Swedish Red Paint – Falu Röd

If you’ve ever travelled through the countryside in Sweden or seen photos of rural Swedish homes and out- buildings you can’t help but to have noticed the beautiful red colour used on many timber buildings.
This iconic red colour and the paint used is known as Falu Röd (Falun’ Red), named after the Swedish town of Falun, home to a large copper mining industry. The colour comes from the Hematite (Red Oxide), which is the cinder produced when the ore is heated to extract the copper. Originally discarded as waste and dumped into piles near the mine, it was noticed that a wooden post discarded with the cinders didn’t seem to be suffering from rot and decay. It was presumed that the Iron Oxide had preservative qualities and the idea of Falu Röd was born.
The exterior paint which is also known as flour paint, is made from a mixture of water, linseed oil, iron sulphate, pigment and flour. The simple method and the list of readily available ingredients, make this a great paint for DIY manufacture.

  • Use on rough, dry wood
  • Thick paint, Covers in 1 Coat
  • Dries in 2 hours
  • Durable for 10 to 15 years

Recipe for approximately 25 litres of paint

  • 25L of water
  • 1kg Iron sulphate or Zinc Sulphate to prevent algae growth
    (Iron sulphate can be bought from garden centres where it is sold as a lawn conditioner. It is dark red so best suited to red paints. Use Zinc Sulphate for other colours)
  • 1kg finely ground Rye Flour*
  • 4kg Coloured pigment (red oxide for traditional red)
  • Up to 2 litres Boiled Linseed Oil (max. 8% of total volume).

*Wheat flower can be used but the paint may not be as strong

Method

Bring the water to the boil
Add the Iron/Zinc Sulfate and stir until it has dissolved
Add the Flour and cook for a 15 minutes.
Add the pigment powder and cook for a further 15 minutes mixing until the liquid is all the same texture.
Remove from the heat and add the linseed oil. Stir well to create an emulsion.
Allow the paint to cool before use. Store any excess paint in an airtight container.