Lansing Bicentennial Minute In the early nineteenth century in Lansing people made their own house and barn paint. Lead was bought in bars twelve inches long by two inches wide, soaked in vinegar until soft, then dried and powdered. Six to ten pounds of this powder were mixed with linseed oil and poured into an iron cauldron to be worked smooth with a pestle. When of proper consistency, turpentine and powdered color were added. Red oxide (rust) was cheap and easily procured from the iron tools and implements around the farm, and so most barns were painted red. Sometimes blood from slaughtered animals was used as the color.