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Old 05-27-2013, 10:43 AM   #1
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


I'm painting some rooms with rich deep colors, and am having trouble efficiently making a nice seam where the wall meets the ceiling. Ceilings are smooth and white.

What methods do you recommend, and which should I paint first - the ceilings or the walls?
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


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What methods do you recommend, and which should I paint first - the ceilings or the walls?
Get a good quality brush like a Purdy brand.

Ceilings first
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


Paint ceilings first. For a few reasons, but mainly for you right now, the issue is that since you're already struggling to cut in, you don't also need to be dealing with gravity working against you and pulling your ceiling paint down to your wall color. Ceilings first.

Are you using a good brush? Not a good brush like a $7 brush, I mean a really, really good quality brush? Hopefully someone will come and explain the process to you because I don't really know how to put it to words adequately. I'll try though ;-) Good brush, don't overload it with paint, steady hand/arm, and move your whole arm, not your hand at your wrist, as you cut a line in.

Practice your cutting in on your inside corners of your walls. You're just not going to get perfection off that bat. It takes practice, and a lot of it.

If you're really terrible at cutting even after getting some good tips and some practice in your corners, in my opinion you'd be better off taping properly with a couple known tricks to get the straightest and cleanest line you can get rather than settling for a wonky cut line.

Last edited by apaintedgal; 05-27-2013 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


Here is a video from Purdy using a 2.5" Nylox brush. That brush cost about $16 but worth it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bEfy...layer_embedded
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


Actually, if we tell you how to cut in (one of a painter's most guarded secrets) we may have to.......well, never mind.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


I always caulk the corners first, gives a nice edge to paint to.
I have to paint the ceilings first, I suck at cutting them into the walls for reasons posted above.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


get yourself a stiff good quality brush. brush paint on 1/2-1" away from the ceiling, this will make the wall smooth. keeping a wet line is key. then load your brush again and work your way up to the ceiling then go along the corner. keep your wrist locked and hold the brush by the handle not up at the metal like a pencil to give you better control. it takes alot of practice to get perfect. make sure you got extra ceiling paint incase you mess up. once you'd done a few rooms and get the hang of it you can get really good.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:04 AM   #8
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


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Originally Posted by imautoparts View Post
I'm painting some rooms with rich deep colors, and am having trouble efficiently making a nice seam where the wall meets the ceiling. Ceilings are smooth and white.

What methods do you recommend, and which should I paint first - the ceilings or the walls?
I am NOT a professional painter, but I am very particular in my own home. I know I will never get the "cutting in" perfect enough, no matter the price of the brush!
I paint my ceilings first, then the walls. Give the walls some time to dry - depending on how long, I use different types of painter's tape. The shorter the time, the more "expensive" the tape.
Apply the tape just below the ceiling line (on the wall) - 1/8" or less. Press the tape edge down firmly. Using a brush* and your ceiling paint, paint above the tape (being very careful not to drip!)
My wall colors tend to be medium to light, so one coat is enough. You mentioned deep color, so you might need two coats. I do about 6 feet at a time, and then pull the painter's tape off at a downward angle BEFORE it dries (or seeps under).
*My favorite brush for this is a "shortcut" by Wooster.
This is NOT the most efficient or best method, but I have had contractors in my home, ask me HOW I get a perfectly straight paint line!
(It's not perfect, but it is straight, and fools your eye.)
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:02 AM   #9
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


I hate using tape unless I have to and you may find like most of us you end up chasing stuff the leaks under the tape. But if you are all over your new painted ceiling. Try some painter's tape. Accept your experience level is I guess what I am sayin.

Cutting in comes with some degree of practice. Caulking open seams and things helps. A nice brush will let you nearly pinstripe with the edge. Some people make the mistake of buying brushes too small. I have a couple 1" sash brushes in my retired bag that I have used maybe twice in decades painting. They had their place but on edge, a nice angled sash brush will hold more paint and do a great job on small things.

As mentioned, your effort will be futile if you do not use a good brush. Purdy or Wooster 2.5-3 inch angled sash brushes, in different materials for different paints, were what I used most. I have not bought one retail in many years but I think $20 each should set you up with a couple of nice interior painting brushes that will last your ownership of your home if you wash them out and take care of them.

Here is the anotomy of a good brush. Except I think a good brush should have a longer handle you will never really hold often for balance. And none I have worked with everyday ever had a finish on the wood handle.As you get the hang of this, you will most often be holding the head of the brush resting and almost floating between your fingers and thumb.


Last edited by user1007; 05-28-2013 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 05-29-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


One of the most common mistakes (in my opinion) inexperienced painters make when trying to cut clean lines is...working with too much paint in the brush. I learned to load my brush, make my first pass about 1/8"+/- away from the corner where I want my colors to meet in a clean line, then (with a now significantly drier brush) strike quickly back over my first pass, using the now much drier tips to make the line.

it's much easier to control the line when you don't have the brush all loaded up; the initial pass puts most of the paint on, the drier pass marks the line.

You'll also learn that going too slowly with the sharp-line pass can actually make things worse.

Hard to explain on the 'net, much easier to demonstrate in person.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:18 PM   #11
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


It is just one of those things that comes with lots of experience. To be honest, you can NEVER actually get a true straight line. Walls are never plumb and square at the ceiling level. With that being said there is just a knack you develop with practice that produces a seemingly straight line near the ceiling. To me, it's a matter of finding that "line" and just letting the paint flow off the brush. After years of doing this, I can actually trim around the ceiling in mere minutes and have the roller up and ready to go. You can cut in really fast once you find that "line" and go for it. Like Clambake said, it's easier to show you.
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Old 05-29-2013, 06:58 PM   #12
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What is the best way to cut in the edges of ceilings/walls?


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After years of doing this, I can actually trim around the ceiling in mere minutes and have the roller up and ready to go. You can cut in really fast once you find that "line" and go for it. Like Clambake said, it's easier to show you.
Yup, I had an excellent brush man show me how to do it quickly, and with great accuracy. Little tricks like undercutting in certain situations, etc.. One thing he showed me was how to not clean a brush too thoroughly the first couple times...a minor bit of paint build-up in the ferrule did wonders at the flagged end of the bristles.

Standard brush I liked was a Wooster 3" square-ferrule wall brush.

Got to where I didn't even have to think about it.

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