Lester Bursley’s Wash Recipe and Tutorial (repost).


This is a cut-and-paste repost of a post made by Lester Bursley on Dakka, back in 2009. Some of the links may no longer work, but all of the information therin is still relevant, and incredibly useful. While I do buy  range of commercial washes from Games Workshop, P3, vallejo and others, I also make my own using Les’ recipies and based off of Les’ recipies. I also keep a bunch of dropper bottles of ready made medium – just waiting on the ink for when I need to replace or make something new.

This is why I’ve reposted this today. I actually thought I had all of Les’ notes saved, and then could not find them. So I thought I’d post it here – not for clicks (my blog is tiny anyway) but for myself, for you guys who haven’t seen this and might find it useful, and for archive purposes – because as Photobucket happily showed us, the internet isn’t exactly permanent. As you’ll see below, some of the image links have started to die already…

The original post can be found here:



There’s also a copy posted on Awesomepaintjob here:



I hope my efforts in testing inspire others to find cheaper alternatives to save our community

money. With the prices of models and other things not easily replaced, the hobby is expensive

and we should share what we can. -Les


You will need:

* Distilled Water (grocery store)
* Liquitex Matte Medium http://amzn.to/13u2XJZ
* Liquitex Flow Aid http://amzn.to/WEWiqx
* 30ml bottle http://amzn.to/Sws7qd
* Daler Rowney Acrylic Artist inks (Water Proof) http://amzn.to/VVvQwq
*2 filler bottles http://amzn.to/13u8QHS
* Recipe notebook so you can write down custom mixes

UK list by Tek:

Ingredients for UK LBursley washes:

* Distilled Water (You can but this at petrol stations / tool shops easily. Halfords defo stock it,

I got mine from Esso though. Allegedly places like Boots or Superdrug also stock it)
* Liquitex Matte Medium http://www.fredaldous.co.uk/shop-online/liquitex-mediums.htm /

* Liquitex Flow Aid (How about W&N Flow Improver? http://www.artifolk.co.uk/catalog/products/acrylic_mediums_and_primers/winsor_and_newton_acrylic_flow_improver_75ml_bottle.htm
* 1oz bottle http://snmstuff.co.uk/VallejoSets.aspx / check eBid and eBuyer for empty Vallejo

bottles; anywhere that sells Vallejo / P3 paints will sell empties.
* Daler Rowney Acrylic Artist inks (Water Proof) http://www.artdiscount.co.uk/department/inks/ / http://www.artsupplies.co.uk/cat-inks.htm
*2 filler bottles – Finding it bizarrely hard to find these online; anyone want to help?
* Recipe notebook so you can write down custom mixes

Really your best bet in the UK for finding any art materials are;


All recipes use 1 oz bottles. Adjust to whatever size you decide to go with.


*Fill 1 filler bottle with Matte Medium, the other with a 10:1 Distilled Water and Flow Aid.
*Fill the 30ml Dropper Bottle half way with Matte Medium then fill the rest of the way

with the Water/Flow Aid mix leaving a little room for the ink drops so you dont over flow.
Every bottle uses this combination to start with.
*Shake inks well before adding them to the mix.

Tailoring Washes to your liking:

-DARKEN-LIGHTEN: add or subtract drops from the recipe (duh lol)
-THICKEN WASH: Change the 1:1 medium and water mix to have more matte medium

than water i.e. 60% medium 40% water
-THIN WASH: Opposite of above, more water than medium in mix.

Experimenting with MIXES and Custom Colors:
This took time and money to get things right in the recipe. The best advice I can give you

is “write it down”. Have a little notebook just for mixes. Write the medium/water ratios

and drops of ink (each color if it’s a combo). The number of colors you can come up with

are limitless.


My mixes will give you a starting point and you can customize to your liking from there.

Soft Body Black: 20 drops Black

Heavy Body Black: 60 drops Black

Parchment: 40 Drops Flesh Tint

Flesh Wash: 40 Drops Burnt Umber

Dark Sepia: 40 Drops Sepia

Blue: 40 Drops Rowney Blue

Green: 40 Drops Dark Green

Purple: 40 Drops Purple Lake

You can mix the ink colors to make infinate amounts of custom colors for your own

purpose. Never buy washes with limited color choices. You now have the recipe to

the most flexible wash production that you can do at home.

Enjoy! -Les

ADDED—————Jan 5 2011——————————-

.5oz Bottle measurements for Les’ DIRTY WASHES (1:1 premixed matte medium and

h2o-flow aid mix is added after the ink is counted out)

STONE – 60 Raw Sienna : 20 Black

RUBY – 60 Flame Red : 20 Black

ARMOR WASH – 60 Sepia : 20 Black

SAPPHIRE – 60 Rowney Blue : 20 Black

BABY POOP – 60 Flame Orange : 20 Black

ALGAE – 60 Dark Green : 20 Black

SEWER WATER – 60 Burnt Umber : 20 Black

AMETHYST – 60 Purple Lake : 20 Black

CONCRETE – 60 Flesh Tint : 20 Black

STORM CLOUD – 60 Turquoise : 20 Black

16 thoughts on “Lester Bursley’s Wash Recipe and Tutorial (repost).

  1. Funny you should re-post this! I just stumbled upon it a few months ago when I picked up my brushes again after about a 7 year hiatus (I was doing RC hobby stuff) and live and breath this stuff on washes, inks, etc. This article has literally saved thousands of artists millions of man-hours of trial-and-error. If there was a Bible for miniatures painters, this would be like Numbers. 😛

    Liked by 3 people

    • It really is. “Set-up” costs can be a bit, but once you’ve done it, you’re set for a long time. I still use purchased washes as well, but these make a pretty good supplemental and customisable selection.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Azazel's Bitz Box. and commented:

    With a recent video from Midwinter Minis (who I usually enjoy) essentially reiterating Les Bursley’s medium recipe and disingeniously calling it “Midwinter Medium” without any acknowledgement or credit to Les (or that others might have done it first) I thought it appropriate to reblog this post from a couple of years ago – so apologies to those who have already seen this one….

    Here’s a Wayback Machine link to Les’ original blog post, since the live one has now expired.


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