Finding the perfect blue spray paint

April 24, 2014

Testing to find the best blue spray paint with the best coverage. 

If you're looking for the perfect blue spray paint, you're in the right place! 

I tested five blue tone spray paints from Krylon, Valspar and Rust-oleum and share my thoughts on all of them. 

Just like latex paint on walls and trim inside, spray paint will look different in different lights. 

The same color in bright natural light and indoor incandescent light will look completely different! It's surprising how different they look sometimes. 

I decided to try a bunch of blue colors out after a spray paint project that was supposed to be navy blue, but it turned out bright cobalt:

blue spray painted desk

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That color is called Navy Blue from Krylon

Funny, because I LOVED that color on my navy blue bedroom lamps:

navy blue lamps

And it was SO bright on the desk. It didn’t look like the same color in the least. 

One thing to note -- I spray primed the lamps with black spray primer first! 

That's why I decided to do a little test – first off, to show that the color on the cap of a spray paint can will sometimes look different than what you get when you spray. 

Secondly, a color in one spray paint will be different in another. I also noticed a big difference in coverage when I did this as well. 

I grabbed five blues out of my stash to do this little test and used some primed scrap wood:

blue spray paint test

The colors from left to right are Stonewashed Denim from Krylon, Deep Sea Diving by Valspar, Rust-oleum, Navy Blue by Krylon and Mountain View by Krylon.

So if you looked at this and looked at my lamps, I’m guessing you’d say the middle one is the paint I used, right?

Even I was surprised. I had to look back at my lamp post to see which one I used, and it was actually the blue second from the right:

blue spray paints

Who would’ve thunk it? 

Here’s the first thing I noticed when I did this -- I love the HUGE selection of colors that Krylon offers but the coverage with this one isn’t great. 

I never really noticed until I saw it right next to others. It sprays very thin and doesn’t cover nearly as well as the others.

I did two coats of each color and the Krylon colors dripped every time:

comparing krylon and rustoleum

Due to it spraying so thin I think – it just didn’t cover well, at least compared to some others.

Here’s the other thing – the colors can look much different when you spray. The Stonewash Denim cap on the left has a blue gray tone to it but is straight gray when you spray it. 

It’s hard to tell in the pics because it actually matches the color of the cap better than some of the others. But I bought this a while back thinking it would have more of a blue tone like the cap and it doesn’t.

The Valspar on the right, called Deep Sea Diving, is another one that is different than the cap. The cap looks like more of a peacock blue color and it sprays a definite cobalt blue.

Here’s the other three close up – note that the one on the left and the one in the middle are both a glossy navy blue:

blue spray paint reviews

Can you believe the difference? At the risk of sounding like a Rustoleum commercial, it covered SO much better. (I did two coats of each color.) And to me it looks like a true navy blue, right? 

The Krylon in the middle is what I used on our lamps and I was actually quite surprised when I looked back and figured that out.

You can see where it dripped a ton too. It would take a good four coats to get good coverage on this white. But as I mentioned, I used it on our lamps and didn’t have any issues. And the navy blue on the lamps is a perfect navy to me, so it will just take more coats to get that true color.

But more coats means using more paint, so that’s something to consider. I used nearly two cans to do the desk and I imagine it would take double that to get good coverage with the Krylon.

The color on the end is Mountain View spray paint and I've used it many times over the years!:

light blue pedestal beachy decor 

The color on the cap is pretty true to the color. It’s a nice light blue that leans ever-so-slightly gray.

Here’s a close up of the board so you can see the coverage (I shook them all for a few minutes before spraying):

blue spray paint comparison

Again, as far as being true to the color on the cap, Rustoleum wins. Coverage-wise, Valspar and Rustoleum did well. 

But I’ve used the two Krylon colors at the bottom and had no complaints at the time – it was only when I sprayed next to others that I noticed how thin it sprays.

I know it’s impossible to match the color of the paint to the cap exactly, but many of the colors I’ve used are a pretty darn good match. 

What’s frustrating is if you get it home and spray and it’s not what you thought, you’re stuck with it. You can’t return it after you’ve used it. That’s how you build up a ridiculous spray paint collection. ;)

Do you have a brand of spray paint that you love? A color that is your go-to? Are you still afraid to spray? If so, check out some of my spray paint tips here!

See the best brass spray paint results here

best brass spray paint

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  1. This was so helpful and interesting. I have used all the brands and I do like the coverage of rustoleum but the nozzle isn't as comfortable to use and the colors aren't always what I am looking for. Thanks for the side by side comparison. I have been wanting to spray paint bigger pieces like furniture but then I don't always have great results with small projects so I am afraid to do anything big. At least I know the spray paint brand does make a difference.
    Have a great day!
    Tammy @

  2. I like Rustoleum. The others are sub par as far as spraying ease. I needed a gold for some table and I ended up ordering Design Master online. It was great.

  3. I'm a big fan of blues and I love that table! Great job!


  4. I am a die hard Rustoleum fan. I know so many bloggers love Krylon but there's really no comparison for me. I've tried them all and had a similar hunt looking for the perfect medium pink color (not baby pink or magenta or coral, just a true middle of the road pink). The Valspar had a weird texture to me and I don't like the can although I would consider it for the perfect color. But if at all possible, I stick with Rustoleum. They are priced reasonably, true to color, and give nice, even coverage.

    And I am embarrassed to admit I have told all of these things to unsuspecting shoppers in the spray paint aisle looking uncertain of their purchase.

    1. I accost people with my help in the paint department too. haha

    2. I have done this also!! But not about spray-paint - my only solid spray paint intel is about primer.

  5. Good intel. Thank you! I was lucky enough to win some free spray paint from Rust-Oleum, and one of the colors I chose was Deep Blue. I hope I like it!

  6. Oh and by the way I used that Rustoleum gloss navy on a desk chair in my sons room (to match Navy furniture I had painted with latex before) and it came out so great. It matched well and is a rich dark color. It has also held up perfectly with a year of use by a little boy!

  7. thanks for those samples and what happened when they were used..
    in real life-- which of those colors come out with the most teal blue undertones in your opinion?

    each monitor reads colors differently and I need the Blue which ends up closest to dark teal.

    thanks so much

  8. I almost always use Rustoleum. One because most of my spray paint projects are for outdoors, and I find Rustoleum to be a lot sturdier in the elements. I tried to do Krylon on a project ones (because the color was *perfect*) and it was a complete waste of money. It went on so thin I was going to have to buy twice the amount to cover, so I just switched to a less perfect Rustoleum color.

  9. i love Rustoleum too... its my go-to... particularly the colour "oil rubbed bronze"... i love - love - love it!... its my fav for anything outdoors... (and for painting wood to look like metal)... i've found that if you buy the trigger thing they sell that hooks onto the top of the can... i get better more even coverage... better than i do with my finger on the button - plus no paint on my hands!...

  10. Krylon leaves drips and patches EVERY TIME I use it. Some bloggers swear by it, so I was wondering if I was doing something wrong in the application, but EVERY time? I think Krylon is sort of crap. I'm pro Rustoleum!

  11. I'm getting ready to paint a large dresser and was planning on looking up comparisons and it's like you read my mind!! Thank you! I'm using black so I will be using Rustoleum for good coverage. This was a great post!

  12. Your "taste test" was eye-opening. I usually make a paint selection based upon the colors available and then if all things are equal, the ease of use with the nozzle. But, you make a valid point that some brands may require more coats. I really like all of the featured brands and can't wait to set up all of my pieces to bring in some more color. Thanks!

  13. Totally agree on ALL of this!! Just became a HUGE Rustoleum fan recently, and Valspar's my #2. Very informative:)

  14. Totally a Rustoleum gal. I too have found Krylon to drip/run easier. I think it is harder to use because of the so called "friendly can spray in any direction" tip. I also find their colors tend to be more true to the cap color. And yes, some of the darker shades will require numerous coats to get to the cap shade.

  15. I actually had an employee at Lowes agree with me that the Krylon was complete crap, refunded my money and gave me a discount on some valspar spray paint. It saved my project. I also LOVE LOVE rustoleum's ORB. I've sprayed many electrical conduits to make curtain rods and they're GORGEOUS.

  16. I've used Rustoleum and Valspar. I was stumped at the spray aisle and a sales type wandered by and suggested i try the hammered Brown instead of the ORB on my thrifted cast metal lamp. I did and loved the finished but wanted some highlights on the base, so chose the rub n buff in European Gold to add those and it truly looks amazing.
    For those beginning, try spraying picture frames to get the technique down.
    i also used Rustoleum Colonial red on an Asian themed lamp- took 4 coats of red to properly cover over primer, but got compliments when hauling it around looking for a shade.

  17. Thanks for the tips! I have a tea cup and saucer rack that I'd like to spray paint white and hang in my living room, to display my grandmother's teacup collection. (The rack is oak.) I have been redecorating my living room, and would love to add my grandmother's collection. I think I'll try using Rustoleum, then!

  18. Have you tried the metallics? I just sprayed some keys. I changed a piece of 60 year old furniture and the keys were a gold colour and I needed them oliver. Wow, metallic is awesome. Also Rustoleum.

  19. Home Depot, Lowes, and WalMart are so great about returns that I bet that if you sprayed out some on a piece of cardboard to show them, and returned it with the reason "the paint in the can is not the color of the cap", they'd probably take it back....assuming that you have your receipt, that the can is still 90% full, and that you aren't in there returning paint all the time :) Also, if you get a BAD can---stopped up with most of the paint still inside or really irregular spray that ruins what you are trying to paint, you can write or call the manufacturer & they will usually either send you a replacement can or a refund check.

  20. Great post. I love Rustoleum I find it does give the best coverage, I also like Valspar, they have some good colors.

  21. I, too, prefer Rustoleum. I had a bad experience with Valspar. Had to build something for a customer and it was a little damp out. The paint wouldn't dry when I never had that issue with Rustoleum under the same conditions. I was in a climate controlled environment, too. Was so frustrated won't try it again.

  22. When will they come up with color match spray paint?? There must be a way!!! I hate being confined to the colors they choose. I like to choose my own with paint chips! I guess I am just a rebel who doesn't like to be told what to do or given limitations when it comes to my paint haha ;)

    1. Also, I think there is a pin floating around pinterest (or a blog... I look at home stuff so much I can't remember where I see it anymore!) and somebody showed all the different "gold" spray paint from all different brands. Each one was completely different from the other! I was shocked at how each could interpret gold so differently. I need to find it and go back to reference which gold I liked the best!

    2. Jessica, you can get color match spray paint, check out automotive paint suppliers, we can't get it in Canada anymore, but I'm sure in the US it would still be available.

  23. Krylon has been off my list for about a year. It totally botched up a project. Not sure if they changed something but it use to be my big go to. I am a Rustoleum gal now. I love this color you chose soooo much!

  24. I've only used Krylon once, and I completely hated it. It doesn't cover well at all. (and I had a paint guy at Lowe's agree with me...he said Krylon was a waste of money.) I am a Rustoleum fan, hands down. It is my go to brand for everything spray paint related.

  25. I just inherited some lovely old bedroom pieces (i.e. pineapple beds, dresser) and they are a dark wood typical of the period, but the finish has seen better days. How do you decide when to paint something and when to refinish something in its natural wood state?

  26. Very interesting and one I have duly noted for future reference - thanks!
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  27. I've been using Rustoleum a lot lately and I love everything about the brand. The design, function, paint quality, color and coverage are all great. I've never had a problem with running so I'm sticking with them for now.

  28. Rustoleum is the best...hands down :)


  29. I only spray paint small stuff, i.e. lamps, frames and small end tables. Sometimes I get good coverage, sometimes the sheen is patchy. Who knows why? I totally agree on the Rustoleum though, it sprays well and the coverage is great!

  30. Thanks to you & all of the above nice people for this great info!

  31. If you ever buy spray paint at walmart you'll see sprays all over the shelves for people "testing" the colors. I hate to say I'm guilty but...I Really hate buying the wrong color!

  32. I am so glad I read all your post and the comments, boy did I learn alot. I don't do the spray painting, hubs does (cause he thinks he's the expert) and he has complained about Krylon. He likes True Values less expensive spray paint better than Krylon. This was one of best posts with all the excellent info and tips. Thanks so much for sharing as it has helped me and imagine many other readers.
    I bought 3 cans of white gloss for an outdoor faux wicker table with glass top at True Value, hope it works good, we use table as coffee table. I'm tired of darker tables so am lightening up. Want to have beach chic living room. We have small l/r so need to lighten it up all over. I got some light gray background curtains with white design and what a difference it made, especially after winter doldrums. Happy weekend

    1. My husband is the "expert" too, I just want to sneak the project away some time and do it myself!

  33. Maybe a graffiti wall at Walmart would be great where you could test the colours before purchase?

  34. I spray paint A LOT and have to agree -- Rustoleum and Valspar are great. That's all I buy. I have not have good luck with Krylon because it doesn't cover well and it tends to drip more than the others in my experience.

  35. This post is SO helpful to me right now! I'm about to embark on a spray painting craze and I had my beady little eyes trained on Valspar. I'm glad to hear the positive reviews! Nothing like fighting a project due to poor products! Loved this post!

  36. I have been spray painting with Krylon for years and always thought I had bad technique which caused all the drips and runs, not to mention the need for many, many coats to achieve full coverage. After reading this, I'm guessing it's little to do with me and it's just an inferior product. You sold me on Rustoleum!

  37. Hello! Thank you for this post. I’m about to paint a bedside table and I’m leaning toward the Rustoleum navy. Just to confirm, that’s the color you used on the desk, right? Thanks!

    1. I used Navy Blue from Krylon -- you can see how it looked on my lamps (so different!) here...


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