How to cut in paint for perfectly clean lines and corners when painting walls

Finish your painted wall to perfection by cutting in corners and edges correctly
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  • With so many clever paint effects to choose from, a clean finish is vital for not only wall edges and corners but for those fancy two-tone horizontal and diagonals, chevrons and stripes too. Ensure your painted walls for your latest DIY and decorating project have a seamless and sharp edge with this step by step guide on how to cut in paint.

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    How to cut in paint– what you’ll need

    How to cut in - You will need

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    • Decorators tape
    • Sanding block and sandpaper
    • Scissors
    • Small paintbrush
    • Paint tray
    • Paint

    Step-by-step guide to cutting in when painting

    1. Prep the walls

    How to cut in - prepare walls

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Fully prepare the wall by sanding the surface and filing in any holes. prime if needed.

    2. Apply decorator’s tape

    How to cut in - mask areas

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Unless you are confident that you have a really steady hand it’s best to use decorator’s tape or frog tape to mask off the area that you are not going to paint to ensure you have clean lines at the edges. The neatness of the cutting in will have a huge effect on the final look.

    3. Prepare your paint

     pouring paint into decorating tray ready for cutting in

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Pour some of your paint into a small paint tray. Dip your brush bristles into the paint until the paint covers roughly a third of the brush. Gently tap each side of the brush against the paint container to avoid any drips.

    4. Begin cutting in

    How to cut in - paint an inch away first

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Holding the brush with a pencil grip for control, make a downward brush stroke on the wall about two inches away from the edge you are cutting into. This will remove the excess. This stroke should be about 12 inches long.

    5. Take care at the edges

    How to cut in - paint long strokes

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Turn the brush so you are using the narrow edge and brush right along next to the tape. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure or the paint will ooze from the brush and create drips.

    6. Blend the sections

    Painting a wall to blend when cutting in

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Using the wide end of your brush again, gently sweep the brush back and forward over the area you just painted. Then repeat the above steps as needed. Watch our video tutorial how to paint a wall – to gain the perfect backdrop for any room

    7. Paint the rest of the wall

    Blue paint

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    You are now ready to fill in the larger edges with your roller while the cutting in is still damp. This will help blend the two. When working from wet areas to dry areas gently overlap the sections to achieve a blended finish. Ensure you remove the decorator’s tape before the paint is dry to avoid any bleeding and to get a seamless finish. 

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