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Job Recipe Cards

Learn this simple tip & trick for optimizing efficiency for your jobs!  Pierre Finkelstein of Grand Illusion Decorative Painting shows you how.


For those of you who know Pierre or have taken a class with him, you know about his job recipe cards. He is a stickler about these for every technique on every job.

With a completed recipe card, he’s able to know the recipe for every client who may need a touch-up or if they want to repeat a specific finish. Also, if a client/ designer chooses a sample from the GIDP sample library that was completed for another job, he always has the recipe!

The recipe card gives us the important information about color and general tools and steps used to complete the project.  Create your own with the info below.


  • Job Info
  • Date
  • Label
  • Medium
  • Color
  • Type
  • Step
  • A drop of paint for reference

Here is an example of a job recipe card.  Pierre always prints these on cardstock so that they don’t buckle or bend from the paint.

This is a recipe card for a faux oak door Pierre completed in an elevator vestibule in Manhattan. See the door below.

See how GIDP painted the elevator door on a previous post.  See also: Steps for Oak Woodgraining

Pierre completed a seagreen marble for his students. Notice on the second block that he simply dabbed the colors on his palette. Just knowing the colors he used is just the information he needs to recreate the finish.

Here is an example of painted seagreen marble. It’s not the exact one from the recipe above, but you get the idea.

Above is an example of a great reason for a recipe card. GIDP had a client in Long Island where they made a weathered finish on the walls of the mud room. After that was completed, the client wanted them to repeat the look on a pair of lamps. With the recipe card below, they were able to re-create the finish without traveling to Long Island!

Completed weathered lamps from a previous post.  See also: Weathered Lamps

Finally, this fantasy faux marble was completed in Japan, as seen on a previous post.

Having the discipline to properly record finishes is definitely a time-saver, even though it seems like a nuisance at the time.