How to Glaze

Two Methods:Glazing FurnitureGlazing Cabinets

Glazing is the process of applying a colored glazing film to a wooden surface to create a dimensional, antique look on furniture or cabinets. It is best used on molding, carving or distressed furniture. Uncolored glaze is sold in the paint section of most hardware stores. Then, use the appropriate method to give your wooden furniture or cabinets more character.

Method 1
Glazing Furniture

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    Choose your piece of furniture. Glazing is best done on antique looking pieces with nicks, carving or other details, rather than flat, modern pieces.
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    Decide if you want to sand the piece or not. Sanding will even out the piece of furniture and prep it for painting. However, it can also remove some of the distressed portions that give the glazing character.
    • If you do plan to sand, use 120-grit sandpaper. You don’t want the sandpaper to be too coarse.
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    Prime the piece of furniture before you paint. This will create a durable base coat for the furniture. You can purchase primer in a spray can or in liquid, paint-like form.[1]
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    Paint the furniture a light color. You will want to choose white, ivory, tan, blue or another light color. The glaze will always be darker, so you will need to ensure it will show up on your piece of furniture.
    • You can use paint or spray paint from your local hardware store. Keep in mind that the more you plan to use the piece of furniture, the more coats of primer and paint you should use.
    • Allow the paint to cure overnight after you apply the last coat.[2]
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    Mix a cup of glaze. There are two ways to do this: ask the hardware store to mix it with your favorite paint color or do it yourself. Choose a dark color, such as black, brown, dark red or dark blue, to color your glaze.
    • To mix the glaze yourself, grab a yogurt container or plastic cup. Pour one cup of opaque glaze into the cup. Then, add several squirts or one tablespoon of your dark paint. Mix with a chopstick or paint stirrer.[3]
    • Add more paint as needed to achieve a dark color. This is the color that will remain in the molding or crevices on your furniture.
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    Dip a foam paintbrush into the glaze. Apply it to one leg or portion of the furniture. Work in no more than one-foot sections at a time, so that you can complete the section before the glaze dries.
    • The advantage of using glaze instead of paint is that glaze takes longer to dry than paint, so you can create the look you want without risk of it drying before you perfect it. You have about 10 to 20 minutes to work on one area.[4]
    • Work the glaze into the crevices and carving. Spend plenty of time getting it into these areas, because that is where the glaze will remain when you wipe the rest of it off the furniture.
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    Wipe the glaze off with a damp discarded rag or baby wipes. Use the rag method if you want a “dirtier” look or you want to use more glaze, because it will be harder to wipe off to the original base color. Use baby wipes if you want to remove as much glaze from the top of the furniture.
    • Wipe in clean, straight strokes. Don’t get the rag or wipe into the crevices, because you want the glaze to remain in these areas.
    • Try to get the glaze off the surface of the furniture. Then, replace your rag or wipe with another when it becomes too covered with glaze to wipe off completely.
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    Continue glazing the furniture in one-foot areas. When you have completed the entire piece of furniture, let it sit overnight. Reassess the piece to see if you need to apply more glaze for darker accents.
    • You can apply a second coat of glaze in exactly the same way you did the first coat. The more coats of glaze you apply, the more dramatic the carving and crannies will look.
    • You can do the whole top, side or back of a piece at once. The more detailed the piece of furniture is, the more you will need to break the work down into smaller areas.
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    Spray a clear poly coat sealer to seal in the glaze. Apply two coats to ensure it is durable.

Method 2
Glazing Cabinets

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    Remove the doors of your cabinets. In most cases, this is the only place you will glaze cabinets, since this is the only area with detailing and molding.
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    Paint your cabinets with a light color of paint or stain. Don’t forget to sand and prime the cabinets before you paint them to ensure the paint will last a long time. You can simply glaze pre-finished cabinets without painting or staining them as well.
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    Mix your glaze. Add a dark color of stain to a cup of opaque glaze. Mix and add more stain as needed to make the dark accent color for you furniture.
    • The biggest difference between glazing cabinets and furniture is the use of color. Most often, cabinets are glazed with a stain, rather than a paint color. However, you can use white and blue or brown to create a country cabin look in your kitchen.
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    Place a cabinet door on your worktable. Dip a foam brush into the cup of mixed glaze. Apply it to the innermost edge of your cabinet molding.
    • Make sure the glaze reaches into the corners of all square accents or details in your cabinet. Apply the glaze with the pointed end of the brush until you feel you have pushed it into the door’s woodworking.
    • Since most cabinets have square details, make sure you do the entire interior square first, and then move to the bigger corners and sections.
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    Wipe a damp rag across the surface of the wood. Use a straight motion and a folded rag, so that it leaves the glaze inside the corners and crevices alone.
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    Move onto the next detail you want to glaze. Apply stain glaze and wipe off the remainder.
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    Assess your staining job. If you back away and the cabinet has a pinstripe look, with a darker color surrounding all the corners and edges, then you have achieved the desired look. If not, you can apply another coat of glaze for a darker accent.
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    Finish the remaining cabinets. Allow the glaze to sit for 12 to 24 hours before you begin sealing it.
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    Apply a clear lacquer to the outside of the cabinets. Spray approximately 12 inches (30.5 cm) away from the wood. Then, use horizontal, straight motions to apply even coats onto the doors.
    • For best results, depress the spray nozzle before you bring the can across the door, and don’t stop the spray at the end. This will help you avoid an uneven, spitting at the edges of your piece.[5]
    • Repeat with parallel strokes until the door is covered.
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    Let the cabinet doors sit for one to two days before reinstalling them into the cabinet boxes.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood furniture
  • Primer
  • Basecoat paint
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Plastic cup
  • Glaze
  • Chopstick
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Baby wipes/rags
  • Water
  • Polycoat sealer
  • Power drill (for cabinet door removal)
  • Worktable
  • Clear lacquer

Article Info

Categories: Furniture and Cabinets