The correct way is to cut in with a brush.
I think the quality of the brush is more important that than the technique.
You need to spend at least 15 to 20 dollars for a good angled trim 2 inch
brush. A larger brush is easier to control than a smaller one. I have a 2"
Linzer nylon polyester brush that is tapered. To use the brush you have to
finesse the brush into the corner.
I agree with Cliff. I like to use a 2 1/2" sash brush for all my trim
work. A sash brush has the bristles cut at an angle. I like china
bristles (mix of synthetic and natural). On a good brush, the bristles
have split ends. They fray slightly at the tip and feel very soft.
Hand edging is very forgiving if you know how to lay the bristles in.
My hands are never steady - I drink lots of coffee - and I can't
draw a straight line to save my life. My edging, however, always comes
Here's my $0.02 on it. If anyone wants to disagree on anything I say
here then please do. I'm always looking to learn something new.
Never load your brush more than a third and always keep paint out of
the ferrell. The ferrell is the part where the bristles go into the
If you let your brush sit, even for 5 minutes, wrap it in plastic.
Store bags work well for this.
Wash your brush once an hour (described below). Washing takes less
than five minutes if you keep the paint in the lower third. Brush care
is important, because if the paint gets stiff then the bristles will
clump together (bad).
Load the brush and swipe one half on the edge of the can. Don't get
enthusiastic about this; just swipe it lightly. The edge with the
paint will be the business end. I'll call it the top.
If you punch a few holes in the rim of your can, paint won't make a
mess and run down the side. Don't worry, they won't hurt the seal.
Paint a swipe onto the wall with the top and swipe the same spot with
the bottom. This forces the paint evenly into the bristles and gets
that big drippy gob of paint off the tip.
This is the part that's a little hard to describe without photos, but
I'll try. Grip the brush at the part where the handle widens out.
Hold it like a pencil. Put the heel of your hand on the surface like
you're going to write. Place what I called the "top" of the
brush to the wall. The brush should be at around a 30 to 45 degree
angle to the surface. The angle on the sash brush should be parallel
with the corner.
Now, touch the bristles to the wall about a 1/4" shy of your target,
and move into the line. You should be "stabbing", or "poking"
the bristles into the corner and they should bend slightly away as you
move along the line. No wrist in this movement. Use your entire arm.
Slowly swipe along the corner. As you do this, you shouldn't be
laying more than a half inch of paint. You just want the tips of the
bristles to touch the surface. The sides do nothing for you. When
used properly, a brush acts like a fountain pen. It "draws" the
paint onto the wall.
"Feather" out your strokes by quickly following behind and knocking
down any paint "ridges" left on the surface. Just smooth it out by
smearing it across the wall. That way, your brush work won't show
under the roller work.
When it runs dry, do the same thing again. Pick up where you left off,
start a 1/4" shy, cut in. Nothing to it.
You might experiment with painting toward you (reach out, move in), and
painting away from you. Different situations call for different
Master this technique, and you'll forever be glad. It saves lots of
When you wash the brush, the trick that works for me is to submerge it
in water instead of just letting a faucet run over it. I have an old
Pyrex casserole dish that I fill and stab the brush into vigorously a
few times. Drain it, refill it, and shake most of the water our the
brush out while it's filling. Repeat. I usually do this 5 or 6
times. You know you're done when the water stays perfectly clear.
It's pretty fast.
Last step is to spin the brush. This is tough to do the first time,
but not hard once you get it. Put the handle flat between your palms
and rub them together like you're trying to warm them on a cold day.
The brush will spin very quickly, expelling the water as it goes.
You'll drop it a lot first, but you eventually learn how much pressure
Reshape the bristles, and let it dry. Store it in its original
packaging. A properly cared for brush can last a lifetime --