This Instructable will detail the simple steps involved in covering a balsa structure with plastic wrap (or cellophane, or food wrap, or Saran wrap--whichever name you prefer). No, it's not as strong as Monokote or Ultracote, and probably not as strong as tissue. It certainly isn't as easy to patch as tissue. However, it's much lighter, cheaper, easier to find, and better at showing off the underlying structure.
My original attempt was to replicate the look of the SIG Rascal, which I find to be one of the nicest-looking covering jobs on a sport flyer. I wasn't sure how well I could combine tissue and plastic, so I went for a more basic approach. Pictured is my SIG Tiger, which has a similar design, but a longer nose (since there's no engine to balance it).
Some of you may remember the forum topic I posted quite awhile ago on this subject.
Step 1: Materials
-Frame The balsa aircraft, sans covering. Or with any tissue trim, if you want.
-Plastic wrap Plastic, Saran, food, or cellophane wrap. Call it what you want, find something in pretty colors. I raided this from the kitchen drawer a year ago, and I don't think Mom knows that it's gone yet.
-Glue stick Nothing fancy here. I raided this from the office. Aren't raids fun?
-Heat gun That is a manly-looking piece of equipment. The one in the basement didn't look nearly manly enough for me to photograph it, so I raided this from a garage. Raid!
-Scissors and razor blade (not pictured) Some scissors work better than others. I don't know why.