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.