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Why?

I love having a cordless oscillating multi-tool (mine happens to be a Dremel Multi-Max). What I don't love however, is when I have to do a lot of sanding and the sanding pads cost $15 per 18 pack. In this Instructable, I hope to show that with just a few items, including an old shirt, you can make loads of these pads for much less.

Items needed:

  • A old shirt that sticks to Velcro. $0
  • A can of spray adhesive [I used 3M Super 77 which I happened to have lying around and will last for 20 to 40 sheets of sandpaper] $16
  • A 9x11 inch sheet of sandpaper with desired grit [again, I had some 3M paper lying around] 4 sheets for $3
  • A pair of scissors
  • A marker or pen

Step 1: Prepare Old Shirt

Using the Velcro tool attachment, go through any old shirts or rags and see if any stick to the attachment. In my case I found an old 100% polyester shirt that I wouldn't mind sacrificing (there is something to be said for 100% cotton shirts). Once you have identified a shirt, cut out the sleeves, collar, etc... Discard the collar (remember to keep those buttons!) and cut along all the seams so that you end up with nice, flat, single layers of fabric.

Step 2: Prepare Sandpaper

In a well-ventilated area, on a durable surface, place your sandpaper grit side down. Spray generously with spray adhesive, being sure to keep the nozzle at least 6" away from the paper. After you are done spraying, remember to tilt the can upside down and spray a little to clean the nozzle. Set a timer for 9 minutes and get yourself a cup of tea or coffee. This wait time is to allow the adhesive to get tacky for the next step.

Step 3: Putting the Sandpaper Pad Together

Once the time is up, lay your fabric over the sheet of sandpaper and work out any wrinkles. You will notice the adhesive is sticky, but not too sticky to allow you to realign the fabric and pull out wrinkles as necessary. Once you have the fabric flat and wrinkle-free, lightly rub your hand over the surface to press the fabric into the adhesive. Set a timer for 15 minutes and get some more tea or coffee :)

Step 4: Cutting the Sandpaper Pad Apart

After the time is up, trim away any large pieces of fabric. Don't worry about the edges looking clean, they are going to get trimmed off anyway. Holding the tool or just the attachment over the grit side of the sandpaper, use a marker to trace the outline of the attachment onto the sandpaper. You should be able to get at least 9 pieces out of a 9x11 inch sheet. Once that is complete, simply cut out the shapes with your scissors and voila!

Step 5: Conclusion

Your pads should now be ready to use on your sanding tool. If my math checks out, you use about 1/20th to 1/40th of the can of adhesive, so $16 divided by 20 is $.80. 4 sheets of 9x11 inch sandpaper are $3. 4 sheets of sandpaper will yield 36 pads so that is $3.80 per 36 pads or 18 pads for $1.90. I like that a lot better than $15.

<p>Scotchbrite!!!</p><p>I was running into the same problems you fellas were, so I grabbed everything I could think of, not even cotton T-shirts would do the trick. So I ws going through all my many years of collected things and found a new scotchbrite pad , Lowes or Home Depot, cant remember which, you can buy em in 10 packs at the time, and different grits as well. </p><p> Stuck very nicely to the velcro, havent mounted it to and sandpaper yet, and due to the thickness it may either have to be split down the center or may need a stiff or semi stiff material 3m'ed to it. regardless of how you use it, I beleive those of you who dont have access to velcro tape, this may be the way to go, hope this helps anyone stuck, cheers</p>
Didn't work out to well for me. My shirt wouldn't grab as well flattened out but the 800 grit paper was so thin it just flexed and curled. I'm gonna try again with some cardstock to stiffen it up and find a better shirt.
Before I throw away a shirt with a tear or hole in it, I velcro test it on my multi-max. I've managed to compile a sizeable bag of compatible shirts. <br><br>I haven't run into the thin sandpaper stock issue, so please let me know if the cardstock solution works.
Say wha....?
<p>I do this as well for all my sanders, I just use sticky backed velcro (that I liberate from work) such a money saver 9Even if you have to buy everything!)</p>
<p>Hi there,</p><p>Nice idea, I love my multi-tool (I have a Bosch model), and if I'm doing lots of sanding, the paper is really expensive here in the UK. Also, I can't seem to find the finer grits (400 and above) which I need quite often.</p><p>I've been using a different approach, self adhesive velcro - I've used sheets or tape, whichever's available - stick it to the back of sanding paper (after I've cut it) for instant results.</p><p>1 tip: the velcro on the pad itself will sooner or later wear out, I use the other side of the velcro sheet / tape to replace it, saves a few &pound;/$ and you don't have to wait for new pad!!</p><p>Cheers,</p><p>R </p>
Thats a great idea if the tool side velcro wears out. I haven't seen that happen yet, but will definitely keep that in mind.<br>
<p>I have had this happen to me and the cost to replace the sanding base was not much less than buying a new sander (Craftsman C3 Mouse sander). I never thought of replacing the male end of the Velcro on the sander. Thanks Raigmoul. And thanks again to you Scottbus. </p>
<p>You're welcome Ryan :-)</p>
<p>If your looking for 400+ grit, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, etc check your local auto body supply shops.... usually if they sell auto paint, bondo, then they'll have the finer sand grit also.. Cheers, E:L</p>
<p>Hi EL,</p><p>I can easily find the finer grits, it's the velcro backed ones that I have trouble getting. I found some on ebay, only problem is the paper was of low quality: it clogged up easily, and as many of you have found I'm sure, the heat causes the backing strip to come off... plus the cost :-)</p><p>This is WAY cheaper than buying pre-velcroed (is that even a word??), and it means you can control the quality and grit :-)</p><p>Cheers,</p><p>R</p>
<p>Life saver. I'm so cheap that I would duct tape sand paper onto a sanding block before I would buy more Velcro pads for my oscillating sander. Is anyone with me on this? </p>
Very Nice! <br><br>How well does this stay attached? I have tried similar with a circular spinning pad, but with heat it would often come off...
They adhere remarkably well due to the type of adhesive and the fact its allowed to tack first. An even stronger bond can be achieved by spraying the sandpaper and the fabric then waiting 9 minutes to put them together, but I found that this wasn't necessary and used up more adhesive and made adhering the fabric to the paper a bit of a pain.
<p>Veeeeeeeery useful!</p>
<p>Many thanks for this. I actually avoid using my oscillating sander because the pads are so expensive. Now I can sand to my heart's content!</p>
<p>As raigmoul i use sticky backed velcro tape- with the added advantage that I get it for nothing from work</p>
brilliant, I will be making these soon<br>
<p>Very cool, gotta love ways to save us creators money. Thanks for sharing!</p>
Brilliant, can't wait to try it out, cheers.

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Bio: I'm a 45 year old Systems Architect living in the Midwestern United States. After travelling the world for 20 years as a consulting architect ... More »
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