How to Apply a Paint Pinstripe to Your Car

by Jenny Carver

Pinstripes add color and definition to a car's body lines. You can apply vinyl pinstripes in the same manner as applying stickers on a car, but these eventually dry out and become cracked and brittle. Paint pinstripes last much longer and can be customized to your exact tastes. Paint pinstripes can be applied directly on top of your car's clear coat. Pinstripe professionals typically charge hundreds of dollars for hand-painted pinstripes, but you can do them yourself a few materials and a steady hand.

Make sure the tape is the exact width of the stripe you want. Stick the tape to the front of the front fender, and stretch it out to the rear of the vehicle without touching it against the paint.

Look at the tape or have someone stand on the side of the vehicle and tell you when the line looks straight and is in the position in which you want the stripe. Carefully place the tape against the side of the vehicle and smooth it with your hand.

Check the tape to make sure you are happy with the position. Place a piece of fine-line tape just underneath and another just above the masking tape. Make sure the fine-line tape is straight and follows the exact edge of the masking tape.

Peel the masking tape off of the vehicle and from between the fine-line tape. Be careful not to move the fine-line tape.

Add wide masking tape along the outer edges of the fine-line tape. Make sure the wide tape is touching the vehicle's paint and overlapping the fine-line tape, but isn't touching the paint where the pinstripe will be.

Place masking paper along the edges of the wide masking tape and secure it with more tape. Make sure the top and bottom of the area you want to pinstripe is now completely protected from paint drips and the area you want painted is straight and exposed.

Paint the open area with pinstripe paint and a pinstripe brush. The size of the line and brush is your decision. Paint one coat and let the paint dry for 5 hours. Peel all of the masking tape off slowly to reveal your new paint pinstripe.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.

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