DIY · Home & Garden

Rub ‘n Buff European Gold on Cabinet Hardware

Discover how to transform old cabinet hardware with Rub ‘n Buff European Gold for a vintage style that fits a modern kitchen.

Rub n Buff European Gold is shown next to newly refinished cabinet hardware pieces.

As we were putting our newly painted (and very old) cabinets back together, my husband and I quickly realized the new cabinet hinges we’d purchased were not going to work. The new hinges were “H” hinges (or butterfly hinges), created for inset cabinet doors that sit flush with the rest of the cabinet. However, we later noticed our doors stuck out from the cabinets and were instead sitting on the outside of them (“on top”). The new hinges just would not work with our overlay cabinets. 

We searched high and low and couldn’t seem to find an easy solution for hinges that would work with our doors. 

We could find other types of hinges, but some of them were a bit more complicated to install. As DIYers who often learn as we go, we were not interested in that…

Finally, I asked my husband if he’d kept the old hinges. He had! After inspecting them, I quickly realized these hinges were also shaped like “H’s,” but they were also angled out to fit our overlay cabinets (called “offset H hinges”). 

A woman holds a butterfly hinge up.
A copper colored “H” (butterfly) hinge is shown before it gets a makeover.

We decided we’d return out new hinges, get about $40 back, and then clean the old ones really well. I knew after cleaning them they still wouldn’t match our new pulls and handles we’d purchased. My solution: use some good ol’ Rub ‘n Buff in European Gold.

I’m so glad the solution to our problem was so simple. An $8 tube of Rub ‘n Buff and an afternoon of some quick painting and the hinges were transformed. 

What’s great about this project is that more than just hinges can be transformed. If you have cabinet pulls or handles that are in decent shape, they will also look brand new with a bit of this finishing wax applied. 

Although it took a little work, it was a very easy beginner project and saved us some money in the long run. I can appreciate that! This stuff saved the day again. I’m so thankful for paint and finishing waxes… They really do make a world of difference.

Now, without further ado, let me show you how exactly I transformed these kitchen cabinet hinges with Rub ‘n Buff European Gold…

Rub ‘n Buff European Gold Cabinet Hardware

What is Rub ‘n Buff?

Rub ‘n Buff is a metallic liquid finishing wax you can buy in a variety of golds, silvers, copper, and black. It’s often used to give new metal or wood items an antique look or for restoring worn pieces. The small tube packs a punch and lasts for ages. You simply dab on a little and spread it with a small brush or rag, rubbing it in lightly. A little goes a long way, which is why I love this stuff so much. With so much versatility, it’s every crafter/artist/refinisher’s secret weapon. 

Why European Gold?

European Gold is a more subdued gold color. In my opinion it looks more authentic, with less of a fake gold appearance. It has a cooler tone than the other gold Rub ‘n Buff colors, which makes it perfect for a cottage kitchen like ours. It pairs well with many, many colors. 

Rub n Buff European Gold is shown being applied to old cabinet hinges.

Supplies | Rub ‘n Buff European Gold

Rub ‘n Buff European Gold finishing wax

Black spray paint

Old rag or paint brushes

Old cabinet hardware (hinges, pulls, handles, etc.)


Vinegar and baking soda

Tips for Success | Rub ‘n Buff European Gold

Rub ‘n Buff dries very quickly, but use caution when handling. It does take some time to cure, so for cabinet hardware in particular I recommend waiting a day or two before installation. Hinges may not need quite as much time since overall you’ll be handling them less (only during installation). Cabinet pulls and handles will need extra time to cure since they’ll get daily use. Otherwise the Rub ‘n Buff will wear off quickly. 

For an even more effective cleaning method: Grab an old crock pot that you no longer use and fill it with the same ingredients mentioned in this post for cleaning hardware. Turn the crock pot on low and let it “cook” overnight. In the morning the gunk should come right off very easily. If you’re out of vinegar/baking soda, you can use 1 tsp of liquid dish soap instead.

Adding a primer like paint first helps Rub ‘n Buff stick better. I also think using a black paint under the metallic finishing wax gives it a more accurate color. This is why I strongly encourage you to spray paint the hardware black first before applying the Rub ‘n Buff.

I recommend dabbing the tiniest bit of Rub ‘n Buff onto any screw heads that will be showing, if any at all will be noticeable on your cabinets. I personally waited to do this until after installing the hinges. This is very easy to do with a small artist brush.

A woman applies rub n buff European gold to screws in a cabinet hinge.

Steps | Rub ‘n Buff European Gold

1. Remove old hardware from cabinets and begin separating the screws from the handles, pulls, hinges, etc.

2. Add equal parts of hot water, vinegar, and baking soda into a bucket with the cabinet hardware. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Pour the liquid out and rinse the hardware afterward before laying on a towel to dry. 

3. After drying, lay the hardware out over newspaper. In a well ventilated area, cover the hardware in black spray paint. After it dries, turn it over to cover the remaining side.

Cabinet hinges dry after being cleaned.
Cabinet hinges dry after being cleaned.
Black spray paint is applied as a primer for the Rub 'n Buff.
Black spray paint is applied as a primer for the Rub ‘n Buff.
Cabinet hinges get a final touch with European Gold Rub 'n Buff.
Cabinet hinges get a final touch with European Gold Rub ‘n Buff.

4. To apply Rub ‘n Buff European Gold, squirt a drop onto a q-tip, rag, or brush and begin spreading it over the hardware piece by piece. As you go, you’ll want to rub it in and buff it out gently. A little goes a long way so start with a small amount. Cover each piece completely until you’ve reached the desired effect.

5. Let dry for an hour before touching. Let it cure for at least a day before installing the hardware onto cabinets. 

Hinges are attached to cabinets after a little makeover.

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2 thoughts on “Rub ‘n Buff European Gold on Cabinet Hardware

  1. Very cool! You guys are learning so much throughout this renovation and it’s really fun to read and learn from your experiences.

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