Can You Mix Wood Stains? All You Need To Know!

can you mix wood stains

Wood stains are important to improve the look of wood and they’ll add unique beauty to the woodworking projects and furniture.

There’re some occasions we worry when not getting the color we really want by applying wood stains. Then we try to mix different stains to match and get the color we want.

But most people have no idea whether mixing wood stains is possible or not. So, let’s find out, Can you mix wood stains?

Here’s what I know:

Yes, you can mix wood stains to get the color you want as long as their undertones are in the same color family. Otherwise, they’ll clash due to the undertone differences. Keep mixing wood stains until they meet the correct ratio to create custom colors that match exactly your woodwork.

But that’s just a quick snapshot and there’s a lot more to know about Can you mix wood stains?

So, in this article, we’re diving deep into mixing wood stains. We’ll discuss can you mix different brands of wood stains, how to mix wood stains to create custom colors.

We’ll answer some frequently asked questions about mixing wood stains as well.

Let’s jump in!

Things You Should Consider When Mixing Wood Stains

Here’s the list of things you should consider before mixing wood stains. They are,

  1. Wood stains undertones should be the same.
  2. Consider the wood grain
  3. Request samples of wood stains and mix
  4. Understanding the primary color of wood stain and what are the accent colors
  5. Match the resulting custom color with other furniture, floor color, and wall colors.

So, let’s talk above factors in detail to get a better understanding of mixing wood stains.

1. Wood Stains Undertones Should Be the Same

Wood stains undertones can be categorized into main two types. They are, warm and cool. For example,

  • Warm undertones are Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow
  • Cool undertones are Purple, Blue, Green

When you’re mixing two types of wood stains make sure they’re from the same undertone family.

Otherwise, wood stains can clash with each other, and color bleeding can happen.

You can mix two, three, or more wood stains with each other as long as they’re from the same undertone family.

Even though wood types and finishers are different, the wood stains undertone family should be the same for better results.

2. Consider the Wood Grain

When you’re mixing wood stains to get a custom desirable color, it is important to match the colors of wood stains to the grain of the wood.

Make sure to match fine grains with fine grains and large wood grains with large wood grains.

For example, large wood grains are more rustic and casual.

So, you need to choose wood stains that won’t destroy the casual rustic look of the furniture with large wood grains.

3. Request Samples of Wood Stains and Mix

If the wood stains that you’re going to select are not from the same undertone color family, better to request samples from each wood stain and mix them with a piece of wood to make sure whether they’re compatible or not.

Otherwise, your woodwork or furniture can be ruined if they’re incompatible.

Make sure to use the same type of wood piece as woodwork or furniture you’re willing to apply wood stains.

Then you’ll be able to get a clear idea about whether wood stains mix well and able to get the custom color you want without bleeding or clashing even though they’re not from the same undertone color family.

Selecting the best wood stains that match exactly as you want and result in the custom color is a matter of personal preference.

Also, make sure to check the resulting color under your home lighting.

Because sometimes when the resulting color looks plain white in stores, but under your home lighting, it may appear in unexpected colors like yellow, green, or grey undertones.

Tip: when you’re mixing different types of wood stains, make sure only of them has a primary grain or neither. Basically, both wood stains cannot have strong grains because if they do, they’ll compete and clash out.

Can You Mix Oil-Based Wood Stains with Water-Based wood Stains?

You cannot mix oil-based wood stains with water-based wood stains because oil-based stains and water-based stains don’t mix with each other.

Same as when you try to mix oil with water. They don’t mix.

The oil will rise to the top and a water-based stain will be at the bottom.

So, when you’re going to mix wood stains make sure both of them are either water-based or oil-based.

Water-based wood stains mix well with water-based stains and oil-based stains mix well with oil-based wood stains.

Can You Mix Different Brands of Wood Stain?

Yes, you can mix different brands of wood stains only if their undertones are from the same color family.

Mixing different brands of wood stain is not a problem to create a custom color that emphasizes the look of your woodworking project or furniture.

But I highly recommend testing mixing wood stains from different brands initially with a sample wood piece because of the quality issues of some brands available in the market.

Otherwise, the manufacturer is not a considerable factor when mixing wood stains as long as they don’t have any contaminations or quality issues.

How To Mix Wood Stains?

So, let’s find out how to mix wood stains to create custom colors as you wish. You need to have the right equipment and tools to make this succeed.

Here’re the suppliers you’ll need to mix wood stains.

  • Wood stain products
  • Plastic container
  • Plastic cups
  • Protective gloves
  • Scrap wood
  • Stick to stir
  • Paintbrush

Here are the steps you need to follow when mixing wood stains properly.

  1. Select and prepare wood stains
  2. Test with scrap wood
  3. Test by mixing wood stains with different ratios
  4. Mix wood stains
  5. Apply to the woodwork
  6. Let it dry

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps separately from A to Z to get the perfect answer for mixing wood stains to create a custom color.

1. Select & Prepare Wood Stains

When you’re selecting the primary wood stain, make sure to choose a wood stain color that matches as close as possible with your desired finish.

It can be brown, grey, black, white, or any other stain.

When you’re selecting the secondary wood stain, make sure that will turn the primary stain color into the custom color you want.

This is important because secondary wood stain color is the one that acts as the reactor to gain what you want.

If you aren’t sure what you should pick better take help from a store associate.

For example, brown wood stain matches perfectly with black wood stain to create aesthetic stain color.

Another thing you should consider is that both wood stains should belong to the same undertone family. You can mix wood stains from,

  • Yellow undertone family
  • Orange undertone family
  • Red undertone family
  • Pink undertone family
  • Walnut like undertone family

After you are selecting and preparing the wood stains that you’re going to mix, you can go to the next step to test them with scrap wood.

2. Test with Scrap Wood

For this step, you need to have scrap wood that is from the same wood type as your main woodwork, furniture, or scrap board.

Because to test which stain matches the wood perfectly, you need to use the same wood type for testing and the big project.

Apply both wood stains separately to the wood and notice how they blend with the natural color of the wood.

If both base and secondary wood stains blend well with the wood, you’re ready to go for the next step.

3. Test Wood Stains by Mixing Different Ratios

Take the plastic container and pour primary wood stain by filling it up using plastic cups.

Then, use a different cup and fill it up with secondary wood stain and pour it into the plastic container.

Mix both stains in a plastic container thoroughly using the stirring stick.

Now, take the scrap wood and apply the wood stain mixture from the plastic container.

Then add small amounts of other stains until you get the correct ratio to create the custom color you want.

Getting the correct ratio to create a custom color is a matter of personal preference.

You can experiment by adding small amounts of different portions from each wood stain and mixing them until you get what you want.

Make sure to keep track of how many drops of amounts you have taken from each wood stain to get the mixing ratio.

Because that same mixing ratio will be applied to the whole project in the end.

Start with small amounts of portions and increase them as you move forward. But never go wrong with the mixing ratio.

Because that’s the ultimate formula you need to follow throughout the whole project.

4. Mix Wood Stains

Once you’ve figured out the correct ratio of wood stains, apply it to the total amount of stains that need for the project.

Then mix each of the wood stains according to the correct ratio to get one huge mixture of wood stains that will apply for the whole project.

5. Apply To The Woodwork

Once you make a sufficient amount of wood stain with the correct ratio, apply it to the whole project, woodwork, or furniture using a paintbrush.

Apply wood stain mixture to the whole woodworking project without missing any spots to avoid wood stain mistakes.

Make sure to apply thin coats of wood stain to avoid drying issues. Otherwise, it will lead to a tacky surface.

Apply wood stain along the direction of the wood grain for a better look and acceptance.

Plus apply a wood stain with even pressure to avoid random blotchiness.

6. Let the Wood Dry Completely

After the application of wood, stain let the wood dry for nearly 24 hours to complete the drying process.

Drying is so important when staining because many wood staining mistakes and issues happen due to insufficient drying time.

So, that’s all about how to mix wood stains and create a custom color. Under “can you mix wood stains?” let’s answer some frequently asked questions about mixing wood stains.

Can You Mix Grey and Brown Stains?

Yes, mixing grey and brown stains is possible. Grey stains and brown stains belong to the same undertone family.

Therefore, grey and brown stains don’t compete with each other, and no bleeding will happen.

Mixing 50% of brown stain and 50% of grey stain to 1:1 ratio creates grey-brown custom color which is so hard to find in stores.

Can You Mix Gel Stain with Regular Stain?

Yes, you can mix gel stain with regular stain. The resulting color will be a mixture of two colors from the gel and regular stains.

As long as both strains belong to the same undertone family being a gel stain or regular stain is not an issue when mixing.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Can You Mix Wood Stains?

In this article we have deeply discussed can you mix wood stains and how to mix wood stains to create the custom color you want.

As long as both stains for similar undertones, they’ll mix pretty well. But always make sure to do the experimental part more accurately to identify the correct ratio of each stain you need to take.

Otherwise, it is so difficult to get the desired output you want.

Furthermore,  we have discussed, can you mix oil-based stains and water-based stains, and can you mix different brands of wood stains to get satisfying results.

Plus, I have answered some frequently asked questions about mixing wood stains.

Now I think you know everything about mixing wood stains and how to do that correctly. Hope you have gained good knowledge about can you mix wood stains?

So, let’s start finishing your next woodworking project with a custom color stain that is so hard to find on market.

Try to mix wood stains and get the color you want. Keep practicing and have fun!

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Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

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