Swedish Red

Swedish Paint

Few weeks ago, I wrote about a natural paint, based on flower and pigments, I created for painting a new garage door.
Last week, I wanted to paint the shelter for our firewood in the garden and again, I cooked my paint, using the same recipe but with red iron oxide pigment.
The shelter is much more exposed to weather (sometimes rain, but mostly sun and wind) than the garage door and thus a durable paint is needed to protect the wood.
Permanent exposure to the sun is a big challenge, most of the synthetic paints peel of after a few months.  So far, I used Osmo paints but even those semi-natural paints chipped of after two years.
It can become an expensive hobby to paint all the outdoor wooden pieces every two years. A durable natural paint, tested under Scandinavian weather conditions for centuries seems to be a good alternative.
It’s easy to create and it’s cheap: 5 L of paint costs about 5 €!
Thinking of the environment, I also wanted to avoid any toxic ingredients.
The paint should last approx. 4-5 years and restoration is easy as the surface needs to be brushed before repainting it.

Swedish Red  or Rouge de Falun

In the town of Falun is a copper mine which has been explored for more than thousand years. The red iron oxide is a by-product of the copper mining. The earth above the copper contains ocher, silicon and zinc. At plain air, it washes out and dries. The result is a fine red powder, the red iron oxide.
The mine closed in 1992. Today, the area is on the UNESCO list and a tourist hot spot.

Since a few years, we have Swedish family members and one of the first pictures which popped up in our heads were those of the nice red wooden houses in Sweden.

Red Swedish House
Red Swedish House
Isabell Schulz - Yellow Swedish House https://www.flickr.com/photos/isapisa/8471500192 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Isabell Schulz – Yellow Swedish House https://www.flickr.com/photos/isapisa/8471500192 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the 16 century the city municipalities ordered home owners to paint their house front facing the street in red to impress the royals.
Later on, it became a countrywide fashion to paint all new country houses red, urban villas in yellow and window frames and fences in red or green.  At this time, the paint did not contain any linseed oil or savon noir, but sometimes brine, beer or tar.

Either you cook your own paint, or you buy it from the two manufacturers of traditional Swedish paint, Falu Rödfärg and Moose Färg.
Nowadays, the colour palette offers also different shades of blue, yellow, grey, green and even black.

Application

The base recipe stays the same, just different pigments are added.
You can use this kind of paint also for painting wooden floors, furniture, already painted walls (plaster boards like Rigips and Fermacell) and bricks.
Ferrous sulfate protects the wood against fungus infestation and is not needed for indoor paints.
The surface needs to be rough, the best is to seal it in advance.
Even an application on paper walls is possible but you need to make the wall absorbent with a layer of acrylic.

 

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