How to Glaze Furniture: Bronze Gray Dresser

Adding a glaze to a piece you are working on is a very quick and easy way to get more of an antiqued effect. When painting furniture I’m always inspired by Restoration Hardware, and this gray dresser was no exception. I was digging RH’s “antiqued graphite” color, but wanted to take the antiqued wood “look” a little further with this piece. I’ve been working on refinishing this bronze gray dresser for most of this month, and it’s been another good learning curve for me for furniture painting.

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How to Glaze Furniture with General Finishes

I’d been inspired with the use of General Finishes glazes by other painters and wanted to give it a try. Glazes are very neat little mixes that brush-on semi-translucent, the excess gets wiped off, and you’re left with a beautiful finish that adds extra dimension to the base paint color (and they come in various colors).

Here’s a list of the supplies needed for this project:

 

To start, I painted the dresser GF’s milk paint in Driftwood, a mid-tone grey, (see another example of it here) as the base color.

After applying 2 coats of the milk paint and dry times in between, I waited for the last coat of paint to dry a few more hours than necessary and then it was time to get the glaze on (woot!). As this was my first time trying a glaze, I was a bit apprehensive to use it and mess up my work. Actually, I almost DID mess it up!

Before applying the glaze I looked up the process one more time online to be sure I was doing it correctly, and if it hadn’t been for Suzanne from The Painted Drawer‘s sagely advice, it would have gone downhill really quickly!

Suzanne said to apply a layer of GF’s high performance topcoat before doing the glaze. This way it’s easier to guide the glaze into areas you want it to go and wipe it off easily. I followed her directions and used GF’s Van Dyke glaze, a nice bronze or antique brown color. Thankfully it went on and wiped off perfectly. Dodged a bullet!

When applying the glaze, I used a sponge brush and coated things in stages so that I didn’t risk the glaze drying before I could wipe it down. The drawers, for example, I did their front faces first, then the edge moldings. I broke the dresser down into doing only the top, or one side at a time.

If this is your first time glazing, it is useful to start in an area that is small or not as noticeable to practice on and see how long to let the glaze sit before wiping to get the look that you want. For me, I let it sit no more than one minute before wiping.

When wiping, I used a cotton cloth that did not leave behind any lint. An old and clean tshirt can work great for this. If you don’t like how the glaze comes out the first time, you can always wait for it to dry, then add glaze and wipe it again.

bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze

After the glaze dried I put on a few layers of the topcoat, painted the original hardware using GF’s Lamp Black, put a few protective topcoats in a Satin finish on them, and added them back to the drawers.

bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze no hardware
awaiting fixtures
Before:

Now:

 
bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze
bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze
bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze

I think it looks kind of steampunk. But that may just be me.

 

bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze
detail shot of top with nothing on it

 

bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze
bronze gray dresser general finishes milk paint glaze

Once again I’m in love with GF’s paints and the final look of this piece. It came out exactly as I had imagined it – always a good feeling.

 

I know I’ll now be using GF’s glazes more in the future – in fact I’ll be using it soon on my mom’s buffet I’ve been working on. (see the results of the glaze on her piece here!)

Oh, I’m also finishing up the side tables this week. Here’s a little preview of them for now:

 

Love the color? Me too. It’s from General Finishes and is called Patina Green. (see the finished side tables here!)

Have any of you been dodging bullets on a project lately? (I know I can’t be the only one ^_- )

Want to paint your own piece of furniture? Check out my complete guides for how to prep your piece before painting and how to mix & use milk paint (using Miss Mustard Seed’s mixes).

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30 Comments

  1. Hey there – we just discovered you at the Do Tell Tuesday link party! LOVE this dresser and the color finish. Great job. We have a link party Something To Talk About Monday – Thursday if you would like to link up!

    Vicki and Jennifer – 2 Bees in a Pod

  2. Yep, that Suzanne sure did help you dodge a bullet! The chest turned out beautifully! As for my bullet this morning, I'm experimenting on French drawers trying to figure out what combo I want to use on the piece: Coco with OW wash, OW with Coco Wash, French Linen with OW wash….Oh my, so many choices! :)
    Robin

  3. Beautiful work! I love the combination of gray and bronzey glaze. I am working on a small side table now and am so glad I read your post to help me do as good a job as you did. Cheers!

    1. Aw, thanks, Anne! This color combo has definitely gone into my "faves" since using it! Very glad the post helped you out with your project – please do send me a link of it when it's finished! :)

  4. Hello! I love this look. It is exactly what I am looking for for my nightstands that have a veneer finish. I have a few questions. Did you sand first? And at the end, the topcoat – is this a sealer…? Thank you!

    1. Hi Amy! Yes, always good to use a fine sanding pad, something 120 grit or more, to prep it for paint. :) The topcoat I used from GF is a sealer and works great at protecting the paint finish – highly recommend!

  5. Hello, your dresser is beautiful. It was what I am envisioning for my nightstands which have a veneer finish. A few questions – did you sand first? Also, did you put on a sealer at the end or is that what the topcoat is for? Thank you!

  6. Hi. Beautiful piece. I just did my first project, a headboard and footboard which came out nicely. I have a question about your method for glazing the top and sides of this chest. Did you wipe off in straight lines al the way across, or alternate somehow? I had issues with how to do longer flat sections of the headboard and the freestanding cabinet I am going to do next will have even more long, flat areas. Thanks!

    1. Hi! Congrats on doing your first piece! For doing the glazing on a large surface, I'd take it in sections working my way from top to bottom with one long continuous glaze across the entire width (straight across) so that you can blend it all together as you move downwards. Hope that helps (let me know if you have more questions), and have fun with the cabinet project! :)

  7. Hi there, just wondering how long it took to paint this with all the steps and layering. Looks like many hours!! I have a client who wants this for 2 pieces but I am hesitant because it looks so labour intensive. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Dana! The painting of the gray took longer than the glaze – the glaze was the super-easy and fast part! In total from prep to paint to glaze to finish coats, it was probably 10 hours for this piece with most of the time being spent on the painting because it was a large piece.
      Hope that helps ya. :)

  8. Hi Kelly! I absolutely love this piece and have had a hard time finding exactly what I wanted for my great grandmothers old farmhouse bedroom set until I saw this! I got all the same GF products you used. Thank you! Quick question… did you sand between the paint and first top coat before the glaze?? I see in GF website they recommended it but I attempted it on my bench (my practice piece) and it seems to take off more paint that I want even with 400grit sand paper. I’d prefer not to sand the bedroom set (which is painted the Driftwood and looks awesome so far! Can’t wait to get glaze on!!) Thanks Kelly!

    1. Hi, Emily, so glad the post helped! :) Although GF does recommend sanding between coats and finish (and I tried it once on a small area too), I’ve never done it since for the same reason as you stated and I’ve never had a problem with the paints/finish bonding. The most important time for a light sanding is before getting any paint on the piece.
      Sounds like you’re moving right along in your project and having fun! Feel free to send along any pix of your pieces as I’d love to see them!