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Glaze Old Cabinets For a New Antique Look

by Jim Mallery

While you grazed at the fridge door,

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Your eyes gazed over the kitchen floor.

Inside your brain there came a tapping,

awakening synapses napping.

One thought sprang, maybe more:

GLAZE that dreary cabinet door.

Indeed, glazing your cabinets is a cheap path to a kitchen perk-up; it can give your cabinets new depth and an antique look. Here are ten tips for an amazing glazing.

  1. You can glaze over any style door, although paneled doors are better than flat doors and raised panels are even better. The corners of the panels hold the darker glaze to emphasize depth.
  2. You can glaze any type of finish. Use an oil-based glaze over stain and a water-based glaze on painted doors.
  3. Preparation for glazing is the same as for painting. Remove the doors and drawers; remove hinges, pulls and handles; clean thoroughly with a degreaser or trisodium phosphate (TSP); rinse and dry; sand slightly for better adhesion; and wipe clean. One difference--because glazing delivers an antique look, you may want to leave scratches or gouges unfilled. The glaze gloms on to these spots and actually enhances the antique look.
  4. If the glazing is part of a total repainting, you can apply it over new paint without any additional prep.
  5. Think about glazing your hinges to reinforce the antique look--but make sure to remove them from the cabinets.
  6. Simply put, glazes are diluted versions of your paint or stain, two or three shades darker, or with a gray, brown or black tint. You can buy a glaze base at most paint stores and mix it with regular paint, or add a color tint to the base at the paint store. The glaze base itself is clear, so you control the depth and richness of the glazing with the amount of color you add.
  7. Apply the glaze with a cloth, sponge, or brush. Wipe the glaze off with a rag, leaving smears of the darker color on your cabinets. The glaze especially stays in the corners of the raised panels and in any other imperfections.
  8. You want a large supply of lint-free rags for wiping. Linty rags leave your finish fuzzy.
  9. Glaze is forgiving. If you make a mistake, you can remove it and start over.
  10. Begin with small areas first. The glaze dries quickly, and you don't want it drying before you can wipe over it. As you get comfortable with the process, expand your area.

Your old kitchen may be in dire need of a makeover, but your battered budget may need one even more dearly. Glazing your cabinets is a quick and cheap way to perk up your kitchen, so you can say to those dreary cabinets, "Nevermore."

About the Author

Jim Mallery, a semi-retired journalist and onetime registered contractor, has extensive experience remodeling, repairing and rebuilding homes.

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