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Little greene oil based eggshell

Listed under Blog, Little Greene Posted Oct 19 2012

Little Greene Paint Company has been going since the 1770’s and produce arguably the best traditional oil-based eggshell on the market.

A quick sales blurb on Little greene oil based eggshell

– It is full bodied
– Superb coverage
– Dries within a few hours ready for next-day sanding and painting
– 20% sheen is gorgeous.
– Suitable for interior AND exterior use
– English Heritage colours
Next day delivery.
– Free average quality paint brush with match pots.

What more do you want?

A link to Little Greene?

Colour matching to Farrow and whatstheirname?

If you are thinking “I have to have Farrow and Ball colour“, but you want an oil based paint, don’t despair.

I would ask your local Little Greene stockist if they have the formula to colour match exactly to Farrow and Ball paint samples.

That way you get a premium trade quality oil eggshell paint with a traditional colour and sheen – and it behaves exactly as you would expect.


1 – Only pre 2011 Farrow and Ball colours can be exactly matched by Little Greene stockists with the “Fred and Brenda” supplementary formulae. ie the few F&B colours that are marked NEW cannot be matched in Little Greene paint by conventional means.

3 Patrick Baty in London offers an unrivalled paint colour matching service, where they can mix almost any paint brand to match to any paint sample, paint chip, fabric, detail in a piece of furniture.. They have 100,000 formulae stored ready to cross match, but just in case they have to do a new colour match for you, allow £40 per super specialist colour match.

3 – Leyland claim to colour match exactly to Farrow and Ball, which they do. But the trouble is that the modern eggshells are 30% sheen, and this extra gloss tends to upset the “perfect colour match”. Dulux magic eye colour matching seems to hit the sweetspot a shade either side of the correct Farrow and Ball colour!

4– Please remember that paint colour matching is as old as time itself, but be respectful of copyright names etc, ie magic eyes and human eye colour matching based on a painted sample is perfectly fine. Buying “Farrow and Ball Hardwicke White” in pots filled with Leyland paint isn’t! (Saw that in a store a couple of years ago.)

Little Greene oil eggshell can be tricky to apply

I find it very forgiving, but some painters find Little Greene oil eggshell sticky. Therefore, if you find the drag too much to bear, you could do worse than add a capful of Owatrol oil to about half a litre. This will improve flow, and reduce brushmarks.

Owatrol won’t degrade the paint like White Spirit does.

Oil eggshell etiquette!

A simple way to stop oil eggshell gumming up – only tip enough paint into the kettle for say, half an hour’s use. This will reduce the chances of the paint drying by oxidation as you use it.

To pour back or not to pour back – I don’t know what you think, but as far as I am concerned, any unused eggshell paint never goes back into the original tin. It is waste and could easily contaminate the original paint. Straining through tights or whatever else to remove dust particles? I don’t see any economic or practical sense in that. Must have been damaged asking my mother for her old stockings? So I keep a small can handy for small amounts of waste dregs. What say you?

Brushes for oil eggshell

Synthetic bristles or hog hair? Another point to watch out for if you have trouble spreading out oil eggshell is the choice of brush and size. Are the bristles man enough to spread out the heavier oil paint? Are they fine enough not to leave ridges?

Wooster Alpha bristles for instance have very fine synthetic filaments, compared to natural bristles, and come with a lot of bend. Use a small Alpha brush to apply and lay off eggshell on flats, you see a lovely finish, but there can be a lot of work involved using those overly fine bristles to push around oil paint. Natural bristle on the other hand in terms of pushing paint around, should get more paint on quicker and easier than a 1.5″ Alpha.

Having said that, I would still favour using a synthetic brush over a modern hog hair brush from Hamilton. So I either use a 3″ Wooster FTP chinex brush which is firm but lays off nicely, or, I find that rolling on with a foam roller and tipping off with a 2″ synthetic Wooster Alpha gives a beautiful finish in good time.

I am all about tradition, but clearly I have been corrupted by clever synthetic manufacturing processes!

Stephen Hull, former coach painter, is the guru on all things to do with painting oil with natural bristle brushes – read his every word on brushes and method It is like a perfect rendition of what we learnt at college. Absorb how a grand master applied oil paint.

Articles about Little Greene paint

An article explaining why Little Greene (and other boutique posh paints) are probably worth the money? (This is before 2010 and VOC madness!)

Little Greene paint prices

The prices on the Little Greene website include delivery. Stockists should give you a better price to regular customers.

Those were a few insider thoughts on Little Greene oil eggshell, covering the key points and outlining a couple of angles that I haven’t really mentioned elsewhere before on the website.

To learn more about what I have posted about Little Greene, open this article on the website and view Related Posts at the bottom.

If you have questions about oil based paints, ask on our forum, where most of the Traditional Painters are fan boys of Little Greene eggshell.

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2 comments to “Little greene oil based eggshell”

  1. chris montague

    Can you mix all Farrow and Ball colours in little green from 2015

  2. Andy Crichton Andy Crichton

    Paint companies make regular changes to their paint ranges, which means new formulations are coming out regularly too. So how accurate a match you can get depends on how uptodate individual paint merchants are with their formulations.

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