A glaze can be applied by itself. A glaze can also be applied over a base stain or paint. When you first apply a glaze you paste it onto the surface, after which you wipe it off of the surface by hand.
After it is wiped off, the glaze settles in the open grain areas of the cabinet, defining the detail in the process. One good thing about glazes is that they can be tinted almost any color. This gives glazes the ability to be a unique display of your own creativity and personality