How to Cut in Paint

Tight surface space of a white ceiling corner.

How to Cut in Paint

By properly cutting into a room, you can actually help shorten the time it takes to paint an entire room.

Ceiling lines, outlets, windows, doors, mouldings, baseboards (with corners), trim and more are all surface spaces that are too tight for paint roller use. That's where "cutting in" comes in. Follow these steps to learn how to cut in paint like a pro.
Watch this video to learn the recommended process for how to cut in paint.

Common questions for cutting into a room include:

  • Can I cut in after I paint walls? Best practices dictate that you always cut in BEFORE you paint your walls in full, since blending the cut in areas with the painted wall is easier that way.
  • Does the type of painter's tape matter? Different brands of painter tapes may be better suited for certain wall textures (stucco vs. smooth) and environments (humid vs. dry). Talk to your local Benjamin Moore retailer to figure out the best tape for your project.
  • What is the best angled paint brush for cutting in? Use a Benjamin Moore 2½-inch angle sash brush for best results.
  • Step #1: Gather the Right Paint & Tools

    The best paintbrush for cutting in a room is what we call "the workhorse": a 2½-inch angle sash brush. You will also need painters tape, drop cloths, a screwdriver, a stepladder and Benjamin Moore interior paint; in this video we’ve used Aura®. Your Benjamin Moore retailer can help you select the best tools for cutting in paint
    "Having the right tools for the job is essential, then it all comes down to how much pressure is applied to the bristles when cutting in. Leverage the straight or angled edge of the brush with the right amount of pressure and you'll be able to apply more paint to the wall per dip, which typically equates to straighter lines and better outcomes."

    This tip was given by a Los Angeles painter professional at Precision Painting Plus

    Painting contractor prepping to cut paint in a room

    Step #2: Cover Up

    Remove as much furniture as possible. What you can't remove, cover with drop cloths. Cover floors, too.
    Painting contractor applying tape in preparation to cutting paint in a room

    Step #3: Tape Up

    using painters tape, tape off areas according to your comfort level. You may be able to cut in faster without tape if you're comfortable doing so. Remember to remove outlet and switch plates and tape over the outlets and switches.
    Painting contractor painting ceiling line while cutting paint in a room

    Step #4: Cut in the Ceiling Line

    Start by cutting in along the ceiling line. Slowly—and carefully—draw the brush along the edge of the ceiling, being careful not to paint on the ceiling itself. Feather the paint 3–5 inches along the wall, painting back into what you just painted.

    Step #5: Cut in Switches, Doors and Baseboards

    Follow the same process of cutting in and feathering out 3-5 inches from around windows, doors, baseboards and any area that you can’t reach with your roller.

    Benjamin Moore paints dry fast , so by the time you finish cutting into the room, you’ll be ready to paint the entire room with a paint roller. Remember to take your time, read all labels and follow all instructions carefully.

    Have More Questions? Visit your local Benjamin Moore store or contact Customer Support.
    Aura® Waterborne Interior Paint

    Aura® Interior Paint

    It’s your home’s special-event room, and you want to show it off with pride. Pick a paint that combines rich, vibrant colour with unprecedented durability.

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