Eraser Production: A Comprehensive Guide to Materials & Processes

Erasers may seem like small, everyday items. Still, they are crucial in various tasks, such as correcting homework, adjusting artwork, wiping whiteboard notes during meetings, and removing smudges or marks on paper. Without erasers, it would be challenging to refine our work. Erasers have a long history, and their production and eraser manufacturing involves various materials and methods.

Exploring the Different Materials Used in Erasers

Eraser compositions vary depending on the type and purpose. By exploring the materials used in eraser production, we can appreciate the science and technology behind these essential tools. Ensure the material aligns with your purpose before developing your brand.

colorful erasers

Synthetic Rubber (SBR)

  • The primary material in most erasers
  • Made from synthetic polymers of styrene and butadiene
  • Excellent erasing properties and malleability

Kaolin Clay

  • Historically extracted from Kao-ling hill
  • Used in various products, such as paper, ceramics, paint, and porcelain
  • In erasers, it serves as a filler to provide a smoother texture and prevent crumbliness or smudging

Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs)

  • Belong to both rubber and thermoplastic categories
  • Soft, malleable, and chemical and weather resistant
  • They are easily shaped, making them ideal for durable erasers

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  • Strong and malleable plastic
  • Erasers made from PVC can be harder and less flexible than other materials
  • Lasts longer due to moisture and sunlight resistance

Gum Arabic

  • Natural gum from the sap of acacia trees
  • Sustainable, natural, and eco-friendly option for erasers
  • Soft and flexible, gentle on paper, but may not be as effective at erasing as some synthetic materials
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Fun Fact

Did you know the man who discovered oxygen also contributed to the development of the eraser?

In 1770, natural philosopher and theologian Joseph Priestley described a substance "excellently adapted to the purpose of wiping from paper the marks of black lead pencils." This substance, which turned out to be rubber, was found to effectively erase pencil marks.
custom white eraser

How to Make Erasers - Industrial Eraser Manufacturing Process

Mix the ingredients

Step 1: Mix the ingredients

  • Use a kneading machine or a two-roll mill in the eraser making process
  • Mix synthetic rubber compounds, kaolin clay, titanium dioxide, stearic acid, zinc oxide, sulfur, and a vulcanizing agent
  • Adjust ingredient amounts based on desired eraser properties
  • Add coloring agents at this stage, if desired
Extrude the mixture

Step 2: Extrude the mixture

  • Use an extruder to form long, cylindrical cylinders of eraser material
  • Push the mixture through a shaped orifice in the extruder to produce a continuous strand
Cut the Strips

Step 3: Cut the Strips

  • Allow the eraser material to cool and harden
  • Use a slitter to cut the long cylinder of eraser material into manageable widths
Press and cut the erasers

Step 4: Press and cut the erasers

  • Press the material into a mold
  • Cut the erasers into the desired shape using an erasing machine
  • Create standard or unique shapes, like animals, food shapes, letters, or other novelties
  • Use one or more chambers in the erasing machine, depending on the output volume
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Materials Needed

  • Synthetic rubber compound
  • Kaolin clay
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Stearic acid
  • Zinc oxide
  • Coloring agents (optional)
eraser materials

How to Make Your Own Erasers at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

eraser clay

Step 1: Buy an eraser clay

To make your own DIY erasers, you should look for modeling clay intended for that purpose. This unique molding substance is sold in various colors and kits and is found in most hobby shops.
  • Some brands, like Sculpey and Creatibles, even include sculpting tools in the package!
  • Eraser clay is a sort of polymer clay that, when baked, doesn't entirely harden.
Form the clay

Step 2: Heat and Mold the Clay

To make the eraser clay malleable, break off small pieces and work with them by squeezing and warming them in your hands. The pieces can then be molded into any form you like.
  • Form the clay into your preferred shapes, such as animals, food items, or the classic round pink rubber eraser.
  • Try mixing colors if the color you want is outside the eraser clay package you purchased. Blending two colors is as easy as rolling and kneading them together.
  • Ensure that if you use more than one piece to create a shape, they stick together securely, or they will fall apart while cooking.
heat the clay

Step 3: Feel free to use your house tools

To mold your eraser clay into whatever you like, you can use any tools you have lying around in your home. The eraser clay you purchased may also come with tools for molding it.
  • To sculpt your eraser clay, use pointed and cylindrical tools like toothpicks, butter knives, and popsicle sticks.
  • Make an indentation in your eraser clay design using the tip of a pencil or mold it directly onto the pencil if you want it to fit on top. Carefully remove the eraser from the pencil and place it in the oven or hot water to set it before use.
  • To get sharp edges on your erasers, try using a silicone mold. Silicone molds can be made from scratch with mold putty. Fill a mold to the top with clay, then release it and remove the excess.
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Materials and Tools

  • Eraser clay (modeling clay intended for eraser-making)
  • Eraser mold (optional but recommended)
  • Knife or shaping tool
  • Sculpting tools (may come with eraser clay package)
Materials and Tools

Key Takeaways

  • Use eraser clay as one of the eraser materials for creating erasers; standard clay or polymer clay will not work as they harden when heated or dried.
  • Shape eraser clay with your hands and bake or boil according to the manufacturer's instructions. Baking guidelines suggest 250°F (121°C) for 20 minutes per 1⁄4 of the eraser's thickness (0.64 cm). However, always follow the instructions provided with your eraser clay.
  • Play clay is unsuitable for erasers as it hardens and lacks the rubbery texture necessary for effective erasing.
  • Mixing eraser shavings and clay will not produce a functional eraser since the clay lacks erasing properties.
  • Adding essential oil to eraser clay can create scented erasers, offering a creative twist to your DIY erasers.
  • If you cannot make your own erasers, consider bulk ordering from a supplier that offers a low MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) for creating your eraser brand without a large investment. Make sure to research and select a supplier that specializes in rubber erasers for stationery purposes.

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