Before we talk about the different auto pinstriping methods we need to cover a couple of basic points :
1) Pinstripes are usually done in two colors: one that compliments 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 . . . . and
2) Make sure the surface to pinstripe is absolutely clean. Get rid of all residue with a good pre-surface preparation product
OK, now to the different auto pinstriping techniques :
A mechanical auto pinstriping is the best for striping long areas like trucks, vans, or station wagons. The main advantage 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. The Buegler pinstriper and accessories are one of the preferred by body shops and pinstripers for their high quality construction and consistent operation. The easiest way to use a Buegler striper is to set up your stripe line using a magnetic auto pinstriping strip. It adheres firmly to steel surfaces, forms mild curves, and has a center groove designed with the Buegler's guide arm in mind. The strip can also act as a guide for your hand.
Striping with Stencil Tape
There are several different stencil tapes that are suitable for almost any auto pinstriping application. Stencil tapes let you lay down stripes of different colors without waiting for the other stripes to dry.
Stencil tape striping requires brushes: the pinstriping brush is the most important element for an excellent final result.
This auto pinstriping method is the most advanced one 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 ¼ inch 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. the pinstriping paint will seep and bleed under the edge of standard masking tape. The pinstriping can be as plain or as fancy as your patience and level of skill allows.
Regardless of the design, pinstriping is one of the best ways to make your vehicle very unique. Like anything worth doing right, practice will make worthwhile results . . . . and having the best possible supplies is critical too.
Marc Deschamps is the editor of CarAccessoriesMagazine, a free online publication dedicated to automotive accessories, car care and related topics. Other articles full of information, tips and advice can be found at