Pinstriping Made Easy




This instructable will show the average person how they can create custom pinstriping easily on an object such as a guitar using pre-made Pinstriping masks such as those found at

Step 1: Preparation

This instructable will show you how you can easily pinstripe an object such as a guitar using pre-made Pinstriping masks such as those found at

Clean the area where the vinyl will be applied. Rubbing alcohol is preferable. This will remove any existing dirt or oil present on your work. The air and application surface should be between 60 and 80 degrees F.

- Pinstriping Mask (available from
- Scissors
- Squeegee (credit card will do)
- Razor blade or Xacto Knife
- Striping Brush
- Striping paint such as One Shot

Step 2: Mask Application

After cleaning the surface the next step is to apply the mask. This is done as follows;
1. Cut off excess vinyl around edge of mask as required and discard.
2. Locate mask on surface and hold in place with masking tape. Measure from Top and bottom and side to side to ensure mask is exactly where you want it.
3. Start peeling off the backing and remove half of the backing paper with your scissors. Be careful during this step to ensure that none of the mask is left sticking to the backing paper. (I didn't pay attention and had some minor problems around the eye brows)
4. Adhere the mask to the surface and gently smooth into position working from the center outward using your squeegee.
5. Remove masking tape and then the remainder of the backing paper.
6. Adhere the remainder of the mask to the surface and gently smooth into position
7. Smooth down the whole image to ensure mask is properly adhered.

Step 3: Premask Removal

Remove Pre-mask paper from the top of the pattern. Always pull the Pre-Mask back at 180 degrees to itself. If mask begins to pickup Stop, replace the tape, squeegee some more.

Step 4: Paint

1. Mix up paint and apply it carefully to the pattern. Try to be neat and practice your pinstriping techniques.
2. Use multiple colors if desired. Note that you can use these templates with an Airbrush but a regular brush will give it that hand painted appearance.
3. When you are done painting, paint a small area on the mask to use as a test area for testing dryness.

In this example four different colors were used.

Tip: Start with the lines in the middle of the pattern and work your way towards the edges to prevent smudging.

Step 5: Mask Removal

1. Let your paint dry until it becomes tacky (do not let it completely dry) using your test area to test dryness.
2. When the paint is tacky slowly peel the mask off at 180 degrees to itself. Be very careful to Not touch the painted areas
3. Use your Xacto knife to carefully lift the small pieces of mask up. Use extreme care during this step to avoid nicking the paint or your original surface

Step 6: Finished

Now sit back and admire you finished project.

These masks are available in several designs and are reasonably priced. I found different designs on several web sites but liked the ones on the best. They came with instructions which I used to develop this Instructable.

What would I do differently next time?
1. Plan my colors more carefully. I used red for the flames and when the mask was remove the red did not stand out as much against the background of the stained guitar.
2. Refinish the guitar body first. The Guitar that I used was pretty beat. The striping turned out well however all the nicks, scratches and marks on the body take away from the overall look of the striping.
3. Work from the center out to prevent smudges. I got caught up in the excitement and didn't think about what I was doing.



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    14 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    no offense to all but whats teh guitar hero craze your all slaves to the corporate world think of all the big companys feeding off your money. this is why they make so many versions of this game personally ive played it and it sucks ill stick to my real guitar

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Corporations bad, yes I agree. However please, learn to use punctuation and grammar. I'm not all fascist about language but you're making the rest of us critics look like stoned out garden gnomes.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Looks good, I wish the red would stand out more some how though. Over all it looks great!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    {OT} Hey, it's a Kapa Continental! Just like mine... Cool 60's US guitar. Is yours a 6 or a 12 string?

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    cool, i plan on doing this to my guitar hero guitar.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i can account for his not posting on every instructable. as i tend to view all of them. even if i dont comment.

    Erik Lindemann

    11 years ago on Step 6

    Cool, I plan on doing something like this on my Guitar Hero guitar.