Glass panes in doors of kitchen cabinets can change the look of your cabinetry, adding visual depth and allowing the display of attractive kitchen utensils, dinnerware, or curios. Best of all, you can complete this modification easily in a weekend at very little cost. Adding stained glass panels adds a touch of old world class.
Replacing wood with glass in a panel door of your kitchen cabinets requires routing out the rear edge of the dado (groove) that holds the panel in the door frame, removing the panel, and replacing it with glass. If you don't own a router, you can rent one. Tell the rental agent what you are doing so your router will be equipped with the proper straight bit for the job.
Remove the doors from the kitchen cabinet frame by unscrewing the hinges from the doors. Leave the hinges attached to the frame for easy replacement.
Preparation for installing glass door panels
In "inset" door construction, the edges of the kitchen cabinet door are assembled around the wood panel. With one exception, plywood panels- once you rout out the rear lip of the dado, you can remove the wood panel. Plywood panels are usually glued in place. Even after routing, you may find it difficult to pop the glued panel out without damaging the color.
Some doors on kitchen cabinets have loose panels with edges cushioned by a piece of sponge rubber to allow for expansion and contraction. Other doors have floating panels with no cushioning. Both of these styles contain small staples or brads to keep the brads from rattling. Remove the fasteners before routing. If you can’t get a grip on them, dig out the wood on the lip with a utility knife until you can grip them with a needle-nosed pliers The router will remove the damaged spots.
When ordering the glass for your kitchen cabinet doors, specify dimensions 1/16 to 1/8 inch less than the actual opening. Although you may be tempted to order the glass after removing the first panel, wait until you have removed all of them. Then measure each one. Opening sizes may vary; if they do, order glass sized for each door.
Basic steps for installing glass in kitchen cabinets
You will need to have a screwdriver, clear silicone caulk and a router for your basic tools.
Working from the rear of the kitchen cabinet door, set the router to the depth of the inset panel and rout out the lip on the rear of the door. Drop the wood panel out of the door. Measure the length and width of the panel recess and order glass to fit.
Run a bead of clear silicone caulk on the lip of the panel recess and set the glass in place. The caulk will help eliminate rattling. Pre-drill holes in the door stiles and rails at 8-inch intervals and screw mirror clips to hold the glass in place.
Stained glass appliqué on cabinet doors
You can turn your existing plain-pane cabinet doors into expensive-looking accents with a stained-glass appliqué kit. It uses translucent colorant that adheres to the glass and simulates the stained-glass look.
The kit comes with several patterns whose elements can be combined to suit your creativity. Application is simple: create the pattern, add lead beading on the glass, and color in the areas of the pattern.