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How Do You Sand Things Without Sandpaper? 10 Best Alternatives To Sandpaper

How do you sand things without sandpaper

Looking to sand objects without using traditional sandpaper? Check out our guide on “How Do You Sand Things Without Sandpaper?” for alternative methods and tips. Save time and money while achieving a smooth finish on your projects.

Sandpaper is a really easy way to get surfaces smooth, but it’s expensive and can be a pain to deal with. Most can be recycled at places like Habitat for Humanity or your local hardware store if you have old sandpaper. If not, though, don’t fret. You can still easily sand down surfaces without that scratchy stuff! We’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to get those rough spots off without sandpaper.

10 Best Alternatives to Sandpaper?

How do you sand things without sandpaper

Have you ever sanded something and felt like you used a whole box of sandpaper just for it to take down one small spot on your project? You’re not alone. This happens all of the time! An alternative is out there. To know how to sand things without sandpaper? Check out these ten best alternatives for sandpaper.

1) Diamond Stones as an alternative to sandpaper

If you are one of the people who often have to use sandpaper to smooth down surfaces, you may have wondered: how to sand things without sandpaper. Here the diamond stone is the best alternative to sandpaper.

Diamond stones are often thought of as an alternative to sandpaper, but they can polish or sharpen items like knives. If you want to know how to sand things without sandpaper, consider using a diamond stone. This might not be as fast as sandpaper, but it’s arguably more durable and will still let you smooth rough wood surfaces. A diamond stone is one of many ways you can learn how to sand stuff without sandpaper.

How to use diamond stones for sanding?

Use your fingers or hand to rub it against an object and move in circular motions until it reaches your desired level of smoothness. Make sure that you work slowly and in small increments to control how much material is removed with each stroke.

2) Waterstones as an alternative to sandpaper

Waterstones are an affordable alternative to sandpaper. They’re just as effective at smoothing out rough edges and can be used to smooth all sorts of objects, including leather, metal, glass, and more. If you want to start sanding things without sandpaper, try a Waterstone set today!

Sanding isn’t just for wood. If you have unfinished pieces of furniture or a project that needs more shine, Waterstones is an excellent alternative. While they’re not as abrasive as traditional sandpaper, they can be used on most materials. Start by choosing your stones. Consider whether you want to use two-sided (double-sided) stones or single-sided Waterstones.

There are many ways that you can use Waterstones. Sanding is an excellent way to smooth out rough spots on wood, metal, and even glass. If you’re looking for something a little more gentle, try rubbing down your cutting board with Waterstone after it gets dull.

Methods to use the Water stone for sanding:

  1. When using a water stone, never forget to soak it in water for several minutes until it’s completely soaked.
  2. When your stone is adequately soaked now, remove excess water from its surface, and your stone is ready for sanding. Place The stone between your wood pieces and scrub it against the surface you want to sand until you get the desired smoothness of the surface. 

3) How to sand metal without sandpaper paper with Aluminum Oxide Discs?

How do you sand things without sandpaper

Because they are both abrasive and can be used wet or dry, aluminium oxide discs make an excellent alternative to sandpaper. These discs can sand even various hard materials such as wood, metal, walls, etc.

How to use Aluminum Oxide Discs?

To use them, simply start with a rough grit disc (50–60) and work your way up to a fine grit disc (200). When using them wet, keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid submerging aluminium oxide discs.

You can also check out our other related articles. Can you use an orbital sander for polish:

4) Cordless Drill Sander as an alternative to sandpaper

Wondering how to sand things without sandpaper? Here you go a cordless drill, most likely one that uses a lithium-ion battery is an alternative you might not have considered but can be a good choice if you already own one. A cordless drill will give you more control than sandpaper and speed and power that sandpaper simply can’t match.

Method to use a cordless drill for sanding

To use a cordless drill for sanding purposes, you need to attach a drum sander with your drill. Different drum sanders are available; you can choose one according to your choice.

Now set your machine to an appropriate speed that you think you can handle while sanding, or it will not damage the surface you are going to sand.

5) High-Speed Steel Burrs as an alternative to sandpaper

High-speed steel burrs are used to grind and shape various materials. Because they’re so incredibly sharp, these burrs can cut through wood, metal, concrete, and even bone. 

As such, high-speed steel burrs are an effective alternative to sandpaper for all sorts of applications; they’re perfect for precision woodworking (i.e., furniture) or industrial purposes.

These high-speed burrs can be used for sanding, just like a cordless drill, or electric sander. To use these high-speed burrs, you must have a command of speed control.

6) Ceramic stones/chips as an alternative to sandpaper 

Ceramic stones/chips can work as an alternative to sandpaper and are easier to use, but they are not as versatile as sandpaper.

The particles used in these stones/chips are smaller than those used in sandpaper, and therefore, they have less bite. They’re great for smoothing surfaces but don’t do much to remove deep scratches and marks.

These are used just like sandpaper.

7) How to sand metal without sandpaper with Silicon Carbide Belts 

Silicon Carbide Belts are an expensive alternative to sandpaper, but if you’re planning to sand a lot of wood, these belts can be a better alternative. They cut quickly through wood fibres and don’t get clogged like standard sandpaper often does.

They also resist buildup, so they last longer than standard belts. However, because they aren’t very porous and don’t absorb much dust or water, they can create more airborne dust than regular sandpaper.

To use silicon carbide belts for sanding, all you need to do is replace the sanding belt of your electric sander with a silicon carbide belt.

8) Walnut shells as an alternative to sandpaper

Walnut shells are actually a common sanding material for sculptors and are also used by woodworkers as alternative sandpaper. 

The gritty texture and consistent shape of walnut shells are ideal for smooth, even sanding on finished pieces of wood. Plus, it’s more environmentally friendly than regular sandpaper!

All you need to do is just ground the walnut shell into tiny grains and rub them against the surface, which you want to sand with the help of the wool cloth.

9) Wood shaving as an alternative to sandpaper

Wood shaving is an alternative to sandpaper for a number of reasons. It’s completely reusable, making it an environmentally-friendly choice compared to traditional sandpaper. It can be used on anything from wood to fabric and plastic, making it a versatile option. Follow these steps if you are ready to try wood shaving for yourself.

To use wood shaving for sanding, take some wood shaving, spread it on the wood or the surface you want to sand, scrub it with the help of some soft cloth and apply gentle pressure.

10) Make Your own sandpaper at home

Sandpaper has many uses in the DIY world, but you might be surprised to find out that it’s actually very easy to make your own at home using only sand and rubber cement. 

This material will provide an excellent surface for crafting sand art, and can also be used for other projects such as carving jewellery or working with wood, metal, and ceramic.

The entire project should take less than half an hour to complete once you have all of the necessary materials on hand, and it can be recycled over and over again so you don’t have to worry about running out of your own homemade sandpaper any time soon!

How to make your own sandpaper at home? A step-by-step guide

  •  Get your materials together. You will need to get some coarse and fine-grit sandpaper, glue, scissors, a ruler, and an old credit card or gift card.
  • Cut out your paper into squares with dimensions of 3 inches by 3 inches for coarse grit and 2 inches by 2 inches for fine grit. 3. Cut out two rectangles, one 1 inch by 4 inches and another 1 inch by 6 inches, from your credit card or gift card.
  • Glue one side of each rectangle to each square you cut from step two, making sure that you have glue on both sides of each rectangle as well as on both sides of your sandpaper squares.
  • Trim off any excess glue using scissors, then let dry for about 30 minutes before using!

Some other alternatives to using when you don’t have sandpapers

  • Nail files: can be used as an alternative when you are working with fine details of your wood design.
  • Corn cubes: You can ground the corn cubes and use them to sand the wood just like walnut shells.
  • Wood files: You can use the wood files for smoothing the ends or sides of a wood project if you already have these at home.
  • Burnishing: For burnishing, you can use wood, cloth, or metal piece to get amazing results

Why Do We Need Sandpaper Alternatives?

Sandpaper is a handy tool that we can use for everything from small DIY projects to woodworking. Despite its usefulness, it’s not without downsides. Then why do we think of such a question as how to sand things without sandpaper?

Sandpaper often leaves behind shavings and pieces of grit when you’re done, which need regular cleaning out for your tools to work correctly. This alone would make it worth exploring some alternative products. There are also environmental concerns associated with how we use our sandpaper now.

Environmental effects

It’s estimated that more than 5,000 tons of sandpaper are used every year in Japan alone. Most of it is thrown away, and there is no way for people to recycle it. While some companies have tried making recycled versions of their products, they often fall short on quality compared to new versions.

Save your money

It’s worth thinking about your budget when looking for alternatives to your existing sandpaper. While some of these products will save you money, some can cost more than buying a new roll of sandpaper every time.

Stick to something you know will be reliable, especially if it’s your first time. Keep in mind that cheaper alternatives might not be as good quality and could damage your tools or project. These alternatives can help you complete your project if you run out of stocked sandpapers:

If you are out of town

If you are out of town or in an area where you can not buy sandpapers, these alternatives are best for you. You can choose any alternative according to your choice.


Here are some important FAQs:

Is Emery cloth sandpaper?

No, emery cloth is not sandpaper. It can be used for various purposes, including cleaning. Emery cloth has been used for centuries to polish things such as jewellery, silverware, eyeglasses, and gemstones.

Is sandpaper made of sharkskin?

No, sandpaper is not made of shark skin. Sharks are an unfortunate part of the seafood industry and therefore their skins may be used to produce various items, including sandpaper. 

Can I use wool instead of sandpaper?

It is possible to use wool instead of sandpaper, but it may not be the best option. Wool is a natural material and has some benefits that sandpaper does not have. For instance, wool can absorb water which makes it less likely to scratch your surface, and it also wears down over time reducing the need for regular applications. 

Additionally, if you are using wool as an alternative to sandpaper on wood or other materials that might contain oils or greases then you should probably use a porous cloth such as muslin first in order to prevent any accidents.

Final remarks

It may be surprising, but sandpaper is not always necessary for every woodworking job. There are a number of alternatives that can achieve similar results. If you’re looking for an alternative to sandpaper for your future woodworking projects, here are ten excellent suggestions.

The next time you’re faced with a project that involves smoothing and finishing wood, take a look at these alternatives. These alternatives will not only save your time and money but also provide you with the best end results. You can choose any alternative according to your situation or requirement.

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When it comes to the world of sanding and sanders, you need a trusted source of information and guidance to ensure you achieve those perfect finishes. That's where I come in – I'm Martin, a dedicated sanding enthusiast with a relentless passion for attaining flawless surfaces. With years of hands-on experience in the sanding industry, I've honed my skills and expertise to provide you with the most reliable and accurate insights. What sets me apart is my commitment to excellence. I meticulously handpick each sander after rigorous testing, ensuring that only the best tools make it to your hands. My goal is to empower you with the knowledge and recommendations you need to tackle any sanding task confidently. When you trust About Sanders, you're putting your faith in a seasoned expert who shares your passion for perfection and strives to deliver top-notch information and reviews for every sanding challenge.

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