How to Stain and Glaze Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

Lead Image for How to Stain and Glaze Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets
  • 6-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-100
What You'll Need
Stain material
Glaze (option)
Polyurethane coating

If you have unfinished kitchen cabinets you can easily improve and alter the overall appearance of the room by applying a layer of stain or a glaze to them. This will darken them to the degree that you wish and provide an excellent overall look for the walls of your kitchen. Keep in mind, however, that staining and glazing unfinished wood is a somewhat difficult process that can be easy to mess up, so it's important that you read these steps carefully and work with great attention to detail. Read on for a brief guide on how to stain and glaze unfinished kitchen cabinets.

Remove the Cabinet Panels

The easiest way to stain and glaze your cabinet panels is to remove them from the wall. Use the screwdriver to remove them at the hinges and then carefully lay them out over a bed of old paper or newspaper in the garage or outside. You'll want to be in an open space, as the fumes from the stain material can be dangerous to your health.

First Paint Stain Coat

Use your paintbrush to carefully paint even strokes of the stain material over the front face of the cabinet. Be sure that you spread the mixture out evenly and do not worry about staining the cabinet too heavily. The more coats of stain that you put on the unfinished wood, the darker it will be. Allow the front portion of the panel to dry completely and then paint the back portion as well. Finally, paint the sides.

Add More Coats as Desired

You can then add as many more coats of stain as you'd like. Simply follow the same method. Be sure that you allow for plenty of time for the stain to dry in between coats, and it's also crucial that you paint the stain on as evenly as possible. If you find that the stain is not even, you may wish to lightly sand it down in order to lighten up the color a bit.

Add Glaze

If you wish to further augment the appearance of your unfinished kitchen cabinets and to protect the stain from being damaged, coat the stained cabinets with a layer of glaze. This can be applied in much the same way. Use sandpaper after the glaze has dried in order to smooth out any rough areas or places where the glaze material built up.

Coat with Polyurethane

Although it's an optional step, the stain and glaze that you've applied will be much better protected if you coat them with a polyurethane protective layer. This material can be purchased at most hardware stores and paint supply centers and serves as a protective coating over the stain and the wood. One coat should be adequate.