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Give Cabinets Character with a Coat of Glaze

Glazing Kitchen Cabinets by author Meghan Carter

  • How to make a glaze.
  • Tips for picking the best glaze color.
  • Step-by-step glazing instructions.
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    Glazing kitchen cabinets is the best way to achieve an antiqued feel. When you glaze your kitchen cabinets you rub a watered down layer of paint over the surface of the cabinet. The paint forms an almost translucent layer over the existing paint or stain on the cabinet with some areas of the paint being darker than others. As a result, the finish of a glazed kitchen cabinet looks worn and aged. In my video, I show you how to glaze kitchen cabinets. You won't believe how simple it is.

How to Make a Glaze

    When you glaze kitchen cabinets, you don't just apply paint straight to the cabinet. If you did, the paint would be too thick and dry to fast. It would just look like you did a very bad paint job. Instead, you need to create a glaze, which is almost a watered down version of paint. To make the glaze, you mix paint with a glazing liquid. Glazing liquids are typically a milky white when wet and dry clear. Using a glazing liquid on its own would not give your kitchen cabinets any color. That's why you must add paint to the glazing liquid. The paint gives the glaze color and the glaze waters down the paint and keeps the paint from drying as fast. As a result, you get a beautiful translucent layer of paint over your kitchen cabinets.

Choosing a Color When Glazing Kitchen Cabinets

    When glazing kitchen cabinets, it is very important to choose the right paint color. There are three different reasons to glaze kitchen cabinets: you want them to look antiqued, you want to create depth or you want to make a stain look darker. To create an antiqued look you should use black, brown or grey paint. A black paint will give your kitchen cabinets a darker, elegant aged look. A brown paint creates a softer, earthier glazed look. A grey paint looks more shabby chic and washed out.
If you want your kitchen cabinets to look textured rather than aged, then you should choose a paint color that is a similar shade to the color already on the cabinets. For example, if you have a light blue cabinet, you would choose a blue paint that is a shade or two darker. When glazing kitchen cabinets for texture, focus on really getting the glaze into the beveled edges on the cabinet door. That will really make your cabinet door pop and stand out.
    To darken stain, you should use a paint color that is a shade or two darker than the stain on your kitchen cabinets. To make sure you will still see the grain of the wood through the paint, you should use a highly diluted paint to glaze ratio. And again, focus on the beveled edges of the kitchen cabinet door.


What You Will Need When Glazing Kitchen Cabinets

  • A can of glaze, which you should be able to find at any paint store.
  • A can of paint
  • Two old rags
  • A mixing bowl
  • A mixing stick

How to Glaze Kitchen Cabinets

  1. It is very important to remove all doors and cabinet hardware before glazing kitchen cabinets. Taking everything off will make it much easier to apply the glaze.
  2. After everything is off, wash the kitchen cabinet and cabinet doors with a mild soap and clean water. Before glazing your kitchen cabinets make sure the cabinets are completely dry. If you just painted or stained your kitchen cabinets, you do not need to wash the cabinet and doors.
  3. Next, you need to mix the paint and glaze together. When you mix the paint and glaze, the amount you use will depend on how dark you want the glaze to be. For a very dark glaze, use 3 parts paint to one part glaze. For a medium glaze, use 1 part paint to 1 part glaze. For a light glaze, use 1 part paint to 3 parts glaze. After pouring the paint and glaze together, make sure it is thoroughly mixed before applying it to the cabinet.
  4. Once your glaze is made, it's time to start glazing your kitchen cabinets. Dip one of your rags in the glaze mixture and start rubbing it on your kitchen cabinets with straight or circular strokes. Don't be afraid to really rub it in. It will give a great texture. After rubbing the glaze in, wipe it off with a clean cloth. That way you will have a very light layer of glaze on the cabinets. When glazing kitchen cabinets, it is best to work in small areas. That way the glaze won't dry before you get a chance to wipe it off, and you don't want the glaze to be too dark. It will look streaky instead of antiqued.
  5. After glazing your kitchen cabinets let them dry for the amount of time suggested by the instructions on the glaze can. Then you can put on the cabinet hardware and rehang the cabinet doors.
  6. After glazing your kitchen cabinets, you might find that you cabinets look a little off. That might be due to your cabinet hinges, knobs and pulls. If you glazed your kitchen cabinets to achieve an antiqued look, shiny new cabinet hardware might look out of place. Instead try using rustic or aged looking cabinet hinges, knobs and pulls. To learn more about cabinet hinges, knobs and pulls, watch my Cabinet Hardware video.


Glazing kitchen cabinets gives your cabinets an antiqued look. In my video, I show you how to glaze kitchen cabinets. You'll discover that glazing kitchen cabinets is very easy to do and produces stunning results.


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