How to Break a Glass Bottle Safely

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Empty glass bottles can be used to make art when broken into smaller pieces.
Empty glass bottles can be used to make art when broken into smaller pieces. (Image: glass bottles and phial image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

Glass bottles are often revered for their wide variety of colors, styles and textures. The variations in these bottles make them a favorite medium for different types of artwork, such as mosaics and wall murals. However, to ready a bottle for this type of usage, you must break it into smaller pieces.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Newspapers
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Gallon storage bag, optional
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer

Empty the contents of the glass bottle and rinse the inside to remove any residue.

Soak the glass bottle in warm, soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes to help loosen and remove any labels that are on the bottle. If the bottle does not have a cap or cork to keep it closed, allow the inside of the bottle to dry out overnight before you attempt to break it.

Open several newspapers and layer them on the flat surface of the work area where you will break the bottle.

Place the bottle inside a double-layer of plastic grocery bags. If you wish to see the glass as you break it, you may wish to use a gallon-sized clear storage bag instead.

Don protective gloves and safety glasses. Even though the bottle is inside a protective bag, shards of glass may still escape.

Use a hammer to break the bottle into chunks. Do not overstrike with the first hammering blow. Start with larger chunks and break them down to the sizes that you desire.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not stick your hand into the bag of broken glass without first putting on protective gloves.

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