Antiquing your cabinets can add charm and character to your current kitchen or bathroom! Although "antiquing" makes you think old and worn, it is quite the modern touch for today's bathroom or kitchen. Antiquing can be accomplished by distressing the wood. Now keep in mind, your cabinets must be solid wood not compressed to achieve the final results. Check your cabinets to ensure they are solid wood before you start.
My suggestion for the best results, distress your cabinets first and follow with a stain to achieve a worn and well-loved appearance. Stains have come a long way and now there are colored stains as well as traditional wood stains. Just keep in mind that a water based stain is easier to work with and more efficient for clean up as well.
To create the antique look, you will need to sand the cabinets to create a distressed appearance. Use sandpaper primarily on the edges and corners of the doors where antique cabinets would typically have the most wear and tear. Sand enough so that raw wood is exposed. Raw wood will more readily absorb stain. I use a sanding mouse if I have a larger area to sand. They are compact, easy to handle and work very well no matter how big or small of a sanding job. If you have a lot of cabinets, then I would highly recommend using a sanding mouse to save you time and energy.
Wipe the cabinets with damp rags to remove all dust. Make sure all dust is removed before you begin staining. Dust left behind will get trapped in the stain and create a gritty texture to your finished project. I usually let my wood air dry for about 30 minutes once I have wiped them clean. This way you can recheck to make sure all dust particles have been wiped away.
Apply stain with a sponge brush, a paint brush or rags. Use all three methods to create the best effect. Focus on the sanded areas but also make sure that stain sinks into the grooves and detail work of the cabinets. I suggest getting varying shades of stain. Wipe off excess stain with rags. Remove as much or as little as you like to make your cabinets mimic painted antiques. Allow stain to dry completely. For best results, let each coat dry overnight and then with a fine sand paper, lightly sand over before starting the next coat. Don't forget to clean off saw dust after sanding. Each coat will bring move vibrant color.