Make a Broken Jar




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

Turn an empty jar into a cutting-edge vessel that challenges established aesthetic conventions.

This project has gotten such an overwhelming response maybe it should become a whole new website. Unfortunately "" isn't available.

Photos by and of Will Bosworth

Here's what you need.

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Step 1: Scratch the Surface

Dip the end of your glass cutter in oil before scoring the jar. Use a tuna can or other object to keep it at the right height. Don't roll back over the old cut or you'll blunt your cutting wheel. No one has actually ever resisted the urge to do this, so this glass cutter is horrible.

Step 2: Beat on the Damn Thing

You know, to get that crack to break off cleanly

Step 3: Harder and Harder Until It Breaks

A real scientist would have done it with baking soda and vinegar.

Step 4: Sure It's Beautiful, But Does It Work?

The intrepid Will Bosworth tests out this cutting-edge vessel.
Great art is not just to be looked at, but experienced with all the senses.

When you've got a broken jar you really like, rub the sharp edges with sandpaper til they're rounded off and don't cut you.

Excited to learn more about broken jars?
Try this one:

Step 5: Wine Bottle Art

It's been a year or two and I got the urge to try again.
I've got this amazing huge wine bottle left over from some celebration.
I thought I'd turn it into a giant drinking glass.
So I put it in the sink with water running. I put a piece of cardboard over the drain so it would fill up with water.
I took the grinder that almost killed me and started grinding around the bottle.
The exhaust compressed air from the grinder blew the water away from the part being ground on, and it threw red sparks of glass! I didn't know that could happen. It also put a lot of silica dust in the air, and my nose feels like a coal mine right now. I ground all around the bottle. I was going to just cut it off with the grinding wheel. But then I got sick of breathing that glass dust and tried to break it at the line by wacking it with a trowel. It broke off pretty easily, but not exactly at the line.
Then I sanded the edge to make it blunt and safe.

Okay, it's a pitcher, not a glass. TA DAA!

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    69 Discussions

    His first sentence.... Turn an empty jar into a cutting-edge vessel that challenges established aesthetic conventions. The last sentence of the actual instructions... When you've got a broken jar you really like, rub the sharp edges with sandpaper til they're rounded off and don't cut you. He considers this an art project. You have to read more than just the title before you comment, please.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    LOL I love the jar "hit it till it busts" it would be easier to just drop it on the cement


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I can't believe the oh-so-great TimAnderson would make something this horrible! ( No offense )


    13 years ago on Step 4

    in the second photo he swallowed a peice of glass. This is the crapiest instructable ever.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 4

    NO DUH!!! That's why it was in the "Worst. Instructables. Ever." Group. Did you expect it to be the best in the world?

    FlumpkinsDJ Radio

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 4

    This is actually the first thing from this guy that I saw. So... yeah!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    u could just put the top of the bottle in hot water, then put it under cold water. it's a lot easier


    11 years ago on Introduction

    While it doesn't suit my particular aesthetic taste, I like that you made something that brings up the subject and asks the question of what beauty really is. Very nice, +1 :).


    it must dribble horribly, artistic or odd, iono, but unpractical fosho. it does make everything seem more... iono. post modern i guess.


    11 years ago on Step 2

    also, perhaps tap it from the inside. tapping on the side of the score confuses the glass!


    11 years ago on Step 1

    I've had mixed luck with the string and fire method... but I was looking for an awesome way to not have to buy a bottle cutter. But the can as a smooth support is brilliant. I'm going to use a taller can for cutting a wine bottle!