DIY Varnish: Linseed & Bees Wax

Chris Baldwin
Thursday, 11th June 2015

Make your own natural varnish from linseed and bees wax. Great for window and door frames.

Over the last couple of years we’ve been renovating our cottage using as many simple and permaculture informed solutions as possible.

We have been repairing doors and windows - and to date, have not had to replace any completely.

Once the windows and doors had been stripped, repaired and brought back to life we were faced with the question “to varnish or what?”

Enter linseed oil. The most brilliant substance on earth. First mix with turpentine (40/60) and cover the wood. Let this dry for two days. Repeat but this time with a mix of 60% linseed to 40% turpentine. Leave to dry again. Repeat. Final coat use 100% linseed oil.

Then get hold of some beeswax. Follow any of the online instructions for making a paste from beeswax/linseed oil/turpentine and use this to cover the wood again.

Your finished product will blow your mind. The depth of colours and textures brought out of the wood (or stone or almost any other porous surface) will add happiness to your life! And it will add years of life to your doors or floors.

Where possible use this method where wood is not too prone to heavy rainfall. Even so, a couple of additional coats will protect the wood.

Finally one simple precaution. Old rags should not be left in linseed oil as there are cases of combustion in certain circumstances.

Further resources

How to eco-retrofit your home with Rosemary Morrow

How to build a beautiful, energy efficient round home in the woods

Using Natural Finishes


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