How to Cut Glass Without a Glass Cutter

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Cotton yarn will burn cleaner than a polyester, emitting less fumes.
Cotton yarn will burn cleaner than a polyester, emitting less fumes. (Image: kuppa_rock/iStock/Getty Images)

You don't have to buy a pricey glass or diamond cutter for simple craft projects that require cutting glass. You can accomplish this with items you probably already have around the house. Given the risk of cutting yourself in the process, however, make sure to exercise extreme caution.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass bottle
  • Cotton yarn
  • Scissors
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Protective eye wear
  • Small glass bowl
  • Disposable plastic gloves
  • Nail polish with acetone or pure acetone
  • Matches
  • Work gloves
  • Fine sandpaper or glass file
  • Sink stopper
  • Disposable aluminum pan
  • Kitchen gloves

Cutting Glass With a String

Unravel the yarn and wrap it around the bottle at the spot where you want to make your cut. Measure how much yarn was required to reach around the bottle and add 6 inches to that measurement. Then cut three pieces of yarn that length.

Stack the three pieces of yarn on top of each other. Tie knots at each end so the three pieces are now one combined piece.

Fill the 5-gallon bucket with ice and water. Set outdoors.

Put on the disposable gloves and protective eye wear. Pour the nail polish remover or acetone into the glass bowl.

Place the yarn in the bowl and let soak for two minutes.

Lift the yarn above the bowl and squeeze off the excess fluid. Tie the yarn around the bottle at the desired spot. Remove gloves.

Transport the bottle, matches and the work gloves outside to where you left your bucket. Put on your work gloves.

Hold the bottle over the bucket and light the match. Light the yarn on fire. Rotate your bottle as the yarn burns. The flame will get lower and lower.

Plunge the bottle into the bucket right before the fire looks as if it is about to go out. There will be a cracking noise. When you raise the bottle, you should find that it has been cut.

File with sandpaper or a glass file to smooth the cut edges.

Cutting Glass With Scissors

Plug the sink with the stopper.

Place a disposable aluminum pan in the bottom of the sink. Fill the pan and the sink with cool -- not cold -- water.

Put on the kitchen gloves and protective eye wear.

Submerge the glass under the water and hold over the pan. Hold the scissors under the water with your other hand.

Cut the glass evenly and slowly. Let the cut pieces fall into the aluminum pan.

Lift the glass out of the water when all of the necessary cuts have been made.

Slide the pan to the side and lift the stopper to drain the sink. Lift the pan out of the sink and dispose of the glass and water in a sealed container.

File the glass with sandpaper or a glass file to smooth the cut edges.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your bottle did not cut the first time, you can cut a new piece of yarn and try again. Do not use the same yarn twice.
  • Make sure children never attempt this without adult supervision.
  • Cut glass with a string outdoors.
  • Never light fire near the bottle or bowl of nail polish remover/acetone, as these substances are highly flammable.
  • Always protective eye wear.
  • Use uncoated yarn -- cotton works best. Coated yarn can be toxic as it burns or have a chemical reaction with the acetone.

References

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