How to Glaze Bathroom Cabinets

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Glazing is a painting technique that adds a contrasting surface layer of color, or a patina, to a previously painted item. Glazes are usually applied to wooden fixtures such as furniture or cabinets, and are generally composed of a darker paint that has been thinned with a solvent or water. Some people choose this method to add a complementary luster to their painted wood, while others prefer to use it to give a distressed or antique appearance to their home furnishings. As a DIY project, glazing is among the simplest. Some glazes are applied for a subtle wash of color, while others are considerably darker. If you can paint, glazing won't be a problem. The glaze you choose may be of any darker shade that will contrast well with the main paint color.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic resealable bag (like Ziploc)
  • Premixed glaze (in your chosen shade)
  • Small foam roller and/or firm paint brush (like a China brush)
  • Two or three dry cotton cloths (avoid those that produce lint)
  • Remove the handles from your cabinets with a screwdriver. You can also remove the cabinet doors and hinges, although this is not absolutely necessary for glazing. Place the cabinet hardware and screws in the plastic bag.

  • Open the container of glaze.

  • Apply glaze with the foam roller or brush to a small area at a time, moving in one direction. The glaze dries fast, so work in sections. This will prevent the glaze from drying before you can remove it.

  • Wipe away most of the glaze with a clean cloth before it can dry. If your cabinets or cabinet doors have millwork or grooves cut into them, you might want to experiment to see if leaving a bit more glaze in the recessed areas would be desirable. Use a separate dry cloth to frequently clean your brush as you work on each small section. You don't want layers of glaze building up on the brush and causing an uneven look. Move on to the next section and repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the other areas of the cabinet.

  • Allow the glaze to dry completely. Retrieve the plastic bag and reattach the knobs, drawer pulls and other hardware that you removed in Step 1.

Tips & Warnings

  • It's important to begin with a clean and dry surface. The underlying wood should have a smooth coat of paint and be without splinters or cracks. If you decide to change or reapply a new coat of the underlying color, allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before starting to apply glaze.
  • Glazes have a tendency to dry darker than they initially appear after being applied. Remember this as you wipe the excess glaze away. You will need to step back and objectively look at your cabinets as you work. Wiping away too much glaze may make your cabinets merely look dirty. Leaving too much on may render the glazing effect less visible. Practice in a small but inconspicuous area first.

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