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

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  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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

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

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

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

  7. 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!!

  8. 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.

  9. 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! 🙂

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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?

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

  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. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

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