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We’re sharing two different techniques on how to glaze kitchen cabinets for the perfect antique look! [this post contains affiliate links, which means we may make a small commission if a purchase is made. see the full disclosure here.]

Redoing the kitchen cabinets was one of the first items on my to-do list once we moved into the house. I hated the dark cabinets, have a love for Fixer Upper and decided we needed to go light. However, I didn’t want to go plain, jane white. I wanted a little more character.

So, naturally, I turned to Pinterest and found this idea of glazing kitchen cabinets for an antique look. I read several DIY blogs and thought it didn’t look too hard. In hindsight, I may have been a little ambitious. Not only had I never painted kitchen cabinets before, I also had never used any kind of ‘technique’ either. Up until that point, my idea of technique was managing to not get any paint on my clothes.

Anyways, after the whole paint sprayer debacle, I finally got the kitchen island cabinets painted and was ready to start glazing.

how to glaze kitchen cabinets

Glazing Technique #1

This is glazing technique number one. If you haven’t read my post on the painting problems I experienced, you can check that out here before you continue. If you have, you know why I used two different styles of glazing and also know that I will always read the directions and do a little more research on types of paint and their compatibility.

Moving on.

The Supplies

[this post contains affiliate links, which means we may make a small commission if a purchase is made, at no additional cost to you. see the full disclosure here.]

The Process

Step one. Dip the sponge in the glaze, and draw a line along the edge of the drawer. I went a little heavier on the glaze, because I liked that style. You can use less glaze, which means the detailing won’t be as dark.

how to add detail to kitchen cabinets with glaze

Step two. Dip the cloth in water

Step three. Run the wet cloth just below the edge, wiping away most of the glaze. There should be a small amount defining the edge of the drawer.

adding detail to cabinet drawers with glaze

Step four. Repeat on all other edges.

kitchen cabinet door with glaze

What We Learned

It helps if you start from the inside and work your way out.

It is tedious.

It is sometimes hard to keep the line straight, but I think that adds to the character.

Water is your friend.

kitchen island with cabinet glaze for antique look

Glazing Technique #2

Now for glazing technique number two. I didn’t start with this one because I didn’t want the cabinets to be that dark and I just wanted the edges of the drawers and doors to be defined. That being said, I wish I would have done this on the island, too. Not only was it a million times easier, I think it looks a lot better.

The Supplies

The Process

white kitchen cabinet door

Step one. Paint the entire surface with the glaze. It doesn’t have to be too heavy, but make sure you get the glaze in all the nooks and crannies of the cabinet door or drawer.

cabinet door covered with glaze

Step two. Wait one to two minutes.

cabinet door covered in glaze being wiped off

Step three. Use the cloth to wipe away the glaze. Start in the middle and work your way to the edges.

cabinet door after being glazed

What We Learned

You will need a lot of cloth. Brett was kind enough to let me use some of his old white t-shirts and they worked magnificently.

Go with the grain of the wood.

Every piece is going to look different, but that’s what makes it yours.

cream cabinet door with glaze for antique look

Do not glaze the edges. I tried this and the glaze leaked through to the other side.

Start with the front of the cabinet door. If any of the glaze does run off to the back, it will be on the inside and not as noticeable.

kitchen cabinets with DIY glaze for antique look

Overall, I think it was worth it to try them both. Now we know what we like and don’t like. And I can say that my painting technique has expanded to more than just keeping it off my clothes!

How about you, which do you like? If you give either a try, let us know how it goes!

All our best,




  1. Linda Wittman

    You are both amazing and have so much patience!!!

  2. Amanda L

    Hey! Thanks for the two different glaze styles and feedback about them! When you did the all over glaze did you do the cabinet boxes also? Or just the doors?

    • Kelly

      Hi Amanda! For the all-over glaze, I did the entire cabinet, doors and base.
      Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions!

  3. Better Austin

    Kelly are your cabinets real wood or MDF?

    • North Country Nest

      Hi! They’re real wood.
      Please let me know if you have any other questions!

  4. Helen

    So glad I found this article.

    The cabinets I wanted just like this from Home Depot came in at a qoute of $26,000. Oh my. The installation qoute was another $25,000. Yes. Thats $51,000 for cabinets! That is just not going to happen.

    I will be using your experience, tips and advice to redo mine.

    I will keep the $51,000 for something else.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.


    • North Country Nest

      Oh my goodness, that’s inane!! This option will definitely help you save money. Good luck and thanks for stopping by and posting a comment! 🙂

  5. Darlene Davidson

    I have very dark cabinets, want to brighten up kitchen. Thought doing chalk, im 60 yrs. So time and easy for me. Any suggests.

    • North Country Nest

      Hi Darlene! Chalk paint is great for furniture, but in my experience it doesn’t have the durability that a cabinet/trim-specific paint would have. Although, painting with chalk paint doesn’t require as much prep and you might be okay if you get a stronger polyurethane top coat for protection. Good luck!

  6. Coeba

    Hi Brett and Kelly, you have done a really good job here. I just read a ‘before and after’ posts of a cabinet makeover a few minutes ago where the author turned their kitchen cabinet from dark to something bright and gorgeous. However, I was asking why choose white for a cabinet when most messes occur in the kitchen? I see that you subscribe to the same idea here too. Do you care to clarify why you hate dark cabinets?

    • North Country Nest

      Thanks for stopping by, Coeba! I definitely put my foot in my mouth – I just made the switch to white cabinets and I LOVE it. I am not a fan of the dark because I tend to gravitate towards light and bright spaces. We get some great sun throughout the day and having lighter cabinets makes it even brighter in our home 🙂 Hope this helps!

  7. Sarah Kite

    Great tips and amazing results!! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Tina

    I have Carmel colored cabinets right now, how would I achieve this look on them?

    • North Country Nest

      Hi Tina! Great question! Are they painted or wood stained? I would go over them with a deglosser to make sure the gel glaze sticks and just pick a darker colored glaze so it really pops!

      • Kayla

        What type of paint did you use on the cabinets before applying the glaze?

        • North Country Nest

          Hey Kayla!

          We used Dutch Boy cabinet and trim paint! 🙂

  9. Linda

    Do the cabinets need to be prep before glazing?

    • North Country Nest

      Hi Linda!
      No, I put the glaze directly over the paint. No prep!

  10. Beth

    I have dark cabinets. What paint did you use for the base coat? Did you put a polyurethane top coat on? If so, how many coats?

    • North Country Nest

      Hey Beth!

      We didn’t do a primer/base coat on our cabinets. I just sanded and cleaned and applied the cabinet + trim paint directly onto the wood. We ended up needing about 2.5 coats. We also didn’t add in a poly topcoat because the paint is specifically made for cabinets and trim – meaning, it’s meant for high durability and it’s high gloss. If you’re using a different type of paint, you may want to add a poly topcoat.



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