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If you’re like us, you grew up admiring the work of guys like “Big Daddy” Roth and Von Dutch. You might have even tried to replicate that work on your own street rod. It may have turned out great, and it may not have.


Laying down lines is not as easy as those guys made it out to be. They practiced for hours, non-stop, until they got it right, and then they kept practicing. There are countless DVD’s, books, and How-To instructional write ups on how to get started in the art of pinstriping. What school you go to, or whose book or DVD you buy is up to you. What we did was compile a few tips and tricks for you as you dive head first into it, or maybe just dip your toe.

Practice makes perfect. We’ve heard it a million times, and it still holds true here. A great practice surface is a sheet of glass or Lexan. Why you ask? First off, it is clear, so you can tape a sheet of paper underneath it and practice with patterns, and second, because once the paint dries you can scrape it off and reuse the glass for the next attempt.

Speedway Motors carries 1-Shot Pinstriping Paint. Many of the pros use this product, so it is a fair bet that it works. A good odorless mineral spirit will fit the bill if and when you need to thin the enamel. One mistake many make is to over-thin the paint; this will lead to less pigment making it to the surface. The less pigment that makes it, the more susceptible your linework will be to flaking.

Holding the brush like you would a pen or pencil will also balance the brush and make it easier to control. By holding at the ferrule (the bit between the handle and the actual hair of the brush) the handle will “float” allowing you to spin it for tighter corners and turns. When you are making a long straight line, it may help to run a line of tape a couple inches away from the intended line. By extending your pinky finger and resting it along this tape line, you will make your line nice and straight.

Lastly, think about your “canvas”, be it hood, fender, or maybe even a motorcycle helmet or gas tank. Sketch out your design, and ask yourself if it complements the canvas it is destined to adorn. You can have the perfect design, and lay beautiful lines, but if it doesn’t flow with the lines of the canvas you lose something.

To get started, take a look at a kit we put together by clicking here. And remember, practices makes perfect. Happy ‘striping!

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