How to cut in when painting a wall or ceiling

It’s best to start any painting job by cutting in with a paint brush to achieve clean lines at the corners and edges. Follow this step-by-step guide to get a professional result

TODO alt text

1. Unless you’re confident that you have a very steady hand, it’s best to use frog tape to tape off the area you’re not painting and ensure you get clean lines.

2. Pour some paint into a small paint tray. You don’t need much at this stage.

3. Dip your brush straight down into the paint, until the paint covers roughly a third of the bristles. Gently wiggle the brush to load it with paint.

4. Gently tap each side of the brush against the side of the paint container to avoid any drips.


5. Holding the brush with a pencil grip for control, make a brushstroke on the wall about two inches away from the edge you’re cutting in, to remove the excess paint. This should be about 12 inches long.


6. Then turn the brush so that you’re using the narrow edge and paint your downward stroke up to 12 inches long right next to the Frog tape.

Top tip: Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure as the paint ooze from the brush and create drips.

7. Using the wide edge of your brush again, gently sweep the brush back and forth over the painted area.

8. When working from wet areas to dry ones, gently overlap the sections to avoid marks. Remove the Frog tape as you go to make sure you get neat edges.

9. Use a roller to paint the centre of your walls or ceiling while the edges are still wet. This will ensure a seamless join. Click here for our step-by-step guide to preparing, priming and painting a wall.

What you’ll need

  • Frog tape
  • Dust sheets/newspaper
  • Paint
  • Small paint tray
  • Cutting-in brush