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How to Get Rid of Cutting in Lines When Painting and Avoid Picture Framing

You’ve done it! You’ve painted your entire room or wall and now can stand back to admire your work. But, first, you look up, and then your face drops.

How to Get Rid of Cutting in Lines When Painting and Avoid Picture Framing 1

What has happened? While looking at your freshly painted walls, there is some kind of strange contrast happening in the corners, edges, frames, and wall separation. You’re stumped if you’ve ever been here, or maybe are now.

Let’s talk about what happened and caused the cutting in lines. Then, keep reading as I’ll discuss how to get rid of cutting in lines when painting. Lastly, I’ll cover the best prevention methods, repairs, and product recommendations to fix this common painting issue.

What Are Cut in Lines and What Causes Them?

Let’s discuss what these are precisely and the leading causes for “cutting in lines” and “picture framing” while painting.

Picture Framing

Picture framing is the cause of painted wall surfaces appearing lighter or darker in certain areas due to overlapping or sheen levels after painting. These appearances will leave you with an uneven appearance and takes away from your overall painting job. In addition, visually, your space will appear “off” to the naked eye and become bothersome.

Picture framing in paint

“Cutting In”

These paint problems happen when paint rollers or sprayers are unable to reach. “Cutting in” is the issue you face when reaching tighter areas in your rooms. These include window sills, edges, corners, connecting wall lines, and door frames.

How to Prevent Cutting in Lines When Painting

The finest advice I’ll give you is to practice excellent prep work skills and try and avoid these painting problems altogether with preventative measures such as these. When done right, you’ll achieve the best-looking painting job possible, guaranteed!

1. Make Sure to Always Box Your Paint

There’s an excellent method to prevent color differences in your paint. First, box your paint! Boxing paint is mixing all your gallons of the same color together in a paint bucket. Thoroughly stir all the paint together so there aren’t any pockets of lighter or darker shades. Boxing will ensure you have the exact same color all around.

Unfortunately, color variation is a thing. Choosing to carry out this extra step will help you avoid this slight variation issue and help prevent cutting in lines when painting! You’ve just ensured that your paint will remain the same color throughout the entire project; great work!

2. Paint Rolling: Apply Paint Before the Cut in Lines Are Fully Dry

First, start at your ceiling and move your way down five inches with a paintbrush all the way around. This paint application will tackle areas a roller or paint sprayer will miss. You’ll also be able to quickly get into the corners, edges, and wall separations. Lastly, allow your paint to dry, then grab your roller and apply your first coat of paint before the cut lines have thoroughly dried.

Avoiding cutting in lines with some preparation

This painting technique will help you reach your edges and wall separation; it will also help your paint blend nicely with the first layer. You’ll now prevent picture framing from forming, and all your surface areas will get even coats of paint.

3. Always Pick High-Quality Primers and Paints

As a professional painter, I can’t stress this enough. It’s easy to be blindsided by all the sales and deals. And the idea of “saving money” is so appealing. But, if you think about it, will you really be saving money if cheap paint causes problems you’ll have to spend money to fix later?

How to Get Rid of Cutting in Lines When Painting

Want to get the best results from your painting project? Here are great suggestions on how to get rid of cutting in lines when painting.

1. Fixing Raised and Leftover Roller or Paint Brush Marks

If you’ve encountered raised roller or paintbrush marks after your first coat of paint has thoroughly dried, go back in with a light sanding block and lightly sand the areas. Make sure to clean off the paint dust, then go back in and apply a second coat of paint.

Sanding down cut in lines

2. Prevention Cutting in Lines in the First Place

Use professional painting methods by going in with your paintbrush four to six inches from the ceiling, let that partially dry, and then go back in with your roller and reach as close as possible to the top.

3. Choosing High-Quality Paint and Primer Is Key!

Have you ever heard the saying, “you’ll get what you pay for?” It holds true with the choice of cheap paint. Using quality paint and a quality brush, along with your other supplies, pays for itself over time. In addition, you’ll be less likely to have to complete a repair or refreshed paint job by simply choosing the best for your walls from the very beginning!

The Best Painting Supplies for Avoiding Cutting in Lines

Bestt Liebco Chinex Polyester Cape May Paintbrush

This premium quality polyester paintbrush, Bestt Liebco Chinex, has the perfect stiffness while giving you the ideal flexibility to reach all the areas. This brush is great for covering all your wall separation and edges during your painting projects. In addition, it comes with a unique “self-flagging” feature to help prolong its overall life.

Wooster Renew 2 Inch Shortcut Brush

Don’t like a long-handled brush getting in your way? How about a paintbrush that can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand? Use a Wooster Renew to get in all the nooks and crannies while you’re painting, especially helping you reach those pesky corners of the room!

How to Get Rid of Cutting in Lines When Painting and Avoid Picture Framing 2

High-Quality Paint Recommendations for Avoiding Cutting in Lines

In another post I’ve written here on DIY Painting Tips, I discuss two of my top favorite high quality and great value paints I reach for myself when painting.

Come learn more about the great qualities of BEHR Premium Plus and BEHR Ultra Scuff Defense. Unfortunately, I find way too often customers feel the need to look at the cost over the actual quality and features that each paint gives you.

I can guarantee that you really can’t go wrong by choosing either of these paints. They both are excellent in their own ways and will offer you complete protection for years to come. You’ll find yourself repainting more to refresh your style over having to repair old paint issues!

Wrapping Up How to Get Rid of Cutting in Lines When Painting

I hope you find these ways I’ve covered on how to get rid of cutting in lines when painting helpful during your following and future painting projects. Now, you know what paint blistering is, what causes it, excellent prevention methods, and final solutions!

I work hard to bring you the best tips and advice at DIY Painting Projects! I want to be here to help you through all your painting adventures. Remember, I’m here to lend a hand no matter what common paint problems you face. So until next time, Happy Painting!


Friday 1st of September 2023

You didn’t answer the question, how to get rid of cut in lines “ after painting” not when painting

Ryan Cunningham

Wednesday 18th of October 2023

Hmmmm... The title says "when painting" not "after painting", so I beg to differ. :)