How to Put Adhesive Stripes on a Car

Applying an adhesive strip onto the side of a car is a simple process. As long as the surface of the car is clean, and you take your time during installation, the process will go smoothly. Allot a few hours to complete the task just to make sure you have enough time to design the stripe placement and apply all stripes to the surface of the car.

Plan the placement of your stripes before starting to place them on the car. You can place stripes along the top or sides of the car in whatever pattern you want. Usually people place the stripes down the front top and nose of the car, or along the sides near the wheel wells. Plan to install the stripes on a cool day with temperatures between 15.5 and 26.6 degrees C.

Wash the car with a sponge and detergent to rinse away all dirt, grease and wax covering the car. It is essential for the adhesion of the decal that the surface of the car be clean. Allow the car to dry for a few hours.

Measure the area that you want to cover with the stripes. Cut a strip of adhesive stripe to match this measurement plus a couple of extra inches to allow for the curvature of the car.

Remove a few inches of the backing tape from the strip. Press the striping tape onto one side of the car. Remove the rest of the backing from the stripe. Gently pull the end of the stripe piece to keep the tape from bunching.

Align the end of the stripe in the pattern that you want to use for the stripes. Lower the stripe to the surface of the car and gently set the adhesive stripe in place. Gently pull the stripe up to adjust alignment if you are not happy with the original placement.

Press the stripe into the surface of the car by smoothing it down with a soft cloth. Apply any other stripes that you want to install. Cover the ends of the stripes with clear nail polish to prevent them from curling up.


To make a curve, simply remove the backing in small sections at a time. Curve the stripe as you go along to match the curve design that you want to make on the side of the car.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Detergent
  • Adhesive stripes
  • Measuring tape
  • Soft cloth
  • Nail polish
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About the Author

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.