TOOLS Sanding with a Black&Decker Mouse

For those who have Black & Decker 'Mouse' sander, you might be interested in my preliminary experiments using it to sand polymer clay.

I wanted to get some sort of powered appliance that I could use to sand large polymer clay pieces. The store I went to had both the Mouse and the Scumbuster and at the same price, so I had to evaluate which was the better buy for my purposes.

In comparing the Mouse to the Scumbuster, wrt sanding, the Mouse is a plug-in sander, it is non-submersible but more importantly it oscillates, since it is a sander. The Scumbuster is a household cleaning appliance, it is cordless and submersible, and it rotates instead of oscillates.

I chose the Mouse over the Scumbuster for several reasons. 1) Since I wanted something for sanding many things including polymer clay I decided it was best to get a device that was optimally designed to sand. 2) I don't like dealing with rechargable devices unless it's absolutely necessary. 3) I have found plug-ins usually more powerful.

I always wet sand polymer clay, so I thought using the Mouse could be a problem, since it can't get wet. (Never a good idea for something that plugs into the wall to get wet.) But I discovered I can still wet sand with the Mouse. I just don't submerse the appliance. It is sufficient to periodically dunk the bead in water and slightly dampen the sandpaper. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see.

Since the Mouse doesn't come with the appropriate types and grits of sandpaper, I had to figure out how to attach wet-dry sandpaper to the Mouse. With the Scumbuster, folks attach sandpaper to one of it's pads using straight pins. I tried that on the Mouse, but since it oscillates at such a high rate, most of the pins flew out after a few minutes.

The Mouse functional base, to which the various sanding pads are attached, is the "hook-side" of velcro. All the pads for the Mouse are looped so they will easily attach but are still removable.

So I purchased some industrial strength adhesive-backed velcro strips (I found it at a local Home Depot). Velcro always comes in two parts; the "looped" part and the "hook" part. You'll only need to use the looped (fuzzy) part.


I cut 180, 240, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper sheets into rectangles that are roughly a couple few inches longer than the Mouse base and a little wider than the base.

Then I use just one 2" wide velcro strip right up the middle. Since that stuff is expensive, it's good to use it as efficiently as possible. I make sure to write the grit on the back of the paper if I cover up the grit value with the velcro strip.

Also, when the paper becomes worn, you can generally pull the velcro off the paper and reuse it on new sandpaper.

If I get the chance, I will add step-by-steps photos and instructions in the next month or two. In the meantime, if you have any questions, you can email me at


When using the Mouse to wet sand, it can make a bit of a mess, spraying. There's a bit of an art to use it safely and to minimize the mess.

Here's what I recommend. Use a pan similar to the one shown here. Fill it about 1/3 with water and something soapy. I like to use conditioning bath foam.

I rest my hand on the edge of the pan, holding the Mouse at an angle, trying to keep most of the business end of the sander below the pan's top. This helps keep most of the spray inside the pan.

The water level should remain well below the Mouse. When sanding, dip the piece into the soapy water and bring it up to the mouse. You need to keep the sanding surface damp enough to prevent it getting clogged with sanding debris.

When the water gets cloudy, it's a good idea to replace it with nice clean water.

There's nothing better than having a great tool when you need it.


Last update to this page: 28 Sep 08. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.