I have a tall metal building next to my hangar on my airstrip and I recently leveled some land next to it to create additional airplane tie-down parking.  One result of this is now the off-white 14' x 40' south wall of the building is more exposed from a distance (i.e., the view from my house!) and is just a big, blank wall!

I thought it would look really cool to put a full-size black 3D silhouette of my STOL 750 on the side of the building.  I've occasionally seen photos of similar projects on exterior walls or doors of hangars, and I assume they were applied with either paint or vinyl graphics. I did some internet searches but so far haven't come up anything on how to do this.  There are numerous vendors that sell photo-realistic graphics of airplanes for your garage door, but I'm NOT interested in that, rather, as I stated, I would prefer a blacked-out silhouette that is full-size or nearly full-size.

Has anyone done this or seen this done and has some tips? Is this something a vinyl shop could make? I assume it would require breaking the image down into multiple vinyl pieces to make it manageable?  Is the vinyl technology sophisticated enough to account for the vertical ridges in the metal panel wall that otherwise would distort the width of the vinyl pieces?



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Hi John,
Do you a photo of said wall, where I can see the ridges and panelling? Our family owns a offset and digital printing company so I may be able to give some insight or worst case ask our guys about production and implementation. Also, without having yet seen the "canvas" in question, I would suggest using the vinyl as an outline template and painting the silhouette for longevity.

Hi Efe! 

Here are some pics. The major ribs are on 9" centers, 5/8" high, and taper down to about 1 3/4" wide at the base. The 2 minor ribs between the major ribs are about 1/8" high and about 1" wide.

Thanks for any info!

I also wonder about the possibility of projecting the image on the wall and then outlining it and filling in with paint?  Hopefully there's someone out there who knows the easiest, most practical way to do this!


I wrote some graphics software that does this easily... This is an example of stuff produced for T-shirt from photo

That's really cool Jonathan.

Not sure it will work for you, but I saw someone do something very similar to this with an ordinary overhead projector he borrowed from somewhere. He went out one evening, projected the image on a wall, and taped it off. He came back the next day and painted it. Wasn't an airplane, but it turned out pretty nice.

I thought about that - and now that video projectors are everywhere, thought perhaps one of those might work, too.  However, I'm guessing with the size of the image I want, the outline might get really fuzzy and indefinite.  If I go with a stencil mask and paint, the mask will have to allow for horizontal distortion due to the additional width of a mask going up and over ribs as they travel over them. Same is true for a vinyl graphic.  Likely it would require a quite sophisticated computer program to produce an undistorted image.

However, since the wall has perfectly vertical ribs at perfectly reqular intervals, I think the easiest, most accurate, and certainly cheapest method would be to simply put the image on graph paper with vertical lines that correspond to the major ribs and horizontal lines of similar spacing and plot intersection points where the line crosses a rib.  Number the vertical ribs left-to-right across the wall, and pull horizontal chalk lines at the same 9" spacing.  Then, simply mark the intersection points on the wall that correspond to the graph paper's points, pull straight lines between the intersecting points and fill-in with paint.  Since it's a simple outline, you really don't have to pull that many points and lines.  Probably a little "artistic" free-style will be required for a few curves, etc.

Likely, someone like Jonathan and his graphics program could superimpose the image over a grid background and accomplish the basic outline very easily, but I'm not that computer savvy.  :>(



Once when I taxied in after a late fall early winter flight there was a beautiful profile shadow on the hanger.  Always  meant to replicate and trace the edges for painting a "mural" on the doors...never get around tuit...suppose the south facing wall is a requirement...BTY are  you still using the "DELTA VGs "...just asking for a friend.

Hi Phil,

Yes, the Delta VG's are still firmly planted on my roof!  They've held up well, no negative effect on cruise speed, and since the 750 handles so well during flare and landing, I haven't changed a thing since!  So as not to creep this thread, if anyone has questions about the Delta VG's, they can continue the conversation here.



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