Convex Glass Tile From Bottles

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Introduction: Convex Glass Tile From Bottles

Step 1: Jig? Yes Please!

There are really good bottle cutting jigs out there, but I loath to purchase, store, and ultimately yard-sale a specialized tool.  So here is the simple, flexible, and repeatable setup I use to cut glass cylinders:

Step 2: Cut the Long Cuts

Time to cut along the infinite planes of the cylinder!
Remember that the glass must be fully supported under the glass-cutter.  This is where you would get in trouble with any remnant of the bottle's shoulder, as it will create a gap, a ruined bit of glass, and a debilitating wound.
Perhaps a firm-but-slightly-yielding material would fix this?  Or a setup akin to an English Wheel? 
Score the glass, than tap along the line.  The first cut won't visually separate but you will hear when it gives up the ghost.  Mark your next line, score, tap, the tile will fall off, et cetera.

Step 3: Finish

Figure out the style of tiles you want.  I think they look pretty cool left long, but to make shorter tiles (and to trim tiles for installation) rock them along a curved surface to score the convex side (this is for consistency sake; the cut will look different depending on which side you score).
Wash the tiles of the cutting oil with soap and water.  For consistency and to hide the thinset I painted the backs of the tiles with spray paint.  Experiment with colors and densities.  I used pretty cheap spray paint so I probably used more coatings than you might need.
So go procure some bottles and please post pictures of what you make!

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    64 Comments

    So I cut glass as well, and wondering what your thoughts on melting the glass just enough to get the curve out? I collect Dr Pepper and make small drinking glasses but always have the tops left over. So, I cut out the logos and don't really know what to do with them? They are really curved. And if you put them in a Kiln the color of the logos fades to white.

    Glass Buttons1.jpgGlass Buttons2.jpg

    I always wondered if a "raku" kiln got hot enough to slump the glass. The makeshift way of making a raku kiln is to do it in a metal trash can. You could put the glass you wanted to slump onto bricks and layer them about 1/3 of the way in the trash can somehow. Don't know if it would work, I was just thinking...I think most glass needs about 1200F before it starts slumping. Just thinking...

    1 reply

    Slumping isn't the problem, annealing the glass so it doesn't shatter when it cools is. Trying to get the glass to stay on the brick would be a second problem, the amount that the brick and glass shrink with the temperature drop is more extreme and would cause shattering-think exploding glass-unless you got extremely lucky.

    I think too much, about these wonderful recycled materials, but I also thought that a glass bottle with cut off top and bottom, then down each of 2 sides, and you would have a glass tile like the terra-cotta roof tiles from Mexico, but lighter. You could tile an outside small building with these, and it would keep in any heat from the sun for a greenhouse, etc. You could glue them inplace with marine silicone glue, couldn't you?

    I'll save this idea !…
    I also saw a transparent wall made from the bottom of wine bottle … this was pretty interesting, especially because the owner used green, yellow and blue bottles …
    (blue wine bottles are very rare these days : they used to sell white wine in Paris 50 years ago or before …

    2 replies

    There's always Tynant Spring water that has a very pretty deep blue bottle, and of course the new blue Budweiser Platinum beer bottles are nice, but small. There used to be a Blue Nunn German White Wine that had a nice blue wine bottle shape. Some Pinnacle Vodka bottles are made of an appealing light blue glass, and you can scrape off the plastic films off most bottles with a razor blade, just be careful!

    Several variants of reisling comes in blue bottles--most of which would be usable for this purpose. :-)

    Brilliant instructable and also everyones ideas about different effects. The waste is what I really want to comment on. The bottle bottoms can be laid within a square frame and epoxed together to for an old English cottage style window, like something out of Hansel and Gretal.
    Has any one any ideas for the tops??

    3 replies

    I've thought it'd be pretty cool to wire a TON of them as a kind of chandelier-- one small bulb or LED with a short lead into a single junction. Like a flower.
    Some people have talked about modifying this method-- post pics!

    That sounds nice! Even the cylindrical shape would mimic a candle. Wonder what a few of these necks would look like if they were threaded over solar lights in the garden, or even electric ones on a patio. It's not as if the heat will do anything to the glass. You'd have to do some designing, but it opens up a world of possibilities!

    Lol..Brilliant. Can you aimagine a bottle room. Windows, lights and walls. Using clear, painted clear, browns and greens and maybe and with a certain amount of difficulty, embossed bottles!!
    I still got a ton of work to do on my Land Rover and to rebuild a Lowrider, so I will so enjoy doing thid sort of stuff when I've finished. Thanks for a super Instructable.

    If you used a polyurethane expanding foam, Like maybe a six or eight pound mix, after the bottom and top of the bottle have been removed. That should give it enough support and fit snugly enough. If you fashioned a handle with wood it would give better leverage and could be reused on the same sized bottles.

    1 reply

    That's brilliant!
    Has anyone tried this?

    Very beautiful indeed;
    but I have one question: If you calculate the man-hour labor worth against buying new tiles from hardware shop which one becomes feasible ?

    1 reply

    The eternal question!
    The bottle-glass-tile gives you a pleasing undulation. Notice that I used a Jameson Whiskey bottle in this demonstration, which features raised writing: even more eyeball titillation. I wonder if one could preserve sections of a label of one's favorite wine or beer?
    One bottle, disassembled and coated in the course of a good movie, could be used in harmony with a sheet of purchased glass tile. Play and pay as much as you care to.

    We recently acquired a wet tile saw and want to use it to cut glass wine/liquor/beer bottles into uniform tiles for a kitchen backsplash. It came with a 10" continuous rim diamond blade. It cuts tile very well. Our results of cutting bottles are as follows:
    1) thin walled wine bottle chipped/fractured
    2) medium walled wine bottle cut fairly well until last 3/8" which cracked and left jagged protrusion
    3) thick walled champaign bottle cut through very well with only minor roughness
    4) pre-scoring by rotating the bottle before pushing it through the blade might have helped but there were too many other variables to state a definite result. Rapidity of the it seemed to make little difference in the result of any of the above cuts.

    We viewed a few you tube videos online before attempting this experiment. Since our results were disappointing we are seeking your guidance.
    1) are there special blades you would recommend for bottles?
    2) are there any tricks of the trade for cutting stops from bottles for backsplash tiles? The thick champagne bottle was the only one we successfully cut strips from.
    3) what material would you recommend we make a bean bag out of to support the bottle necks to eliminate movement throughout the cut?

    Our goal is to have multi-colored 1"x2" tiles.

    when i was taught to cut glass many years ago i was told that the idea of the oil was to keep the score line open. as far as i understand things glass is technically liquid and the oil works like putting oil on a stick and running it through a puddle the oil will top the water molecules joining back together. anyway whatever the oli does it works!
    keeping the cutter in oil when not in use is also a good idea.

    great!!!!!!!!!!!!
    once you make a bottle to a tile world of options open up
    I am not good at glass work
    but I am rearing to go

    Where do you use the oil? You mention washing it off, but I don't see where it comes in.

    L

    1 reply

    You would use it to lubricate the cutting wheel of the glass cutter.