Cut Glass (or Mirror)





Introduction: Cut Glass (or Mirror)

About: Will Bosworth, developing projects for HowToons @ SquidLabs.

An inexpensive hand-tool and not-a-lot-of-skills can have you cutting glass in no time!

Step 1: Parts Layout

(1) glass cutter (start at ~4$ and go up from there. The type used here is of the ~4$ variety)
(2) sturdy straight edge (the wood plank in this case)
(3) some glass or mirror to cut

Step 2: Score the Glass

first, wet the cutting wheel on the glass cutter (with water, oil, or saliva)

Next, set the straight edge along the cut-line. Place the cutting wheel at one end of the cut-line, apply downward pressure and pull the cutter along the cut line. The cut will work much better if the glass is scored in a single pass, so take care to go the ful length of the line with constant downard pressure (and practice practice practice)

Step 3: Tap the Glass About the Score; Finish Cut

Use the ball end of the glass cutter and tap (whack) around the scored glass. The Glass should break right along the line Turn over glass piece and tap on the backside, too.

Sometimes with stubborn glass grab the glass and bend along the scored glass. Don't force it. trying to "fold" glass is a recipe for disaster..but it helps sometimes.



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    23 Discussions

    For those using a dremel use Diamond Cutting Bit or 561 multipurpose cutting bit from my suggestions I've found...

    Thanks for sharing this technique, I found it useful. A question that came to mind is how can I drill a small hole through glass, so that a cord could fit through? Would a dremel and grinding bit work? My second question regards adhesive, how would one go about gluing to pieces of glass together at a right angle. Does anyone know what type of glue to use?

    4 replies

    There are glass/ceramic drill bits on the market, build a "wall" or ring of modelling clay or putty around the area and fill with water or light oil, and drill through a piece of masking tape to stop the drill from slipping.

    mm i perforated a glass jar with a dremel mototool with a diamond dentist bit one rounded about 1.5 millimeter, i used water to avoid heating and it makes a clean hole hope it helps

    just use a super small drill bit and work your way up to the right size lubing the glass alot. it should work but test ir first

    OK, you may. . get lucky once or maybe twice by using a glass cutter (wheel) this way but there are a couple of things that will improve your chances. . . get a piece of cotton wool or cloth and dip it into terps or a light oil (sewing machine oil for inst.) and wipe it over the area you intend to score the glass with the cutter. this will prevent a "Dry" cut (if you make a dry cut it will look very white and have very tiny thin slivers of glass popping out of the score), these dry cuts usually won't break in a straight line and tend to "run" off to one side. only use the ball end of the cutter to break small pieces of glass, for larger pieces or sheets use a strip of wood slid directly under the whole length of the cut. finally remember when scoring the glass, "You are only trying to mark the surface" DON'T try to gouge a cut into the glass as this wont work and may break the glass under the pressure. Make a ONE direction cut from top to bottom the cutter will make a sound like a sword coming out of a sheath and not a spluttering scratchy grating sound : ) I used to cut glass 5 days a week for about 3 years for customers so trust me. Have fun and be carefull IT'S SHARP!

    2 replies

    I am new to the trade so can u please tell me when u get a ticket with different sizes what is the best way to figure out how u should cut the glass out of stock sheets to minimize waste big problem for me hope u can help

    When cutting glass, especially if you are doing a lot of it, use an oil filled cutting wheel they are about 5 times the price of the example shown but the best tool for the job.

    As for drilling glass - you need to have pleanty of water to reduce heat - there are specialised tools on the market for this and i strongly urge you to invest in them - Mixing water and normal household electrical appliances is a REALLY STUPID and VERY DANGEROUS IDEA.....or go to your local glazing company and ask them to do it.

    Glass Artist.

    I have been cutting plexiglass for a beer pong table (instructable comming soon) and I learned that you also need to keep the blade cold when sawing or it just reforms behind it. I just set up a hose so that water would run right where the blade is, and it made my cuts much smoother.

    3 replies

    you dont have to do anything like that just find the right blade for saw at homedepot and cut its easy wear saftey glass cause u want to keep eyes in good health

    as long as you keep the water away from your saw & the saw's power! Yikes.... he hasn't answered

    lol I just imagine someone spending like 5 minutes sawing through an 8x4 sheet and then turning around and seeing the piece still intact. Good to know.

    i've been told that glass is easily cut underwater, but i didn't try.


    12 years ago

    Thanks for this! Does this technique work with plexiglass?

    3 replies

    plexi needs to be sawn

    Tablesaw with a quality carbide blade works great for cutting Acrylate, plex, etc.

    plexiglass (acrylic) is a plastic, not glass. I bet this could work for fairly thin acrylic, but a saw is the way to go. Try using a traditional saw on glass, or rather don't.

    the deal with most anything to be cut .... jeez, where to start. basically the material needs to be identified. lexan. glass, safety glass, plexiglas, "plastic", PET. we usually just throw out the term as if we know what it is. if handed an unmarked piece of clear material to be cut i coud assume many things. if the paper is on the material and/or someone you trust knows what they have handed you then you can make some guesses as to how to proceed. most anything will melt of cut. melting from a cutting blade is do to alot of friction. friction is caused when there is a lot of contact over time in a given area. if you had the perfect situation you would have a nice big band-saw with the appropriate blade. one with the right number of teeth per inch and the cight kerf. the kerf is the relationship of the angle of the tooth to the blade proper. it allows your material to be sent on is way, for instance in wood you may use a fast and dirt blade to cut quickly and ugly. you could choose a sweet, ultra fine cutting blade with tiny little nibbly teeth and whatever kerf it has. but the deal with plexi is what people are relating: it cut, melts and rewelds itself! its a drag, especially when you blade binds up in midcut and you are locked into the middle of an expensice sheet of plexi, or lexan or whatever. do the research, find out what you have and look into it BEFORE you drop an hour of your life rescuing a piece of plastic from doom. you can score and snap plexi and maybe even lexan with a scoring device and a straight rigid surface. don't expect miracles. it will usually run off the score you have made at the ends (most likely, until you achieve "uber-master" skill level). if you can slow your blade down, great. do it. maybe try some scoring and snapping and if its a straight cut go for a table saw. but many people don't have access to such luxuries. i have paid guys in a shop a few bucks or a six pack to make some cuts. go in right after lunch on friday for the maximum effect. everyone needs a couple extra dollars for the weekend. research as much as possible to avoid crappy results. each case is different. shalom.