How to Properly Cut Down a Bottle (Simple&Video)




Introduction: How to Properly Cut Down a Bottle (Simple&Video)

About: Travelling since 2013. I'm currently in Australia for some reason. --- I’m Calvin Drews, and I love to learn, experiment, invent, create, repair, and generally just do things myself. A sort of modern jack o...

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These two videos that I made will show you the basics of cutting down a glass bottle into a drinking glass, ash tray, funnel, steampunk lamptiles, and lampworking rods.

In the video, I progressively break down the bottle in this order:
-First, I cleanly remove the neck. I now have a drinking glass and a funnel.
-Second, I cut off the bottom. I now have an ash tray and a steampunk lamp cover.
-Thirdly, I cut the cylinder lengthwise. I now have something I can cut into tiles and lampworking -rods (see picture two on this page for the lampworking rods)

With two simple tools you can professionally and confidently cut a glass bottle in any way, in any direction, and for an infinite number of projects.

The two tools you will need are:
-A glass cutting scribe ($1.00-$4.00 from hardware store)
-A small butane pen torch ($8.00-$10.00)

Time to upcycle!

Here is an instruct able I made that shows you how to turn glass bottled into beads

Step 1: Video 1/2

 My video editing software is on the fritz today, so I was unable to edit or splice these two videos together. Feel free to skip around!

Please, wear gloves and safety glasses. You could skip the gloves like me, but you may get burned by accidentally touching the hot areas (like I did). Hot glass does look exactly like cold glass ;)

Step 2: Video 2/2

Wouldn't this cylinder make a good steampunk lantern glass?




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    18 Discussions

    Nicely done! I've tried lots of different ways of breaking the bottles, but this looks by far the cleanest & easiest

    Thank you so much for the instructions for cutting up a bottle. I heard you could do this, but didn't know where to start. I have two cobalt blue bottles perfect for this, and make beads with my hothead torch! Awesome!

    Just a tip. Instead of using the blow torch for splitting the glass, you can use boing water and cold water. Pour boing water to the cutting line and after that cold water to shock the glass. Repeat if needed. You will get a more smoother cut surface.

    Thanks for this video! I have many old spirit bottles that I can't part with, now I can turn them into something creative and useful! Also, I'm pretty sure I soiled myself due to the crack at the end of the second video, I jumped right out my skin

     If you grind the edges, they will chip when the glass is used. While grinding will work for temporary glasses, it's really not the best. Grinding is the easiest because it takes little effort to destroy the sharp edges.
    When you cut glasses the way I do in the 'ible it's really easy to grind them smooth. Since the cuts are practically at flush, you just need to beak the sharp area with sand paper.
    You need to melt the edges smooth for professional results...but that's a bit more complicated. I'll have to make an 'ible for that soon.

    What I was taught as the "traditional technique" was. mount a piece of wet/dry sandpaper onto a piece of plate glass. Wet the paper, then start smoothing the edge.

    Once the lip is smooth and level, grab a small piece of sandpaper(or a sanding sponge works very well her) and smooth the sharp edges.

    Certainly, flame polishing produces a superior result, but I'll have to wait for nepherons 'ible, on account of the last fe times I tried flame polishing, i got shattered glass ;-) Even then though, it will give better results if you have sanded down to a level, smooth surface before applying the flame. Straight from cutting to polishing will produce a more rustic and handmade look, which might be a good thing.

    Look, I made my own glass. I had to grind the edge...I've had poor results with flame polishing.

     have you thought any more about writing an 'ible for melting the edges? i've got a bunch of bottles im planning to turn in to cups for my new apartment, i think melted edges would be a better. 

    iv seen how they do that for wine glasses but im hoping you have some sort of secrete method to do it with less special equipment.

    Check this out: I've tried to melt the edges, but I'm not able to heat the glass slow enough :( The video in the link shows that I got pretty good results with grinding though. I think the only way to smooth the edges is with a kiln. I

    Yes, thank you!  I have been off and on playing with glass cutting and this TOTALLY makes it happen for me now!

    *thumbs up*

    As someone already pointed out, use the ball to tap on the inside of the glass and just follow the break as is goes along. Also, when you make those scores on the glass, if you take too long in between the time you score and the time you break glass, it "heals," thus making the break harder. Don't go over and over a score, you just make things worse, (I was a glazier for many years). Just make one score and break at a time, and you won't have so much trouble.

    It wouldn't hurt to wear a pair of leather gloves to avoid scorching your finger tips! Remember, you ARE showing this Instructable to people who have NO experience with this stuff, as well as those who do have experience.

    Safety First - Always!!

    Other than that, you've given me a couple of ideas for some lamp shades that I can't find replacements for ;) If you put that half/cylinder onto a kiln for a while with the curve going up at a heat high enough to slump glass, it will lay flat so you can cut your color strips for your beads ;)


    The first half looked to go PERFECTLY!

    Amazing how simple it is, when you see a short video, instead of trying to follow the usual complex written directions,or use those stupid pointy metal sticks and balls.

    In part 2/2 though, I saw a little foible :-)
    The ball end of that cutter is used to hit the side OPPOSITE the score(around Min 2:50). It actually works REALLY well that way, and produced a cleaner edge. The reason not to always break that way is, before the ends come off, there's just not room to swing the tapper.

    For any beginner glass cutters out there, a little cutting oil(even motor oil works i in a pinch) on the cutting wheel, and a single clean stroke. No need to go over the cut multiple times. in fact, double scoring usually makes things worse.

    1 reply

     Ohhhhhhhh....I didn't know that the tapper was for hitting the opposite side!
    Cutting a bottle lengthwise is much harder than cutting the end off LOL. Sometimes the score line just won't pop! The only way around that would be to let it cool off and try again, but I was filming LOL.