Even for the most inexperienced in-home painting or decorating, applying antique glaze to kitchen cabinets can be relatively easy and satisfying. You will find that the project produces a more desirable result and moves along faster and with more ease and fewer mistakes if you follow these 7 steps:
Step 1 - Glazing Stained Cabinets
For light-colored wood stained cabinets that you want to darken, use an oil-based glaze. The oil-based glaze is a clear medium to which you'll add the color to achieve the desired shade. This glaze gives you a translucent look and is easy to work with because it takes longer to dry than some water-based glazes. This allows you to take your time and get the effect you want.
Step 2 - Coloring the glaze
To your oil-based glaze, add some oil stain that is the color you prefer. You can try a few different mixes without anyone seeing your trial paint. Apply your trial colors onto a piece of light-colored scrap wood or, when you're close to the right shade, on a place on the cabinet where it won't be seen, such as the insides of cupboard doors. You can also use this trial place to practice applying by wiping along the natural grain of the cabinet wood.
Step 3 - Preparation of the wood surfaces
Using a degreasing cleaner or denatured alcohol, clean all cabinet surfaces you plan to paint and remove all handles, hinges, and knobs from cabinet doors and drawers. You'll find that drawers are easier to work on if you can find someplace to stand them on end.
Step 4 - Glaze Application
Using a natural bristle brush, work the glaze into the cabinet's surfaces and corners. When finished, wipe the glaze, one section at a time, using a clean, lint-free rag until you get the desired effect and look. You can easily correct mistakes by simply wiping off the paint with paint thinner, but be sure you do it before the paint dries.
Glazing painted cabinets are much the same as glazing stained cabinets, except that in painting over a painted surface you use a water-based glaze, instead of oil-based that you use with stain. If you use acrylic to cover old paint, you can use a colorant in the mix to give it the color you want. Remember, when you use latex paint, your color will lighten slightly when it dries, so use a slightly darker color. If you're not sure how much you'll need to darken it, you can practice until you get the color you like.
Step 6 - Working With Acrylics
When working with an acrylic glaze, keep in mind these 3 somewhat different qualities of Acrylic:
1. It has a slightly milky look when it is first brushed on
2. It will darken when it dries
3. It dries faster than some other glazes (you can use a rag and hot water to remove the glaze).
Step 7 - Finishing
In wiping off the excess glaze, you'll notice that it leaves some accumulations or build-ups in corners and edges. You'll also find that these places, when left with the extra glaze, give the painted area a naturally aged appearance that some people find quite charming.
So, in 7 easy steps, you will have changed your cabinets from a more conventional painted or stained look to one with a softer, more antique look.