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Customizing Your Car: Pinstriping Basics

By Carlo Morelli

Did you know pinstriping has a long history? Even before the invention of automobiles, pinstriping was used as an ornamental decoration for horse and buggy carriages.

Custom pinstripes started appearing on automobiles in the mid-1950s. Although pinstriping had been on cars long before that, the last American car to appear with auto pinstriping had been made by General Motors in the late 30ís. For those individuals with muscle or sports cars, customizing their ride is an important part of owning and showcasing the vehicle, and pinstriping is a final touch.

Pinstripes are commonly painted in two colors: one that sets off the body color, and another, thin line, in a color contrasted with the stripe to make it stand out.

Mechanical pin striping is the best way to stripe larger vehicles- trucks, vans, or station wagons. The benefit is it lays down stripes of constant width, letting you focus attention on getting the stripe oriented properly along your working surface. You can set up your stripe lines using magnetic pinstriping strips with center grooves designed to be paint templates. They hold fast to steel surfaces, and can also work as guidea for your hand.

Striping with stencil tape is also popular. There are several types of stencil tape that are suitable for auto pinstriping applications. Stencil tape striping uses brushes, and a specialized pinstriping brush is an essential ingredient in a successful project. Stencil tape allows you to apply different color stripes without needing the other stripes to dry.

Freehand pinstriping is the most difficult method, requiring the most practice to master, but permits unrestricted creativity. The simplest plan for a freehand striping newbie is to lay a strip of masking tape down approximately a quarter inch from where you want the finished line to be, and then use this tape as visual guiding for your stripes. Whatever you do, donít use regular masking tape, or your pinstriping paint will bleed under the edge. Get some auto body masking tape from an auto supply store.

No matter what method you use, pinstriping is one of the finest ways to make your vehicle distinctive. Just like anything else worth doing right, practice makes priceless results but having the best equipment you can get your hands on helps too.

About the author:
Carlo Morelli writes for http://www.caroom.us/Check out Caroom for more on automotive pinstriping.


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