How to Cut In When Painting

A quick guide on the best way to cut in when painting. By following these simple tips, you can achieve clean lines and a professional paint job.

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One of the most important steps in painting is cutting in, or painting the areas around trim, windows, doors, and other obstacles. This can be a difficult and time-consuming task, but it’s important to take your time and do it right in order to get a professional-looking finish. Here are some tips on how to cut in when painting:

1. Use a brush with soft bristles. Synthetic brushes are best for cutting in because they’re less likely to leave streaks.

2. Dip the tip of the brush into the paint, then tap it on the edge of the can to remove any excess paint.

3. Begin painting at the top of the wall and work your way down. This will prevent any drips from ruining your work.

4. Paint in small sections, using even strokes. Don’t try to paint too much at once or you’ll end up with a messy finish.

5. When you reach an obstacle like a window or door frame, use a horizontal stroke to “cut in” around it. Then go back and fill in any areas that you may have missed.

6. Once you’ve finished cutting in, allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to other areas or adding a second coat of paint.

Tools You Will Need

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll need a few basic tools to get started painting. Here’s what you’ll need:

-Paint brush
-Paint tray
-Ladder or stool (if you can’t reach the top of the wall)
-Drop cloth (to protect your floor)
– Painter’s tape (to protect trim and other surfaces you don’t want paint on)

Now that you have your tools, it’s time to learn how to cut in when painting.

Preparing the Room

Securing the room is the first priority when you’re ready to start painting. Cover all flooring completely with drop cloths or old towels. Use painter’s tape to seal off any areas you don’t want paint to touch, like window frames, doorways, hardware, and molding. Once the room is blocked off, give it a good cleaning with a vacuum and damp rag—especially where you’ll be cutting in.

Cutting In

Cutting in is the process of painting the areas that are next to trim, ceiling corners, or any other area that doesn’t need a full coat of paint. Cutting in can be a little time-consuming, but it’s worth it to get clean, sharp lines. Follow these steps to cut in like a pro.

1. Put painter’s tape on the trim or other areas you don’t want to paint. This will help you get clean lines and prevent you from accidentally painting over something you don’t want to.

2. Pour some paint into a small bowl or tray. You only need a small amount of paint for cutting in—you can always pour more if you need it.

3. Dip your brush into the paint, then tap off the excess onto a paper towel or piece of cardboard. You want a small amount of paint on your brush so that you don’t end up with drips or smears.

4. start painting! Use long, even strokes and be careful not to go outside the lines of your tape. If you make a mistake, quickly wipe it up with a damp rag before the paint has a chance to dry.

Finishing Up

Once you’ve cut in around the trim and other obstacles, it’s time to start painting the “field” of your wall or ceiling. To do this, load your brush and then tap it on the side of the can to knock off any excess paint. Position the brush about 1/2 inch from the wall or ceiling and point it in the direction you want to paint. Keeping the handle at a 45-degree angle, push the brush forward while simultaneously moving it up and down. Work in small sections until you reach your trim again.


To recap, when cutting in while painting you should:
-Start by using a 2-inch brush to paint a 3- to 4-inch border around the perimeter of the room.
-Load your brush with paint and then tap most of it off on the side of the can. You want a nice, light coat of paint—not too much and not too little.
-Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and start painting in a W pattern, moving the brush up and down as you go.
-Keep a wet edge by reloading your brush before the paint starts to dry.
-Cut in along any trim or molding with a small brush.

With these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to cutting in like a pro!