After sharing my balcony column project, I was surprised how many messages I received about not using painters tape, drop cloth, or protective plastic. I never use painters tape and am not a very messy painter. I’m confident, can cut in a perfectly straight line, and with a little practice- you can too (if you’re not already)! A crisp sharp line is always the goal, right? I promise it’s not difficult… it just takes understanding the method and a nice brush. I’m breaking my technique down in today’s blog post! You can find 10 of my best tips for cutting in a perfectly smooth and clean line. The best part? Save your time and money when it comes to installing painters tape before each project. You really don’t need it! I know some of you are probably thinking, “yeahhh right” but it’s easier than you think. Click through for a confidence booster and a little painting pep talk… plus, a fun giveaway.
*This post is sponsored by Purdy. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
#1: Invest in a High Quality Brush
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- investing in quality paint brushes is half the battle. For cutting in, I always turn to Purdy’s Clearcut or Clearcut Elite brush. I prefer the angular version, but it’s a great brush that produces a sharp, crisp line with minimal brush strokes. I take really good care of my brushes and most of them are over two or three years old. Did you know 100% of Purdy brushes are handcrafted by craftspeople (for craftspeople), using raw materials to build each brush? They’re all handmade. That’s why you’ll notice that each brush is “signed” by the person who created it with a personalized sticker and the brush maker’s signature. I try to buy paint brushes that will last and that personal detail has been a favorite since I learned about it!
#2: Skip the Painters Tape
Don’t waste your time taping things off (seriously). I’ve found that painters tape doesn’t do a great job to begin with, and I’m able to achieve better results with my trusted brush. That’s usually why I grab the Clearcut brush- because it allows for crisp lines and the perfect paint release. Painters tape usually ends up just being a mess and takes up a lot of time. However, I will use painters tape to tape out art, determine scale, or catch drywall dust if I’m screwing something into the wall… I just don’t use it for its intended purpose of painting. It’s not totally worthless. Ha!
#3: Lightly Load Your Brush & Keep It Clean
I only use the bottom quarter of the brush when cutting in… and make sure it’s not dripping! A mistake I often notice is a loaded brush that contains too much paint. An overloaded brush can get messy and doesn’t create that crisp line. Try to keep your brush relatively clean, only using the bottom portion. Funny story… when Emmett & I tackled the Humane Society makeover, a newspaper reporter showed up and asked me if he could take my photograph painting (at the time I was prepping a different wall), so a volunteer handed me a paintbrush. It was a MESS, haha. I grabbed it and started trimming out the door casing. Long story short, the above photo ended up in the Salt Lake Tribune and that messy brush is totally not representative of how my brushes normally look when cutting in. I’m sure nobody noticed, but ugh. Talk about a pet peeve! Moral of the story? Keep your brush tidy- it makes for a clean line and less accidents.
#4: Don’t Start Exactly on the Line
When you gently press your brush to the corner, don’t place it exactly on the edge or line you want to paint. Pull back about a quarter of an inch to begin with, then slowly move closer as you gain control of the brush. That first bit is always the most challenging, but once you find your rhythm, it’s smooth sailing.
#5: Fan Out The Bristles & Apply Even Pressure
As you’re dragging your brush down the line or edge, apply gentle even pressure, fanning the top bristles slightly as you pull the brush. The fan should barely touch the edge or corner, creating a crisp line.
#6: Use a Light Hand
Applying too much pressure can cause the paint to ooze or drip from your brush. Try to use a light, gentle, and steady hand. I’ve found that if you pull the brush too slowly, it can actually be more difficult. Find a good medium pace with light pressure.
#7: Feather It Out
If you’re noticing any excess paint or ridges, use the backside of the brush to feather it out, blending any harsh edges or noticeable brush strokes.
#8: Work in the Appropriate Order
It’s important to cut in before you beginning rolling a wall. Always work from the edges inward. The texture or nap from the roller should seamlessly blend over top of the border that you previously cut in.
#9: Tackle One Wall at a Time
I always recommend finishing one wall completely before moving onto the next. This way, you’ll have a seamless transition and all of your walls will match perfectly. It’s also important to continue stirring your paint throughout the duration of a paint project, so the color and viscosity is consistent.
#10: Keep A Wet Rag Nearby
Keep a wet rag nearby and clean mistakes immediately… paint is more forgiving than you expect, and is easy to wipe off if you mess up. If you don’t cut in perfectly the first time, wipe it up and start again! No harm done.
Ready for the giveaway? I’m giving away a bundle of my favorite Purdy brushes! Here’s how to enter…
*Giveaway is now closed! Congrats to the winner- I’ll do another brush giveaway soon!
- Follow @purdypainttools on Instagram.
- Follow @roomfortuesday on Instagram (if you’re not already).
- Comment below on this blog post.
Of course practice makes perfect. It may take you a time or two to really nail the technique, but I know you’ll be cutting in like a pro in no time at all. You’ve got this! Let me know if you have any questions- I’m always happy to help. To find your own Purdy brushes, click here.