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.
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, 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 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 (Kenny Howard) 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 Kafkain Arizona, Alton Gillespie in Fort Worth, Texas, Victor in Nebraska, Morkel Snorkel in Amherst, Alan Johnson Blairstown, New Jersey, Cliff Anderson Minneapolis, Minnesota, 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, KONG in San Diego, Brando in Chicago, Tommy "Itchy" Otis in Los Angeles, Von Hot Rod, and Herb Martinez to name a few of the US stripers. Tramp Warner in Canada...Nefarious, 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 pin striping has become a worldwide art form. In addition to that, Mark Court of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars still pinstripes the "coachline" of that company's cars by hand.
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.