Can You Really Stain Over Wood Glue? (What You Need To Know)

Ah, trusty Wood Glue. The cause of (and solution to) a lot of woodworking problems.

This super-sticking adhesive can get your out of a lot of wood joint scrapes, bonding pieces of lumber together without the need for screws or nails.

However, it can also get you into a few scrapes too, none more common than the fact that this substance doesn’t take too well to a coat of stain.

Now, although a few brands have made the lofty claim that their wood glue is the exception, fact of the matter is this… can you really stain over wood glue?

No, you can’t stain over wood glue. Wood stain works by soaking into wood pores deep underneath the surface. However, Wood Glue does the same thing. When applied to bare wood, wood glue seeps into wood pores allowing for a tight bond between two pieces of timber. If you apply wood stain over wood glue, wood stain won’t be able to get into the wood pores underneath the glue.

All of which means that your stained plank of wood will end up with an unstainable section right where that glue was applied.

So, if you’ve made the mistake of applying wood glue before stain, what can you do to fix it? Let’s get into that and more below…

can you stain over wood glue

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So, First Things First, Can Wood Glue Be Stained At All?

No, wood glue can’t be stained. Wood glue works just like wood filler in that it fills out wood pores and packs them with a hardened substance.

Side note: This is also why you can’t stain over wood filler either (which we go into in this post here).

All of which means that you’ll have a problem getting wood stain to work on wood glue.

You see, wood stain works by specifically soaking into wood pores… those exact wood pores your wood glue has just filled out.

What Happens When You Simply Go Ahead And Stain Wood Glue Anyway?

If you tried staining over wood glue regardless, then you’ll end up with little more than bare glue spots. That’s because the glue is doing its job by keeping out stain and everything else to boot.

Basically, the stain won’t be absorbed, and you will be left with a noticeable blotch on the surface.

Related Post: What’s With All This White Residue After Staining? (+ How To Fix It)

So What Can I Do? I’ve Already Applied The Wood Glue!

Well, first off, all is not lost! You’ve still got two viable options to fixing things.

You can; A) Use A Gel Stain or B) Sand Back Down To The Bare Wood.

Use A Gel Stain

Gel Stains, despite their name, aren’t wood stains in the traditional sense. Unlike wood stain, a gel stain sits atop the surface of wood, coating it kind of like paint.

So, for a gel stain to give wood color, it doesn’t need to have access to the wood pores underneath wood glue.

Whats more, Gel Stain is easy to apply and offers up a nice and even blotch-free coat.

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Sand Back Down To Bare Wood

If you’d prefer to use your choice of traditional wood stain, then you can try to remove the wood glue.

You do this by sanding down and/or scraping off the wood adhesive until you are back down to bare wood.

This isn’t the best option (as those wood pores may still have some glue in them). But it might help to somewhat reduce the stark look of a wood glue spot when you do stain over it.

Can You Stain Over Gorilla Wood Glue? No, you can’t stain over Gorilla Wood Glue with traditional wood stain. However, you can use a Gel Stain over this wood adhesive. Or, alternatively, you can mix dye or water-based stains into Gorilla Wood Glue to match the tone of the wood you are bonding.

So, To Sum Things Up…

Wood glue actually works in the same way as wood stains, by soaking into the surface of timber. However, while stain seeps into the pores of wood to colour it slightly, wood glue sets hard and creates a strong bond between two pieces of timber.

So, if you apply an almighty amount of stain over wood glue, the stain simply won’t take. At best, (bar sanding back down to the bare wood), you could instead opt for a Gel Stain to add color to your wood craft.