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Antiquing kitchen cabinets: an easy way to get a new look

by Jim Mallery

Antiquing kitchen cabinets is a fun, simple do-it-yourself project that generally falls into one of two categories: Staining or glazing and distressing.

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Antiquing kitchen cabinets with stain or glaze

Naturally finished or lightly stained cabinets lend themselves to antiquing with stain. If you are uncertain whether your existing finish is oil- or water-based, use an oil-based product.

The method is simple: Choose a stain that is slightly darker than existing cabinets. Wipe the stain on, then wipe it off, leaving streaks as desired. If you wipe off too much, apply some more and rewipe. If you don't like your initial result, use a little solvent to clean off the surface and start over.

Glaze is a similar product used with lightly painted surfaces.

Creating distressed kitchen cabinets

This method is used on painted cabinets. You will need a chain, hammer or sandpaper, or any combination of those three tools.

With the chain or hammer give the cabinet wood some soft "love taps," here and there, especially near handles and along edges. You can also sand down the paint to break through the coating. Use any combination of these methods--without overdoing it.

The effect is to age the wood, making it look as though it has survived for decades.

Antiquing kitchen cabinets is simpler than refinishing

While cabinet refinishing usually requires removing doors, drawers and all hardware, when antiquing kitchen cabinets, those steps are optional. Some antiquers leave the cabinets intact during the process, feeling that gives a more realistic look. One thing you may want to do is replace your old hinges and handles with new "antique" hardware.

Antiquing kitchen cabinets is a quick, inexpensive way to infuse your old cabinets with new life--and it's fun to do-it-yourself.


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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