I heard quite recently of a nifty (and cheap!) way of getting that
sand blasted finish. I haven’t tried it yet, but I might.
You buy a 2-3ft length of PVC plumbing pipe about 3" diameter, and
two end caps, one of which you fix on permanently to the pipe, the
other will need to be removable. Then you fill it one third full of
sand (say aquarium sand) and put in your pieces to be blasted.
Replace the cap and shake vigorously for about 5 minutes. The pieces
come out with a matte finish.
The coarseness of the sand has a direct effect on the finish of the
pieces, as does your vigour in shaking.
Admittedly it’s quite labour intensive, but you could think of it as
a 5 minute workout and really go to town with it!