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Etching Glass with an Air Eraser Kit

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How to Etch Glass Using an Air Eraser

I love etching glass. It it so fun to take something that is plain then turn it into something fabulous! I’ve tried etching cream and have had good results but sometimes, it comes out blotchy. It is really hard to get a large area evenly etched, as well. There are other ways to fake etch glass by using a frosted glass spray paint or frosted vinyl but to me it isn’t the same – though both come in handy in other situations! Today, I’ll show how to etch glass with an air eraser.

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What is an air eraser, you ask? Think of it as a mini sandblaster that connects to a compressor. It uses aluminum oxide compound to “erase” parts of the glass for a frosted appearance. There are a few safety risks involved with using the compound so make sure all of the safety precautions are followed. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before using the kit!

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The air eraser is for use at a maximum of 65 psi. I use a combination regulator and filter in the line of my compressor. This allows me to regulate the pressure for the tool I’m using, as well as remove moisture from the line. Too much moisture will clog the air eraser.

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Connect the line to the air eraser tool, then connect the line to the hose on the compressor.

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I like to cut stencils out of vinyl then apply the stencil to the glass. The tip of the air eraser will be held close to the glass – approximately 1/8″ away. If a large area is being erased, a lot of the compound will be used. In the photo, I was etching the entire bottle with the top and the monogram clear.

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Once it is complete, wash the compound off of the glass with soapy water, preferably outside or in a bucket.

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A few tips to keep in mind during use:

  • Always use respiratory protection, wear gloves, and do not use the air eraser indoors. Seriously, don’t!
  • For best results, use the tool close to the material.
  • Keep the lid on the container of compound – you don’t want to waste it plus you want to keep moisture out of it.
  • When you are finished, wash your hands and change your clothes!

I purchased my air eraser through Harbor Freight and it was less than $30. I figured it would come in handy because I like to give makeovers to light fixtures and etch the glass, if the fixtures have it. I also used it to etch a ceramic mug and it looked awesome! Have any questions on how to etch glass using an air eraser? Contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Disclaimer:

This post contains an affiliate link. What that means is that if the link is clicked and a purchase is made, I will get a commission.

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  • lovmydoxies

    Are you still happy with your air eraser? Are you still using it or have you moved to something else? How often do you use it?

    Sorry for all the questions and hope you don’t mind answering when it’s convenient for you.

    I want to get an air eraser so badly but get overwhelmed with what I need to purchase…Why? Well, my husband does most of the shopping b/c I have difficulty begin out right now. So if I want him to buy something, I’ve got to be VERY specific…pictures, item details (even numbers), etc or else I get surprised with what he brings home!! :)

    Thanks for your time and help.
    Your blog is beautiful!!

    • CherTexter

      Hi, there! Yes, I do still use and love the air eraser. I use it quite often and like the way it etches the glass better than etching cream. I purchased it through Harbor Freight and it (as well as the etching compound – aluminum oxide) can be purchased online. Their shipping is only $6.99! Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! Thank you for the kind words and for stopping by!

      • Micky McClarnon Blank

        how far does the etching compound go, like how much compound per footage on the glass? for example i want to put a picture of a deer on the back of a windshield that will fit approx a foot by foot area, how much compound would i use for that? thank you

        • CherTexter

          Hi, there! I wouldn’t have a clue as to how much area a container of the compound would cover. I would think that for a one foot by one foot area, one container would be enough. I’ve heard that it is harder to etch tempered glass (as in a windshield or rear window of a vehicle) but I haven’t tried it myself – good luck with the project and let me know how it comes out! Thank you for stopping by!

          • conkit123

            Do you need any other protection other than gloves? A box? protective eyewear?

          • CherTexter

            Safety glasses are always a must! A box is not required but if one is desired, I have a link to building one here: http://designsbystudioc.com/small-diy-sandblasting-cabinet/
            Thank you for stopping by!

  • Angel

    I just purchased my first air eraser tonight! I was so excited to try etching that I raced home and my hubby helped to make me a box to blast it in. My first project was a glass bottle that I put the words “olive oil” on with a fancy swirl underneath. It came out well, not as dark as I had hoped….and now I see why…I didn’t hold the air eraser close to the surface. I kept it about 3″ away. It still worked, but I thought it could have been darker. I will try again tomorrow with something else and hold it closer. My question is about the aluminum oxide. I didn’t see any at Harbor Freight and I asked someone and they said they do not sale it. Do you know if they have it anymore? I tried searching for it on their site and did not find it there either. Thanks for the tutorial, I will follow your instructions tomorrow!

    • CherTexter

      Hi, Angel! I can’t believe HF doesn’t carry the Aluminum oxide anymore – I bought mine there! I did find an alternative at HF: http://www.harborfreight.com/50-lbs-medium-grade-armex-soda-blast-media-65929.html. It is a soda based medium and I’m not sure how (or if) it will work because I’ve never tried it. I think Dick Blick and Amazon carry Aluminum Oxide. Good luck with your projects and thanks for stopping by!