How to: Glaze Kitchen Cabinets

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

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Glazing Technique Number One: The Kitchen Island

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

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  • Glaze (similar here)
  • Sponge brush
  • Cotton cloth or painter’s cloth
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves

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.

glazing cabinet drawers step one

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.


Step four. Repeat on all other edges.


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.


Glazing Technique Number Two: The Kitchen Cabinets

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 too.

The Supplies

The Process


Step one. Paint the entire surface with 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.


Step two. Wait one to two minutes.


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


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.


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.


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,



About North Country Nest

Hi, we're Brett & Kelly! We're tackling our first home renovation and would love for you to join us on our journey of reno projects, DIYs and home decor tips.

11 thoughts on “How to: Glaze Kitchen Cabinets

  1. 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?

  2. 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.


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

    1. 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!

  4. 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?

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