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Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes
504 East St. Charles Rd,
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Toll Free: 800-797-4305
Phone: 630-653-2400
FAX: 630-653-4671


Chicago's Decorative Arts: Newsletter for Faux By Kathy faux finishing faux school faux elearning

Golden Proceed Product conversion chart wit Faux Effects products

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BOLD Stone certified training and products

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Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Decortive Artist School Decorative Arts marbling and graining techniques

Stencils; Does Thickness Really Matter?

Whether stencils are used for murals, walls, canvas or furniture a creative designers imagination can take them just about anywhere. There are endless custom effects that can be done with stencils.  Sometimes, transferring those brilliant ideas that form in a designer’s head and implementing them perfectly does not always happen.  That right there is the key.  Could it be that maybe a different thickness of stencil may have been more effective, rendering the perfect result?When applying a stencil to a different type of surface, is it best to always use a standard 7 mls or do different surfaces call for different thicknesses of stencils?  This question was posed to Diane Reinsch, Division Manager of Laser Excel, who shared her personal preference and expertise in the technicalities of stencils.  “We carry a 5, 7, 10 and a 14 mls.  The 5 mls are usually used for t-shirts, semi-permanent face paints or airbrushing.  The closer it hugs, the less chance for seepage but you lose some of your durability with this Mylar stencil.  The 7 mls is the most common Mylar stencil used.  They are used a lot by faux finishers, as this is the best size for painting on walls and canvas.  Some faux finishers use 10 or 14 mls because of repeated use and they feel they get a longer life span.  This is a misconception.  Life span is based off of how well the stencil is taken care of.  If you have an intricate design, don’t let paint dry in the corners and this will increase the lifespan of your stencil, no matter the mls.  For plaster and to add height, depth, dimension or 3D looks the 10 or 14 mls stencils are used.  The 14 mls is more for plaster and some people choose to use the 10 mls for heavier walls or rough surfaces.  However, there really is no set thickness of Mylar to be used on any application, it really comes down to personal preference of the individual painter or designer.”

Laser Excel is a company that has been in the business for 20 years and offers exceptional Mylar stencils.  Not only that, they also have other products aside from stencils.  Diane explains just exactly what those are.  “We have several side business.  We have a point to purchase side of our business; we do quilting tools, paper and business cards as well.  Anything that can be laser cut, just not metal cutting.  We have a full custom paper side to our business.”

Kathy Carroll is proud to be able to offer the incredible, high quality, custom stencils that Laser Excel produces.  Simply call Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes today and place your order.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Announcing the Faux by Kathy Blog!

Faux by Kathy blogWhen Kathy was thinking of ways to try to reach out to her customers, ways to get more information and to inspire them, she had an epiphany.   The best way to do that would be in a blog.  While Kathy still enjoys interacting on her Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes Facebook page, she felt a blog would be great for a solely business focus.  With the FBK Blog, it will be utilized to share information with the latest happenings about CIFF studio, exciting new products and many more wonderful ventures to come.  As Kathy says, “There is so much going on in the studio, new ideas, new design, I needed something that I could use to get the information out quicker to my audience!”  FBK Blog link below: http://fauxbykathy.blogspot.com/  

Private Sessions

Private Sessions have always been a favorite with the beneficial one on one time.  This is the perfect class to cater to your individual goals along with Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes’ fully equipped studio.  Call ahead and book your time as the price varies with what you wish to learn.  To get ideas please visit our gallery.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

A New Look at CIFF

Construction has begun and chaos reins at CIFF.  As always Kathy and her staff are productive as usual.  Creativity is at a high and the new changes that are coming are only adding fuel to the already creative minds that reside and prosper at CIFF. Upon entering the store there will soon be a newly designed desk and archway.  The whole concept up front and back has changed.  The kitchen and office is being redone and a wonderful coffee bar is being added; even rumor of a fireplace has been heard… Kathy is raving about the changes and is extremely excited for finalization to come to fruition.  “It has been needed for a while and is turning out to be so beautiful.  People are coming in and they are amazed.  We are resurfacing all new subfloors, new countertops, new walls, crown moldings, moldings, new desks and new tables.  Our goal is a place of inspiration so that people will come and be inspired by what they see.  They will want to bring their clients and interior designers so that they too can see what’s going on.” “We purchased frames so that we can frame the samples.  This way the samples will be there for all to see.  Along with our framed samples we will offer our students the corresponding recipes so they may reproduce it themselves.  This option is not available to interior designer or the general public.” CIFF was always a creative and inviting atmosphere where ideas where shared and inspiration was abundant.  Just imagine what the future at CIFF now holds.  Come see and experience it for yourselves!

Faux by Kathy Quick Inspirtations
Click Here to purchase
Quick Inspirations

Quick Inspirations

November's Sample Pack
Keep your portfolio up to date with high quality boards sent right to your door each month!  Each Quick Inspirations sample pack includes a 9 x 10 sample with a recipe for the finish as well as three 3 x 3 color waves.  What an amazing addition to your portfolio without the demands on your time!

Try our sample pack for only $27.50.  For the most cost effective savings order a 12 month supply at only $260 and receive a new Quick Inspirations sample pack delivered to your door each month.  Call now, we look forward to hearing from you!

Click Here to purchase Quick Inspirations >

Artisan Spotlight

Kathy, thought you'd be interested in seeing the walls I finished  in Los Angeles... used my residual oil-Rolco sizing after all (sent it in my suitcase w my tools!) The plain holographic sheets are too subtle - like the confetti more.


Would You Like to Be Artisan of the Month?Faux By Kathy Decorative Artisan of the Month

Have you ever wanted to be featured as an Artisan of the Month on our website?  Now’s your chance!  All you have to do to be considered is contact our office.  If you are selected, you will need to be available for a 30 to 45 minute phone interview and provide us with at least 10 pictures of your work, and a picture of yourself to be featured with your article. 

The increased visibility alone is worth it!  What have you got to lose?  Contact us today!

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