top of page

Red Sandalwood ~ Getting Started

Natural Dyeing with Red Sandalwood

Terra Cotta, peachy hues, soaked in sunlight is the essence of Red Sandalwood Natural Dye.


Not to be confused with "Sandalwood" (an endangered species), Red Sandalwood is from the tropical African Padauk Tree (Pterocarpus soyauxii). It is grown in Asia and Africa and its gorgeous wood has been used to make furniture, instruments and as medicine for centuries.


Red Sandalwood is commonly used for woodworking, and has a long history as a medicine and Natural Dye as well. Its wood is gorgeous and when soaked in water or oil, it seeps dye color that people have both appreciated and used as a magical property over the centuries.


Red Sandalwood, like so many Natural Dyes, will show color differently on different fiber and fabric types, however its most common result is a consistent a peachy, orange-red hue that expresses itself with an elegant softness.


Red Sandalwood needs a pre-mordant for long-lasting results (wash fastness and light fastness). Alum, Alum in combination with a Tannin, or iron works well for this purpose.


Red Sandalwood can be used at .5 : 1 ratio with the richest and darkest colors presenting when using a 1 : 1 weight ratio (weight of natural dye to weight of fiber/fabric).

This means that 40 grams will dye approximately 40 grams (dry weight) of fiber/fabric. It will continue to dye in lighter shades till the dye has been used up. Use less for a lighter hue.


If purchasing Red Sandalwood in powder form, I recommend diluting it in a small quantity of water (warm or hot is fine) before adding it to the dye bath. It will be much easier to thoroughly mix in this way.

If purchasing in wood chip form, soak in a bowl of warm water overnight (or longer) before proceeding to heat it to help release the dye color.


Want to see what kind of results Red Sandalwood give on different fibers (wool, silk, cotton, bamboo, etc.) and with different mordants? Check out the results here.


Coming soon.... Subscribe today for updates on future tutorials, posts and sales!


For more information on Natural Dyes and each step of the Natural Dye process, check out "Intro to Natural Dye," ANINI Designs' 48-page eBook.

I cover everything I teach in my 4-hour in-person Intro to Natural Dye Workshops, in addition to offering eco-friendly adaptions to the process.


Subscribe today for more posts on fiber arts, weaving, natural dye and the intersection of each of these with the #mindfulmaking and #slowcraft movements. Cheers! - Jeanine


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page