Tell me how to cut glass!!!

Recycled Drinking Glasses by Emma Woffenden and Tord Boontje
Transglass Carafe

I have one of those 'craft' bottle cutters--the kind with the wheel-y cutter and tapper deal. For cutting a straight line on a regular bottle, it works fine. Well not fine, but it does cut. What I wanna do it cut necks of bottles both straight and wonky like the bottles pictured here. These particular examples are from Emma Woffenden and Tord Boontje, and they aren't cheap, considering where they came from originally: the recycling bin. They'll set you back anywhere from $39 to $57. And a set of tumblers clock in at $61. (Available at Re-Modern.)

Lidded Carafe



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Andrew Annett on Apr 05, 2016:

Get an angle grinder with a continuous diamond blade.

sandie on Aug 02, 2012:

That's good to hear! The tile saw does run smooth and very quietly so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will cut bottles nicely.

I will practice on a clear bottle before I move onto my nicer bottles.

Raitis on Aug 02, 2012:

I'm currently using a wet tile saw to cut bottles. Unless you got a really smooth and thin blade with extremely little vibrations, you will probably have more work grinding it, but overall I like the wet tile saw better. Good luck with it, you're on the right path! (:

sandie on Aug 02, 2012:

I obtained a wet tile saw with a diamond blade and am going to cut my bottles with this instead of hassling with a glass cutter tool. I watched several videos on how to do this and it looks a lot easier and quicker.

I'll post again after I've tried this and let you know how it turned out.

Raitis on Aug 02, 2012:


As I understood, the problem was bottle 'not breaking' at all. Good that you know that it should not be scored more than once, you should remember that.

From my experience of things I've used to get the crack along score line on bottle:
Candle heat and water chill with tiny plant waterer (the water goes around the bottle nicely and does the job). It's probably the cheapest way to do it.
Later I started using a small butane jet type lighter without any water. I believe if you dong go all in with the flame it stresses the glass less and heated well enough it breaks on the score line by itself.

Avoid heating only one spot for prolonged times, it will most likely make the bottle crack in spider like pattern if cooled.
Wear some eye protection while heating glass. The little bits tend to chip off the score line and fly in random directions while heating it with flame.
If you have only small bit left without a crack it can usually be ignored and the bottle can be simply handbroken.

Good luck with your project, hope I've helped!

sandie on Jul 21, 2012:

I just got my new bottle cutter today from Amazon.com. It's a "generation green", aluminum type. I read the instructions, watched many videos on how to cut bottles but I'll be damned if I can cut one!!

I scored the bottle as instructed, poured boiling water over the score line slowly then dipped the bottle in an ice water bath. I even used the tapper but nothing happened. I didn't know what else to do so I scored the bottle over and over and it still will not break apart. This is very disheartening because I am eager to start creating my own glass pieces.

I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I know I shouldn't have scored the bottle more than once but like I said, it didn't break apart the first time. I really don't want to invest in anything expensive. Any thoughts?

DIY Maven on Mar 12, 2010:

Jeez, Mike, I think you hit the mother load with that link!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

Mike on Mar 12, 2010:

You might also find this link useful!


Mike on Mar 12, 2010:

I can't say I've ever tried it, but in principle, you might be able to do something with an electric tile cutter.  The abrasive wheels on these should cope easily with glass.  However, you'd probably have to modify the cutter as they generally have safety guards which would prevent you putting a whole bottle through them.  They do usually have a water delivery mechanism or water bath under the cutting wheel which would probably be necessary.  You's also want a bucket of water to quench in and a *%&-load of safety wear!

In a similar vein, a cutting wheel on an angle grinder, but you'd have to be very careful with water around one of those...

DIY Maven on Mar 11, 2010:

You have all proved me correct in my assertion that Curbliers are the smartest people on the intertubes!!! 

dantimdad...Diamond bit for the Dremel, check.

Jonathan...I've actually tried the alcohol/string trick. Didn't work :(

joshgoes....I have a wet saw! Never thought about using it on bottles. 

joshgoes on Mar 11, 2010:

I dont think you will ever get such a clean, straight cut with a dremel.  Looks like what you need is a ceramic tile wet saw.  Wonky angles might prove difficult, you might need some kind of clamp system to keep the bottle from twisting and shattering.  Wet saws make all the difference, because silicosis is no fun.  Then you could frost the outside of the glass with glass etching acid (hydrofluoric acid, nasty stuff).

Here's an instructable (not mine) where they do something similar:  http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-use-a-wet-tile-saw-to-cut-glass-bottles/

Jonathan on Mar 11, 2010:

Try this (and let me know if it worked).  I saw this a while back where you tie alcohol-soaked string around the glass bottle, light it on fire, drop it into cold water and tap it.  Here's a youtube link:


dantimdad on Mar 11, 2010:

I have cut lots of glass with a diamond bit on the dremel tool.  Even cut holes in aquariums for bulkhead fittings.

The trick is to use high speed, slow progression and lots of water to keep it cool.

The other thing you can try is to break the neck of a bottle off then use a sander to get the desired shape.  keep dipping the bottle in water to avoid overheating.


Majick on Mar 11, 2010:

Ah, I see.  I wasn't aware the craft cutter was limited that way.  I've used a bench mounted grinding wheel when I had access to one, but I use a Dremel in much the same way.  I set the Dremel into the vice and using a jig, I slide whatever I'm grinding or shaping towards it.  The jig is usually just a couple of pieces of wood nailed together to create a 90 degree trough.  This is then clamped, or nailed, to the bench at whatever angle to the Dremel is needed.  Assuming the the jig is already built, it takes about 30 seconds to position and start grinding. 

Admittedly, I've never experimented with bottles before, but I would start with a straight cut to get closer to where you want your angled cut to be, and then move to the Dremel.  The only challenge I see is that Dremel grinding accessories tend to be on the small side, so depending on the size of the bottle you're working with, you may not have enough surface to grind against.  I've not needed anything wider than 1.5" so it's never mattered to me. That may not matter for your purpose, but if you require a larger precision cut first, you may need to look elsewhere.  If it's something you do a lot, a dedicated bench grinder can be had for less than $70 CDN these days...


DIY Maven on Mar 11, 2010:

Hey Majick. I've tried doing an angular cut with my craft bottle cutter, and it doesn't work. The cuts really have to be horizontal with the bottle vertical, if you get my meaning--for my contraption to work. I've thought about using my Dremel, but the idea scares me a bit! Maybe I just need to suck it up and give it a go. 

Majick on Mar 11, 2010:

I think you'll find upon closer inspection that the wonky cut is just a creatively positioned straight cut.  The shape of the bottle and the placement of the cut gives it that wonky looking shape.  Having said that, if you do decide you need try something with more flexibility, a dremel with the right grinding accessory is probably your best bet. That and a steady hand...

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