There are times when I am away from home with my sketchpad and I realize I do not have my eraser with me. Are there any quick tricks to erase pencil marks on a paper without ruining the paper, or smearing the other pencil marks?

I use a particular type of eraser known as a "kneaded eraser", not a generic pink pencil top eraser, or a handheld pencil eraser.

Kneaded Eraser

I have tried using a gently moistened corner of my shirt to try and "clean" the pencil mark off of the paper, but that just smudged the pencil, and ruined the paper. I have tried dried chewing gum I was done with, but that too just seemed to smudge the pencil mark. On one occasion I tried silly putty and though it worked o.k., there were still faint lines and it wasn't erased completely.

Is there something handy I could find that might help?

  • 3
    Attach an eraser to your pencil? :P
    – bjb568
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 22:08
  • i use specific drawing pencils and a gum based eraser. I don't men a "pink" pencil top eraser.
    – Phlume
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 14:39

8 Answers 8


You can use a rubber band. Rubber bands remove pencil matter as well as erasers do. You have to be careful what you erase and what rubber bands you use, though.

  • You may be able to use correction fluid (a.k.a. white out).

But as long as you have a rubber band you should be okay. Also, I have observed that many rubbery objects work for this task, just make sure they don't smear the paper before use.

How not to lose your eraser: Drill a hole through the top and hang it on a string around your neck. Alternatively, stick it the rings of your notebook or strap it to your pencil with a rubber band.

Additional Info

Getting pencils with erasers should eliminate this problem, though.

How to make an eraser


And some things I haven't tried:

  • Flip Flops and Dried Bread

What is a good replacement for an eraser that works?

From user Jane:

The side edge of a flip-flop (rubber sandal) makes a good eraser.

From user Krazy Koala:

Dry bread gets pencil marks off wallpaper and an rubber band has been known to work.

  • 7
    Yahoo Answers as a reference? Seriously? Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 7:10
  • @JanDvorak Is that a problem, they had good solutions.
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 7:49
  • 2
    What use is a reference that is correct but can't be trusted to be? Coin tosses are correct 50% of the time as well. Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 7:51
  • @JanDvorak it says "And some things I haven't tried" that means I haven't validated it.
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 7:53
  • JanDvoraks point is that Yahoo! Answers is notorious for being very low quality, both in it's answers and in it's questions. Due to this you just can't trust anything that comes from it, making it a poor reference.
    – Wipqozn
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 23:26

In the past, people have used balled up, de-crusted, moist bread:

Crustless bread was used as an eraser in the past; a Meiji-era (1868-1912) Tokyo student said: "Bread erasers were used in place of rubber erasers, and so they would give them to us with no restriction on amount. So we thought nothing of taking these and eating a firm part to at least slightly satisfy our hunger."

Source. See also this article in the New Yorker.


In the past, in the absence of an eraser, I have used Blu-tak (or another poster putty).

It works a treat and many graphite artists use a putty as an eraser as standard.

They call them kneaded erasers.

I'm sure it will work better than the Silly Putty that you tried.

enter image description here

  • This is the type of eraser I generally use, per my comment (which I realize now should be in the question) and the one that was left at home I am trying to "recreate" in the wild.
    – Phlume
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 15:29
  • Thank you for your help. Because of your answer I was able to clarify my question better. I will upvote the answer because of the assistance it provided, but as it is now part of the question, I can not accept it, or offer it the bounty.
    – Phlume
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 15:36
  • Ah, okay - I see. Well blu-tak isn't a proper kneaded eraser so maybe this answer will help people who are looking to replace the pencil-top type. :)
    – Ste
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 15:40
  • ... very true, and another reason I kept it open.
    – Phlume
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 16:53

I know that apple charger cables work well if you didn't press the pencil too hard. Rubber bands work fine too, and they're fairly easy to find. Bonus if they're the wide kind.


I'm not sure if It works on Paper or not, But if you get pencil on a desk you can use for-head oils to wipe it off with ease. Sounds nasty but works very well.

  • Should read "forehead oil" Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 4:26

You can use a magic eraser... the type used for cleaning (e.g. Mr. Clean). These work very well as an eraser for pencil marks.

  • On paper? Don't you need water for it to work... and wouldn't that ruin the paper? Post clearly states need for pencil eraser off of paper.
    – Phlume
    Commented Mar 11, 2016 at 18:51

I see that you are an artist so I'm gonna give you a really neat trick, although using it would mean ditching pencils and paying a little extra for your supplies (but worth it!). It's a matter of supplies but you can get pens with ink that is (very) easily erased by heat. The pens in question (or the only brand I'm aware of anyhow) is called Frixion made by a company called Pilot (So Pilot Frixion pens) these pens cost about 3$ a piece (6$ for two pack) and they come in various different types (Fine, extra fine, ballpoint, point, highlight, LX (luxury), etc) and they erase at around 60°C(140°F) and then they can also reappear at around -10°C(14°F)

If you apply it right you can use it to deliberately erase and even undo your erasing without ever damaging the paper in the slightest. You can "burst" erase an area with a butane lighter then for erasing details you can use a wax sculpting pen. You can see it all in action in my source video.

This might not exactly answer the question for erasing pencil marks without an eraser, but it does provide a completely alternative method. Using this method there are many other ways to get by as well (while un-erasing can pretty much only be achieved via a freezer, erasing can be achieved with all kinds of things around the house, electric heaters or your stovetop for example, a hot running lightbulb, maybe even toss it in the microwave oven to completely wipe it all!)

So I guess this is a way around the problem ever happening, then again the trade-off is that you have to trade your pencil drawing techniques for pen drawing techniques which always end up depending on more than one type of pen (whereas with pencil drawing techniques you can always make do with just one pencil and go all the way with your drawings)

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BS7_-xelCs

  • Not really for pencils. Completely avoids the question. Thanks for the idea but off topic from op
    – Phlume
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:33
  • @Phlume Site's about lifehacks no? Sorry for the help bro.
    – Cestarian
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:34
  • Yes and if I wanted a life hack on erasing pen, this is great. But this solution requires me to trade mediums. Apples and oranges.
    – Phlume
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 23:53
  • I guess so, you're right.
    – Cestarian
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 16:44

You can use a piece of paper if you are coloring in marker and you mess up. You can cover it by using tape or glue to attach it. You have to put layers of paper if you put glue because, the first layer of paper may tear or rip. You can use this as an eraser for markers, crayons or colored pencils.

  • this is true my teacher does it
    – horselover
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 23:31

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