Make Your Own Sandblaster and How to Use It




About: Hi! I'm Star Simpson! I'm a real me! See more at []. photo by [ Jeff Lieberman] ( stasterisk - my name is Star, and when I was 13 I ...

Need to make your blue jeans more stylish? Want a gorgeous frosty finish on metals or glass? Want to paint to stick to something? Mr. Sandblaster is your answer! Make one today - it's really easy! Here's how:

The sandblaster in action, frosting a test-strip of copper for one of Tetranitrate's secret projects.

Step 1: Materials

Sand gets everywhere, unless you do this all inside an enclosed box.

Sand got in my nose, between my teeth, ears, and despite the goggles, my eyes. When this was done, I looked sparkly from all the garnet sand dust on my face. Consider wearing a bandanna, especially if you have any respiratory issues. Actually, you really want to wear a respirator, to avoid silicosis. Use goggles if you have them. Swimming goggles (that seal over your eyes) or a snorkel might work best.

To construct the sandblaster, attach the hose to the air gun, and drop the other end into a bucket of garnet sand or other abrasive. Any even-sized abrasive should work - we grabbed this out of a pile of abrasive meant for the water jet.

Once everything is assembled, proceed to sandblast!

My jeans are indeed whiter.

Step 2: Making the Sandblaster

The setup is a normal air gun, with a hose at a second attachment. This sucks in sand at a constant rate, via Bernoulli's Principle, like an aspiration setup in a chemistry class.

Find a bucket of sand for the hose to rest in. Find some good method to keep the hose submerged in sand, like duct-taping the hose to the side of the bucket so that it's always pointed downwards.

We just tipped the bucket so the sand was in a huge pile on one side, and stuck the hose into that. Even so, every now and then the hose stops sucking sand, which sucks.

Hook the gun up to any compressor hose.

Step 3: Sandblasting

See what materials work!

Tetranitrate draws a smiley face (and subsequently, a frowny face) on his pants:

I sandblasted my jeans because I am struck by what a ripoff it is to pay $60 for sandblasted jeans.

The tshirt I sandblasted didn't change colors, but it felt thinner in that patch.

Later I sandblasted "DIY" onto the back of my left pant-leg. The intersection at the forks of the "Y" actually burnt/blasted through, giving it that rough, well-worn look. Want ripped jeans? Just sandblast them a little more.

Otherwise, metals are great, so is glass (especially glass - you can mask and sandblast wine glasses, or just give a frosty finish to anything you're working on.)

Industrially, sandblasting is used to evenly rough a surface before it is painted.

Also, don't do what I did! Take off your jeans if you want to sandblast them - my leg felt burnt for a few hours after blasting them.

(all the same, it was a blast - I didn't take them off because this was impromptu and I couldn't, y'know, take them off there in public and all..)



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    78 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Please describe what part You added to the pistol.


    1 year ago

    Did u use a regular compressor? Or an electric tire compressor? Gr8 job, just wondering if I could use a small electric compressor.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I wonder how many people have just dumped the hose in a bucket of sand as in the image and wonder why it isn't working


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have a pressure washer with a soaper attachment, could I feasibly put garnet sand in the attachment and use it for sandblasting? or would it just f**k up the washer?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    That would definitely work. I have one of these at home and it works great. I sand blast on Saturday and wash the car on Sunday.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I would like to say "Good 'structable' : but... There and mentions of safety and goggles, respirators etc. But stop being foolish; you really need to know that sand blasting is bad for your health. If you use silica, silicosissilicosis and fibrosisfibrosis are possible results. Even cleaning yourself off or others withcompressor air compressor air is NEVER a good idea. Oil lubricated compressors have the added hazard of oil mist. A full set of rules can be found in the link. Then you must also consider the material being removed b the blasting.

    The title is a bit misleading; it says "Make your own sand blaster, And how to use it" Clearly you did not make your sandblaster, it looks like it came from Harbour Freight. You used it, but not safely, and could possibly mislead others. Thanks to ironsmiter for the tip on baking soda, and ditto wasp's sentiments.

    7 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    chill its not like any one would use this every day the exposure wouldent be enough every one would just use it for one quik project and yes it is hiughly recomended to wear a reperator at the least a dust mask and googles are near manditory cuz if one high speed peice of sand hits you eye it could scratch your cornea and blur ur sight for quite a while

    You can get enough silica in one exposure to cause lung scaring five years later. There is no cure for silicosis. Do Not Use SAND. There are other abrasives out there. Period.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Chill,its not like anyone would use this every day,the exposure wouldn&apost be enough.Everyone would just use it for one quick project,and yes,it is highly recommended to wear a respirator,or at the least, a dust mask.Goggles are near mandatory because if one high speed piece of sand hits your eye,it could scratch your cornea and blur your sight for quite a while.

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    ? did you just add punctation to my writing ive never seen it that way?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 1

    be aware that no filter type respiratory protection is rated for glass dust. glass cuts right through the filters, leaving the user vulnerable to silicosis. to blast glass, you need a cabinet with negative air pressure exausting far, far away. pipe this toxic exhaust through a large "dust bong" for water filtration.

    Eric Sandman

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool instruct-able! I work with sandblasting all the time but have never tried it on jeans. That's a decent little siphon sandblaster you got there.

    I have made my own for a pressure pot blaster so I have variable trigger flow which is hard to do. I use it to etch glass.

    You can see a picture of it at

    Let me know if anyone wants the plans by leaving me a comment at my blog if your interested.

    1 reply

    I'd like to set myself up to sanblast glass. I'm looking for a pressure blaster but am not sure what size I need, no what size compressor to buy. Any advise?

    jimmy dean

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Do you think this could work as an airbrush if you dropped the hose in a bucket of paint?


    9 years ago on Step 2

       It is a good instructable. With this, you can work on window. You can draw very good pictures with the sand and air. You have to use plastic tape for save some parts of the window. Also you can workon the back side of a window to make some flowers on. Thank you.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Since the gun must be plugged to an air compressor... what kind of air compressor do you need? How powerful?? Cause you're not saving money if you need one of those huge air compressors...

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Look at the sandblaster instructions for what CFM and PSI it needs, then take a guess at what percentage of the time you'll actually be sandblasting.  Maybe 50%?

    Compressors have three main numbers:
    * Maximum PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) air pressure
    * CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), how much air it will deliver at a given PSI (pressure).  Often there will be a couple of CFM numbers; the higher the PSI, the lower the CFM because it takes longer to pump up a higher pressure.
    * Tank volume
    And then there's the quality and lifetime of the compressor.

    If you're doing a few pairs of jeans, a small, cheap compressor is fine. 

    For larger jobs and sandblasters, you'll want more CFM (requires a bigger motor).  If the compressor is too small (not enough CFM), you can still use it.  You'll be able to blast for a while until the pressure drops, then have to stop and wait while the compressor chugs away building the pressure back up.  Tank volume will be important here.  Also look at air-hose sizing; too small of a hose will drop too much pressure.

    If you're doing a lot of work, you'll want higher CFM and a compressor that will last. 

    Also you can balance the cost of a better sandblaster (may be more efficient) against compressor size.  E.g. for air tools, the Harbor Freight tools are cheap, but waste a lot of the air.  OK for a few small jobs, but if you're doing a serious amount of work go for a better brand.

    Keep the compressor (and other machinery) away from the sandblasting area -- 'breathing' the abrasive dust will kill it!  AND you.  Your lungs won't work very well if they're full of fine sand!  Wear goggles, gloves, long sleeves, spend $30-$40 on a respirator mask with P100 filters (stops 100% of particulates).  A hood is nice to keep the sand out of your hair.  Keep an eye on where the dust is going, too.  Don't let your buddies stand around and breathe the dust!