Painter’s Tape and Cutting In: Are They the Best Way to Paint Edges?

A simple painting job can go awry when novices run up against ceilings, moldings and other areas where you need a straight line. Have you been wondering “What is the best way to paint edges?” Cutting in is your answer. Here are pro tips to get the perfect straight line. A professional team will handle these kinds of tasks with ease and accuracy, contact us today if you would like pricing and information on interior painting services.

Work From a Paint Pail

Avoid overloading your paint brush rom the gallon by pouring a small amount into a paint pail. An inch in the bottom will suffice for cutting in on your project. Limiting the paint on your brush at the onset will create less paint drips and running in your project.

Pat to Load the Brush

The common practice is to dunk the brush then wipe excess paint off on the edge of a bucket. When cutting in, you’ll save more time by dipping the bristles only an inch into paint. Don’t wipe the excess paint off, pat the side of the brush on the pail.

Wiggle It

If you still have missed spots in your corners after the second coat, try wiggling your brush. Place the bristles right against your cut in and gentle wiggle the brush back and forth. The gentle vibration should be enough to cover the missed areas.

Mask the top

Once you have mastered cutting in along door and window frames, you’ll find you only have to mask the top of the projects. Gravity will make a mess on the tops of cut ins, but won’t be necessary on the sides of the trim. This will save you time in the prep phase.

Buy a Good-Quality, Angled Sash Brush

Novice painters might be tempted to purchase a big square-edge brush for cut ins like the pros do. Angled sash brushes are easier to control and provide better cut in for a new painter. The angle gives you a fine line of paint to make a straight line from. Generally, a 2-½-in.-wide brush is recommended. If your project has window trim or small woodwork, it’s a good idea to get a smaller brush as well.

Light it Up

When painting, it can be difficult to get yourself positioned in a way that reaches the area to be painted and provides enough light. Use overhead lighting or headlamps to create a nicely lit project area.

Work Up to the Line

When you are cutting in a ceiling or molding, start with a sweeping line to unload paint on the wall close to the line, but not necessarily on it. Repeat the process and get closer with each sweep until you are up to the cut in line.

Condition for Easier Brushing

Some pros recommend adding conditioner to water-based paint for cutting in. Most painting stores and big box retailers can add conditioner or paint extender to your gallon; either will work. They will make the paint flow easier and apply in a nice crisp line.

Correct Goofs Now

Even the pros make painting mistakes. Clean up goofs when they happen rather than after you’re done. Wet paint is much easier to wipe away than dried. Use a damp rag around a putty knife to create an accurate clean up tool. Once the film begins to set on drops, there will be a line of paint left after clean up.

Feather the Edges

Once you’re satisfied with the line, finish it by feathering or thinning the edge. Don’t reload the brush, and drag the tip of the bristles over the outside edge to spread the paint in a thin layer outward. This will mask the cut in line when you roll the rest of the wall.

Textured Ceilings

Painting next to textured ceilings, with cutting in, is very challenging. Taping off will only make a larger mess. The professionals recommend using a putty knife to knock the texture around the edge out of the way. Use the knife at a 45-degree angle and run the blade over the edge of the ceiling to be cut in. Dust the groove with a duster or dry paintbrush. Now begin the cutting in process. The think line of missing texture won’t be noticeable after the paint job is completed.

Steady Hands to Cut Quickly

If you choose not to tape off trim before painting, you’ll need a steady hand to create a straight line. It’s tempting to move slowly with purpose. This creates the opportunity for wiggles and bumps from hand tremors and wall imperfections. Don’t push the paint or you’ll be left with a ridge where the excess paint was pushed out of the way. Apply only enough pressure to let the bristles glide along the trim.

Cut One Wall at a Time

It can seem like a good idea to cut in your entire room at once, but experts say you should cut one wall and then roll it immediately. This will help avoid lines and imperfections between where you cut in and where you rolled.

Mini Hand Masker

There is no shortage of tape dispensers and tools on the market. Having tested many of them, the best we have found is from Scotch. Apply a few inches of tape along the trim. Then hold the dispenser against the trim and roll on its wheels where to tape. Press down and the built-in cutter slices the tape at the end.

A Better Edger Tool

Cutting in can baffle even the most talented painters. Because of this, there have been no shortage of tools on the market and we’ve tried them all. The experts recommend the Accubrush edge painting tool. It provides a good line with little learning time. You will still need a brush in reserve for touch ups, but for the most part this tool solves edging woes.