How to: Cut Glass Wine Bottles
When I was growing up I was always a very creative child, however as I got older and other things become of more importance, life got in the way and that creativity fell to the wayside. Now, 2019 was a particularly hard year, so as the end of the year was approaching I was looking for potential new projects to start in 2020 to keep my mind busy, relieve some anxiety and maybe make a little cash on the side.
Christmas 2019 I had a small dinner party with my best friend and her husband. On about our third bottle of wine she briefly told me she bought a bottle cutter to make crafts with her used wine bottles. We didn’t talk about it much but it stuck with me and that night, through my drunken stupor, I had a glass bottle cutter ordered on Amazon and in the mail.
Now, my thought was of the wine bottle candles you see at the wineries and the many bottles of wine I drink in a month, and I thought, this would be a great way to make some extra cash (ie: Etsy!).
Spoiler alert: I don’t have an Etsy account – never got that far. But I’ve gotten pretty decent at wine bottle crafting.
Now there are many many ways to cut a glass bottle, as I’m sure you’ve researched, however the tutorial below is the technique I’ve found that gives me the best and more reliable results!
What You’ll Need
Shop these amazon items below:
First thing you’ll want to do is consume an entire bottle of wine.
No judgement here!
You may want to do that the day before as this process may be a bit hazy if you try while inebriated!
Alternatively, you can buy empty wine bottles through Amazon at the link above.
Let’s get acquainted with your glass cutter. Looks pretty simple right? When I first started glass cutting, I thought this would just cut my glass – simple! NOPE! You’ll see.
You can see where the actual glass cutter is, however all this piece does it “score” your class – that is, etching a line in your glass where you want to the cut to be so that the elements (water) can get into the glass and break it. If this doesn’t make sense, it will!
The glass bottle will sit horizontally on the body of the glass cutter and the end will adjust to the end of your bottle, allowing you to get a nice straight score!
Here, you’ll want to determine where you’d like your cut to be. The first bottle you cut may just be practice, however, you may have something else in mind!
The line on the bottle shown to the left may just be the easiest place to get a clean cut. The glass at the bottom can be particularly difficult, as the elements are a bit thicker and the neck of the bottle seems to be a bit more fragile.
Note, if you are cutting your bottle in a place where there is a label, you’ll want to take that label off. It will be difficult to score your bottle through the label!
Next, you’ll want to lay your bottle horizontally on your glass cutter as the picture to the right indicates.
The glass cutter will want to be positioned to where you want to score (cut) your glass.
Then adjust the end piece to butt against the end of your glass bottle firmly! This will help you get a nice straight score (this is important!).
This next step is one of the hardest parts for me. The goal here is to make sure your score goes all the way around your glass and meets at the same position as you started. If the score is below or above your start position, you glass won’t cut perfectly.
Place both your hands to the right of the glass cutter, apply medium pressure to your bottle and start rolling the bottle away from you.
You should be able to hear the score being indented into you bottle!
Again your score should meet at the same place you started to make a perfect circle around your bottle.
If your score line is higher or lower than your starting point, don’t worry – it may still work out ok!
The picture to the left depicts an uneven score line that may not cut smoothly.
You can see in the picture to the right, my first cut splintered and didn’t cut evenly, so I’m trying again!
The picture to the right shows what your score line should look like.
Time to cut glass!!!
First, pour the hot water (near boiling) on your score line while simultaneously twisting the bottle to cover all of the score line with the hot water.
Do this for 30 seconds
After 30 seconds of hot water, immediately put the score line under the cold water. Try to keep the hot and cold water at the score line or below.
Keep doing this hot / cold water plunge until the glass breaks. You should be able to see where the break in the score line is, so try to keep the hot/cold water plunge to the areas that do not have a clear break. This will help with splintering!
Did you get a clean break?
If it’s an uneven break, it may be really hard to salvage. However, if there are few flaws you can typically sand down the glass to make a smooth edge.
This picture shows a pretty clean cut with few flaws, although it will take some time sanding to get a smooth edge!
Time to Sand … Ugh!
The WORST part!
Take your 80 grit sand paper, wet the edge of your bottle and start sanding! Depending on how jagged your edges are will determine how long it will take to sand the bottle down to a smooth edge. This could take a while. Once you’re satisfied with your rim, you can clean it up by putting a little wax on the rim.
The picture to right depicts a clean break after sanding – gorgeous right?!?!
I’ve tried using a power sander, which works somewhat well with bad and uneven breaks, however at the same time I’ve broken many bottles because the power sander was just too much! Word of advice, if you have a thin bottle, don’t use the power sander.
This picture is one where I didn’t have a clean break, however I sanded anyway. You can see I couldn’t get the edges even!
And there you have it! I hope this tutorial helped. I will post some DIY wine bottle decor projects soon– stay tuned!