Composition: Shaved heartwood of Caesalpinia echinata

Brazilwood is a tropical hardwood of the family Leguminosae whose core contains dye properties which yield brilliant red for dyeing cloth.
Country of Origin: Brazil 

Brazilwood is a creamy color when first cut, but once it has been reduced to sawdust and soaked in water  the dye properties are released into the solution and this dye can be used to dye fiber.  The demand for dyewoods declined as Mexican and Guatemalan cochineal were found to be a less expensive alternative to wood dyes and ceased altogether in 1875.   By this time, synthetic dyes dominated the textile industry.  In the 18th century, excessive exploitation led to a steep decrease in the number of brazilwood trees and today, the species is nearly eradicated in most of its original range. Brazilwood is listed as an endangered species by the IUCN and it is in the official list of endangered species in Brazil.

The brazilwood I use is 100% eco harvest and 100% recycled. I’m not able nor do I want to purchase brazilwood from trees which are protected.  A wonderful part of the process is that the used shavings left after making the dye pot are put in my compost and eventually tilled back into Cape Cod soil in my vegetable garden!


Depending upon the intensity of color desired, I use 3-6 cups of brazilwood shavings for 4 oz. of wool yarn and I mordant 4 oz. of wool yarn with 1-2 oz. of alum.  (Same for cotton yarn)

There are numerous elements that will affect a dye pot.  With brazilwood, the acidity of your water will affect whether the resulting color is orange or red.  If your water is highly acidic and you desire more red than orange then you will need to add a little household ammonia to your dye pot or a little washing soda.  With these added with an alum mordant, you’ll be able to get a more Christmas red to garnet deep red and darker tones with iron.

Soak the brazilwood shavings in warm water over night.  Then simmer the pot for 1 hr.  Let pot cool and then strain.  This is your brazilwood dyepot!  (The shavings can be composted.)  Add 1 Teaspoon of ammonia or washing soda if you desire a Christmas/Garnet more pinky red.  If ammonia or washing soda is not added, the resulting color will be more peachy/orange.  Add wet, alum mordanted yarn to the dye pot and simmer for 1 hr.  Do not boil.  Keep yarn moving in the dye pot by stirring occasionally and keep submerged.  Let dye pot cool and remove the yarn.  Rinse the yarn until the water is clear.  Air dry your skein and enjoy the beautiful pinky/peachy/red results!  The brazilwood shavings are a wood product and are flammable if highly heated.

First Aid Information

Inhalation: If inhaled, remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Seek medical attention.  Eye Contact: Check for and remove any contact lenses. In case of contact, immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Cold water may be used. If irritation persists, seek medical attention.  Ingestion: Not an issue usually encountered.     

© Black Sheep Studio 2016


1 LB.  $15.00


4 OZ. $6.00

(Use 25% of weight of fiber or 1 oz. for 4 oz. of yarn) recycled.  I'm not 

This brazilwood is 100% eco harvest and 100% recycled. I’m not able nor do I want to purchase brazilwood from trees which are protected.