How Do I Accent Glaze My Cabinets?


An accent glaze on wood cabinets, frames and fixtures is a hand-applied finish used to create distinctive patterns on each frame or door. Finishes come in light and dark colors such as vanilla, mocha and licorice to make the cabinet grooves either seem inset or stand out as raised edges. Accent glazes can be applied only to detailed woodwork with grooves or edge cuts, not flat panels, because the glaze needs a ridged surface on which to "settle."


  • The fastest and most even way to apply the glaze is by using a spray gun with a variable nozzle size that can be adjusted to spay a wide stream. This allows for a fairly even coat of glaze. You should be careful not to overspray, which results in a pool of excess glaze. This can affect your final look.

    Glazes can also be applied with high-quality standard paintbrushes or wiped on with cloth rags. This is not your final design application but simply the means of getting the glaze onto the cabinet. From there you will use a wiping technique to create your designs.

Wiping Techniques

  • Sherwin-Williams, one manufacturer of wood glazes, recommends four techniques for glazing your cabinetry. Use a soft cloth for wiping the glaze into its finished designs. Materials such as cheesecloth, cloth rags or paper towels will work for wiping. Choose your material and use the same type of cloth for the whole project. Fold your cloth into a small packet. In an even, circular motion without pressing too hard, wipe over the profiles or grooved edges first and then over the flat surfaces. Once you've wiped the entire surface, use a clean cloth for the final wipe to even out the glaze. Wipe along the grain of the wood.

    For a brushed glaze, apply the glaze and wipe off the excess material with a cloth rag. Following the grain of the wood, immediately brush the glaze over the surface with a soft-bristled brush. Wipe off excess glaze that builds up on the brush onto a clean cloth as you go. As the glaze dries, keep stroking the brush along the grain until you reach your desired look.

    To get a more dramatic color in the crevices, use a hanging glaze. Apply as before, wipe off the excess only from the edges and flat surfaces but allow the glaze to settle into the corners and ridges of the cabinet before making your final wipe.

    Highlighting is the last technique, achieved by wiping the glaze like a clean wipe or hanging glaze over the main surfaces. Then you take a textured rag, such as a Scotch-Brite sponge, and wipe off sections of glaze along strategic areas to highlight different spaces and colors.

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