Monday, 24 February 2020

Lead Light Cement

You can make your own lead light cement as the materials are fairly common and safe to use.  I have altered the original recipe through experience.  Too much of mineral spirits dries out the mix so quickly that the linseed oil cracks early in its life.  This results in the possibility of water leaking through the cracked cement.  One third or less of the dryer (mineral spirits) reduces the chance of too rapid drying.  I no longer use a drier at all.  This is my modified recipe.


7 parts whiting/chalk
2 parts boiled linseed oil
(measured by volume)
1-2 Tablespoons colorant
This can be lamp black (carbon), black poster paint, concrete colorant powders, or black oil paint in sufficient quantity to give a black or dark gray colour to the otherwise off-white colour of the whiting and linseed oil.  

Do not use water based colorants, such as acrylic paint.  This does not mix with the linseed oil. Instead it forms a collodial mixture that interrupts the formation of the long linseed molecular chains that make it so good as a long term sealant.

The mixed leaded light cement


Add the whiting (reserving about one quarter) to the linseed oil. Mix this well, by hand or with a domestic mixer capable of mixing bread dough. When these are mixed thoroughly, check the consistency. It should be like molasses on a cold morning - barely fluid.  At this point, add the colorant, so you will know the current colour and can adjust to make it darker.

Add more whiting as required to get the consistency you want. Experiment a little to find what suits you best. If you have to deliver the panel quickly, for example, you need to increase the proportion of whiting to make it stiffer. 


You should make only what you will be using on the current project, as the whiting separates from the linseed oil and sinks to the bottom in only a few days. The commercial cements have emulsifiers to keep the whiting from settling and so extend the life of the product. Since making your own is cheap and quick to make, there is no saving in making a lot.

Lead light cement is a simple, inexpensive sealant for leaded glass that you can make for yourself.


  1. Thanks Stephen, this is clear and helpful. Cheers, Tracy.

  2. Thank you Stephen, will give a try.