Glaze Gives Furniture a Rich Look

Glaze is essential in creating rich, dimensional paint treatments such as in many faux and decorative paint techniques.

Glaze is simply a thin, translucent film of color that's painted over a base coat. Many faux and decorative paint techniques require glaze; it's essential to create rich, dimensional paint treatments. Here, decorative painter Gary Lord gives you the DIY Basics so you can start glazing like a pro.

  • Glaze is added to paint to extend the drying time -- which gives you more time to work with your glaze to create the look you want.
  • Water-based glazes and paints are the easiest to work with and to clean up.
  • You can buy glazes that are already tinted, or you can make up your own glaze color:
  • To tint, combine glazing medium with your paint (either latex or acrylic). Generally the ratio is four parts glaze to one part paint, but you should follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • The amount of glazing medium you add to the paint can affect the color of the glaze. When you're using lighter paint colors, a 4-to-1 mixture will not affect the value of the color. But darker colors may be altered to a lighter color value when mixed with too much glaze. It's always best to experiment with the color on a piece of posterboard.
  • The translucency of the glaze is determined by how much paint you add: more paint than glaze results in less translucency; less paint than glaze results in more translucency. I always like to test my glaze on a scrap board or posterboard to make sure it's the right consistency and translucency.
  • A key to a beautiful glaze treatment is the surface you'll be painting on. A low-luster or semigloss latex or acrylic paint will seal the surface well and allow you to manipulate the glaze and keep a wet edge.
  • Avoid using a flat latex base coat.
  • You apply glaze just as you would apply paint, with a brush or roller. Again, work in small sections: roll on the glaze, finish the technique and then move on to the next section. And if you're doing a two-person job, make sure one person is always rolling and the other is working with the glaze. That will give you the most consistent treatment.
  • Drying time for glaze varies; usually you have about 10 to 20 minutes to work with the glaze before it dries completely. To increase the drying time, add a paint extender to your mixture. Because of the time constraints, it's usually best to work in 2' sections.

It's possible to create beautiful paint treatments using glaze. Just remember:

  • Paint on a semigloss surface.
  • Mix glaze to the right translucency and consistency.
  • Work in small sections.
Keep Reading

On TV

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.