DIY: Cabinet Makeover with Glaze Overlay

Last week I shared my latest DIY: How-to Stencil project where I transformed one of the walls in my foyer.

Did you happen to notice the cabinet in the pictures?

It’s new.  Well not really “new” in the sense of just bought, but new to the place it now sits.  AND it just got a huge makeover!

This cabinet is about 40 years old.  My mom had it for about the first 35 years and I’ve had it for the last 5 (it’s had quite the life so far).  On a random day, a few weeks ago, the cabinet was looking quite sad, so I said, “let’s give you a makeover”!  And I did!!

To step back in time, this is how she looked before ~

Quite sad and in need of some L-O-V-E!

Here’s how I made her over

1. I’m often known to be a bit lazy and skip over steps, but after learning my lessons from other projects, this time I used a PRIMER!!

KILZ Premium Primer, Sealer, Stainblocker was what I turned to for this project.  It blocks heavy stains from showing through the paint (especially since the new color was light).

2. I applied the one coat of Primer using a good quality synthetic brush, then painted the cabinet with an off-white color.

Need help finding the right brush for your paint project?  Check out {this} post.

3. To cover this dark cabinet, I had to used 3 coats.  The 3rd wasn’t really necessary, but I wanted to make sure it was completely sealed and covered!

At this point, I thought I was done.  Just like a woman with a much-needed dye job, I had transformed this old cabinet into a new beauty.  But she was looking a little bland…she really needed highlights.

Yes, that would be the trick to make her fabulous!

After much thought, I decided to use a glaze overlay.  I had never before attempted a glaze, so I really didn’t know what I was doing. I thought I needed a special product for glaze, but I was wrong….

4. Here’s the glaze effect on the right and the plain painted door on the left.

How-to Glaze Furniture

5. Using the brown paint from my fireplace (Benjamin Moore Chocolate), I diluted it with water ~ about 3 parts water to 1 part paint.  Taking a dry brush, I lightly applied the watered down paint onto the cabinet.  (This must be done in SMALL SECTIONS because you need to move quickly).  Then using a paper towel (or rag), I wiped away the paint and what’s left was a lightly covered brown glaze.

* Note: It’s important to wipe the paper towel / rag in one direction (preferably in the direction of the grain).

Here is a closeup of the glazed cabinet~

6. Once the entire piece of furniture is glazed, you may want to go back and add a little more detail at the edges with a smaller paint brush.

With the addition of new hardware, she now sits beautifully in my foyer

Some colorful Spring accessories complete the look

Do you like glaze over a cabinet to give a distressed look?  Have you ever glazed a cabinet before?  If so, what technique did you use?

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    • Jenna says

      Thanks Steph, I really appreciate it! Honestly, it really was easy – – much easier than I thought. At one point, I was thinking of not keeping the doors on the cabinet so I wasn’t worried if I messed up. But then once I saw how it looked, I was very pleased!

  1. says

    Hi Jenna
    Your cabinet turned out great. And I really appreciate the step by step directions. Someday … I’ll get around to trying it.
    Have a great day!

    • Jenna says

      Hi Sue,
      Thanks for visiting SAS Interiors and for leaving such a kind comment! Definitely give glazing a try…it’s really not that difficult and it adds a great look to a plain ole’ cabinet!


  2. says

    Hi Jenna, Your “new” project looks fantabulous! I discovered that trying to take shortcuts on dark woods and not using a primer does not work. I am getting ready to paint a very dark foot stool and a mirror that I know will need several coats of primer. I love your idea of watered down paint or glazing. It truly does work and often you can control the exact color you want that way too. I white washed pine paneling with very cheap watered down white paint. Have a wonderful week at the block/blog party. ~ Lynn

    • Jenna says

      Hi Lynn,

      Thank you so much for stopping by SAS Interiors and for leaving such a kind comment! Yes, I’ve learned the hardway by NOT using primer. A mistake that I will not make in the future!! I’ll have to come over and take a look at your white washed pine paneling.


    • Jenna says

      Thanks for the new follower!!
      Glad you found the glazing tutorial to be helpful. It really was not that difficult. If you try it out, I’d love to see pictures!

    • Jenna says

      Thanks so much Ruth for the kind comment. It was amazing to me how easy it was to use glaze. Have a great weekend!! xo Jenna

  3. says

    Wow, what a transformation! I love your skateboard shelf idea, too! That is so clever! I always wondered what to do with my son’s old skateboards! You gained a new follower!

    • Jenna says

      Thanks Cynthia for the kind comment and welcome to SAS Interiors…so glad you are a new follower! xo Jenna

  4. Lesa says

    Thrilled you shared the glazing tips w/paint…..your completed furniture projects are great. Eager to try your project ideas, but have a question. Did you ‘glaze’ the cabinet over the primer or paint white on top of primer? Luv the outcome and want to ‘get it right’. Thanks again.
    Warm regards from a loyal, appreciative, motivated by YOU, luv your blog, fan.

    • Jenna says

      Hi Lesa,
      Thank you so much for being a loyal reader!!! I can not tell you how much I appreciate my followers. I just read over the post and it was kind of confusing – sorry. I did make a few edits, so it’s more clear. I first used on coat of primer, then 3 additional coats of an off-white color for the base coat, then added the glaze. I recently used this same technique for another project, which you can read here: Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks again! xo Jenna

  5. says

    Cabinet looks great and I agree that primer is necessary. The only time I’m disappointed with primer is when I sand down to give a worn look sometimes the primer color is what is exposed. I work around that though.

    • Jenna says

      Very true Linda. To distress the edges, I often use my hand sander to make sure to get down to the wood, instead of only the primer. Of course though, I use a very gentle hand to do it.

  6. says

    Thinking of attempting this on my kitchen cabinets- we did the island and used an oil-based black. Do you think oil based is the way to go on the rest of the cabinets, even though they don’t get as much wear-n-tear? Thanks for sharing your technique and even the paint color helps!