Man using professional paint edging tool

Kendall "aka Renos"

Founder, Lead Instructor of Renos 4 Pros and Joes and Bathroom Update Guide

I’m standing here the middle of a pretty extensive interior painting project. We are painting ceilings, walls, and trim. I will be using a different color and sheen of paint on each surface. Painting can be a pretty involved process, and this project is no exception. If you have done any paint projects before then you know that often the most time consuming and tedious part of the project is trying to paint the perimeter edges of each surface where they meet each other. The edges where the walls meet the ceiling, the edges where the walls meet the trim, and the edges where the ceilings meet the wall (or the crown molding if you’re lucky enough to have it). As I stand here planning this paint project, I ask myself, “What is the Best Paint Tool for Edging?”


The best paint tool for edging is the 3M Hand Masker M3000. The hand masker not only dispenses masking tape or painter’s tape, but it can also attach the tape to masking paper or masking film. The masker can be used to protect baseboards and trim when painting walls. It can be used to protect the walls when painting ceilings. It can be used to protect ceilings when painting walls, and it can even be used to protect beams when painting ceilings. Not only is the hand masker versatile in the edging scenarios where it can be used, but it’s also fast, and it produces consistent results and can be used an unlimited number of times without reduction in performance. 


What is Paint Cutting?

Paint cutting is a term of art. It refers to the practice of painting areas that are very close to where to surfaces intersect. For example, painting the very top of a wall where it meets the ceiling. For many cutting in is the most difficult part of painting because it can be time-consuming, it requires a steady hand that comes with practice, and to make matters worse, doing a poor job of cutting can have a negative impact the way the overall paint project looks. Our eyes tend to prefer straight lines, and when lines are not straight or eyes are drawn to them and they tend to stick out to us. But don’t fret, there is still hope. Just continue reading below!


What is a Paint Edger?

A paint edger is a tool that is intended to enable the user to paint a more straight line than they would normally be able to paint if they were painting freehand with a paintbrush. A paint edger is also supposed to save time. There are lots of different products in this category, but most are quite cheap and don’t perform well.  But the 3M Hand Masker is one of the few that creates consistent, professional results, and can be used a variety of paint edging and trim scenarios and projects.

Do Paint Edgers Work?

The 3M Hand Masker does work. Many of the other paint edger tools perform with varying results when some being better than others. But the 3M Masker works consistently. Unlike most other paint edgers, the 3M Masker is actually used by professional painters and contractors.

Another major difference between the 3M Masker and other edging tools is that this tool is used before you begin to apply paint. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about it getting this tool gummed up with paint, like you do with other edgers, which will greatly extend the life of its performance. The 3M Masker allows you to apply tape and paper masking very quickly. Much faster and more precisely that trying to tape or mask free hand.



What is a Hand Masker?

As just discussed above, the hand masker allows you to apply tape only, or tape and paper, or tape and masking film(plastic) to whatever surfaces you want to protect from paint. This tool is more versatile than “run of the mill” edging tools because of the many different ways you can use it and the speed at which you can apply the tape and other products.

The hand masker makes it much easier to steady your hands, which results in more crisp tape lines, which results in a more professional looking paint job. There are several different companies that make hand maskers(and I’ve used them), however, the 3M Hand Masker M3000 is the industry leader and by far the best. Its more durable and is compatible with more wide a range of tapes, masking papers, and masking films.


Do Hand Maskers Work?

Absolutely. The key is buying the one that can actually do all the things that it claims. The 3M Hand Masker m3000 checks that box. This is the only Hand Masker that I see consistently being used by professional painters and contractors. Why is this significant?

Because professional painters’ and contractors’ reputations and livelihood depend on them producing consistent high-quality results, they have to use the tools that work best.  Contractors 3M Maskers are usually well-used and dusty with paint overspray. Rarely do I see anyone with a brand new 3M Masker. Unless they lost it, it “walked-away” or they ran over it.

This tool is built to last. This tool will last for years and can be used on hundreds of paint projects and will continue to perform as it was intended. That cannot be said for most of the “gimmicky” edging tools that you see advertised all over the place.

Can You Cut in and Paint the Next Day?

It is always best to cut in and roll the same day. In fact, if you are painting alone, it is advisable to cut in one wall at a time. You should then roll your walls immediately after you complete your cut in while the paint is still wet. Otherwise, you run the risk of paint visually looking different once it dries.

This paint issue is of even greater concern if you are painting with a paint sheen other than flat. Even though, you should not make a practice of allowing hours to pass between cutting in and painting, if you do, flat paint will be a lot more forgiving than any other sheen. Your satins and eggshells finish paints are far more likely to show and be visually noticeable in the areas where you stopped painting and then came back.


Can You Cut in After Rolling?

You can cut in after rolling. But the more common and preferred order of operations is to cut in first then roll after. Generally speaking its easier to create a more visually uniform paint job by cutting in first. When you cut in with a paintbrush, your goal is to evenly distribute paint to areas where a paint roller cannot reach or will not be effective.

While the cut in is still wet, you immediately paint the walls with a paint roller. The paintbrush creates a different texture and finish on the walls than a paint roller. And the goal is to make the paint look as uniform as possible. In order to achieve this,  you can use the paint roller to overlap the paintbrush cut in and eliminate any brush strokes in order to create an even finish.


How to Cut in Paint Fast?

This is somewhat of a loaded question. The speed at which you complete the job always has to be measured against the quality of the results. With that said a high-quality paint job is going to take a little longer to complete, but the end results speak for themselves. If you have a bit of paint experience and a steady hand, the fastest way to cut in is with an angled sash brush and a small bucket to paint from. However, there are many people who don’t feel comfortable even trying to cut in freehand. For those people, painter’s tape may be the best option. Tape and masking techniques are also used by professional painters, as there are painting scenarios where even professional painters aren’t able to cut in with high-quality results. The 3M hand masker is the best paint edging tool because it speeds up the time it takes to apply the tape without compromising on the tape installation.


Why Mask Before Painting?

Masking off components of your project with tape, and or paper and masking film allows you, the painter, to control where the paint can go because the tape creates boundaries. This allows the painter to focus on applying an even finish on the surfaces that are getting painted, and worry less about accidentally getting paint on other areas of the project.

Masking is an effective technique regardless of whether you’re applying the paint with a paintbrush, a paint roller, or a sprayer.  If you happen to be using an airless sprayer, masking off areas where you don’t want paint is basically a requirement. The airless sprayer atomizes the paint and distributes it in very small particles. These tiny paint particles can be harder to control, and overspray is your biggest enemy because its not always easy to see and it can be more difficult to remove than paint drips from brushes or rollers. A good masking job is your best defense against overspray.


Best Way to Mask Windows for Painting

The best way to prevent getting paint on windows is by masking them. You can use tape only, or you can use a combination of tape and paper and/or masking film. Masking film gives you the most complete protection. If you are painting with an airless sprayer or if you are painting in a scenario where you simply can’t afford to get ANY paint on the windows (like if you dont have touchup window paint) then applying tape and plastic is going to be the best option.

You can use a roll of tape and a roll of plastic and do it by hand. But the fastest and cleanest way to complete this task is with a 3M Hand Masker. It allows you to attach the tape to the paper or masking film as you apply/install it on the window.  The plastic masking film for the 3M Masker comes in different sizes, and the 48-inch film will work excellent for most windows. There are longer masking films for available for doorways and walls.


When to Remove Painters Tape

Regardless of whether you are painting with a brush, a sprayer, or a roller, the best time to remove the tape is as soon as the paint is ready. If you are applying paint with a brush, you can usually remove the tape right after you finish applying the paint. The same is also usually true for using a paint roller. Now if you sprayed your paint with an airless sprayer, you may want to inspect your painted areas to make sure there is no paint that is actively “running” before you remove the tape.

Reason #1

You want to remove the tape as soon as possible for two reasons. One, you don’t want the paint to dry onto the edge of the tape. if it does you will break this bond when you remove the tape and this could remove some paint, and or give a jagged line.

If you look around online you will see there are some differing opinions on the best time to remove the painter’s tape. You also want to pull the tape down and away from the edge that has just been painted.

Reason #2

The second reason you want to remove the painter’s tape soon after you apply the paint is that you want to be able to see any issues while you still have a chance to correct them before the paint dries. The tape creates a barrier against the paint, but if also creates a visual barrier for the painter. This means that if there are any gaps or issues with the way you applied your masking, you won’t be able to see if the paint was able to get under your tape until you remove the tape. This is particularly important when masking trim.

If you are able to catch any “bleed-through” onto the trim, while the paint is still wet, many times you can just carefully wipe off the still-wet paint with the corner of a wet paper towel or cloth. In many instances, this is a much better scenario than discovering a paint issue after the paint is completely dry and then trying to sand it or peel it off, and potentially having to repaint a portion of the area.


Cutting in with Masking Tape

Using tape to mask off your paint project is a surefire way to increase the quality of your finished project. The key to masking off with tape is applying the tape in very straight lines and ensuring that the tape has a complete bond along, especially along the edge of the surface that you are painting.

The 3M Hand Masker is the best paint tool for edging because it makes it easier to tape off a straight line, it allows you to apply the tape to your surfaces faster, more precisely, and more consistently than doing it by hand. This tool gives you the best of both worlds because it allows you to apply the tape fast without compromising on quality. And you only have to buy it once.