Glazing Stained Kitchen Cabinets

by THAT Painter Lady

My kitchen cabinets are oak that are stained a medium color.

I would like to glaze them, but am not sure how it will look glazing over stain. Has anyone glazed over stained cabinetry and do you use different products than you would if you were glazing over paint?

My cabinets are about 20 years old and UGLY.

I was going to paint them, but my husband is dead set against painting woodwork that has a stained finish…so I thought glazing could be a nice compromise as long as glazing over stain looks good.

I’ve seen all kinds of pictures of cabinets that have been glazed over paint, but have seen no pictures of glaze over stain. Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I am new to the glaze technique. Since my husband is against painting our cabinets, I searched online for some other ways to change the look of our cabinets, and I came across “glazing technique” to make them look aged or antiqued.

The directions given were to mix paint or oil stain color with faux finishing glaze and then brush it on and wipe it off. This technique supposedly can be used on stained or painted cabinets, however, the only before and after pictures I saw were of painted cabinets.

So I wasnt sure if this would look okay on stained cabinets.

Also, if this technique does look good on stained cabinets, I was wondering what color I should use….My cabinets are a medium oak, and I do believe there is a clear coat or varnish on them.

Thank you so much for any help or suggestions!!!!

The wipe on and wipe off glazing / antiquing method is do-able.

Since you have medium oak cabinets, I would go with a dark stain color. It may lighten up a bit when mixed with the glaze. Also when you wipe on and wipe off, most of the glaze will be removed anyway so you want to go with a color that will show up. Choose a couple different colors and practice on an area of cabinet that is hidden in a corner somewhere.

Also, since the cabinets have a clear coat on them, you may need to clear coat them again after you do your antiquing technique so the antiquing stain does not rub off with use.

Let me know if you need any more advice. I am here to help

This idea sounds fantastic to me, Debra.

Do you have the procedure detailed anywhere? (And, by “detailed” I mean the step-by-baby-step glazing stained cabinets “For Dummies” edition!)

Here are just a few questions to get you started:

  • Assuming there is a polyurethane coat on the cabinets, would you use a water or an oil-based stain, or does it even matter?
  • Is there only 1 type of glaze–a generic that is mixed with paint or stain?
  • What if parts of the poly coating are possibly thinned or rubbed off–will that affect the outcome?
  • Perhaps it may just add to the antiqued look?
  • When using this process on cabinets beneath a formica countertop, how difficult is it to keep the stain off of the formica? Will it wipe off completely if caught right away?


I don’t think I have a step by step “Dummy” version of how to antique cabinets,  but it is really not that hard to do.

You would first need to clean the cabinets and then glaze them with a darker antiquing color. You can use an artist brush to get the glaze into the recessed areas. Brush on and wipe off with a rag. You would then want to seal the cabinets with some kind of varnish or even poly.

To answer a few of your questions:

There are many different glazes to choose from. There are different glazes for oil based paint and latex paint.

You can use either oil or water based paint, it really doesn’t matter as long as you are sealing the cabinets after antiquing them.

Be careful with the glaze on areas where the poly has worn off, especially larger flat surface areas. Bare wood can soak in the color and cause the cabinets to be darker in those exposed areas. But in smaller areas where it is not as noticeable the glaze will definitely add to the aged look that you are going for.

I would use a little painter’s tape. But if you don’t, you should not have a problem wiping it off of the Formica if you do it before it dries.

I hope that this helps a little bit. Now that the new site is up and running, I will be offering a lot more step by step instruction

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dorothy Crawford February 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I am staining a wood cabinet. I have striped, etc, and then put the stain on the cabinet. My plan is to but a darker glaze on the piece. The question is should I put a coat of varnish on the piece before I glaze it or put the glaze on the stained wood without sealing first?

THAT Painter Lady February 19, 2010 at 4:52 am

You can put glaze on after sealing… but you are going to have to seal
it again – gently so you don’t disturb the glaze which
can be fragile when it’s applied over a sealer.


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