Do It Yourself Painting Basics: “Cutting In”

You know what you want from your interior house painting project; you want a room straight out of the magazines.  Your home painting must be elegant, functional, and beautiful. This interior home painting dream does not include splotchy trim, wavy lines, or painted-over electrical outlets, does it?

Cutting in is not a job for the amateur painter. But if you’re serious about painting your home to look out of the pages of Canadian House and Home Magazine, follow these tips for cutting in (secrets of the trade from Toronto Painters).

What is “Cutting In?”

So, what is cutting in painting?

Simply put, it’s the professional painting contractor’s way of saying “painting along the corners and trimming carefully with a small brush.”

This is one of the most important parts of painting a room (though it can be supplemented with taping). To give you those professional house painter lines.  In fact, you can usually see the difference between an amateur and a professional paint job. Simply by noticing the “cut lines” and how straight they are.

Cutting in protects corners and trims sloppy house painting that may occur from using large paintbrushes or rollers that do not fit well in small spaces.

How To Cut In:

The process, while slightly time-consuming, is fairly simple and consists of a few easy tasks.


• Get a 2-3” painting brush and a smaller container or empty paint can for holding the paint.

• Hold the paintbrush like a pencil for extra control.

• While each painter has his preference, we suggest that you use an angular painting brush. Because it allows you to get closer to the trim without making a mess that a regular brush would.

Cutting Brush by Painter

Home Painters Toronto Pro Tip

  • • Dab your brush straight down into the paint. Then wipe the extra off into the container or bang the sides of the brush on the paint can.
  • • Make sure the paintbrush is saturated but DEFINITELY not overflowing. We remove the excess to prevent dripping.
  • • Starting about two inches away from the corner, paint a line to remove any additional paint. Make light, long strokes about 12” long against one side of the corner. Go back over the area a second time with your brush wide to remove any unwanted brush strokes.
  • • Some people use low tack painter’s tape to keep their lines straight. But this is only if necessary as it sometimes is more difficult to tape a straight line than to cut it with a brush, especially if the wall or ceiling isn’t straight, to begin with.

Don’t forget to cut in around doorknobs and windows to make sure that your home painting project looks professional from all sides!

When painting a door, cut around the handle before you use a roller to finish up the rest of it.  Be sure that you paint the door on the same day.

Because if the “cut in” portion is completely dry before you paint the remainder of the door, the colours may not match! Even if you use the same paint.

Other tips on how to “Cut In” with a brush:

  • • If the wall is not straight, don’t follow the line of the wall; make the cut straight. Draw a straight line as if the drywall or wall was straight to start off with.
  • • Use newer paintbrushes if possible.  It is difficult to keep your lines straight with an old, worn-out paintbrush.
  • • If you are painting with latex paint, use a nylon brush.  For oil paint stick with a bristle brush.
  • • When you start a new wall either with cutting OR painting, be sure to use paint from the same can for the same wall.  If the tint is even slightly off from one can to the next, the difference will be noticeable from the cut to the roll.
how to Cut in Interior

Once you are finished cutting in like a professional painting contractor, it’s time to learn how to paint a wall.

For bigger projects, or if you have a special concept in mind, it is best to hire professional Toronto painters to quickly and efficiently paint your house exactly how you want it to look the first time.

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“Do It Yourself Painting Basics: “Cutting In”

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