Paint it green

  • Posted by howies
  • 1 September 2009

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Paint it green

Paint it green
In Sweden, they’ve been painting houses this colour since the 1500s. It’s called Falu Rödfärg, or Falun Red. It’s made from natural pigments extracted as a by-product from the copper mine at Falun, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The red mull comes from ore with a low copper content that has decomposed for a long time. It is washed, sifted and roasted, then ground to a fine pigment.


You can buy the pigment in powder form, in a box, so you’re not shipping water or a tin. You can mix it yourself, with water, linseed oil, iron sulphate, some wheat or rye flour and a bit of soap. 

The iron sulphate and the minerals in the pigment – iron ochre, silicon dioxide, copper and zinc – all help to preserve raw timber, which means you don’t have to repaint or replace the wood so often.

It’s not oil-based – linseed doesn’t count – and contains no solvents. At the end of its long life, it will decompose naturally.

The paint has a matt finish and the coarse silicon dioxide crystals reflect the light in different ways at different times of day. Your shed will take on a life of its own. 

So if a Swede tells you something is like watching paint dry, it might not be such a bad thing.

Jon Matthews