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The best way to achieve the most professional look is to paint the best edges. Skilled painters can replicate a perfect edge every time, whether by the ceiling or the skirting boards, around sockets or close to doors. 

Here are some of the best ways to get this look without paying the prices for a professional.

1 Use painter’s tape

The most common way to get the perfect edge is to use a painter’s tape and do the process called cutting in. Even though it takes a lot of setting up, it is the simplest and most effective way to get the straight lines you desire. 

It is still difficult to maintain the straight line without careful tape management. For instance, removing the tape before the paint is completely dry can cause seeping. Equally, if not fully dry, the tape won’t pull away cleanly and could take portions of the tape away with it. 

When layering the tape at corners, be sure to remove the tape by pulling at the first strip you placed. Leaving a small amount of tape as a tag is a handy tip – and this will pull away all the layers in one go.

2 Use a painter’s shield

It is especially important to consider some of these strategies when paint spraying. Spraying large areas gives a smooth and clean finish. However, it will be important to put some form of protection at the edges to prevent paint from straying into areas you don’t want painting. A paint shield is a thin metal or plastic rectangle with a handle on one side. You can also get extension poles for handles, so you can spray from a distance. 

A paint shield is also known as a guard by some manufacturers and is useful when cutting in with a brush at the skirting board and ceiling too, and it prevents you from spending time using masking tape for the same effect. 

3 Use an angled brush

While suggesting using an angled brush seems obvious when someone tells you, it is not always apparent when you stock up on supplies. The truth is that a brush with a rounded tip to the bristles will never give you the straight line you are looking to create. Therefore, buying an angled brush will create the line you want.

Even when using an angled brush, you need to be careful not to overload the brush with paint. Huge splodges of paint onto the wall in one go will start to run, and there goes any hope of a clean line.

4 Draw the line

Not all straight lines need to be achieved with a ceiling or skirting board. Sometimes the design you are looking to achieve requires you to paint geometric shapes. Using any of the normal tools may still result in a wiggly line if you don’t spend some time with a ruler and a T-square to lightly draw a line on the wall. You need to be certain your reference point for your straight line is carefully mapped out before you begin painting.

Remember to use an eraser to remove any visible pencil marks once the paint has dried. 

5 Use an edger

An edger is a tool that creates a straight line for you. It is a square pad, which you load with paint, that runs on wheels along the edge of your surface. Not only will it give you a straight line, but it will help create clean 90-degree angles where edges meet.

An important note of caution with an edger: make sure the wheels are free of paint. When loading the pad, ensure there is just enough paint, and there will be no dripping. The obvious consequence of paint on the wheels is a smudging effect on the edges you are trying to keep clean.


Much success is achieved when edging by having the right tools for the job. While there are specialist painters’ shields and edgers, the use of painters’ tape is still going to be your best option – especially if you are paint spraying the rest of the wall.

Remember, the most important part of creating those straight lines is the final careful check and some touching up. It is the only real way to get that professional look you hope for.