Are you finishing your first-ever painting project on the interior of your home? After a few years of homeownership, you’re going to end up repainting at some stage. Doing the painting yourself can save you hundreds of dollars in labor costs to do the job.
Where first-time DIY’ers run into issues is with the fine line work involved with cutting in along moldings and ceilings. Drawing a straight line requires the right tools and a steady hand. This post unpacks the best paint brushes for cutting in ceilings.
The best paintbrush for edging
Wooster Shortcut Angle Sash Paint Brush
Cutting in is an advanced technique for beginner painters to master on their first project. If you have no experience with it, then an edging paint brush is the best tool for helping you create clean, precise lines on your ceilings and trim.
Our recommendation is the Wooster Brush. This shortcut angle sash paint brush is ideal for beginner painters, thanks to the flexible purple “Shergrip” handle. You get total control over the edge of the brush, allowing for the drawing of long, clean, seamless lines on your ceiling.
The high quality paint brush features an angles “sash brush” design, allowing the uniform flow of the bristles when gliding the brush through tight spots and corners. You get a 2-inch brush-width, with a 2.25-inch handle length allowing for a “pen-like” grip between your thumb and forefingers.
With this grip, you get superior leverage over the brush and control of the bristles. Maneuvering the Wooster through corners is easy, with the sashed design providing a clean finish to your lines. It’s great for working around moldings and for edging against textured ceilings.
The bristles come with a gold weave fiber, providing less running and better application of the paint without streaking. Overall, you get a user-friendly paint brush suitable for first-time DIY’ers who want the best outcome for their project.
The Wooster is suitable for use with all latex-based and acrylic based paints and water or oil based stains. The brass-plated ferrule won’t rust and corrode, and we like the way the bristles clean so easily with little effort.
- A flexible Shergrip handle gives you superior control over the paintbrush.
- Easy to draw clean lines on ceiling moldings and textured ceiling.
- Sash brush design for effortless cutting in.
- Suitable with all oil based and water based paint brands
- High-quality bristle materials for no clotting, sharp finishing, and easy cleaning.
- Not as stiff as a foam pad, but more accurate than other paint brushes.
- Not ideal for painting ceiling lengths from corner to corner.
- Handle only available in purple color.
The best paint brush for cutting in walls
Purdy Clearcut Glide Angular Trim Brush
Cutting in describes a painting style where you paint the trim and edging of a room without taping off the walls or corners using masking tape.
It’s a freehand method requiring expert levels of accuracy and precision. If it’s your first time painting trim and cutting in around the moldings or corners where your roller won’t fit, you need the best paint brush for the job.
This Purdy model from the Purdy Clearcut series is our top recommendation for the finest cutting in jobs on your ceiling and walls. Whether you’re painting around cornices or against textured edges, this paint brush is a solid choice for clean lines and a professional finish.
We like the control you get over the brush, thanks to the long, fluted hardwood handle. It’s not flexible like the Wooster, but the larger 3-inch width on the brush head makes it a better choice for painting long lines from corner to corner in rooms.
You get a round-edge design for precision paint distribution without running or clumping the paint during each stroke. This model has slightly stiffer bristles than other edging paint brushes, like the Wooster, giving you better straight line control over long strokes.
The nylon bristles have a decent packing size, helping the brush head remain firm but flexible, allowing for easy cutting in capability. The angled sash design of the bristles gives you great coverage with a smooth finish.
The Purdy is compatible with acrylic and latex based paints and most oil based and water-based stains. You get easy cleaning and a corrosion-resistant stainless-steel ferrule that will last for years.
- The 3-inch sash brush head makes it a great choice for painting long lines.
- Rounded edge steel ferrule for better distribution of paint and less running.
- Suitable for use with all oil and water based paint types.
- Made in the USA.
- The Wooster angle sash is more accurate in corners.
- Non-flexible handle.
What features make a brush good for cutting in?
When choosing the best paint brush for cutting in, you need a brush suited to the task. Pulling out your old collection of paint brushes isn’t going to “cut it.”
You need a brush with the right design features to help you get a professional finish on your paint job. Whether you’re using acrylic, latex, oil based, or water based paints or stains, you need a brush that can handle any material.
Here’s what you need to look for in the best paint brush for cutting in.
Paint brushes for “cutting in” come in three popular sizes.
1” to 1.5”: For work in corners and precision edging work.
2” to 2.5”: For painting longer straight lines in smaller rooms like water closets and airing closets.
3”: For painting straight lines across longer surfaces in larger rooms.
What size is best?
A 2 inch model is the best paint brush for general cutting in projects. We like the Wooster (2.5-inch) for precise work in corners, while the Purdy (3-inch) is the better choice for painting longer lines. Both handle paint well, allowing even spreading of the material and no running.
Brushes with angled nylon polyester bristles are the best choice for cutting in. The angled design allows the nylon polyester bristles to follow the track of motion, providing a clean, straight line.
The best brush designs feature around a 30-degree angle to the bristle setup, giving you no need for setting up painter’s tape to prevent overrun.
The angled brush design also allows for user-friendly operation, superior control, and a steady hand over straight edges with any amount of paint.
Look for good quality brushes offering you synthetic bristles. Nylon polyester is a good choice, but so are animal hair alternatives. We recommend going with the synthetic versions for a better glide across any surface.
How to cut in ceilings and walls without leaving brush marks
Here’s a quick guide to painting using the cutting in method.
With the brushes mentioned in this review, you don’t need any painter’s tape or edging tools, but they are recommended. The sash brush design offers you the best way to create straight, precise lines in corners and along ceiling lengths in rooms.
As long as your brush has soft bristles, you’ll find it flows with the motion of your hand, without the bristles flaring out and causing a mess as you work. Softer brushes also help you wiggle the brush into tight corners.
When cutting in, the angled design of the bristles is critical for accurate and consistent distribution of paint. Paint starting away from the edge or corner, then move towards it, using a clean stroke. Dab the brush into the paint instead of saturating it to prevent streaking.
How to fix mistakes on walls, trim, and edges
If you make any mistakes, use a putty knife wrapped in a rag to clean mistakes off edges and corners.
Feathering the paint
Feather the paint into the rest of the wall to get a smooth, flat finish. Ensure it isn’t too thick and doesn’t show up when you start using your roller over the area.
Try our paintbrushes for cutting in. Our recommended models will leave you with a professional finish that looks fantastic.