How to Etch Glass Using an Air Eraser

Etching Glass with an Air Eraser Kit

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!

I use my air eraser in a small DIY sandblasting cabinet that I made.

Harbor Freight no longer carries the aluminum oxide etching compound. The compound can be found on Amazon or on other various online websites. Search for “aluminum oxide etching compound”.


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.


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


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.


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? Leave a comment below!


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Originally posted 2014-05-27 08:00:55.