Glass Cutting Tutorial - The Surznick Common Room

Friday, April 4, 2014

Glass Cutting Tutorial

I love doing this. Cutting glass right in your home is way easier than it looks. This is a very unique project that requires way less effort and tools than you may think. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities of what you can use it for are endless!

Here's what you need:
- Large bucked filled with ice water
- Cotton yarn
- Nail polish remover
- Scissors
- Lighter
- Rags
- Whatever glass bottles you'll want to cut

Here's what you do:
- Measure out a length of yarn that will fit around your bottle 2 - 3 times where you want it to be cut, knot it tightly, and trim the excess yarn off.

- Slip your yarn off of your bottle, and soak it in a capful of nail polish remover until fully saturated.

- Remove the yarn from the nail polish remover and slip it back over the bottle, lining it back up with where you want it to be cut.
- Quickly (as to avoid too much polish remover evaporating out of the yarn) hold your bottle parallel to the floor over your ice water bucket, and light the yarn on fire with your lighter.

- Slowly rotate your bottle in your hands so the flames evenly heat the entire circumference of the bottle. Allow the yarn to burn for as long as the flame lasts.
- As soon as the flame goes out, quickly dunk the bottle straight into the ice bath.

- As soon as the crack happens (which should be immediately), remove the bottle from the ice bath.

That's it! You should have a (fairly) clean break if your bottle was hot enough, and your ice bath was cold enough. Keep in mind, you can't 100% ensure that your break is perfect all the time. This process is not really an exact science. Your edges may be uneven or even a bit jagged. (Have plenty of bottles on hand, it may take a few tries to get a result you're really happy with!)

*Generally speaking, the main idea is this: you want to heat the glass up as much as possible right where you want it to break. By putting it in the ice bath, you shock the glass into cracking. the hotter the glass and the colder your water, the better!

Of course, the bottle lip is now very sharp! I used some fine grade sandpaper to file down the sharp edges. Since these are going to just be for flowers or other things, I'm not 100% concerned with how the edges look or if they are perfectly smooth. However, some people do this project to make actual drinking glasses. If you were going to do that, you'd need to be very sure that you sanded down the edges really well. (The whole idea really kind of freaks me out, so I'm not going to try it anytime soon.)

Living all the way out here in Pittsburgh, PA (about 4 hours away from Sarah's hometown, and 3 hours from mine) it's nice to have little reminders of home around the apartment. In this case, these Lancaster Brewing Company beer bottles are perfect candidates for converting into some seriously awesome homemade flower vases. There is a brewery in my hometown as well (STRAUB BABY!), so I think we'll have to look into cutting a few of those bottles for candles/flowers, etc. too.

Hope you enjoy this fun little project. Let us know how you would use this technique to spruce up your home!

Sarah & Nick


  1. Wow, you make it look so easy! I am going to have to give these a try. Thanks for linking up at the Sunday Soiree!

    1. It's surprisingly easy! The first time I tried it I couldn't believe it actually worked. And thank YOU for hosting the Sunday Soiree! Lots of great projects!