Painting Guide: The Essential Tips for Cutting In Paint
Hoping to do some paint work around the house? After you’ve sanded and primed the walls, grab your favorite nontoxic paint, quality brushes, and get started. One aspect of painting many people seem to have some difficulty with is cutting in. Instead of putting masking tape all over doors, windows, and other tight spaces, cutting in paint can give you that solid, straight line of paint—if done well.
Say you want white baseboards and white window trims, but a darker wall color. First, you’d paint the trim, but then with cutting in, instead of using tape to cover up those areas, you would use your steady hand to paint a straight line. This means you can just get right to painting instead of wasting time with masking tape. Check out these tips for cutting in paint so you can become even more like a professional painter.
What You’ll Need
- A high-quality, angled sash brush (grab a few different sizes—1 ½ in. and 2 ½ in. are a good start)
- A cut bucket/paint pail
- Putty Knife and a Damp Rag
6 Tips for Cutting Paint
1. Don’t Use Too Much Paint
Pour the paint into a smaller paint pail, but make sure not to pour too much in. Rather than dipping into the paint container itself, a paint pail will prevent you from dipping the brush in too deep and will keep you from grabbing too much paint. Pour only about an inch of paint into the bucket to inhibit you from paint excess.
2. Pat the Brush Don’t Wipe
After you dip into your bucket, resist the urge to wipe the paint off on the edge. Wiping the sides will remove paint that is necessary for cutting in. Patting the brush on the sides of the bucket will get rid of excess, but still leave you enough paint to make a thick, clean line.
3. Wiggle into Tight Corners
When you reach a section on the wall that seems a bit tough to reach, vibrate your brush in the slightest to release extra paint. This paint will then filter into those small areas. It’s a great technique to fill into those tight corners.
4. Work Up to the Line
When you cut in along any surface that requires a straight line, don’t go in for a perfect line right away. Instead, use a crescent motion to get the paint to the edge without getting super close. Start slightly away from the edge you need to reach, and as you paint, let your strokes get closer with each pass. Try not to reload the brush with paint unless absolutely required.
5. Cut in Quickly
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to cut in quickly. If you do not want to use tape, you must keep your hand steady and work quickly. Once you’ve done your crescent work and gotten somewhat close to the line, your second or third pass should cut all the way to the trim. With steady pressure, move your entire arm as you paint the line—this will keep you from moving too slow or curving the brush in any way.
6. Wipe Off Mess-Ups
This is where the putty knife and damp rug come into play. For accurate cleanup, wrap the damp rag just once around the putty knife and slide it along any mess-ups. This wipes off the excess and ensures another clean line. Make sure to do this right after the mistake is made or else you’ll have to be more aggressive with your cleanup.