3 Methods of Pinstriping

All you need to pinstripe is your imagination, a little practice, and top notch supplies from Eastwood.

Proper Preparation

Before you start, the vehicle surface must be absolutely clean—no grease, wax or polish. If it's not, you'll have paint adhesion problems with the stripe. Our PRE Painting Prep is a quick and easy way to make sure that the surface is as clean as it can be. Spray the area where you'll be striping and wipe with a clean, lint-free cloth. Now the surface is ready to stripe.

First, choose the colors you're going to use. Pinstripes are usually done in two colors: one that complements the body color, and another, thin line, which contrasts to make the stripe stand out. There are no rules: color choice is a matter of personal preference. We carry several colors (including pearlescents) of 1-Shot Paints so you can really let your imagination run wild! There are three basic methods to apply pinstripes: mechanical pinstriping, stencil tape, and freehand pinstriping. Each requires different techniques and equipment.

(1) Mechanical Pinstriping

A mechanical pinstriper is the best method for striping long surfaces like trucks, vans or station wagons. The chief advantage to a mechanical striper is that it puts down stripes of consistent width, letting you concentrate more on keeping the contour of the stripe aligned along your work surface. Eastwood carries the Beugler pinstriper and accessories, which are preferred by body shops and pinstripers for their high-quality construction and consistent operation. The easiest way to use a Beugler striper is to set up your stripe line using our Magnetic Pinstriping Strip. It adheres firmly to steel surfaces, forms mild curves, and has a center groove designed with the Beugler's guide arm in mind. The strip can also act as a guide for your hand.

Fill the Beugler's chamber with paint. The easiest way to do this is to dip the stirring stick into the paint chamber. Now you're ready to start striping.

Move the striper along the magnetic strip evenly and fairly slowly. This ensures that the paint will be put down in a consistent depth along the length of the stripe. We recommend you first practice on some scrap sheet metal or newspaper.

(2) Striping with Stencil Tape

Eastwood carries different stencil tapes suitable for almost any striping application. Stencil tapes let you lay down stripes of different colors without waiting for the other stripes to dry. Simply run the tape along the side of your vehicle, press the tape down firmly as you go, pressing out the air bubbles and kinks into which paint can seep. Then peel off the release tape from the surface and your guides are set.

Stencil tape striping requires brushes: the pinstriping brush is the most important element for an excellent final result. We carry a full line of brushes specifically designed for this purpose, including the renowned Mack brushes. Loading a pinstriping brush (called palleting) is different than loading a standard paintbrush. Dip your brush into the paint and draw the brush across an old magazine page, rolling the handle between your fingers. Stray bristles will be held down by the paint, which will load evenly without air pockets. Use your pinky and ring fingers to steady your hand as you stripe. When the paint gets tacky, peel off the tape and you're done.

(3) Freehand Striping

This method is the most advanced method and requires the most practice to master, but offers unlimited flexibility. The easiest method for the freehand striping novice is to lay down a strip of masking tape about 1/4" from where you would like the line to be. Use the tape as a visual guide for your stripes. Do not use standard masking tape for edging pinstripes. Pinstriping paint will seep and bleed under the edge of standard masking tape. The pinstriping on your vehicle can be as plain or as fancy as your patience and level of skill allow.

Regardless of the design, pinstriping is one of the best ways to make your vehicle uniquely yours. Like anything worth doing right, practice will lead to worthwhile results. Having the best possible supplies is critical too, and that's where Eastwood comes in, offering the best equipment and toll-free technical support. If you have any questions, feel free to call 866-759-2131