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How to Paint a Straight Edge Without Tape

Paint expert Mauro Henrique shows host Kevin O’Connor how he paints a straight edge when tape just isn’t an option.

Host Kevin O’Connor and paint expert Mauro Henrique talk about the process of cutting in without painter’s tape. After explaining that there is no shame in using painter’s tape, Mauro shows Kevin his preferred method for cutting in using a putty knife and paintbrush.

How To Paint a Straight Edge Without Tape

Understand that there is no shame in using tape to achieve a perfectly straight edge. But, there are times when tape won’t cut it, whether the abutting material is too delicate, or it’s just too difficult to get the tape to stick to a thin edge. In those cases, these steps on how to paint a straight edge without tape will help.

  1. Take the putty knife in your non-dominant hand, place the handle between your thumb and forefinger, and hold it by the blade. The thumb should be on one side of the blade, and your fingers should be on the other. This gives the putty knife a bit more stability than holding it by the handle alone.
  2. Load the paintbrush with a bit of paint. Don’t overdo it, but ensure there is enough paint for at least a foot of painting.
  3. Place the blade edge of the putty knife into the corner or edge, holding it firmly but loose enough that you can slide it along the edge.
  4. Touch the bristles to the surface in front of the knife and slowly drag both hands down the joint at the same pace. Be sure that the bristles never get ahead or fall behind the knife.
  5. Stop when too much paint accumulates on the putty knife. Stop the blade in place, remove the brush, and then carefully lift the blade pulling slightly toward the paint side to prevent excess paint from getting on the trim. Wipe the blade clean with the paper towel before carefully placing the edge back into the joint and continuing.
  6. Continue down the joint to the bottom. Keep the edge of the knife in place and flip the brush over so the angle of the bristles changes. Carefully paint up the edge of the joint before carefully removing the knife.