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How to Pinstripe a Guitar or Anything with the Preval vFan Portable Airbrush System


Real-paint pinstriping adds a personal touch to your cars, motorcycles and musical instruments – in fact, just about anything that holds paint! But does the task seem too daunting? We’ve been there. Hand pinstriping is an art that can take years to master, but you don’t need to be as talented as the famed pinstriper Von Dutch to add a little custom flair to your personal items. For the do-it-yourselfers, we show you how to pinstripe just about anything, using a few simple materials and a Preval v Fan Portable Airbrush System.


  • When you think of pinstriping, you probably think of cars and motorcycles. The cool thing is that you can actually use real-paint pinstriping to personalize so much more than that, including arts, crafts and home-décor items. Feel free to throw in your boats and surfboards, too!
  • The Preval v Fan Portable Airbrush System is a great choice for pinstriping. Freestyle pinstripers use a specialty pinstripe brush to do their jobs. The Preval v Fan Portable Airbrush System provides the same kind of precision, and it minimizes waste and overspray.
  • Let your imagination run wild. Use pinstriping stencil tape (available in many stripe widths and combinations) or flexible vehicle masking tape to create super detailed designs.
  • Make sure your design is exactly how you want it before applying any paint! The vFan (vs. a brush) will ensure incredibly even coverage and color, and your friends will also notice the stripe’s fine, razor-sharp edges. But not if the design wasn’t right in the first place. 
  • You may have heard or read about vinyl ‘pinstriping,’ but paint pinstriping is a great bet if you’re looking for durability and a strong finish.  
  • Check to make sure the kind of paint you’re using is appropriate for what you’re pinstriping, both environments (indoor/outdoor) and substrate.
  • Pinstriping looks even better when you choose colors that complement the current hue of your car (or item!).


Solvent-resistant gloves

Eye protection 

Respirator or paint mask

Preval V-Fan Portable Airbrush System

Solvent-resistant masking or painting tape + paper

Pinstriping stencil tape(s), or Solvent-resistant flexible thin-width masking tape to create more intricate designs

Paint color(s) of choice and of appropriate type for the job


  • Start out by cleaning the area to make sure the substrate is clean! It should be free of dust, oils and dirt.
    • If you want your work to pop, make sure you don’t skip this step. It’s the most important factor in pinstriping prep. 
  • It’s time to lay out your pinstriping stencil tape on the substrate. Get creative! The tape is flexible and allows for some curvature.
    • NOTE: if you’re looking to make very tight bends, make your life easier; use thin-width flexible masking tape to lay the design out in addition to stencil tape. Standard masking tape might cause paint bleed.
  • Once you’re satisfied with your awesome design, remove the backing film from the stencil tape.
  • Don’t forget to mask all nearby do-not-paint areas with tape and masking paper!


  • Don’t settle: Mix that paint to make sure the pigment hasn’t migrated to the bottom of the can.
  • Fill your Preval vFan Airbrush with the pinstripe paint color you’ve decided will knock socks off.
  • Now, the necessary-but-not-as-fun step: Test spray the paint on a sample substrate to check for color and consistency. This will also help you get a feel for the Preval v Fan Airbrush, and now you can make any adjustments before you officially begin!
  • Use smooth and even passes as you paint your design into the voids of the stencil tape. 
  • Remove the masking and stencil tape to reveal the finished pinstripes! Take an extended nap while you let it dry. When all’s done, invite friends over to oooh and aaah over your handiwork. 


Disclaimer: The Preval How-To Articles like this one are for informational purposes only and are intended to provide general guidance.  Because products, materials, techniques and building codes vary, and federal, state, municipal laws and ordinances are continuously changing, C.A Acquisitions LLC, Chicago Aerosol and Preval assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein and disclaim any liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project.  It is the responsibility of the reader (you) to comply with all appropriate laws, manufacturers’ guidelines and rules and regulations for any project or product used. Take all safety precautions and exercise caution. Follow the MSDS warning for every product or paint you use to complete the project.  If you HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR DOUBTS IN REGARD TO ANY ELEMENT OF A PROJECT, PLEASE CONSULT A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL. 

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