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So anyway, I cracked open an Etch-a-Sketch and got aluminium powder all over my desk. Can anyone help? Answered

When the top half of the case finally snapped off, a cloud of fine aluminium powder was ejected over a large area of my desk. I'd like to clean it up soon, (read: before my Dad gets back), but I can't figure out how to get it off. A light brush from a paper towel smudged it into a nice shiny streak, and blowing doesn't get near enough of the particles off. Would water help or make things worse? Anybody else have experience with this?


We did this today- ugh what a mess. We used wet wipes to clean up, seemed to work. :)

sorry didnt see the date, but i didnt bump *cough*domindude

Iron, of course, you know that, Nickel, think coinage, Cobalt, like the Five gum.

Those are all (ferro-)magnetic at room temp. (I)RON, (N)ICKEL, (C)OBALT,


Remember, Magnetism INC.
Yay phonetic acronyms!

Don't they use magnets to detect counterfeit coins? Are nickels even made out of nickel any more?

You could probably use duct or packing tape, or give a big industrial fan.

How do you know? It's supposed to be magnetic

I have a friend. His name is google. Maybe you two should get to know each other.

Well I was sure it is working by magnets and iron powder, sorry.

Etch-a-Sketch powder is most definitely aluminium. How do I know? Mixed it with some fine rust and set it alight. Excellent exothermic reaction. :D

It's supposed to be magnetic

No it isn't. Etch-a-Sketch's do not use magnets in any way. The powder is simply scraped off by a stylus.


11 years ago

The fine aluminum powder used in etch-a-sketches (and paint) is usually coated with stearin ("waxy stuff") that keeps it from sticking to itself and stuff. As a result, it cleans up MUCH better with "soapy" water than with plain water or dry rags. The suggestion of spray cleaner is (therefore) a good one. Soap is also good for getting it off your hands. (no, I didn't break an etch-a-sketch, but I went through over a pound of "Aluminum Bronzing Powder" back in my youthful pyro days.)

Wow, this is the stuff that's been de-sticky-ified? This stuff sticks to everything!

On another note: Bronzing powder? The kind that is used on skin?

It doesn't stick to itself! Some of the other Al powders I have actually form big clumps. "bronzing powder" is the stuff that used to be added to (say) linseed oil to get metallic paint, or cosmetic oils for metallic skin makeup (ala the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.) It's pretty hard to find anymore, but "when I was a lad" the local paint store had it in at least six colors, and we managed to order a pound (gallon paint can sized) mail order from the manufacturer. Nowdays they'd have to charge $20+ hazmat shipping charges, cause of all those horrendous explosions of bronzing powder shipments that happened :-)

(heh. You're right. Google for "bronzing powder" and you get cosmetic "tanning" aids. Google for "Aluminum Bronzing powder" and you get copies of the Anarchist Cookbook and similar crap. Sigh. The art stores that probably have it seem to have disguised it from web searchs. "B. Powder #805", perhaps, but it's no longer reasonably priced, anyway.)

Sorry, I read "that keeps it from sticking to itself and stuff" as "keeps it from sticking to itself and other things as well." Well, there's always United Nuclear. ; )

Were can one get Aluminum Bronzing Powder?

Something sticky, and follow up with caustic soda (aka lye) L

Is that good for the desk, though? Lye's pretty rough stuff, and so I'd be worried about it stripping the desk's surface.

Yes, lye is rough. I had hoped that you'd recognise that (and see a subtle joke). As a cheap suggestion for 'sticky', try slices of cheap-bread (that one is serious) L

Doh! Didn't occur to me at all, actually, that you might be joking.

If you use "lye"(ha ha) it will produce hydrogen. Just don't light a match(or rather do light a match ;))

I think I figured it out: Use your hands! Aluminium powder loves to stick to your hands, apparently. It got most of it off, and probably would have worked better had I tried this in the beginning... So now how do I get it off my hands? :P


11 years ago

Damp rag and spray cleaner.

Spray cleaner? Don't laugh. ; )

Yeah, you know like 409 or Fantastic.

Are you speaking from personal experience?

It also might work to blot with a wet paper towel, so the dust sticks to the towel. Just don't wipe.

It doesn't work. If you touch it at all it instantly mushes into the tiny holes in the table's surface. I'm about ready to resign myself to my fate. Heeeyyyyy....Maybe I can just add powder to the entire surface of the table! :D

Make and explosive!!!!! OOOR clean it up and throw it away. lol take a sheet of paper towel... wet it a bit. and dab it onto the powder. (ive broke an etch-a-sketch too. not very fun to clean up.)

Fine metal powder may be dangerous, take a magnet and make sure your room is clean! P.S. It's an iron powder.