How to Cut Stained Glass

One Methods:Cutting glass along curved lines

Stained glass is colored glass that is cut and placed in mosaic pictures. Stained glass is used in window hangings, lamp shades, mobiles, and bird baths. Use these steps to cut stained glass.


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    Clear a large, flat and clean surface.
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    Lubricate your glass cutter. Dip the cutter into a small amount of oil. Be sure to dip the cutter in oil before each cut in order to prolong the life of the cutter and make scoring the glass easier.
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    Mark the line. Use a marker and a straight edge to mark the line where you want to cut the glass. "Score" or scratch the glass by holding the glass cutter vertically and sliding the cutter firmly along the cut line.
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    Break the glass along the score line. Hold the glass on each side of the score line by placing your fists below the glass and your thumbs on top of it. Rock your hands up and down while holding the glass firmly.

Cutting glass along curved lines

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    Score the glass.
    • Roll a cutter wheel along the marked line to score the glass. Hold the main piece of glass firmly in one hand and grab the part of the glass to be removed with breaker pliers at the score line. Rock the pliers up and down gently to snap the glass.
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    Score steep curves using several straight lines.
    • Remove any excess pieces of glass to get a smoother curve by placing the piece of glass you want to remove into the tips of a pair of grazing pliers up to the score line. Use the pliers to gently snip away at the excess areas of glass.
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    Smooth or round edges of cut glass using a glass router.
    • Turn the router on and hold the glass gently but firmly against the rapidly rotating grinder which uses fine diamond chips to grind away the excess glass.


  • Do not try to cut pieces for a stained glass project from a large sheet of stained glass. Cutting from a smaller piece of glass is easier and minimizes the risk of accidentally breaking or damaging an entire sheet of glass. Large sheets of glass can be broken easily by placing the score line along the edge of a table and pressing down on the side of the glass that is hanging over the side of the table.
  • Glass should be cut while standing.
  • Any type of oil can be used to lubricate the glass cutter, including cooking oil.
  • When using pattern pieces for cutting stained glass, trace around the pattern pieces with a marking pen and cut the glass just inside your cut line.
  • When using a router, be sure to wear safety goggles and add water to the machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Do not score the same line more than once. This will ruin your cutter and may cause the glass to crack. If you make a mistake while scoring, keep going and cut off the excess glass afterwards using additional score lines or grozing pliers.
  • Maintain constant pressure throughout each score in one continuous movement. Applying uneven pressure or starting and stopping a score line can cause the glass to crack.
  • Always use a small handheld broom/brush and a dustpan to clean your work area after cutting stained to remove tiny glass fragments.


  • Be careful when working in areas where glass has been cut. There will be tiny fragments of broken glass that can cut your fingers or get into your eyes.
  • Be sure to wear safety goggles when cutting glass.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Oil
  • Small cup (to hold oil)
  • Stained glass cutter(s)
  • Stained glass
  • Marker
  • Straight edge
  • Cutter wheel
  • Breaker pliers
  • Grozing pliers

Article Info

Categories: Glass and Stained Glass Projects