How to Paint a Straight Edge Without Even Needing Tape

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Painting a room always takes longer than you think it will. It would be one thing if you just had to roll some paint on the wall, but on top of that, there’s moving or covering furniture, putting down drop cloths, and lining the borders of the room with painter’s tape.

But if you’ve ever seen a professional painter at work, you may have noticed that they didn’t use painter’s tape. Instead, they probably used a technique called “cutting in,” which eliminates tape from the process. And while it’s not technically difficult, it does require a steady hand. Here’s how to paint a straight edge without using tape.

How to paint a straight edge without tape

While you’ll still use a roller to tackle the vast majority of the room, cutting in is a way to paint a clean, straight edge along window frames, ceilings, corners, baseboards, and other types of trim.

In addition to the paint and a cleaning cloth, you’ll need a small bucket or container, as well as a high-quality 2-inch sash brush. Here’s what to do:

  1. Pour about 1/2″ to 1″ of paint in the container.
  1. Dip your brush into the paint, covering no more than 2/3 of the length of the bristles. Tap the brush on the side of the container to knock off any excess paint.
  2. Start painting about 1″ away from the trim, corner, or ceiling you’re painting around, holding the brush horizontally (in relation to the ceiling and floor).
  3. Paint a line around 12″ long, using a sideways stroke (unless you’re painting at a corner, in which case, use a downward stroke).
  4. Turn the brush 90 degrees, angling it into the wall. Go back to the beginning of your stroke. Paint a thinner line right along the trim, corner, or ceiling using long, even strokes.
  5. Turn your brush so that it’s horizontal to the floor and ceiling again, and carefully go back over the area you painted to get rid of any brush marks.

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