The Best Blue Wood Stains

When it comes to staining wood, blue is one of the most popular colors around. If you’re surprised by that, you’re not alone! I’m here to tell you that colored stain is really a great alternative to paint. This stain for wood can look absolutely beautiful, and it can be a great way to really show off the natural grain of the wood. In this comprehensive review, we will take a look at some of the best blue stains on the market and see what makes them so special. We’ll also discuss how to use these stains and provide some tips for getting the best results. So, if you’re looking for a rich and beautiful color for your next woodworking project, read on!

Blue stain is a popular stain color for a variety of projects. The beauty of these stains is that they can range from a sleek, rustic enhancement for your home to a daring and vibrant statement piece. Stained wood can look great in almost any style of home from traditional to coastal styles. Blue stain for wood is fantastic since it is very flexible and may be utilized on oak, pine, DIY furniture items, decks, interior and exterior trim, as well as home accent pieces. Are you thinking about using a colored stain on an upcoming project for your house and are perplexed by the numerous colored stains available? We’ll examine 7 distinct blue wood stains in this blog article, along with how they compare to one another!

Blue Wood Stains 

Blue stains are a great option for those who want to preserve the natural beauty of their wood rather than hide it. We’ll solely focus on blue stains in this article, but if you’re thinking about painting your next project, check out my post on blue paint colors to help make a decision on the best paint color for you. 

If you are looking for other colored wood stain products I’ve already shared my thoughts and reviews on other staining options.

Great Options for Gray Stains
My Favorite Wood Stains (natural wood)
The Best White and Whitewash Stains

Minwax Vintage Blue Wood Stain

The first wood stain on our list is the Minwax Vintage Blue Wood Stain. This stain color is perfect for those who want to add just a splash of color to their wood without going too crazy. The Vintage Blue is a beautiful light blue color. It’s perfect for staining furniture, trim, and other smaller projects.  Minwax Vintage Blue was named the Minwax 2021 color of the year.  This wood stain would be an excellent choice if you are looking for that weathered stain look.

Varathane Worn Navy Blue Wood Stain

Varathane’s Worn Navy Blue wood stain feels as inviting as your favorite pair of blue jeans. It is a dark-colored type of stain that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Worn Navy Blue can resemble a black wood stain with several layers but with light coats, you’ll get a gorgeously rich, almost distressed color. Worn Navy Blue is also great for mixing with other wood stains like gray or white if you need to lighten it up. The color provides just enough contrast without being too overbearing or flashy. I highly recommend trying Varathane Worn Navy on any indoor or outdoor project. This stain would make for a great deck stain as well.

Olympic Blue Fjord

Olympic Blue Fjord Wood Stain on a rustic barn door
Via Olympic

Olympic Fjord blue is a beautiful medium blue wood stain. This particular shade of blue is perfect for those who want to add a touch of color to their interior projects like the rustic barn door above. This stain appears to be a cross between a turquoise wood stain and a navy blue wood stain. This wood stain would be a perfect choice if you are hoping to get that weathered wood stain look.

Minwax Gale Force

Minwax Gale Force stain is a beautiful navy wood stain. This shade of blue is versatile making it perfect for anyone looking for something that can be considered coastal, farmhouse, or modern. This wood stain has a beautiful deep blue color that will bring out the natural beauty of your wood. It’s perfect for staining furniture like the two-toned nightstand above, trim, and other smaller home decor items.

Cabot Gulf Stream Wood Stain

Bright turquoise blue wood stain in Cabot Gulf Stream
Via Designs by Studio C

Cabot Gulf Stream is the color you expect to see in the furnishings of your Florida beach Airbnb! It’s a beautiful light and bright wood stain and is the most turquoise wood stain reviewed here. This stain has strong green hues that bring out a richness that would look fantastic on furniture and living room accent pieces in a beach house. It would also look great with home decor pieces or with a white washed weathered look.

Whitewashing and Blue Paint Stain

Whitewashing is a popular technique that is used to add an additional layer of depth to your project. Whitewashing after using blue wood stain is a popular choice as it gives the project that coveted weathered and rustic look that coastal lover enjoy! 

White washed and blue wood stain. "thankful" Home Decor piece hanging on a gray door.
Via Shades of Blue Interiors

Custom Blue Wood Stain

The great part of blue wood stain (all stain really) is the ability to customize the stain to suit your specific need. Looking for a bluish-gray stain and not satisfied with the off-the-shelf stain options? Add some gray wood stain to your blue stain to darken the hue just a bit. Are you looking for something a bit lighter but want your project to still have blue hues? Add some Antique White or Whitewash Stain to achieve the look.

If you’re interested in creating a custom stain, there are plenty of options to give you the hue you want. If none of the above-listed stains work for what you have in mind, try mixing and matching a few until you find the perfect shade. I often like to use custom stains since they offer seemingly endless possibilities and will ensure your project is unique.

Tips for Using Custom Wood Stain

  • Always test your custom wood stain on a spare piece of material or in an unnoticeable spot on the piece, in case the final look is not quite what you wanted.
  • If you want to avoid wasted time and money, make sure you have enough custom wood stain on hand to ensure complete coverage of your project. It can be tricky (and messy) trying to replicate a formula if you run out in the middle of staining.
  • To achieve a cohesive final product, choose stains with similar undertones.

Now that you have hopefully selected your stain color, it’s time to decide what type of finish is right for your project.

Types of Wood Stain

It’s important to be aware of the different varieties of wood stains before you apply your first coat of stain. Knowing the difference between water-based, oil-based, and gel stains will help you save time and money while you complete your project.

Water-Based Stain

Water-based stains are not as durable as oil-based stains, but a few applications of polyurethane after the stain has dried can help. Water-based stains are far easier to apply than oil-based ones and offer a wider range of colors than oil-based stains. 

Oil-Based Stain

This is the most durable type of stain. Thus, it can be used in areas subject to tear and wear. It can also be applied to exterior wood, such as patio furniture, decks, fences, and house trim. While many manufacturers make oil-based stains water-based stains come in a far greater variety of colors. If you do choose an oil-based stain be sure to only use the stain in a well-ventilated area so the odors can be very strong.

Gel Wood Stains

Gel stains are oil-based or water-based stains that have been formulated to help prevent the stain from running down the vertical surface of the item. Because a gel stain finish is less affected by surface flaws, many DIY’ers prefer to use gel stains on wood that tends to blot or is known to contain many flaws, such as pine wood.

Tips for Staining Wood

Wood Staining Supplies You’ll Need

Lint Free Cloth

Wood Conditioner

Stain(s) of your choice

Wood Sealant (like polyurethane)

Always clean and dry your wood before beginning any sort of woodworking project. Some people opt to use a wood conditioner for extra smoothness, but if you go this route make sure to wipe off the excess conditioner and ensure it is completely dry before continuing. To finish off your project apply a sealer,  like polyurethane over your stained project.

Blue Wood Stain VS. Blue Paint

Paint and stain can be used to achieve a similar aesthetic, but they are not the same. Here are some things to consider before selecting a stain or paint for your next project.

  1. Aesthetics –  Staining your wood project exposes the natural wood grain, giving it a more rustic and individual look. Paint covers the entire piece of wood, making it appear less distinctive and rustic. Paint is more uniform and clean in appearance.
  2. Penetration – Stain penetrates deep into the wood to provide more protection and leaves the beauty of the wood grain and wood texture intact. Paint provides a water-resistant outer layer on the wood, but does not go deep into the surface.  With both techniques, some type of protectant may be necessary depending on the use of the item this is especially true if the item is to be used or stored outdoors.
  3. Adhesion – Wood stain adheres and penetrates deep down to the wood fibers. Paint is only a surface coating and does not penetrate the wood at all. Therefore, paint can typically only be removed by using a paint stripper. To remove wood stain from your project you will have to sand the item to remove all of the wood stain that penetrated into the wood piece. You will want to keep this in mind if you think you may have a design change of heart at some point.

A blue stain for wood is a beautiful and popular way to accentuate the natural beauty of wood. There are several types of wood stains available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to consider the project you are working on and the desired outcome before selecting a stain. With a little bit of planning, you can create the perfect look for your home.

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