"Cutting in is an acquired skill, but it's something you can't do at all with a ratty brush," says Doherty. When cutting in on a wall, he loads his brush and spreads out the excess paint, then works the brush up to the line between wall and ceiling. A brush stroke that's too wide creates a hatband, or smooth brushed band, on the very top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. To avoid this, Dixon recommends rolling first and then cutting in with a brush. "A good roller can get within 1/2 inch of the ceiling," he says. "You'll save time by not brushing more then you have to." When painting baseboards, "a wide taping knife makes a good paint guard," says Span. "Just keep the blade clean to prevent drips from working around the edge of the knife."
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