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Discover the magic of FLOUR PAINT!

An ecological and economical homemade paint

22 April 2024 by TerraChrom Staff

Earth Mineral Pigment Red Ochre and  Iron Oxide Bayferox Red
Photo credit: Claude Lacasse


Also known as "swedish paint", "wheat paint", "ochre paint", flour paint is an ecological and resilient paint for vertical wood surfaces, made from simple ingredients, which can be easily prepared at home, while offering an excellent quality/price ratio.


An age-old recipe

Flour Paint, made from water, soap, linseed oil, pigments, iron sulfate (a common food additive), and flour (you might’ve guessed!), provides beautiful results, requires little care, will last between 8 and 10 years, all for a fraction of the price of industrial paint.

Flour Paint, is colored with natural earth pigments, such as ochre (replacing Falu red that was used in Swedish Paint but toxic). This explains why it’s also commonly called “Ochre Paint”. It’s important to note that this paint can also be colored by using other pigment types, such as iron oxides and other pigments, in order to have a wider color choice than earth pigments offer, which are mostly available in yellows, browns and reds, as shown below.

Forgotten in the early 60’s, as industrial paint took over, the recent rediscovery of Flour Paint generated a certain buzz in Europe. Easy to understand considering its historical value, easy preparation, affordability, non-toxicity and resilience!


Why use Flour Paint?

On our side of the Atlantic Ocean, people are increasingly discovering this cheap homemade paint which gives a rustic, matt look to external, wooden walls. Many appreciate it for its non-toxicity, especially those who have health and environmental concerns regarding the use of industrial paints. Cheaper than its industrial alternative, Flour paint is trusted and proven, does not contain any of the nocive ingredients present in industrial paints, and does not emit any VOCs. The clip below should convince you of its harmlessness: Workers temporarily color the river by cleaning their trays and equipments, as happy children dip in.


Where to use it?

Flour Paint can only be used on wood, may it be new or old, but it must be clean, dry, brushed and/or sanded, dusted and stripped of any previous paint or varnish which could prevent the new paint to penetrate its fibers. It cannot be used on drywall. Flour Paint is ideally suited to paint wooden exterior vertical surfaces, such as sidings, heavy timber, doors and windows, etc.

Photo credit: Claude Lacasse

However, this paint is not recommended for horizontal (flat) surfaces, such as a patio, since it will tend to wash out and wear out too rapidly. Flour Paint should also be avoided on certain types of woods which have a high concentration of tannin, such as oak, as the wood could blacken over time. Softwoods are a perfect match for Flour Paint. Flour Paint could also be used for wooden interior surfaces. In this case, there is no need to add Iron Sulfate to the recipe, which is used as an antifungal agent against humidity.



Find here our flour paint kit from Sociétés des Ocres de France 

Article courtesy of Ardec, specialist of wood finishing products.