Glass Cutting Techniques

Glass cutting techniques? Why add that worry to the mix? It's much easier, initially, to stop by a hardware store, an art store or custom frame shop and have them cut glass for you.

No argument there.

They are well aware of all the glass cutting techniques out there and can do it very quickly.


If you find yourself in one of these situations, maybe you should reconsider:

  • you plan to make frames on a regular basis 
  • you have some old frames and want to reuse the glass for different sized frames
  • you're crafty and want to cut glass for something other than frames
  • you want to save money

If you fall into one of these situations or just think it might be fun (it is by the way!) - then read on to learn about the different glass cutting techniques.

Safety First

Wood workers are used to working with very dangerous tools and we all know the importance of safety and respect for the tools we use.

Cutting glass can be taken lightly, by some. It shouldn't be. It can be just as dangerous.

Always wear gloves and eye protection. Always take your time. Always handle glass carefully. 

Glass Cutting Tools

Like any tool out there, the price range runs from very cheap to very expensive. While I'm a believer in "you get what you pay for" (even though we have to make sacrifices sometimes to work with what we can afford) in this case, I don't think you sacrifice anything with the inexpensive glass cutting tools shown to the right on your lap top or at the bottom of the page on your phone, and as seen in my video.

Glass Cutting Techniques

Probably the most important part of cutting glass safely and accurately is scoring the glass properly.

Using a glass cutting tool and a straight edge, apply even downward pressure as you roll the cutter from the top edge to the bottom edge of the glass, along the cut line.

  It should make a consistent cutting sound - not a crunchy,  grinding sound.

 DO NOT score the glass more  than once.

  It does NOT make it easier to  break, in fact it can actually  result in the glass breaking or  "wandering off line" when you  attempt to break it. 

 If you score the entire length of  the glass properly you'll always  have success.

Once the glass has been scored you can break the glass in a couple of ways.

Pick the glass up, scored line facing up, a hand on both sides of the line, thumbs on the top of the glass.

Simply turn wrists out pushing the glass up and it will snap on the scored line.


using a pair of glass cutting pliers, scored line facing up, position the point of the pliers, underneath the scored line, the rubber pad should be on top of the glass, and slowly squeeze the pliers together.

The pads of the pliers will push down against the scored line and snap the glass just like the technique above.


Lay the glass on the edge of a table, scored line facing up, and carefully hold down the glass while pressing down on the piece that is beyond the edge of the table. This will snap the glass off.

If you have a mat cutting system, score the glass with a handheld glass cutter, flip the glass over so the scored line faces down, gently place cutting rail on top of the glass and apply pressure to hold the glass in place, pull up on the cut off piece, it will snap cleanly along the scored line.


These are a few of the most common glass cutting techniques, there are others, but as someone new to the "art" of cutting glass, this is a good start.

I highly recommend using glass cutting pliers. They make the process safer, in my opinion and allow you to cut very thin strips of glass safely.

Without the pliers, I won't cut anything thinner than 2". With the pliers I have no issue cutting strips as narrow as 1/2".

Always be sure to clean up your work surface after cutting each piece of glass. Small shards of glass will inevitably collect in the area as you score and break the glass

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Updated November 18, 2022