How to Make Sandpaper

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Sandpaper has been around for centuries and can trace its history to the store owned by Paul Revere in Boston and further back to ancient China. The company 3M was very involved in the modern day form of sandpaper as far back as the early 1900s. It originally mined natural materials for the grit of sandpaper (the Ms in 3M are for Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing) and later turned to man-made materials. Today's abrasives come in various sizes and types, and they are used to remove small amounts of rough material from surfaces-smoothing wood, separating rust from metal, or eliminating a microscopic rough edge on a human tooth. For everyday use for home repair, sandpaper can be made with common household items and ready for use in a few days.

Things You'll Need

  • Coarse-backed or stiff-backed paper cut into 8-by-10 inch sheets
  • Wood or particle boards (2),
  • Adhesive
  • Putty knife
  • Metal wired sifter
  • Sand
  • Clamps (2)
  • Cut coarse or stiff-backed paper into an 8-by-10 inch piece.

  • Place the paper flat on wood or particle board that is larger and wider than the paper.

  • Apply a liquid adhesive to the side that is facing up. Spread the adhesive with a putty knife to cover the entire piece of paper. It is okay if the adhesive gets onto the board.

  • Using a wire framed sifter that you can easily hold with one hand, scoop up coarse granules of sand from a bag or bin. Spread the sand across the paper, filling as much of the paper surface as you can.

  • Allow time for the glue to dry and for the sand to adhere to it. Then, place a similar sized board on top of the paper and clamp the two boards together. Allow the paper to set for a day or more.

  • Remove the clamps and top board. Remove the paper from the bottom board by gently getting under it with the putty knife. Scrape away any glue that is connecting the paper to the board. Try not to cut through or rip the paper. Cut the paper to the desired size.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you opt to use a spray adhesive, make sure the room is ventilated and that you wear a protective mask and gloves.

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