How to Glaze Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to turn a kitchen from drab to fab. One of the most asked questions I get here on the blog is always about painted cabinets but especially how to glaze cabinets? I thought today I would go through all of my steps, tips and tricks for you. If this is a project you are willing to tackle yourself, your budget will thank you!

The glazing process will be the second step after you have finished painting the cabinets. Once the cabinets are completely dry and the paint is cured you can start the glaze process.  Please note, I can only recommend glazing over latex based paint because that is where I have had the best success. Should still work over oil based paints but not over chalk paint that is unsealed. Also, the glaze works best on eggshell or satin finish. If you use flat paint the glaze will not be easily workable. It will stick more like stain and that is not good. If the paint too glossy the glaze will glide off too much.

ALSO, the glazing technique is not for kitchen cabinets only. Looks great in bathrooms or free standing furniture too.

Glazed Kitchen Cabinets

This list of supplies is what I would recommend. My affiliate link is included but if you can find them at your local store feel free to grab there. I have a hard time finding the glaze in stores without driving all over the place.


Glaze supply list:

What to expect during the process:

The reason I think many people can tackle glaze projects themselves is because of the slow dry time. This allows each person to get the look they are after. If you mess up or don’t like it you can wipe it right off with a wet cloth. This also means that once you are done with a project it will need a little more time to cure than basic latex paint.

It should be completely ready by 24 hours but I always like to wait a week before I wipe down the cabinets with a cleaning spray, just to be safe.

Getting down a technique takes a little trial and error. Yes, error will occur but like I wrote above, it can be corrected with a wet cloth. Glazing an average size kitchen usually takes me around 8 hours. Start in a spot that is least seen when you walk into the room. This will be where you will be able to get the technique you love. This is also where you get to play artist. You can add as much or as little glaze to the details as you like.

As we know, all cabinets are not created equal. Some are real wood and some are not. I wrote a post about Glazing Real Wood Cabinets vs MDF that you should check out if you in fact have oak cabinets. The tutorial on this page is about how to apply the glaze. That post will let you see a kitchen I painted as an example.

Glaze steps:

  • Clean cabinets very well and remove hardware.
  • If you purchased the clear glaze in order to custom mix your own color do that first. Clear glaze is mixed with latex paint. Black Fox and Urbane Bronze by Sherwin Williams are both good colors. Follow instructions on the Clear Glaze can for mixing.
  • Apply the glaze with a sponge brush. Paint it on liberally to all of the areas where you want it to fill in the details. It will look a mess, don’t panic.
  • Paint the glaze on a few cabinet doors or drawers at a time. It is best to work in sections.
  • Go back with a damp (NOT wet) cloth and remove all of the excess glaze. If you are removing too much at once, allow it to sit a little longer, about 10 minutes.
  • Repeat the glazing steps on all of the cabinets.
  • DONE! No need to seal.


  • Sometimes I use my finger like I am finger painting. Careful though, you can wind up with a very sore finger tip.
  • Step back and look from different angles in order to keep a consistency in your work.
  • Be proud of yourself! You just completed an awesome makeover!!

Glazed Cabinet Photos

How to Glaze Kitchen Cabinets

Glazing Oak Cabinet Doors

How to Glaze cabinets

How to Glaze kitchen cabinets

How to Glaze kitchen cabinets

I hope this takes some of the guess work out of how to glaze cabinets for you? Please comment below if there is anything that seems unclear still and I will answer or add that info into the post.

Here is another post I wrote about glazing cabinets using the glaze product that I use to buy from Valspar but they no longer sale. It goes into detail about how to mix your own glaze if you need to. It’s easy!

How to Glaze kitchen cabinets

Blog Signature-Charcoal, Gold






  1. Hello I painted my cabinets a chocolate Brown right now they look real flat and drab… Is there any way to glaze them to a softer look! Thankyou

  2. There is no way you can keep any surface clean all the time with kids, lol. As for oil based paint, I don’t personally like it and I would never use it. Latex paint is perfectly durable and washes off really easily. I used latex paint on my cabinets and only repainted them after 8 years because I wanted a different color, not because I had to. Good Luck.

  3. Hello,

    Cant wait to paint my cabinets but I am scared about using water based paint and then having them to get dirty really fast I have 3 kids umder 13yrs and im afraid they will get them doors really dirty in a matter of weeks. A couple pf people told me the best way to go is with oil based paint in order to prevent me from having to paint them frequently. I saw your cabinets and I absolutely love them the glaze you did is stunning!

  4. Just admiring your work. Getting ready to paint some unfinished kitchen cabinets and wondering if I need to use a primer before the chalk paint? What is your advice on unfinished cabinets – should I use chalk paint or just regular latex paint?

  5. You would never want to sand newly painted cabinets. If the cabinet surface is too slick it will be hard for the glaze to stick. It is possible but really all depends. Glaze goes over the top of the finished painted surface. Some people like to seal over the glaze but I don’t. I haven’t found it necessary.

  6. Love the look! We will soon begin construction on our new home (so excited!!) and will have painted cabinets throughout. I’m guessing painters will use enamel paint on them…will I be able to glaze them after they have sprayed on paint and whatever finish they use (if any)? Basically, does any finish have to be sanded first or will I be able to glaze them without any other prep work? Thanks!

  7. Hi, How do you mix the paint with the glaze to get the colored glaze? What is an estimated ration of glaze and paint?

  8. The glaze I have used for years is no longer available but in the supply list in the post I linked up to a different one that was recommended by other painters.

  9. What glaze do you use ,I don’t see where you posted that .Thanks

  10. The glaze I have always used is latex based. This will not stick to an oil based paint. You must use an oil based glaze.

  11. Hello,
    Does this technique work over oil based painted cabinets? Thank you!

  12. I would clean them as I would with a normal degreaser. In the steps in the post I mentioned to leave the glaze on about 10 mins before wiping off. That is not an exact time but rough estimate. After you wipe the first glaze off, that will give you an idea of how long you need to wait.

  13. I am glazing my kitchen cabinets for the first time and wants to know if I need to clean the cabinets beforehand. What do I use? Also, do you wipe off the glaze immediately after applying it or do you wait for awhile?

  14. For a cleaner looking cabinet door, when it is about glazing cabinets make sure you don’t glaze the back side of the doors. You can use a tape to keep it off at the back. Also a sponge applicator can be use to apply the glazing, it simply makes the work easier. All you need to do is dip the sponge and start with the profiles first, moving ahead with the flat surface. Remember, you don’t need to glaze the entire door at one time. Prefer carrying out in small sections at a time.

  15. I am so glad you were able to use my instructions for painting your cabinets! So sweet of you to take the time to tell me. If you ever want to share a photo with me I would love to see your work. [email protected]

    The cabinets should feel somewhat smooth but with a slight texture from the paint roller or brush.

  16. Hello, my name is Alexis, I followed your step by step instructions on how to paint kitchen cabinets. I did everything as followed and they look get I am always very inspired by your pinterest I love all of your work. My only question is how are the cabinets supposed to feel after they are finished? Hope to here back from you. God Bless you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.