I have a couple of small (1-2mm in diameter) rust spots on the roof of my truck. I'm thinking of painting flat black racing stripes over the hood (bonnet to you Brits!) and roof of the truck to cover the small spots. And when I say paint over them, I mean to say, properly take it down to the metal, eliminate the rust on the metal, treat the metal, then paint the stripes over them. (For reference, the truck is gloss black.)

I understand it is a little bit more complicated than just laying down some parallel lines and throwing paint on there. It is my understanding the stripes need to be slimmer at the front of the truck and become fatter towards the rear to make it look optically correct as you look at them. Is there a magic formula? Does anyone have the proper way these should be done? I'm looking for instructions from what needs to be done with the existing paint so new paint will adhere. Also looking to find out if you just lay flat black paint on it, or do you use flat clear? Any professional suggestions are welcome.

EDIT: For a little more context, the plan is for twin stripes. The vehicle is an '06 Chevy Silverado. The paint right now is gloss black (black w/clear coat). The twin stripes would need to probably fit on the hood, but don't need to be as wide as the raised portion of the hood. Since I want it to be flat black, I don't think the additional pin stripe on the sides would be required, but may need to be for aesthetics sake. Like I've said, I'm a function over form kind of guy, so I need some ideas on how to make it happen.

  • Have you looked at uneven racing stripes. May 25, 2015 at 0:53
  • @GettingNifty - The stripes are supposed to be fatter in the middle (at the top of the car) so they look like they are straight. This has to do with parallax. I want to know if there is, by design, a certain amount of width displacement by length or any other tricks which may come in to play which I'm unaware of. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm a function before form kind of guy. I have a clue about painting them, I'm just looking for more information so I can do it right ... this first time. May 25, 2015 at 1:24
  • Have you tried masking out the areas and seeing what it looks like? May 25, 2015 at 8:20
  • @JuannStrauss - Not yet. Looking for info first. I'm sure I could lay something out ... I just don't want it to look stupid. May 25, 2015 at 13:07
  • If you mask off the lines, you'd be able to see whether they look right or not. May 25, 2015 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


I think you may be overthinking this. Parallax means the appearance will vary depending on the distance and angle between the viewer and the truck, so unless there's some ISO standard reference point for racing stripe viewing, whatever shape looks right at (say) six feet will look off from 40' away in the opposite lane, and vice versa. I'd base any line variance on what looks best overall, meaning whatever shape seems to fit your truck. I've seen older Camaros with stripes that get wider front-to-back, but it's definitely an effect and they aren't trying to make the stripes look parallel. If it was me, I'd just keep everything parallel and constant width, possibly angling the front edge to keep it parallel with the hood line, but it's up to you.


I'd agree with Juann Strauss' comment. Try drawing the shape of the stripes out on the car with masking tape, then adjusting until they look right to you. Once you've got a shape you're happy with, run a new strip of tape along the outside of the ones you've just drawn, and peel off the original (so you've now got the paint you're keeping masked instead of the bit you're repainting...)

Once you're happy with the alignment, you'll need to rub back the paint in the area to be covered, to give the new paint something to adhere to. Use an etch primer on the area you've taken back to bare metal, for the same reason.

I think the number of coats and whether or not they need varnish/clear over the top depends on the paint type...

  • I know my question is a compound one, but do you have anything for me on the rest of it? (the process of how to do it all) May 27, 2015 at 12:52
  • Trial and error. There isn't really anything you can do besides making small adjustments until it looks right. A tape measure is useful for keeping the lines parallel, but there's not much you can do besides masking, checking and remasking. May 27, 2015 at 15:40
  • @Paulster2 - see edit...
    – Nick C
    May 28, 2015 at 8:58

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