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How To Faux Finish Unfinished Wood

Recently, Community Member Nancy, sent this Email question:


"I have new cabinets that have no paint or stain, just unfinished pine wood.  I would like to use a stain on them, in a mahogany color.  I would then like to apply an accent in a black or ebony color that I can wipe off and will highlight the edges of the molding and the groves to make it look more aged and distinctive.  Can I use Martha Stewarts glaze over stain?  How would I do that?  

Thank You,



Here is Nancy's "How To" solution:



Hi Nancy,


Thanks for the call out!


I most commonly recommend applying faux glaze over a satin or semi-gloss finish ... this allows the glaze to be manipulated before it dries.


When applied over flat paint or an uncoated surface, like stain, the glaze will embed into the surface eliminating your ability to create the look you desire.


In your project, the mahogany color can be made two ways: 1) Mahogany stain that is clear-coated with satin or semi-gloss polyurethane or 2) Mahogany colored paint in a satin or semi-gloss sheen.


Once you've stained your wood as dark as you prefer, wipe off the excess stain and allow the surface to dry overnight. Once dry, apply your polyurethane clear coat and allow that to dry for six to eight hours. Expect the first coat to absorb into the surface ... buff sand using 220-grit sandpaper and apply a second coat of polyurethane. This coat should sit on the surface and create a shiny surface over which your glaze can be applied and manipulated.


At this point, you are ready to apply faux glaze.


Martha's faux glaze would be excellent for application over this finish.


Glaze can be allied heavier or lighter depending upon how much accent you want to add. This is done two ways: 1) Simply adjusting how much glaze you pick up on your brush, and 2) Allowing the glaze to "set" (begin drying) either shorter or longer before you wipe off the excess.


Personally, I prefer the lighter accent color. You might use a small piece of trim to test your technique and create a timeline before you begin the full project.


NOTE: Faux Glaze dries in about thirty-minutes, so a short wipe-off time would be five to ten minutes and a long wipe-off time would be twenty to twenty-five minutes.


I posted a faux finishing video for another member of The Community. 

And, click this link to review the faux finishing discussion.


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Posted 2012-01-03T16:33:41+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL Pat_HD_ATL


I guess i'ts my old school training, but I am not a great fan of water based glazing liquids. They set entirely too fast, especially for the novice. Oil based glazing liquid is much easier to use. It is much easier to control the wipe off. Also, given my choice, I would be using an oil base enamel as the base coat. In my less than humble opinion, oil paints are still far superior for fine woodwork and cabinetry, especially if it is to be applied by brush. Oil flows  out better and dries hard, without the gummy feeling inherent in acrylic paints.  Doors don't stick at points of contact and objects placed on shelves don't have to be pried loose! Unfortunately, HD has no oil glaze and most stores have a poor selection of oil paint.

Posted 2012-01-09T05:11:44+0000  by ordjen
Once again, Ordjen, you are soo right!

Almost everyone has moved away from solvent-based products today.

And yet, there are numerous applications, like oil-based faux glaze, where there are distinct benefits.

Thanks for broadening the dialogue and bringing another very viable option to The Community.
Posted 2015-02-03T13:37:09+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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Posted 2015-10-08T22:37:35+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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