Category Archives: Glazes

Customizing Your Semi Custom Cabinets With Glaze

You’re choosing semi custom cabinets because they fit your budget yet still give you the look you want, but you want just a wee bit more nuance in your new kitchen design? Go for glaze.

A glaze can give your semi custom cabinets a very different look, no matter which door style you’ve fallen in love with. And if you’re the only one choosing that particular door style with that particular glaze, you have custom cabinets—for a semi custom cabinet price.

Wait! It gets even better, because a glaze is not simply a one-size-fits all approach to customizing your cabinet finish. There are several different types of glazes.

The hand-wiped glaze
With the hand-wiped glaze technique, we quite literally apply the glaze by hand, wiping it over the stain or paint of your cabinets. This gives the whole door a hint of color, with more glaze (and therefore color) in the edges and corners of the cabinet door, where the glaze is harder to wipe away.

The heirloom finish
Heirloom finishes are hand-wiped onto the cabinet doors as we just described above, but then the finish is distressed to give your semi custom cabinets the appearance of age. We sand down the cabinets doors in places that would naturally get wear and tear over time. If you want your kitchen to have a lived-in and much-loved look, consider the heirloom finish.

Pencil glazes
Pencil glazes are not applied like the glazes described above, with glaze wiped on and rubbed off. Instead, pencil glazes are applied in a very deliberate way. It’s kind of like drawing details on to the edges and corners of the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. The look is much sharper compared to the hand-wiped glazes.

Brushed glazes
If you prefer a sharper, more symmetrical look, consider brushed glazes. As with the pencil glaze, a brushed glaze is applied in a deliberate way, brushed on to the cabinet doors in long strokes so you get consistent vertical brushwork detailing.

To learn more about glazes and finishes, you can read about the many ways we can customize your semi custom cabinets, including custom color paint matching and stains. You can also see an online version of our door style and finish guide, where you can see samples of our stains and glazes.

Put the Finishing Touches on Your Semi Custom Cabinets with Glazes and a Variety of Techniques

Semi custom cabinets win out over big box cabinets in part because you have hundreds of choices in styles, stains and paints. With finishes such as glazing techniques, you can customize your cabinets even more, for exactly the look you’re going for.

A glaze or other kind of finish might seem inconsequential, but it can completely change the look. For example, if you were to choose a door style, and compare one version of that style as gray glazed cabinets and the other as white cabinets with gray glaze, you’d get a very different effect, even though both doors were “gray.” This kind of nuance is another layer of customizing your cabinets for you.

Yet navigating all of the glaze options can be overwhelming! How do you know what kind of finish you might want? You keep reading… Below we describe four options you might want to consider as a way to finish your cabinets for very different effects: artisanal, vintage, sharp and sophisticated.

Artisanal: Hand-wiped glaze on semi custom cabinets
For the hand-wiped glaze technique, the glaze is literally applied by hand over stain or paint. The hand-wiping technique leaves a hint of color all over the door and more color deposited in the edges and corners. The look is more traditional, and resembles hand-painted furniture—which it almost is. Semi custom cabinets with hand-wiped glaze have an artisanal, hand-crafted quality about them.

Madison Ivory Morel

Madison Ivory Morel

Vintage: Heirloom finishes on semi custom cabinets
If a vintage look appeals to you, consider a heirloom finish. Heirloom finishes are hand-wiped glazes, paints or stains applied as described above, and then “distressed.” The finish is sanded off of the semi custom cabinets in places that would naturally get wear and tear over time, such as on the corners or in “dented” areas. Cabinets with heirloom finishes tend to be rich in texture too, because of this treatment.

With this technique, your kitchen gets a lived in look, like your grandmother’s really old kitchen table and chairs with the paint rubbed off in places. Sure that furniture is worn looking, but it’s an antique so you leave it that way—and you love it that way because years of family life gathered around the table rubbed away that paint.

Sharp: Pencil glazes on semi custom cabinets
Pencil glazes are not really glazes. The technique is more like taking a glaze “marker” to all the edges and corners on the cabinet doors. This gives you a sharper finish that emphasizes the profile or style of the cabinet door without muddling up the overall paint or stain on the rest of the door.

Sophisticated: Brushed glazes on semi custom cabinets
If your vision is a sophisticated kitchen, consider brushed glazes. Brushed glazes are the same glazes that we use for the hand-wiped technique, but in this case the glaze is gently and lightly brushed in long strokes over the door and cabinet. This finish can create a very sophisticated look, as you can see in the cabinets pictured here. These cabinets are Santa Fe style in maple wood, with a willow stain and chocolate brushed glaze. See the consistent vertical brushwork on the cabinet door fronts? That’s the brushed glazing.

Santa Fe Willow Chocolate Brushed

Santa Fe Willow Chocolate Brushed

Whether you choose gray glazed cabinets or white cabinets with gray glaze—or something different altogether—these glazes and finishes play a large part in customizing your semi custom cabinets to make your dream kitchen uniquely yours, and you won’t find these kinds of options with the big box store cabinets.