How to Do Tintable Glaze

A tinted opaque glaze applied to furniture and cabinets adds dimension to the surface. Adding a translucent tinted glaze is a practical way of imparting a faux antique finish to your favorite piece. Additionally, sprucing up secondhand furniture found at garage sales and antique shops is a worthwhile project. DIY glazing adds immediate value and appeal to an otherwise mediocre piece.

A tinted glazed finish gives furniture a faux antique look.
  1. Decide on a color. If you are tinting natural wood, burnt umber is a good choice for adding an antique look. With painted furniture, a well-chosen pastel shade could enhance your d├ęcor by adding contrast to your color scheme.
  2. Remove all hardware with a screwdriver if you are working on a cabinet. If it's a chair or an upholstered piece, remove the cushions if possible or cover the exposed fabric with masking tape and newspaper.
  3. Dull the surface gloss of the area to receive glaze by rubbing lightly with 120-grit sandpaper or fine steel wool. If you are aging the piece, round off sharp corners and the tops of profiled sections slightly. Remove all sanding residue with a microfiber tack cloth and wash the piece with a mild household detergent to remove surface grime.
  4. Mix your color carefully by adding 3 oz. of craft paint per pint of water-based translucent glaze. Stir well and prepare a small amount in a mixing can for experimental purposes. Paint the tinted glaze onto a paper plate with a 1 1/2-inch paintbrush. Keep on adding a measured amount of tint until you reach your desired color; once this is done, prepare enough glaze to finish the job.
  5. Place the piece on some newspaper or a drop cloth. If you are working on an armoire, a cabinet with raised panel doors, or a piece with decorative flutes or scrollwork, start in the middle and work your way outward one small section at a time. If not, start at the top.
  6. Apply the glaze with the same brush used for color testing, and work the glaze into the grain. Use a damp piece of cheesecloth to wipe off excess glaze. Allow some glaze to pool into corners and recesses. Use a bucket full of clean water to continually rinse glaze from the cheesecloth; wring excess water out before continuing. Add glaze sparingly. Dry brush with a light touch to blend the color until you achieve the desired look.
  7. Let the piece stand overnight before final inspection and touch-up. Polish the surface with furniture wax before replacing any previously removed hardware or removing masking from upholstery and/or replacing cushions.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Fine steel wool
  • Microfiber tack cloth
  • Household detergent
  • Craft paint
  • Water-based translucent glaze
  • Mixing can
  • Paper plate
  • 1 1/2-inch paintbrush.
  • Drop cloth
  • Cheesecloth
  • Bucket
  • Furniture wax


  • Glaze darkens slightly when dry. It is also cloudy when wet, but dries to a clear finish.

About the Author

After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand and qualifying as an aircraft engineer, Ian Kelly joined a Kitchen remodeling company and qualified as a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD). Kelly then established an organization specializing in home improvement, including repair and maintenance of household appliances, garden equipment and lawn mowers.

Photo Credits

  • furniture over white image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com