devils paint-brushes

Pin striping


Pin striping (pinstriping) is the application of a very thin line of paint or other material called a pin stripe, 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 pin stripes.

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


Pin striping 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 pin striping on motorcycles as it is commonly seen today was pioneered by artists Kenny Howard, (aka Von Dutch) and Dean Jeffries, both of whom are considered pioneers of the Kustom Kulture lifestyle that spawned in the early 1950s, and are widely recognized as the "originators of modern pin striping."


In automotive body work, pin stripes are a thin vinyl tape or paint. The tape versions are adhered directly to the painted surface in the pattern desired, while 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 pin striping is to enhance the curves of the surface, and the lines are generally of a complementary color. In any other form of decorative pin stripes, the goal is the same.

Pin stripe 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' pin striping, 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, 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 and Herb Martinez to name a few of the US stripers. Neil Melliard in the UK, Tom Plate in Germany, Simon Watts from Australia and Makoto in Japan show that pin striping has become a worldwide art form.

The technology used by contemporary stripers has changed little since the '50s. Mack still make 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.

Most stripers will stripe all manner of things, including toilet seats and office furniture--pretty much anything that will hold still. Stripers can often be seen demonstrating their craft at car and motorcycle shows.

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