Most people know how to make a “v-shape” when using a roller to fill in the main, flat portions of the walls when painting, but few know the right way to “cut in” a room. In fact, not many people know exactly what “cutting in” is. For those who don’t, it’s the term used when painting the edges of the wall: where they meet to form the corners of the room, where the top of the wall meets the ceiling (and vice versa), where the bottom of the wall hits the baseboard or floor, and the space where the walls bump up against window or doorframes. These sections cannot be painted with a roller, as they are too small, and need to be precisely filled in with a brush in order to end up with a professional-looking paint job. “Cutting in” a room takes a lot of practice and patience, but here some steps to get you started:
Use the Right Brush
You should be using a brush that has beveled bristles that seem to meet at a point at their ends. When looked at sideways, the bristles will look like a chisel. These are called trim brushes.
Do Not Put Too Much Paint on the Brush
A properly loaded brush will only have paint one-third of the way up the bristles. Any more than that and you are going to have a hard time not only controlling the paint, but also cleaning the brush when you’re done. If painting a larger section, for example, the section of the room where two walls meet, load up the bristles and then gently swipe off the excess paint on the side of the paint can or tray. Use less when painting a small section of the room, like the space between the door frame and wall.
Set up Painters Tape Only if You Want To
Painters tape can be tricky, and if you wait too long to remove it or take it off too soon, your paint job will be ruined. If using it for protection, make sure that it is only on the door and window frames – not touching the walls – and push it on snugly with a putty knife to keep paint from getting underneath it.
Work Slowly, and Keep a Rag Handy
Just in case of mistakes. Make sure to paint away from whichever area you are working on, for example, if painting the area where the wall and ceiling meet, paint away from the ceiling when painting the wall. Place several strokes of paint leading from the ceiling down the wall vertically, and then go over them horizontally to smooth the paint out. For the very edges (and spaces around the window and doorframes), use a brush with very little paint on it and hold it so that the very tips of the brush are at the edge.