How to Glaze Cabinets Correctly

Glazing to cabinets is like hot fudge to ice cream, it’s just a perfect combination. Glaze gives that added depth… Read more »
Painted Furniture Ideas

Glazing to cabinets is like hot fudge to ice cream, it’s just a perfect combination. Glaze gives that added depth and dimension to otherwise plain painted cabinets. I absolutely love the look of glazed cabinets, it’s sophisticated and elegant and really boosts the overall look of your kitchen. Best of all, it’s easy to do yourself.

By definition, glaze is a semi-clear coat that is darker than your paint color. It is applied on top of fresh paint and then wiped off quickly which leaves behind a nice dark outline along edges and details.

The best thing about glaze is that it is forgiving and easy to work with. If you mess up, you can wipe it off and try again. There is literally no regrets when working with glaze. So why wait? Let’s get started!

1-It’s best to apply glaze to freshly painted cabinets. This ensures you’re not glazing over old dirt, dust, or grime. If you aren’t planning to paint your cabinets, at least give them a rrreeeaaaallllly good cleaning. Use a degreaser and a liquid sandpaper and allow them to dry completely. It’s best to remove the cabinets off the hinges and remove the hardware completely.

2-Choose an oil-based paint that is a lighter color than your desired glaze.  You can choose virtually any color/glaze combination. The most popular paint color is white, because the glaze shows up easily to create an antiqued look. You can glaze wood-stained cabinets, colored cabinets, or grey cabinets with dark brown or black glaze.

3-When the cabinets are ready, start glazing by using a rag or paint brush to apply the glaze, it will look messy and a little scary, but don’t worry. This is the hardest part. As soon as you apply the glaze, wipe it off in one direction.

The stronger you wipe it off, the less color it will leave on the cabinet. As you wipe the glaze will stick to the corners, edges, and details, giving it that perfect antiqued look. I like to have a partner for this part, so one of us can paint on the glaze, and the other can wipe it off. Glaze dries quickly and darkens slightly over time, so allow it to dry completely before you decide to make it darker. If you aren’t happy with the look, use paint thinner to remove the glaze completely. If necessary, you can use a paint brush to make the glaze appear darker in specific areas. Wipe lightly to blend in with the rest of the cabinet while leaving the color where you want it most.

Sealing glazed cabinets is not necessary, but a varnish or laquer finish can help the glaze to last longer and prevent cabinets from looking worn. Only apply a finish after the cabinets are completely dry and let the cabinets cure for 48 hours before applying hardware and reinstalling them.

Glazing can transform cabinets like nothing else can. It changes the entire look of a kitchen and takes painted cabinets to a whole new level without spending thousands of dollars on a full remodel.  Like always, if you have any questions or suggestions, comment below!  


Learn before you start! Glaze your DIY project correctly with these helpful tips.
How to Not Suck at Sanding ebook by Genevre

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Genevrepam coxCammieLisa CookBennie Mattox Recent comment authors
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pam cox
pam cox

Can I put the glaze over satin paint?


Is glazing possible with chalk painted cabinets if the cabinets are sealed with polyacrylic?

Lisa Cook
Lisa Cook

what color glaze did you use on the last photo, i am assuming over white paint?

Bennie Mattox
Bennie Mattox

Hi Genevre! I have solid maple custom cabinets and after 20 years I’m ready for a slight change. Is there a technique that I could use to put a white glaze on my cabinets? I want to tone down the golden color and update them to a whitewash or glaze or something lighter. I love all you fix ’em uppers. Any suggestions are appreciated.