In the idyllic landscapes of Finland and other Nordic countries, one can often encounter wooden houses adorned in a vibrant hue known as Falu red (“punamulta”). This iconic color has deep cultural roots and is a testament to the region’s rich heritage.

Falu red finds its origins in Sweden, specifically in the copper mining town of Falun. The vibrant red pigment used in this paint is derived from the earthy Falu copper mines. As a byproduct of copper mining, the waste material known as Falu rödfärg (Falu red paint) became a practical and cost-effective solution for protecting and preserving wooden structures.

Falu red has transcended its functional purpose and become a powerful symbol of Scandinavian culture. The color is strongly associated with rural life, traditional craftsmanship, and a sense of belonging. Its warm, earthy tones blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings, evoking a sense of harmony and connection with nature. Furthermore, Falu red has become an integral part of the national identity of Finland and Sweden, often adorning public buildings, historic landmarks, and even modern architecture.

How to make red oxide paint yourself?

While you can find red oxide paint in stores (at least in Finland and Sweden), it is also possible to make it yourself if you enjoy the craft and want to preserve traditions. Here is one way to make red oxide paint:


  • Red oxide powder
  • Boiling water
  • Container for mixing
  • Stirring tool
  • Strainer or filter bag/cloth
  • Optional binder, such as linseed oil or egg yolk (to improve paint adhesion)


  • Heat the boiling water and pour it into a container.
  • Add red oxide powder gradually to the water while stirring. Refer to the mixing ratio and water quantity indicated on the package.
  • Continue stirring until the powder is completely dissolved in the water, resulting in a smooth mixture.
  • Allow the mixture to cool and settle for some time to let any excess particles settle at the bottom.
  • Carefully pour the paint into another container, separating the clear paint solution from the sediment at the bottom.
  • If desired, strain the paint solution using a filter bag or fine strainer to remove any impurities.
  • If you want to improve paint adhesion or longevity, you can add a binder like linseed oil or a mixed egg yolk to the paint.
  • Thoroughly mix the paint to ensure the binder is evenly incorporated.

It is important to note that red oxide paint is a traditional paint that does not provide the same level of protective coating as modern paints. It is best suited for painting outdoor buildings, fences, or decorative items.

Be sure to consult the instructions on the red oxide powder package to achieve the best possible results.