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The best Blue Wood Stain Colors

If you are looking for the perfect blue wood stain color for your DIY furniture project, here are the 5 biggest options on the market tested on 4 types of wood each!

When you think of stained wood, you most likely imagine shades of brown and gray, layered natural wood colors.

Well, that’s absolutely an option, but there are also tons of colored wood stain options, too!

We have had fun experimenting with blue wood stains and think they are a fun colorful option when you are looking for a pop of color.

Today I am rounding up the 5 different blue stains in our arsenal so you can see how they each look on 4 species of wood!

the best blue wood stains

Factors to Consider when Choosing Blue Wood Stain Colors

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when selecting a wood stain color.

Type of Wood

As you will see in the below images, different wood species absorb stain at different amounts. Typically, lighter, softer woods are more absorbent than darker or hardwoods.

This means that it will take a much darker stain to show up on hardwoods, while lighter stains might be enough for light woods.

Desired Shade of Blue

Of course, decide what shade of blue you are going for – light blue, turquoise, or navy. Different colors will come in different shades.

Natural Light Exposure

The more light that a piece gets, the lighter the color will look. A color that looks navy on the can might read as more royal blue on your wood in a very bright room.

Interior or Exterior Use

Some stains are interior and others are formulated for exterior use. This is important for the maintenance of the wood.

All of the samples that I used are interior wood stain, though the brands might also use those colors in exterior formulas.


Different wood stains might have higher or lower costs compared to others. I always suggest shopping in-store for wood stain as they definitely jack the prices up online!

wood stain handbook mockup

New to using wood stain? Grab our complete guidebook – it covers everything you need to know to get the perfect finish!

How to Apply Blue Wood Stain Colors

Applying blue wood stain is similar to applying any other highly-pigmented stain color.


To prep your wood for staining, make sure to sand it with a high grit sandpaper – I like 220 grit.

This opens up the “pores” of the wood and makes it more absorbent. Some woods straight from the store have a bit of a coating on them, so sanding helps them absorb stain more evenly.

Then, wipe the wood clean.

If you are using a light wood and a dark stain, I always suggest using a wood conditioner. I used wood conditioner on all of my wood samples to ensure a more even stain.

Then, you are ready to stain!

Application Techniques

You can apply your blue wood stain with a foam brush or a lint-free cloth.

Always apply wood stain in the direction of the wood grain. Let dry according to the directions on the can (15-30 minutes) before wiping off any excess or pooling stain.


Once your wood is stained and sealed, it should not need much maintenance.

My biggest tip is to try to wipe up spills – even just plain water – as quickly as possible to avoid staining.

See our favorite natural sealants here!

Examples of projects stained blue

Here are some wood projects that we have stained blue!

The best blue wood stains

The # blue wood stains that we are sharing are:

We are sharing these because they are all slightly different and all great in their own ways.

Plus, they are easy to find. Varathane is carried at Home Depot and Minwax is at Lowes. So, if you have those two stores, these are basically all of your wood stain options.

We tested each of these wood stains on 4 different types of woods so you can see how it might look on your project:

Click here to read about how we tested ten different wood stains on 5 species of wood each!

Varathane Worn Navy

varathane worn navy

Varathane Worn Navy is called a navy but to me it reads as more of a deep royal blue color – maybe a dark denim shade.

It of course absorbs more into lighter and softer woods, like the pine or 2×4.

I definitely suggest that you use a wood conditioner as this stain will look splotchy on raw wood.

This is a great option for a light navy/bold blue finish on any wood project.

Click here for our complete Worn Navy review.

varathane worn navy on 4 types of wood

Varathane Vintage Aqua

varathane vintage aqua

Varathane Vintage Aqua is a bright shade of turquoise. It is almost neon, highlighter blue.

This is a great option if you want something VERY bright and colorful.

It also looks great for inlays and accents paired with a dark brown or dark gray wood stain color.

Read out complete Vintage Aqua review.

varathane vintage aqua on 4 types of wood

Varathane Bleached Blue

varathane bleached blue

Varathane Bleached Blue is a light blue-gray wood stain color. It almost looks like a graywash (a slightly gray whitewash, haha).

This is a great option if you just want a bit of blue undertones without a wood stain being overly blue.

Click here to read my complete Bleached Blue review.

varathane bleached blue on 4 types of wood

Minwax Vintage Blue

minwax vintage blue

Minwax Vintage Blue is a mid-toned blue wood stain color. It has decent gray undertones, meaning it’s not too bright blue.

This is a good option to consider if you are considering a cool gray stain color, but also decorate with blue.

When placed next to something blue, it will look more gray. Next to neutrals, it will read as more blue.

Read our complete Minwax Vintage Blue review.

minwax vintage blue on 4 types of wood

Minwax Navy

minwax navy

Minwax Navy is a bright, dark blue wood stain option. It reads as a bit royal blue or more like a light navy to me.

This color definitely needs wood conditioner used or it will go on splotchy.

Click here for my complete review of Minwax Navy.

minwax navy on 4 types of wood

Blue Stains on each type of wood

Here’s a snap of these blue wood stains on each type of wood.

These are unedited photos taken in indirect natural light.


blue wood stains on poplar

Poplar has naturally green undertones. It also has a tendency to look a little speckled/splotchy when stained, especially with darker colors.

Bleached Blue only has a faint effect, but the other blues are all a great option – it just depends on the desired color that you are aiming for!


blue wood stains on oak

Red oak is a slightly darker wood with natural red undertones.

Oak is a hard wood that will not absorb much stain – it’s more of a light tint, especially in the grain, that a full color change.

I personally would never choose to stain oak blue. Maybe if I had an old thrifted piece I was just going wild with, but otherwise, it’s a no for me.

Be sure to check out all of the best wood stains on oak!

Pine (plywood)

blue wood stains on pine

Pine is another light yellow wood but with golden grain lines.

It is very absorbent and will really take on the color of the wood stain.

Be sure to use a wood conditioner if you plan to stain pine dark, or it will look splotchy.

Minwax Navy is my favorite on pine – it has a lot of color and takes beautifully!

Standard 2×4

blue wood stains on 2x4

A 2×4 is usually light wood with dark knots.

It’s not beautiful wood used for fine furniture, but sometimes it’s the best thing for a project.

2×4 is made from a soft white wood and is very absorbent. I like a darker stain on 2×4 to cover the knots!

Blue stain vs. Blue paint

What is the difference between blue stain and blue paint?

Blue paint is totally opaque and covers the wood underneath completely.

Blue stain will be transparent enough to let the wood grain show through. How transparent it is depends on the stain that you choose and how much stain you apply.

How do you stain wood Blue?

how to close a can of woodstain with a hammer

Blue wood stain is really easy to apply!

It’s important to start with clean, sanded wood. Wood straight from the store can have a slight coating on it, so be sure to lightly sand to expose the fresh wood underneath.

You may then apply a wood conditioner if you want to help the stain absorb more evenly.

Wood conditioner is less important with white wood stains compared to dark wood stains, which look splotchy more easily.

Then, apply the stain. I like to use a lint-free cloth and apply in the direction of the woodgrain.

Let sit for five minutes or more and then use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess. Don’t forget to check the sides for drips!

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