Information on Pinstriping

Pinstriping is the application of a very thin line of paint or other material called a pinstripe, and is generally used for decoration. Freehand pin stripers use a specialty brush known as a pinstriping brush. Fine lines in textiles are also called pinstripes.

Automotive, bike shops, and do-it-yourself car and motorcycle mechanics use paint pinstriping to create their own custom look on the automotive bodies and parts.

Pinstriping on Motorcycles

Pinstriping can commonly be seen exhibited on custom motorcycles, such as those built by Choppers Inc., Indian Larry, and West Coast Choppers. The decorative use of pinstriping on motorcycles as it is commonly seen today was pioneered by artists Kenny Howard, (aka Von Dutch) and Dean Jeffries, [Ed "Big Daddy" Roth], are considered pioneers of the Kustom Kulture lifestyle that spawned in the early 1950s, and are widely recognized as the "originators of modern pinstriping."

Pinstriping on Vehicles

In automotive body work, pinstripes are a thin vinyl tape or paint. The tape versions are adhered directly to the painted surface in the pattern desired, whilst painted ones are done by skilled artists with 'sword' shaped brushes. The paint used by the vast majority of stripers is a lettering enamel made by 1 Shot although companies such as House of Kolor and lately Kustom Shop also make striping urethane.

The goal of pinstriping is to enhance the curves of the surface, and the lines are generally of a complementary color. In any other form of decorative pinstripes, the goal is the same.

Pinstripe décor is also applied to motorcycles, trucks, boats, and surfboards.

Whilst stripers such as Lyle Fisk, Von Dutch and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth are possibly the best known early practitioners of 'modern' pinstriping, many of the early stripers cite Tommy "The Greek" Hrones and Dean Jeffries as their major influences.

There are countless brush artists who carry on the tradition, not only in the US but across the globe - The Doc in Compton, Preacher (Peter McDermott) in San Antonio Texas, Steve Kafka in Arizona, Victor in Nebraska, Morkel Snorkel in Amherst, One Arm Bandit in New England, Anthony White in Florida, SCORCH (Lee Daniel) in Central California/ Oklahoma, MWM from Hot Rod Surf in San Diego, Brando in Chicago and Herb Martinez to name a few of the US stripers. Tramp Warner in Canada...Neil Melliard and Tootall Paul in the UK, Tom Plate in Germany, Simon Watts from Australia, Makoto in Japan and Eduardo Bignami in Brazil show that pinstriping has become a worldwide art form.

The technology used by contemporary stripers has changed little since the '50s. Mack still makes brushes the same way they did when Andrew Mack started the company, although their product line includes more than just swords. Stripers such as Steve Kafka and Mr J have designed brushes suited to their striping styles, the Kafka brushes make the swirls and complicated designs, which make up Kafka's signature style, much easier to do and Mr J's Xcaliber brushes have shorter hairs than the traditional Mack, making them more suited to beginners.

View our supplies of Pinstriping materials »

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