Glazing existing wood kitchen cabinets

darrensmomAugust 11, 2005

Hello. I have a custom kitchen that is wonderfully made but I hate the color (orangey brown oak). I was wondering if anyone knows an easy way to change the color. I love the new glazes that are available for new kitchens. Or could I do an easy white wash instead? I am just looking for a beige/creamier color to go with some new granite I had installed. The granite is beautiful, but now the cabinets look more orange than ever. I have a lot of woodwork and trim that I would have to do. I am probably asking for a miracle, but I thought I would try. (I am posting this on various forums...not sure which will produce a post)

Thank you for your suggestions or input.

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Does your woodwork have a finish over the stain? I do know that a glaze would need a "tooth" to adhere to and I am thinking that that would require very minimal sanding with an ultra fine sanding paper.

Also, are you dealing with a water based or poly stain? Are they factory finished?

I too, am interested on any advice.

I have 20+ year old cabinets that are a cheaper grade oak and I have thought of how much I would love to change their look, they are medium brown and the finish is pretty worn. I wish I could afford the old style 1920's simple cabinetry that would so fit in.

Ah, maybe one day.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 8:18PM
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Here is a picture of some cabinets I recently painted & glazed.

Make sure to hold your cursor over the pic & click so you can see full sized cause the lines are blurry if you don't. I think that this finish is a bit tedious for the impatient person but the results were nice. These cabinets were sprayed 2 primer coats & 3 top coats of Ben Moore Navajo White Impervo Alkyd & the glaze was 1 part paint 4 parts glaze & 1 part thinner....oil base also. If Where to brush the paint then I recommend 1 primer & 3 top coats. Make sure to sand well in between & stay away from high edges.

I can post another pic soon of some cabinets that were made to look like they belonged in a 140 year old log cabin. Completely different process.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 5:23PM
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Here's a link to the glazing job I did on my bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets. You can also see the millwork I glazed, at the ceiling of the bathroom. click NEXT for next picture..

People really like the color and glaze I did in the kitchen. Originally, these were flat panel, oak cabinets that I installed in 1981. They got dirty and instead of buying new ones (not an option at this point in this old house full of to do's...) I decided to glaze them. I painted them a celery...almost baby puke green. It was a sage celery kinda color...but bright. Well, significant other said "The cabinets look like crap. Baby crap." I knew what I was have to paint a bright color when you're going to apply a dark everything will get muted and toned down when you put the glaze to it...if you paint them a color that is exactly what you want...when you glaze, you'll end up with a much darker version...which probably ISN'T what you wanted.

Anyway...I used water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol to remove as much grease as I could. I'm sure there are better cleaning agents...but that's what I used, and the alcohol melted through the grease. After that, I sanded with 0000 steel wool. Then I painted the cabinets. (Use an eggshell or enamel can't use a flat paint...the glaze will soak right into it and give you a muddy result) Be careful to get the paint OUT of the grooves of any millwork...and after a day of drying, sand them, again with 0000 steel wool. (just a light buffing will're just trying to get some 'tooth' to hold the paint) I always use an oil base glaze, and then mix an oil base paint with it. Also, I always end up with way too much glaze...but better too much than not enough. Anyway, I applied the glaze with a brush, making sure to get glazing in the crevices of the cabinet face...then I used a combination of a new (dry) brush and rags to pull off the glaze and create a faux woodgrain appearance. It's always wise to practice a bit on another surface...find something with some detail, so you can learn how to work with the glaze for the best result...THEN attack your cabinets...I took a dry rag and a finger to hit the high surfaces of the routed frame of my cabinets, leaving the dark glaze in the crevices. Be very careful...if you pull the glaze outta the crevices you'll ruin the look you're going for. Finally...a Q Tip did whatever detail work I thought was needed. Take your time...and if you can, do it all at once...for some reason, your technique will change if you do part of your cabinets one day, then some others the next. Believe me.

Using a dry brush to make a woodgrain effect was the most effective way I could find to get it right. If you use a brush already soaked in're just pushing glaze around...not removing it. Work your (flat end, not tapered) brush into the frame, then drag it slowly DOWN to the other end. With your brush in the frame of the cabinet then from THAT end, dragging the brush UP to the other end. Alternate this way, dragging your brush UP and DOWN and you'll achieve consistency.

Well, hopefully!

I finished my cabinets off with two coats of polyurethane. I does leave a yellowish cast, so you might use a satin lacquer or other to be your finish coat. Again...use TWO never know what you miss until it's too late, and the two coats will give you a durable surface. And...don't let polyurethane collect in the corners of your face frames, then drip down the face of the corner. Work a brush into the corner and remove excess poly(or other finish)...nothing looks more amateurish than those damn drips.

I also glazed the cabinets in my bathroom, and all of the millwork. I painted these cabinets a kinda taupe color, then glazed them. Since we've got an old 1917 house...the walls couldn't be repaired, so I added some more damage with joint compound, then glazed the walls as well. Looks very funky and the bathroom is the original!

Good luck...


    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 9:29AM
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Thank you Don for wonderful guidelines on something that I could do. I would like to change the color of my Wood Kitchen Cabinets in my old house and I have a question about brand of paint that you used. Thanks for sharing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood Kitchen Cabinets

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 9:54AM
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The appearance of colors in the kitchen will depend on the properties and textures of each of the surfaces. Glossy surfaces will reflect more light and look different to low sheen painted walls, so it is important to be careful when trying to match colors in different materials. Sometimes it is better to select a tone lighter or darker rather than trying to create an exact color match. But, don't over do color matching. You could create a monotone look with very little variety. Varied shades of the same color and complimentary colors will help bring more interest to the setting. Selecting painted Wood Kitchen Cabinet may be just the thing to break up the monotony.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood Kitchen Cabinet

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:39AM
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