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.

How to Etch Glass Using an Air Eraser DSCF1567

How to Etch Glass Using an Air Eraser DSCF1568

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!


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.

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


  • […] you have a mini sandblasting tool to etch glass, also known as an air eraser, you know the importance of protecting yourself from the aluminum oxide compound. Even though the […]

  • lovmydoxies says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

          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!

  • Angel says:

    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!

  • […] or Plexiglas. I use it with my air compressor and love it! For more info on the air eraser, click here. Etching compound can also be used, following the manufacturer’s […]

  • […] air eraser is a small sandblaster that uses an etching compound (aluminum oxide) to etch the surface material. […]

  • Denise Erspamer says:

    I’m looking to up grade from my HF etcher. Looking for something that doesn’t need to be filled. What would you suggest?

    • CherTexter says:

      Hi, Denise! I honestly have no idea… I’m looking to upgrade mine as well and if you find something, please let me know! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jami says:

    Hi! Just curious…this looks exactly like the air brush i have…are they the same?

    • CherTexter says:

      Hi, Jami! I’m not sure if it is the same as an airbrush or not. My thinking would be no because the airbrush is designed to use paint while the air eraser is designed to use fine powder but I am not totally sure on that!

  • Jacob says:

    Hello! I was wondering what kind of compressor you use. Specifically the size tank and the HP. Thanks!

  • andrew says:

    what can i purchase to catch the condensation from the compressor before it reaches the air eraser.

  • […] you have a mini sandblasting tool to etch glass, also known as an air eraser, you know the importance of protecting yourself from the aluminum oxide compound. Even though the […]

  • says:

    Pretty! This was a realkly wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.

  • […] are a few ways (that I know of) to etch glass but my favorite method is by using an air eraser and etching compound. An air eraser is like a mini sandblaster. It is a really cool tool, and I love […]

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