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Can ceiling fan blades be stained or painted?

If you’re one of the unfortunate people that came across this post out of shear frustration… or even panic, I am happy to tell you that there is a pretty simple (and cheap…like less than $15) solution to the problem of bad looking ceiling fan blades. Mine became in need of a fix when someone tried to tape decorations to the ceiling fans blades and when they took the tape off, the tape also took off the wood/faux wood paint finish with it. So, today we are going to talk about “how to repair ceiling fan blades with a wood finish”…that may or may not have been ruined by tape…lol.

can ceiling fan blades be stained
Can ceiling fan blades be stained?

This is one of those blog posts that just happened to be inspired completely by real life and having to figure out a “fun DIY fix” to the problem myself because there just plain wasn’t a good enough resource on the topic when I went scouring the internet for a solution to my poor pathetic-looking fan blade problem…

Everyone else teaches you how to refinish the entire fan, not just the ceiling fan blades only.

So, this is me showing what I decided to do to fix my ceiling fan (as inexpensively as possible because I am just renting this place, and won’t get to keep a replacement fan so it would just be money down the drain), and thought that I would share with you while I was at it.

How did this even happen to my ceiling fan you may be wondering…? Well, my kid had a birthday recently and they wanted to decorate for their party.

Unfortunately, neither of us realized that taping some streamers, or even balloons, to the blades of the ceiling fan were going to be problematic.

That is, until after we took the streamers down, removed the tape, and discovered that when we took the tape off, it also removed the wood finish on the blades…woops! 🙁

Why not just flip the blades over, you may be wondering? Well, I wasn’t a fan of the color on the other side (it was about 30 shades too light to match the rest of the furniture in the room…so that’s why I kept going on my quest to solve the problem.

Can ceiling fan blades be stained?

Even though my fan’s damaged blades weren’t actual wood (they had a faux wood finish). I figured that I would try to stain them anyway to see if I could retain as much of a wood finish look as possible.

I am happy to report that yes, you can stain ceiling fan blades. I got great results by staining mine, here’s what I did.

How to stain ceiling fan blades:

1. The first step to refinishing the blades, is to take the blades off the fan altogether…I’m not going to show you how to do that because there are many video tutorials out there that already show you how, so if you need to know how to take your fan blades off, I suggest watching the first part of this video, and then coming back to this post…but really all that you do is to use a short screwdriver (a long one won’t fit typically) and take out a few screws in each blade.
2. I took a piece of plastic sheeting and laid it on my floor (in a well-ventilated room, but you can do this outside on a mild day). Then laid the fan blades down and they were ready to stain/paint. I do recommend using some painters pyramids, or some other way to pull them up and off of the plastic so the stain doesn’t stick the blades to the plastic in the process of staining them.
3. It took four coats of Behr Premium water-based stain and poly in “mission oak”, (purchased at Home Depot) applied with even strokes across the length of the blades in the same direction as the “grain” in the faux wood finish(with letting them dry in between coats about a half hour each coat), and my fan blades now look brand new again.
4. After four coats of stain with proper dry time in between, all I had to do was to reattach them to my ceiling fan with a screwdriver and enjoy the cool breeze again.

I’m very pleased with how they turned out, the stain actually updated the room a bit and now the fan matches some of my other wood furniture quite a bit better than it did before.

The only thing that I think I would have done differently really is to have gone with a stain color that was a few shades lighter… I suggest taking one of your damaged fan blades with you and comparing it to the chart at Home Depotthe product dries quite a bit darker than I was anticipating so keep that in mind when choosing what color you’ll need.can ceiling fan blades be stained stain ceiling fan blades

Do I need to sand ceiling blades first before staining or painting them?

Personal opinion here, but I don’t particularly think that every situation warrants taking the time to sand something down first unless there are deep ridges or crevices…or if for some reason you had to use a wood filler (in which case I am very curious what happened to your fan to need some filler…lol)…then, yes sand them down.

I did not need to sand my ceiling fan blades before I got to the work of staining them.

Here’s what they looked like before, and after:

what kind of stain do you use on ceiling fan blades
How to stain ceiling fan blades.

I know, the pictures are a little dark…but so is that room in general and couple that with the fact that I’m a mediocre photographer at best…

Hopefully I was still able to capture how drastic the difference was before and after and how much better they looked after being stained.

Like I said before, I really liked the original wood look on my ceiling fan blades (you know, before the “streamer incident”) so I wanted to refinish them in a way that would retain the wood look (yes, they just had a faux wood finish, they weren’t actual wood fan blades).

I am thrilled that they turned out as well as they did and with how little effort it actually took…within a few hours I was able to do this project, let them dry properly, and reattach them before my kids even got home from school…score!

The best part is that it was a project that cost me less than $15(because I had plastic sheeting and a brush on hand), which to this single mom of four, is a huge win for my budget!

Some of you may have found this post a little helpful, but need to paint your ceiling fan blades instead, so I thought that I would also share what I would have done had I needed to paint them instead of staining them…so here you go:

How to paint ceiling fan blades:

Were my fan-blades a solid color (which is typically black or a shade of white paint) and the finish got pulled off by tape, or ruined in some other silly way. I would follow this tutorial on how to remove fan blades, and take all of the fan blades off. Make sure they’re dust-free before you do the next part.
1. Then I would lay down a drop cloth, (spray painting should be done outside) evenly spread out the fan blades on top of some painters pyramid’s (damaged side up).
2. Using a fairly high quality spray paint (in a shade as close to the original color as possible), I would then give them a good spray and allow it to dry well before determining whether or not they need another coat.
3. Then I would reapply the spray paint as needed, allow it to dry completely (up to a day or two of drying time), and then reattach the blades to the ceiling fan.

This should also be a fairly inexpensive way to fix the paint on a ceiling fan…depending on how many coats of paint you need to do, it could also be less than a $10 fix as well.

What kind of paint do you use on ceiling fan blades?

Above, I mentioned making sure to use a high quality spray paint…but for those of you that need a little bit more direction than that. I would actually suggest that you use something such as this, in a satin finish.

*Just remember to apply it evenly and to also allow it to dry between coats as long as is suggested on the back of the can.

So, for future reference…if any of you have kids, or friends, that suggest that they should decorate the ceiling fan for a party…

Let’s do a little bit of “ruined ceiling fan prevention”…and either refer them to this post.

Or maybe suggest that if they’re going to, to at least make sure to only put the tape up on top of the fan blades (where it will be unseen) so that if the scotch tape/clear tape that you’re using does some damage, at least no one will notice and you won’t have to do any googling for a solution to the problem.

How to save money while refinishing your ceiling fan blades:

If you would like to know how to save a little bit of money on this project, and like to shop local, my only suggestions are to look for a good paintbrush at your local Re-Store, I often find good quality paint brushes there for $3 or less. You might even find some stain or paint there for cheap that would work too.

The other suggestion to save money on tools. If you find yourself needing to purchase some short screwdrivers for this project it’s a good idea to go to Harbor Freight.

I got a whole set of screwdrivers (including two small ones) for less than $5 brand-new, so it’s a good place to get those tools that you’re going to use infrequently.

That’s really all that I have to share today, I hope you found it helpful.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and supporting my endeavors to make people’s lives a little easier/better/more affordable. If you liked this cleaning hack post, or found it helpful in any way, please make sure to share it with your family, friends, and co-workers via social media…or you could even send them the direct link via email. Whichever way you choose to spread the love, I super appreciate it! ~Sarah

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*Please note that this post was originally published to this website on 10/03/2022, & has since been updated to remain relevant, improve user experience, and be as socially shareable as possible.