How to Glaze Cabinets

By knowing how to glaze cabinets, you’ll be able to darken its appearance or add depth to it. You can also use glazing to give it antiquated look.

Required Tools and Materials

Paint thinner
Stain, paint or colorant
Lint free rags
Several brushes
Oil or water based glaze
How to Glaze Wood Stained Cabinets

Step 1

Put some oil in the color. Add this to the glaze.

Step 2

Remove the knobs and the cabinet pulls. If you will glaze the drawers, take them out so they are easier to work with. Apply denatured alcohol or mild degreasing cleaner.

Step 3

Put the glaze on with a natural bristle brush. Apply liberal amounts. Work the glaze in the corners and the grain. Wipe the glaze with clean rags until the desired look is attained.

Work on one portion at a time. As you glaze cabinets, step back out. Check if the color is getting too dark or bright. If you make a mistake, wipe it with paint thinner. Let it dry.

Notes on Glazing Painted Cabinets

The technique is the same as above. The only difference is the glaze must be based on acrylic, not oil. You must either straight colorant or paint in the mixture. It is best to select a shade that is darker than the cabinet.

Keep in mind that acrylic glaze dries clear. During the drying process, the color will darken a bit. Drying is faster with acrylic compared with oil.

If you make a mistake, wipe the glaze with hot water and rag. When you wipe off the extra glaze, the material will end up in the edges and corners. This actually gives the furniture a more natural look.

Paints and Pure Colorants

Using paint than color will give the cabinet a somewhat “muddy” appearance. This is all right for some. But if you want a more lucent look, use pure colorants. These are sold in art supply stores.


High end glaze can withstand regular cleaning. If you really want it to last, varnish the whole cabinet. But most of today’s glazes no longer require this. Make sure you mix a lot of glaze before starting the job. If the material runs out, it can be difficult to get the proper mix again.

One more thing needs to be said before you glaze cabinets. Keep practicing. It may take a while before you get the glazed look you want. Before working on a cabinet, apply the glaze on wood scraps first.