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Tool and Material Checklist:

  • Knife or single-edge razor 
  • Solvent blade 
  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Measuring tape 
  • Clean cloths
  • Wax or polish remover 
  • Squeegee
  • Spray bottle 
  • Hair dryer
  • Water 
  • Multiple-stripe tape kit

With decorative, self-adhesive striping, you can personalize your car, van, or truck at low cost. Striping Is available in a variety of colors and in sizes ranging from pinstripe to 5" wide bands. Application is not difficult; with practice, patience, and the basic techniques presented in this booklet, you can achieve great-looking results.


The first step is to look over your vehicle and plan a design that takes into account such factors as body lines and personal taste. Most commonly, stripes follow the upper fender line and the lines that run between or just above the wheel wells. It is a good idea to sketch a rough design on $per before beginning the actual application. Remember: you are limited only by your imagination. Be as creative as you want.


1. Stripe only when the temperature is between 600 and 80 F. Warm weather can cause tape stretching, quick evaporation of the wet solution, and other complications. Cooler weather will affect the flexibility of the stripe and, consequently, the quality of adhesion.

2. If possible, work inside a garage or other enclosed area. Never work in direct sunlight, and avoid working in dusty areas where dirt can contaminate the adhesive.

3. Thoroughly clean the car's surface with a mixture of water and mild liquid detergent. in order for the striping to adhere properly, the surface must be free of dirt, wax, and other contaminants. Use wax or polish remover if necessary.

4. To remove old stripes, use a hair dryer to soften the adhesive; the stripes should pull off easily. If adhesive residue remains, use a recommended solvent to remove It.

5. After applying any kind of striping, allow at least 24 hours before running the vehicle through a car wash.


Follow these procedures if the striping tape you're working with does not have a removable top carrier.

Straight Lines

1. Measure the amount of striping needed.

2. Unwind and cuts length of tape a few inches longer than the required length.

3. Make sure the surface of the car is clean.

4. Remove the backing paper from the tape and apply the first few inches of striping to the application area.

5. Grasp the loose end of the striping tape.

NOTE: Avoid contaminating the adhesive with your fingers. The natural oils in your skin will affect its adhesion qualities.

6. Gently pull the striping taut, but do not stretch It. If the tape is stretched during application, shrinkage will be a problem later.

7. Carefully scan the tape for proper alignment. It is helpful to use the car's body lines as alignment guides.

8. Once the striping is aligned, gently lower the tape to the car's surface. Applying the striping in long lengths ensures straightness; do not apply it in short pieces.

9. Step back to check the alignment. If the line is not straight, gently lift the striping and try again.

10. Burnish the stripe to the car using a squeegee or soft rag.

11. Apply each stripe in this manner. Be sure to stand back and double-check each line before burnishing.

For panel ends, such as door openings, use a knife or single-edge razor blade to trim the striping tape 1/8' before the panel end. If possible, hold the knife flat against the tape and lift the loose end. When a direct cutting action is necessary, hold the blade flat against the surface to prevent the point from digging in. Remember that a too heavy trim cut can penetrate your car's finish.

NOTE; Trimming the tape 1/8" from the panel end leaves a flat, uninterrupted surface for adhesion, and also guards against lift when the car is washed. For extra protection, dab the ends of the tape with clear nail polish.


When applying intricate curves, feel free to use drafting aids (such as french curves) and a marking pen to establish guides. Keep in mind, however, that the tape will not stick to these marks. It is probably better to get accustomed to working freehand.

1. Cut off an ample amount of striping tape.

2. Use your right hand to establish the arc of the curve.

3. Use one finger of your left hand to press the tape to the car as the curve is being formed.

4. Do not remove any more backing paper than is necessary. To avoid contaminating the adhesive, leave the backing paper on the tape where your hand is grasping it.

5. Keep both hands moving as the curve is being formed. Some gentle stretching might be required when running curves, but avoid this whenever possible.

6. If the first attempt fails, gently lift the tape and try again. In some awkward situations, it might be easier to apply the striping by switching hand functions.

7. Once the curve is properly applied, burnish the tape for permanent adhesion.


Striping tape with a removable top carrier is applied in the same manner as tape without a carrier, at least until the stripe has been burnished to the car. At that point, the top carrier must be removed. Lift it up at the start of the stripe and slowly pull It back in the direction of the remaining stripe, keeping it close to the car. Then burnish the striping again. Trim the tape in the manner already described.

NOTE: When applying around a tight curve, it might be necessary to remove the top carrier first.


Striping that is 3" wide (or more) is much easier to apply when wet. Use the following procedure:

1. Mix a capful of mild liquid detergent with 1 gallon of water. This solution will make the striping tape more manageable and allow you to properly position it before It adheres.

2. Place the solution in a bucket or spray bottle.

3. Measure and cut a piece of tape to the desired length, adding a few inches to allow for errors.

4. Slowly peel away the backing paper, being careful not to let any dirt particles contaminate the adhesive surface.

5. Thoroughly moisten the adhesive side of the tape with the water and detergent solution. This temporarily deactivates the stickiness.

6. Apply liberal amounts of the solution to the cars application area.

7. Position the stripe on the car. The entire piece of tape can be moved freely when the adhesive and body surface are wet.

8. Once the tape is positioned, squeegee the water from beneath it so that it adheres firmly to the surface.

NOTE: To avoid wrinkling the tape, don't squeeze too hard or too fast. Apply just enough pressure to remove all air and water.

9. If applicable, separate the top carrier from the end of the stripe and slowly pull It back toward the other end of the stripe, not out from the body.

10. Trim the edges around the doors and fender wells in the manner described earlier.


A variety of end designs can be used to add the finishing touches to your striping job. A popular choice is an arrowhead, which can be done in one of two ways:

Single-Stripe Tape

1. Run a second piece of tape at an angle to form the lower portion of the arrowhead.

2. Run a third piece of tape in a slight curve to form the backside of the arrowhead.

3. Trim the excess tape with a knife or single-edge razor blade.

4. Burnish for permanent adhesion.

Multiple-Stripe Tape

1. Leave an extra length of tape at the ends during the initial application.

2. Once the top carrier is removed (If applicable), separate the stripes and begin to form the backside of the arrowhead with each stripe.

3. Take another piece of tape, separate the stripes, and form the actual arrowhead.

4. Trim away excess tape with a knife.

5. Burnish the design.

NOTE: Some multiple-stripe tape kits include precut arrowheads. All you have to do is trim the end of the stripe square, apply the arrowhead (leaving a 1/8" gap between the strips and the arrowhead), then burnish.


Applying striping around a panel (such as a door, fender, or pillar) is known as panelizing. The procedure is done as follows:

1. Lay stripes around the border of the panel. Leave extra lengths of tape for overlapping.

2. After all the stripes have been applied, trim the ends. In the case of sharp-angled ends, trim bluntly to Insure proper adhesion.

3. Check the lines for alignment after the panel is complete.

4. If any adjustments are necessary, lift the tape carefully and reapply.

5. Burnish for proper adhesion.

There are three techniques that can be used to form corners when panelizing with multiple-color tapes. They include:


I. Remove the top carrier (if applicable) when overlapping the two stripes.

2. Make sure the right colors align (for example, red with red) on the inside angle.

3. Trim away any unnecessary overlapping portion.

Basket weave

1. Remove the top carrier (if overlapping the two stripes.

2. Make sure that the same colors do not match up on the inside angle.

3. Cut the stripes at 900 corners or angles.

Reverse Corners

1. Apply and burnish the horizontal stripe.

2. Remove the top carrier (if applicable).

3. Apply the vertical stripe so that it overlaps the horizontal stripe to form a 90 corner.

4. Make sure that the same colors do not match up at the inside angle.

5. Cut the stripe at a 45 angle.

6. Remove the excess tape and the top carrier (if applicable).

7. Burnish for proper adhesion.


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