How to Get Straight Lines & Perfect Edges 

February 17, 2021

Ever wonder how professional painters make their paint project look so great? Is it the type of paint? Or perhaps the sheen or finish that was chosen. Nope! The answer overwhelmingly is the ability to get straight lines and perfect edges even on the trickiest of surfaces. 

If you have ever taken on a paint project for yourself, you may have faced one of two problems when it comes to getting straight lines. Some homeowners try a method called “cutting in” around the edge of moulding, the ceiling, or window trim. This is when a painter uses an angled brush and carefully goes along the border and attempts to keep the lines straight in a freehand manner. 

Or, some homeowners use painters tape to get that crisp edge look. Unfortunately, it can take  hours to apply the tape and ensure that it is straight and level. Taking the tape off can sometimes cause chips and bleeding into the painted area, thus causing a sub-par appearance. 

To counteract these problems, here are a few tricks of the trade that may help you get your surfaces painted without wasting time or dripping all over the areas that were not meant to be painted. yellow stripes on walls

Tips for Cutting In 

Beginners often have a difficult time with free-handing or cutting in. 

  • Brush Choice – One of the first things you will want to do is choose a small angled brush that comfortably fits into your dominant hand. Test out a few at the store so you know which one feels most comfortable and will be easiest to control around tight corners. 
  • Practice cutting in along a trim or moulding that is not easily seen. The more you practice the better you will become and more confident you will be. 
  • Use the Right Amount of Paint. When cutting in you want to have ample amount of paint that will allow for your brush to smoothly glide along the edge that you are painting but not too much that globs of paint could drip. 
  • Work Up to the Line. According to Family Handyman, “When cutting in against a ceiling, molding or other surface where a straight line is required, start by sweeping into the line to unload some paint onto the wall. Don’t worry about getting close on the first pass. Without reloading your brush, make a second pass to coax the paint closer to the line.”
  • Keep a Damp Rag Handy. One trick that even experienced painters use is keeping a damp rag in your area so you can quickly wipe away a mistake such as your paint clipping the trim or ceiling on one of your passes. 

painters tapeTips for Taping 

Taping is a technique that many novice and beginner painters count on to get straight lines and clean edges. 

    • Choose a Good Painters Tape and applicator that works for your room. All tapes are not created equal so check that it will come off easily without leaving any residue. 
    • Press the Edges Down. When you apply tape to an edge be sure that you are pressing it down well so paint does not bleed beneath it. 
    • Keep a Level Handy. If you are attempting a design on a wall be sure to have a level handy to ensure that your lines are straight. 
    • Remove Tape When Paint is Still Wet. Fewer chips and blemishes happen if you remove the tape when the paint is still slightly wet. 

Not ready to take on a paint project that requires taping or cutting in? Call us to handle your interior paint projects. 


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