How To Glaze Your Kitchen Cabinets

Glazing is a technique that can create an antique effect on cabinetry. Glazing is particularly effective on cabinetry featuring raised panels, cracks and carved areas where the glaze can accumulate.

Glazing is a very doable DIY project for homeowners hoping to achieve a different look for their cabinets at home. Even if your cabinets are already painted or stained and sealed, glaze can be applied directly over the old finish. The only time when glazing over an old finish won’t work is if theĀ  finish is a very dark color (like black), because glaze won’t appear over very dark paint.


  • Tarps
  • Painter’s tape
  • Fine-grain sandpaper
  • Bucket
  • Wood stain or pre-mixed glaze
  • Solvent (if using oil-based wood stain)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Cotton rags


  1. Protect the counter beneath the cabinets by covering them with tarps. Use painter’s tape to secure the tarps to the counters.
  2. Cover or remove any hardware (like handles) from the cabinets. If you choose to remove the handles, put each handle in a plastic baggie and label the baggie to correspond with the cabinet from which the handle was removed.
  3. Lightly sand the finish of the cabinets with fine grain sand paper.
  4. Wash down any shavings on your cabinets using a damp rag, then dry the cabinets with a dry rag.
  5. In your bucket, mix the stain with water (if it is a water-based stain), or with solvent (if it’s an oil-based stain). You can pick the ratio of stain to water or solvent, but typical ratios are 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part stain. (This is not necessary if you’ve purchased pre-mixed glaze.)
  6. Paint the first cabinet with glaze. The glaze mixture will drip, so wipe off your brush on the edge of the bucket before applying the glaze to any cabinet. It’s okay if your paint application is messy, because you’ll be wiping it off in the next step. When painting the cabinet, paint the front, sides and the entire door.
  7. Use a clean rag to wipe off the glaze. The glaze will color the cabinet, but will be transparent so that the wood grain appears beneath the stain. In fact, the stain will settle into recessed areas of the cabinet doors, like the cracks of the wood grain and the spaces between panels. This darker color creates the “antique” effect, because it simulates the buildup of dirt and wax that can collect on a wood panel with age.
  8. Continue to buff the glaze with the clean rag until you’re satisfied with the results. Move on to the next cabinet while the first cabinet dries.

If you’d like to watch a demonstration of this procedure, we recommend watching the video on this instruction website. For more discussion about specific glazing techniques, take a look at this woodworking site.

Stop In at Ace Paint and Unfinished Furniture for Your Glazing Materials

At Ace Paint and Unfinished Furniture, we have everything you need to glaze your cabinets. From the tarps to the wood stain, paint brushes to solvent, we have it all. And, since the process of glazing your wooden furniture is always the same, you can use the same procedure and materials to glaze other wooden items in your home. If you’re hoping to antique other pieces of wood furniture in your home, we’re here to help you get started. Stop in today for more information.