once they are rinsed,washed and dried you can start assembly.

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Mar 13, 2013
Tinting Canopies NEW
by: Anonymous

1. Buy 'Pledge Floor Wax' with Future added (TM), or any similar 'Future' floor wax product, or original 'Future Floor Wax' if you can find it. (about $5 or so retail for a lifetime modeling supply or something like it...)

2. Add drops of food coloring - blue, red, green or yellow to achieve desired tint. You can also 'mix colors'. A few drops in a small bowl should be sufficient. Have fun! Experiment!TRy it out on some plastic packaging 'bubbles' or scrap clear plastic first? Kitchen Chemists , we wuz?

3. Use tweezers to Dip the clear plastic canopies - or anything else where a 'tint' is desired, into the solution, or brush on with a soft camel-hair quality brush.

4. Allow to air dry. Re-apply as necessary to deepen tint, or mix color(s). Allow to dry overnight between coats for best results. After about one (1) hour, it may be okay to re-dip the parts, but allowing overnight drying always works best. The stuff is very watery and covers no problem, but do not TOUCH after application until dry as it will mare the subject.

5. Use paper towel or newspaper to set parts upon while drying. clean up with hot water/dishwashing liquid. If you mess up while it's still tacky, usually you can get the stuff off. Just be careful.

Cheap. Effective. Fun. Clear solution without any tinting covers up minor flaws in the plastic, seals stuff, including decals, and, even with the tinting, provides a bright lustre for the canopies, as well. Sometimes, I brush on a coat over an entire jet or other plane model to add sealing and 'gloss' to certain types of aircraft. Of course it works for automobiles, too! 'Goggles', headlights, 'signals' ....

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