DIY: How to Glaze Your Kitchen Cabinets in St. Louis
Glazed kitchen cabinetry is very popular today; unfortunately, glazed replacement cabinets are too costly for many homeowners’ budgets. Glazed finishes add about ten percent to the already high cost of new replacement cabinetry. This also applies to less expensive wholesale discount cabinets. With cabinet refacing (cabinet resurfacing), also expect to pay a ten percent premium for glazed replacement doors and drawer fronts.
There is hope though for those brave enough to take on the challenge of glazing their kitchen cabinets as a DIY cabinet refinishing project. Before beginning your cabinet refinishing project, assess whether the style of your cabinet doors and drawers have a good profile for glazing. For example, flat doors and drawer fronts have no profile and would not glaze well. The doors and drawer fronts must have a profile for the glaze to hang. Wherever there’s a recess, the glaze usually hangs well. Generally, raised panel doors have recesses for the glaze to hang. Following are instructions for glazing your kitchen cabinetry.
Purchase the required project materials:
Oil-based tinting glaze and universal oil-based colorant.
The oil-based tinting glaze is a thick clear oily substance in which you add universal oil-based colorant to achieve your desired color. The amount of universal colorant added determines the darkness of the glaze. Add small amounts of colorant to the clear tinting glaze until the desired color is achieved. Generally, one quart of tinting glaze is enough to complete an entire kitchen; however, I usually buy a gallon since is doesn’t cost much more than a quart and you will want to practice as there is a learning curve to glazing. I prefer oil-based glazes over water-based glazes, since they can be easily thinned with mineral spirits and have a longer working time (the amount of time before the glaze begins to setup and harden) than water-based glazes. Oil-based glazes are also easily removed with mineral spirits if you make a mistake. Oil-based tinting glaze is about $35 per gallon, while the universal colorant is about $40 per quart.
Mineral spirits (paint thinner).
I would recommend purchasing two gallons. You will use mineral spirits a lot throughout the project, primarily for thinning the glaze and cleaning the excess glaze off the doors and drawer fronts. Mineral spirits is approximately $9 per gallon.
Lint-free cloths (old tee shirt material).
I recommend having several on hand. They can be reused after a thorough rinsing with clean mineral spirits. Please remember to safely discard cloths soaked in mineral spirits as they are highly combustible. I suggest placing them in a pail of water outside your home to be safe.
Disposable bristle brushes (chip brushes).
You will need three or four two-inch bristle brushes, also referred to as chip brushes, to complete your project. They are about $1 each. There are many expensive brushes, specifically designed for glazing; however, the less expensive chip brushes work well too. You will use the chip brushes to apply the thick glazing mixture to the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
Clear water-based polyurethane (optional).
The polyurethane can be either brush on or sprayable. The polyurethane is used to seal glaze, plus add new life to your refinished cabinetry. Spray applications generally yield the best result. Top coating the glaze with the polyurethane is optional, as the glaze is fairly durable after it completely dries in one to two days.
The glazing process:
Number and remove the doors and drawer fronts before beginning your refinishing project.
Glazing is a very time-consuming process. Therefore, if you do not have racks or tables to store all the doors during the process, I recommend working on small sections until the project is completed. Never lean doors against walls as they have a tendency to warp if left leaning for long periods of time.
Apply the glaze to the doors and drawer fronts.
Work the glaze into the crevices of the center panels of the doors, making sure that the glaze is applied fairly evenly. Then do the same for the outside edges of the stiles and rails. After the glaze is applied, using your fingertip and the lint-free tee shirt material dipped in clean mineral spirits, remove the excess glaze leaving a nice clean glaze line. Any remaining unwanted glaze can be removed with mineral spirits and clean tee shirt material. You will need to work quickly or in small sections (one stile or rail at a time). Clean the excess glaze off as you go, as it becomes difficult to remove after the glaze begins to dry. It will take some time to get used to, but you can always remove mistakes with clean mineral spirits. Repeat the process until all the doors and drawer fronts are finished. Use one of the completed doors as a guide throughout the process to ensure the consistency of the glaze lines. Allow the glaze one to two days to completely dry.
Apply the polyurethane to the doors and drawer fronts (optional).
To protect and seal the glaze, apply thin two coats of polyurethane thinned with water to the entire door or drawer front. Thinner coats lay down more smoothly than thicker coats. Use a brush to apply the thinned polyurethane. However, it is very difficult to achieve a professional look without a spray application.
Re-hang the doors and drawer fronts, then enjoy!
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