There are several ways to become a faux finisher. Some self-teach and become a faux finisher by reading about techniques and experimenting and perfecting faux techniques in the home using their own walls as a learning canvas. Others begin as professional painters and take faux finishing classes to add specialized techniques to their offered services. Some also begin as apprentices training under experienced faux finishers and eventually go into business themselves. Most often, aspiring artisans use multiple paths to achieve their goal of becoming a faux finisher.
Perhaps the most common way to become a faux finisher is to self-teach, at least in the beginning of the career. Many homeowners interested in decorating have attempted finishes on their own and discovered they have a natural talent. Frequently, their first clients are friends and family who see the look and want it duplicated in their own. Usually, artists who start in the faux finishing business this way already have a natural artistic talent and interest in home decorating or construction.
Many professional painters become a faux finisher to add specialized techniques and knowledge that help build their business. Some become interested in faux finishing after meeting an established faux finisher at a jobsite and realizing the increased earning potential that specialized painting techniques can earn. Painters can become faux finishers by either self-teaching or taking a course offered by a faux finish school.
There are no accrediting bodies or licensing requirements for faux finish schools. Still, there are many good schools that rely on repeat business and word-of-mouth. These strive to maintain high standards and frequently offer ongoing support to graduates.
The initial faux finish course usually lasts about 40 hours and is 5 days long. Basic courses teach beginning faux finishing skills, business and marketing, and some advanced techniques. The student is able to use the work completed during the course as a portfolio to show clients. Usually the finishes learned during the beginner course use special products and focus on high-end techniques that would be difficult for the self-taught faux finisher to master.
Another way to become a faux finisher is to become an apprentice to an accomplished faux finisher with a thriving business. This hands-on approach is a very quick and effective method for learning techniques. There may be a risk to the teacher, however, because there is always the chance that the apprentice will eventually become the teacher’s competition.
There are many advantages to becoming a faux finisher for the self-motivated individual who has some creative ability and physical stamina to work on their feet every day. Most faux finishers are either self-employed or work in partnerships with one or two other faux finishers, allowing a great deal of autonomy. Faux finishers are able to use their creativity and experience a high rate of pride in their work.