Making ‘Falun Red’ traditional Swedish paint – Falu rödfärg!

We’re such HUGE fans of traditional Scandinavian buildings, yet despite several visits we’ve never managed to find the right UTT in Sweden (or Norway, Faroes, Iceland, Finland… but we love them all!)
So we’re building one nearer to home. We want to have it in distinctive the distinctive red oxide paint…but modern paints available in UK/Ireland have too much crap in them. So we asked our good friend and artist Åsa Fridén as she lives in one such ‘Falun Red’ house in SW Sweden. Åsa studied with us at University several eons ago.
Ingredients can all be bought from cheaply – Iron Sulphate is moss killer for lawns (try Amazon or any garden centre). Rye flour try your local health food shop. Iron oxide is available from or Amazon –
and here is how you make it – compared to most modern exterior wood paints this is MUCH healthier. Also a wonderful natural preservative for wood.
Tack! / Thank you! to Åsa for the translation. Even though we must have seen every Scandi-Noir TV series ever..even we couldn’t work it out 🙂 See her illustrations here –
Here are the steps on how to make Falu rödfärg!
1. Dissolve 2 kilos of iron sulfate in 50 litres of boiling water.
2. Add 2-2,5 kilos of finely ground rye flour while stirring, almost whipping, to blend the flour properly. Leave to boil for 15 minutes, stir now and then.
3. Add 8 kilos of red pigment while stirring rapidly.
4. Leave to simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

The paint is ready to use as soon as it has cooled down and will last to cover 150-180 square metres, depending on the surface.

This paint sticks better on roughly cut boards. It’s also important to make sure that the fibres of the boards are facing downwards, so that water won’t be caught in the fibres and sucked into the boards.

Boards should be dry when paint is applied, but you should not paint if it’s too hot outside. 15-23 C is the ultimate temperature. Use a big brush and apply generously. Make sure to work the paint into the fibres of the boards. [image: image.png] [image: image.png]
[image: image.png] [image: image.png]
[image: image.png] [image: image.png]

Previous Post Next Post


Add Your Comment
    • Cynthia A Manning
    • 14th February 2019

    Hello! Thank you for your helpful information. Can this be applied over painted wood?

      • Greg
      • 29th January 2021

      Not unless very rough/ sanded

    • Megan
    • 24th December 2019

    Hi. I’m going to get a little kit log cabin and want to paint it with traditional in
    Swedish red. The timbers will be sideways and not so rough. Do you think this paint will still stick on?

      • Greg
      • 29th January 2021

      Yes. Perfect for it.

        • Bori
        • 1st May 2021

        We have some leftover paint from last year. Do you think we could use it for the rest of the house this spring?
        Thanks a lot

    • Wendy Gush
    • 1st May 2020

    I am of Swedish descent and my husband has just made a small stable which we would like to paint in traditional Swedish red, with white trim. Did you paint your house / barn with this home made paint?How is it lasting?

      • Greg
      • 3rd May 2020

      Hi – we haven’t made it yet! We have all the ingredients sitting here.. and waiting for the ‘Swedish’ style house we are building.. but we’re STILL waiting for planning approval on the cladding. Sigh. However, we have made red oxide paints before and are confident of this recipe (better than ours was!).

      Also note that the majority of Swedish paint suppliers these days will supply a far inferior product than this – based on polymers that will crack, peel and allow decay. This recipe will actually preserve the wood and form a natural protective skin INTO the wood. Note if your building is already painted you may find this mix doesn’t stick well (unless it’s a wholly natural paint under).- so this is best on raw unplaned wood (tanalised is fine) or on old wood that has only had proper paints on it.

      all the best

      • Greg
      • 29th January 2021

      It ages beautifully. Do a sample first. It’s a very thin stain as much as a paint but ages soooo nicely

    • bert
    • 6th October 2022


    i am a master student in Belgium inteior architectuur
    and im researching native paint making and i found “Falu”
    but i had more questions about the history and the proces do you maybe have a contact in zweden where i can have a talk with

    thanks bert

      • Bethan
      • 6th December 2022

      I am sorry we don’t have a contact in Sweden, but best of luck with your research!

      • Bethan
      • 27th September 2023

      I am afraid we don’t have any contacts in Sweden. Sorry!

    • Aris
    • 20th January 2023

    I am no expert but I thought there was linseed oil in the recipe as a binder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *