DIY | Painted Projects

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.

HOW TO GLAZE CABINETS

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.

TIPS:

  • 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

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96 Comments

  1. Alexis Mendez says:

    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

    1. 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. sonya@athomewiththebarkers.com

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

    2. Keesha Harms says:

      Hello! What have you sealed the cabinets with after glazing? I’m afraid to use polyurethane as it will yellow (after tears of course) polycrylic would be glossy any help is appreciated!!

    3. I don’t seal my glaze. It has always cured just like paint so no need. You are right though, polyurethane will yellow over time.

    4. Hi! I glazed move years ago over my off white cabinets. I do t like the look anymore of the paint color. But love glaze. I want them whiter. The paint was a creamy color. Sea oats by Sherrwin Williams I believe and it was oil based too!! So I don’t know what to do.

    5. You can paint over the cabinets to cover the glaze. If you have oil based paint though you will need to prime them if you are wanting to use latex paint now. That’s the down side to oil based paint.

  2. 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.

  3. Glenn Manka says:

    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?

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

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

    1. Just know the more glaze you mix the longer you have for dry time. I usually mix close to half and half.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. Great post! What color white paint did you use?

  9. 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?

  10. 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!

    1. 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.

  11. 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

    1. Wanda Anderson says:

      I painted the cabinets a color I do not like, so I am going to repaint them a cappuccino type brown color. What can I do to make them look glazed or shinny ? Would you go over them with just a clear glaze or would you mix that brown paint and the glaze together when I’m putting on that brown color? I am using latex paint that’s what are used for the first bad color I picked.

    2. Wanda Anderson says:

      I hope to Start this with in a hour if you can get back to me

  12. Kris Raver says:

    I Love these cabinets! I am planning on doing this to my plain old oak cabinets with-in the next couple weeks. What finish of the Antique White did you use? Also did you mix the brown colored paint with the glaze for these cabinets?

  13. Lynne Florence says:

    What finish do you use on the paint? Flat, Eggshell, Satin or Semi-gloss? I’ve heard that when you are glazing it’s best to use a flatter finish.

    1. Great question! I need to add this info to the post. 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.

    2. I was just about to ask you how you keep the white from turning brown all over. I used a light grey chalk paint on a side table and used a brown glaze and the whole table went beige and looked horrible! So, no chalk paint is the answer?

    3. yep, to antique over chalk paint you have to use dark wax. That is a different process.

  14. Hello! I’m hoping to paint my kitchen cabinets this spring. They’re made of MDF, and they’re two different shades of white. I’m planning on using a white chalk paint (to get them all to the same shade of white). You said in the post to only use the glaze over a sealed chalk paint. I’m thinking I’ll seal the chalk paint with a satin polycrylic. Do you think the glaze will be able to adhere to the polycrylic? Thanks for the tutorial! Your cabinets look amazing!

  15. Do you sand or prime your cupboards first? What type of paint do you use?

  16. Kathy Clark says:

    Can you glaze just the crevices and leave the flat surfaces of the cabinet doors just painted?

  17. Sheila Collins says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve read dozens of sites about glazing and always wind up with the same question – what color paint works with this. You have given me a great starting point. I truly appreciate when people give the information beginners need.

  18. Hello Ms. Baker,
    Thank you for this informative thread.
    I am a pro paint and I have found glazing to be very popular.
    I have shied away from the glazing prosses because I had no ideal how it works.

    Thank you ma’am for the tips! 🙂

  19. Good morning,
    Your work is beautiful
    I am having my oak cabinets painted and glazed. I have two questions about colors. I am looking at Sherwin Williams Snowbound or Alabaster. They are similar with slightly different hues. My first question is what color glaze to do? I see your Urbane mixed with the clear glaze, which looks good but wondering if good over the snowbound or Alabaster. Another question is , I have hardwood floors , which are being refinished and am struggling with what stain will look best with the cabinets. Essential to mention is I will keep my Verde granite counters and creamy tan backsplash.
    any insight would be warmly welcomed.

  20. Brandy Thierry says:

    So, my kitchen cabinets are currently a dark brown and I found the can of paint the previous owner used which is oil based. Can I paint over it with Latex paint or do I need to use an oil based paint again? Thank you!!

    1. Brandy Thierry says:

      I should have stated I want to paint the dark brown cabinets an off white before I glaze them.

    2. Sadly you can not use latex over oil based paint unless you sand, clean with TSP and then prime with a bonding primer.

  21. JANICE M CHIASSON says:

    Whats the benefit of mixing the clear glaze with the dark glaze/darker latex paint? confused here……

    1. If you can buy glaze already tinted to the color you need then you are good to go and that is all you need. If you can’t, you will have to make your own. You do that by combining clear glaze with the latex paint color you need. Hope that helps. I’ll try to update the post to make that more clear. Thanks for asking. It helps me understand how to word things. ~Sonya

  22. Hello I have MDF kitchen cabinets and I would like to know if you use primer before painting them if so what type of primer should I use?
    Thanks for you help!

    1. Painting cabinets depends on many things…are they new, never painted? Have they been painted already? Latex or Oil based paint? Primer depends on what surface you are painting over and is almost always a good idea. They only time it can be skipped is if you are painting over latex paint with latex paint or chalk paint. Hope this helps.

  23. Thank you for your very informative post. I love your website and all your great ideas. I am trying to complete my kitchen cabinets that I have painted with chalk paint and sealed with polycrylic before glazing them. Your post says that you don’t need to seal the glaze so my question is, will water that may potentially get on the cabinets or cleaning them in the future cause the glaze to come off? When I attempted to put polycrylic over the glaze that has been curing for a week, it reactivated and came off with the brush. I don’t want all my hard work to get ruined. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks

    1. I have never sealed glaze and it has never came off, even when I clean with a degreaser. When glaze it added to latex paint, it hardens just as paint would.

  24. Brian K Thibodeaux says:

    If the cabinets already have a flat finish, before adding a Glaze…all you have to do is first spray on a product called Deft Clear Wood Finish with a Satin Finish. It comes in a brush on formula as well. For ease of use, I prefer the spray can. Allow it to dry briefly, then continue with glaze of your choice. Deft works very well as a topcoat after the Glaze…it not only seals in the work, but more importantly, allows the glazed cabinets to be easily cleaned with only warm water and a small amount of dish detergent. I know you say you haven’t needed a sealer, but why not when it is this easy. It would be awful to go through all that work only to have it wash off like yesterdays snow!

    1. Brian K Thibodeaux says:

      Almost forgot, you can aways change the shine with a few clicks sd

    2. Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to test that out. ~Sonya

  25. Hi great look I would love that Question? I painted my kitchen cabinets with advance waterborne paint from Benjamin moore I had them cured about 1 month because we weren’t ready to assemble them as we were renovating the house now they are assembled can i still glaze them how and with what I would love that look thanks

    1. Yes, you should still be able to glaze them although I am not familiar with the waterborne paint you have. The instructions in this blog post are still what you would use.

  26. If you have chalk painted your cabinets and put the polyurethane on them but don’t like the bright color can you still put a glaze over it without removing the polyurethane?

    1. It’s harder to glaze over poly because it is shiny but it’s not impossible. May take longer to dry but that will have to be tested.

  27. After glazing can I brush on poly urthine for extra protection?
    Barb P

  28. Jeanette carter says:

    This is my first attempt. I want to glaze paint my kitchen cabinets. I want to do a gray. I seen a post they did Aspen gray with glaze with black. What should I get it in? Type paint and glaze?thank you for any help

    1. Trying to be clear of what you are asking…are your cabinets black and you want to glaze them gray? That sounds beautiful. You can mix regular latex paint in the color of your choice with clear glaze. Amount instructions will be on the glaze bottle. If you want to mix your own glaze I use one like this (affiliate link) http://amzn.to/2yH9g5O.

  29. I did something wrong and my cabinets look bad! What can I do to fix it? The gel wouldn’t rub off and dried very fast leaving huge streaks

  30. I need help. I had custom kitchen cabinets built and they are painted white with Chalk paint. How can I glaze over chalk paint? Or do I need to use dark wax?

    1. Chalk paint will need wax. The glaze will absorb and not be spreadable.

  31. Shannon Clark says:

    Hi. we just purchased brand new cabinets and I didn’t do the upgrade of having them glazed.I figured I could do this myself. Can you highlight glaze such as an accent without having the glaze all over the doors and cabinets to change their color. They are a linen color and don’t wish to make them any creamier only want to add some mocha color to the inside corners. Is this possible?

  32. Beth Mazoch says:

    I am considering buying a home with bright white cabinets, which I do not like. Would glazing them warm up the kitchen, or should they be painted a creamy white first?

    1. Glazing pure white cabinets may not warm up the space. I would recommend painting a warmer off white first.

  33. Lora Daniels says:

    You mentioned that you glazed just the areas with crevices, my drawers are flat – no crevices . Wouldn’t they look funny without any glaze on them?

    1. I think that would have to be a judgement call. It could look okay if the glazing on the other cabinets is done in a lighter color and veryn strategically. ~Sonya

  34. I will be glazing my 1999 solid oak cabinets. I don’t think there was ever a stain or paint on them, just a clear coat of varnish. Would I use a water or acrylic based glaze?. Because I have all oak trim that I do not want to change, I was just going to use a dark brown Java glaze just to enhance and pick up a slightly darker tones. Some areas of the cupboard shows a lot of darker wear, will I need to wash with tsp and sand ? Thank you for your great posts and help

    1. I am just now seeing an entire group of comments from many months ago…I am so sorry for the delay. Did you get figure out what to do with your glaze? I am happy to answer questions if still needed. ~Sonya

  35. Julie Pryce says:

    Hi Sonya, thank you for your post. I have 20 year old knotty pine cabinets that have a clear polyurethane finish. I would like to paint and glaze them. I’ve been researching (endlessly) different ways to achieve an antiqued look. I’d like to use latex vs chalk paint because I think the paint is more durable. Right now my plan is, to TSP, prime and paint cabinets with an eggshell finish cream/off white paint and then glaze. My husband thinks I should put a clear coat on after I glaze to help protect, I know you said it’s not necessary. Maybe I can spray the cabinet doors and drawers with Deft and leave the base un-Defted? My questions are? How long after I paint would you recommend waiting to glaze? ( to let paint cure) Have you ever experimented with distressing by sanding the cabinets before glazing? Do you have any other suggestions dealing with clear gloss cabinets?
    Thank you!

    1. I am just now seeing an entire group of comments from many months ago…I am so sorry for the delay. Did you get this project completed? If you still need these questions answered I am happy to help. ~Sonya

  36. If. You don’t mind me asking what color did you use for paint and glaze in the greenish cabinets ? I love that !!

    1. That green is called Retreat by Sherwin Williams. The glaze is Brazilian Brown (VR098A) in Valspar.

  37. What is the difference between chalk painted cabinets w/ wax Or latex paint w/ glaze..? Is one better then the other? And which would be easier to do?

    1. They will each give you different looks. The wax is much harder to be precise if you only wanted the color in the details. It isn’t as easily controlled like glaze is. The glaze can be manipulated easier. Not necessarily that one is better than the other, just different. ~Sonya

  38. Linda Carter says:

    This is the look I’m aiming for:

    https://athomewiththebarkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glazing-Oak-Cabinet-Doors-700×933.jpg

    The grain of the word is filled in and revealed by the glaze. I’m going to refinish oak cabinets that still have the grain showing. I’m worried that if I choose the wrong paint, it will fill in that grain, so the glaze won’t sink in. Do you know what paint was used in the image I just posted the link to? I don’t see grain in the pix that apparently was painted with Cashmere paint. This pix seems different. I’m thinking now to find a spray paint with a matte finish.

    1. If you are using latex paint it will not fill in your grain. I don’t actually know of any paint that would do that. The post I am sharing below should answer your questions too. I see you messaged me a while back, sorry I missed it. If you still need help after reading this please let me know. ~Sonya

      https://athomewiththebarkers.com/how-to-glaze-cabinets/

  39. Hello, I am doing a project for my son. He and his fiancé wanted there cabinets white with gray trim. I have tried and my hand is not steady enough, this has been overwhelming. I found your site and, with glazing this would only be in the creases correct? They want the doors white.
    Thank you,
    Stacy

  40. What white paint ( brand and color) did you use and what paint color for glazing ( black fox or urban bronze?
    Also, since you did not varnish the cabinets , can you wipe them off ( clean) with damp rug?
    Thx

    1. The paint I used was Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint color Antique white. The glaze I used at the time was called Raw Umber but it is no longer available.

  41. If you do not use a semi-gloss paint won’t the cabinet’s be soft amd may dent ( mark up ) very easy because there’s no hard coat on the outside surface of the cabinets doors. Thank you

    1. I have found that glazing is best when not done over a semi gloss or gloss paint. I will occasionally have a mark here and there but it’s rare.

  42. I would love to know what color and brand of green paint you used in the picture with the copper sink?

  43. Hi,

    I love your glazed cabinets that you did with the antique white. That’s exact;y what I’m trying to do. I have a few questions. First, my cabinets are wood. If I wanted that exact look would I paint the entire cabinets antique white? Now, where I live they only sale clear glaze. So my second question is what color did you use mixed with glaze?

    1. You will have to mix your own glaze color. All you do is add latex paint in the color of your choice with the clear glaze. About 4 to 1 ration with the clear glaze at a 4. This post here will let you get a better look at the difference in glazing and tips for each look. If you have further questions please ask. ~Sonya

  44. I have bought a trailer and want to glaze the cabinets. I know there are instructions painting them because of the material they are made of. I want to avoid painting them just add a black glaze to the trim. Do I need to do anything different or just use the satin latex paint. Love your work.

  45. I’m in the process of painting my kitchen cabinets and am planning on using a glaze. Is it best to just glaze the doors and drawer fronts or glaze the frame as well?

  46. Gale McComas says:

    Can I use any color of glaze on white cabinets? I painted my cabinets white a year ago and they are still great , wash up good no stains. Thanks for any info!!

  47. Hi Sonya, I am going to follow your directions to glaze some old cabinets I just bought. I am going to do a dark charcoal grey, right now they are the standard honey oak color. I was thinking of stripping them and sanding them first then doing a white primer underneath.. but my question for you (to get the look like in the picture of the grey cabinets you have posted) do I need to do all that or should I just glaze over the honey oak color? I have never done any thing like this before so all the help would be much appreciated!
    Thanks!

  48. Kori Kaminski says:

    What color paint did you use on walls ? I’m having a hard time picking a wall color with my cream cabinets 🙂

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