Parking Lot Stripers 101: How To Paint Arrows And Circles And More

Parking lot stripers are fantastic tools, but are you getting the most from your equipment? Today we will focus on the best ways to use your line striping machine for circles, arrows, and wall markings. After all, using your striping equipment to the fullest is the key to working smarter, not harder.

Circles Made Simple! You know the size circle you need, so how do you get the job done? Let’s say your circle is 10 yards. Find your center point, and hammer in a dowel if it’s a field, or have someone hold it firmly if on asphalt pavement or concrete floor. Take a firmly knotted loop and place it over the stick. Your parking lot striper will now need 5 yards from the center to make a 10 yard circle. Mark 5 yards on the rope (leaving excess rope for the knot), and tie off to your line striping machine, or to your chalk. Either way, make sure to have your front caster wheel set for the turning point of the arc. Test with a dry run before running paint through the striping equipment.

Tip: The loop is critical instead of a knot; otherwise the rope will wind around the post and get shorter as you execute your turn!

Arrows Done Right: Parking lot stripers with a detachable spray gun are easily the best tools for the job. Rather than wheeling back and forth over your arrow stencil, this style of line striping machine allows you to make passes with the spray gun by hand. You can always buy spray cans of traffic paint if you’re striping equipment does not have a detachable gun. The key thing about arrows is size, and durability. Your best all-around size is a 60-inch arrow. To get durable markings, do 2 thin coats of paint allowing each layer to dry completely. A single thick coating is prone to peeling and flaking, ruining all your hard work!

Pro Tip: Having multiple arrow stencils saves time, money, and mistakes since you don’t have to remove the stencil while it dries.

Walls And Curbs: If walls and curbs are a big part of your work, seriously consider upgrading your parking lot striper to one with a detachable gun. Not only does this save you and your crew time, it is far cheaper than continually buying spray cans of traffic paint. The main thing here, just like with arrows, is to apply two thin coats of paint with your striping equipment. Not just for long-lasting markings, but also to avoid paint drips running down the wall or curb.

Tips: A 217 tip is a good choice for wall markings. Be sure and use extra cardboard around your stencil to protect against overspray from your line striping machine.

Striping equipment is an investment that pays off when you use it to its fullest potential. Get the most from your line striping machine by learning how to use it for circles, arrows, and wall and curb markings, and not just for straight lines. It you don’t yet have one with a detachable spray gun, consider investing in an upgrade. Now that’s using parking lot stripers to the max!

Judd Burdon

About Judd Burdon

Judson Burdon is the founder and owner of, a division of Loyalty International Ltd. He's helped thousands of home owners, property owners and contractors get the right tools and sealcoating equipment they need for their properties. Find out more about Judd at Google.

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