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A Lesson in Cutting-In with a Brush

A Lesson in Cutting-In with a Brush

by Dene Alston

I'm just going to cover the basics of brushing here... and how to avoid the most common mistakes people make. The ideal container or can for this is a real one-gallon paint can with a handle. You want about a quart of paint to work with. Forget the gimmicky little doodad containers they sell for this. Just either use the can the paint came in - after pouring out all but a quart - or buy a fresh paint can to use for cutting in.

First hold the brush like a large pencil. It's not a fly swatter LOL. Get a comfortable balanced grip - too tight and your hand will be hurting within 5 minutes.

Dip the brush about an inch or so into the paint and wipe some of the excess off either on the lip of the can or the inside walls of the can. Most pros I know hit the inside of the can a couple times before pulling the brush out. There is a balance to this that takes a little practice. You don't want too much paint and be painting like an out-of-control 5 year old, but you also don't want so little paint on your brush that you can only paint 2 inches at a time.

**The only time you need to dip a paintbrush 3 inches into paint is if you are hand-brushing the side of a barn or are in some kind of a paint fight!

**When you are doing the precise cut-in line always turn the brush "long-ways" parallel with your cut-in line. In other words, you are turning the brush so that you are painting a 1 - 1 1/2 inch stripe of paint (like pictured above). You are not painting with the broadest side of your brush when cutting in. This gives you more control and also enables you to focus your paint on the line you're making.

Know where your "line" is and make sure its clearly visible. Lighting can be important here. It's best not to go straight to the edge you are cutting in immediately out of the can. There still could be a bit too much paint on the brush. So dab a little on the wall slightly away from the line and then go to the edge. Start about quarter inch away from your edge, move in to the line, and follow the line keeping a wet edge. When you start getting a little dry, go back to that initial dab spot you left on the wall and pick up a little more paint. Once you've drawn a cut-in line line about 12-18 inches, then go back and smooth it out nice using the broad side of your brush extending the cut in area to 3 or 4 inces. You might need to dip your brush again for more paint. This step makes it easier on you when rolling out the rest of the wall. When smoothing out the area you usually keep away from the edge you just painted so as to not mess up the nice line you just created.

Basically you keep repeating this process every 12-18 inches or so keeping a steady pace and not stopping until you get to a corner or some other obvious stopping point.

-There is no need for paying thousands of dollars for a professional paint job. We all can do it with a little practice.

Happy Painting!!

A Lesson in Cutting-In with a Brush

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