DIY Distressed Cabinets in Only 9 Steps

Here in Gilbert, Arizona, distressed and antiqued kitchen cabinets are all the rage. With their rustic, farmhouse style, distressed cabinets and antiqued cabinets are trendy yet remind us of our humble past, especially here in Gilbert.

Rope Cabinetry

Antiqued Cabinets

Yes, you can antique your own cabinets, and, in fact, it’s not as difficult as you might think. However, if you want the true antiqued or distressed cabinet look, there is not better option than to walk through our Gilbert kitchen showroom on Val Vista and Ray. But, if you’re looking for a summer DIY project, I’d be happy to walk you through the steps to creating your very own antiqued and distressed cabinets.


  1. Clean the Wood – As with the first step in any staining or painting process, start with a clean surface. Remove any surface dirt with a damp rag. Allow for the cabinets to dry before moving on to the next step.
  2. Painters Tape – We suggest taping the surrounding walls and laying down a protective covering over any countertops. The last thing you want is a messy, sloppy job. You want your DIY distressed cabinets to look like brand new, in an old kind of way, and paint on the wall or countertops will achieve the opposite affect.
  3. Sand Edges – Purchase some 80-grit sandpaper and said all raised edges and corners of the kitchen cabinets. Sand every decorative element so that the tips of everything extending out is without the original paint. Work right down to the wood beneath.
  4. Antique Glaze – Grab a rag and apply a small amount of antiquing glaze to that brand new, clean rag. Use small, circular motions to glaze the front and sides of one cabinet at a time.
  5. Smoothing – Now, you don’t want circular marks all over your DIY distressed cabinets, so go through with another clean rag and wipe in straight lines until the desired effect is achieved.
  6. Darken Edges – Grab a very small paintbrush and put your painting skills to the test. Use the antiquing glaze on the edges that you sanded in a previous step.
  7. Remove Excess – You’ll need another clean rag, or at least a clean section of a previously used rag, to wipe off any excess glaze that’s accumulated outside of the distressed spots you created with that paintbrush.
  8. Rinse and Repeat
  9. Protection – After all of the cabinets are completed, you’ll want to use a protectant. Use a light coat of clear, non-yellowing sealer.


That’s it! It might seem like a lot of steps, and a bit complicated, but you can do it. Come on down to our Gilbert kitchen showroom on Val Vista and Ray and talk to us about how difficult DIY distressed cabinets can be compared to how easy brand new, but old looking, distressed cabinets are.