Traditional Finnish way to paint houses: How to make Falu red?

Traditional Finnish way to paint houses: How to make Falu red?

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.

Mold wash for my ugly, old fence

Mold wash for my ugly, old fence

After I cut my lovely rose bushes I noticed the fence behind them needed a face lift. The fence is old and partly rotten, but ain’t nobody got time or money to build a new fence! I decided to do just a small face lift by painting the red part (other side is on neighbour’s side). But first: mold wash.

Mold and moss can be unsightly and damaging to wood if left untreated. Fortunately, washing them away is a relatively simple process that can be done using a bleach detergent. Here’s how to do it:

Protect the surroundings – and yourself

Before you begin, remove any objects or furniture near the wooden surface and protect the surrounding area to prevent flowers etc. from getting damaged. I didn’t do this so likely my rose bushes are dead now. You should also use protective rubber gloves and safety glasses (the substance is usually a strong, chlorine-containing detergent).

Prepare the bleach detergent

Dilute the detergent with water according to the instructions on your package (depending on the product). I used Detroid mold wash from Puuilo (Finland). My lovely husband bought it for me as a birthday gift. She really knows what woman needs!

Brush and let it sit

Read the instructions of your product because the absorption time may vary depending on the brand. I applied the detergent with a paint brush. I let it sit for couple of minutes. This will give the bleach time to sink in and break down the mold and moss.

Scrub and rinse

I watered the treated area with a watering can (because there was no hose or pressure washer nearby) and brushed all the moss and mold away – except the neighbour’s side because I didn’t want to go into their rose bushes to do it..

Once you have scrubbed the surface clean, rinse it thoroughly with water to remove remaining bleach. If you use a pressure washer, use it with very low pressure.

Let it dry

I’m going to let the fence dry for a couple of days and I will wait for a warmer weather before painting the fence – because Finland and -4 Celsius this morning.

In conclusion, washing mold and moss from a wooden surface with a bleach detergent is a simple process. But again, if you don’t want to get blind or get serious skin damage, protect your eyes and hands. And roses.

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How to cut down roses without screwing up

How to cut down roses without screwing up

Rose bushes are a beautiful addition to any garden. However, if they look like in my yard (see the picture) they have become overgrown or diseased, and need to be cut down to the ground. If you’re unsure of how to do this, don’t worry. So am I.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the process of cutting rose bushes to the ground so that they will grow again. I don’t know anything so I will just tell you what my neighbour taught me.

Choose the right time

The best time to cut rose bushes down to the ground is – in some countries – late winter or early spring, just before new growth appears. For me the time was in the end of April, but this depends on your climate. In Finland, it can snow or be +20 Celsius, so you never know at this time of the year.

Prepare your tools

Before you start cutting your rose bushes, make sure you have the right tools. You’ll need a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears or loppers, as well as thick gloves to protect your hands from spikes. It’s also a good idea to disinfect your tools with rubbing alcohol or bleach to prevent the spread of disease. I didn’t know this because I use alcohol for different purposes. 

Cut the rose bushes to the ground

First, you can remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Next, cut all of the remaining branches down to the ground. Make sure to cut at a 45-degree angle to prevent water from pooling on the cut ends. The lenght of the cut ends should be around 10 cm. Some sources say 20 cm. My neighbour said 5 cm. So my tactic was to try all lengths and hope some of them will survive.

Water and Fertilize

After cutting your rose bushes down to the ground, it’s important to water them deeply (if the rain doesn’t do the job) and fertilize them. This will provide the plants with the nutrients they need to produce new growth.

Wait for new growth

Then it’s time to wait for new growth to appear. This can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on your climate and the health of the plants. Be patient, in Finland, the new growth will probably be more visible next spring. 

In conclusion, cutting rose bushes down to the ground can be a daunting task, but it’s a necessary one if you want to ensure healthy, beautiful plants. Or: you might be just guessing what your doing and they will never grow back! I will tell you next year how did it go.

Welcome to Disaster Yard!

Welcome to Disaster Yard!

Hi there! My website is now as unfinished as my yard but I will get there..

What is this blog about:

We built a new home to a very old yard and the whole scenery at the moment is a mess of construction site and overgrown, old garden.

I have no experience of any kind of garden and yard work but I will try to learn by doing!

The process is going to be long as me and my husband work full time and we have two small kids, so I will spend all my “free time” (?!) on this project.

Welcome to follow this, disastrous project here in the blog and also in my social media channels: TikTok & Instagram!