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Glass bottle cutting

Bottle cutting allows you to recycle empties and turn them into useful containters such as vases and even drinking goblets with stems.

You need a special bottle glass cutter tool for this technique. The bottle glass cutters are available from craft shops and by mail order. The cutter fits into the neck of the bottle and rotates around it, scoring a sharp line. The bottle is then fractured along this line by applying heat and cold in turn – the expansion and contraction causes a clean break to appear in the glass. In kit form, the cutter comes with a tapper to use inside the bottle to tap all round to create a clean break, but in practice it is easier to achieve a clan break using the hot and cold method.
Collect colorful round bottles in different sizes and shapes to create decorative container. Before you start cutting these, practice on more mundane bottles first by scoring lines around the bottle, ensuring that the tension on the cutter is even and that the line is straight and even all the way round. The cut edges of the glass are smoothed down with wet and dry sandpaper. With patience, it is possible to achieve a really smooth edge which is, of course, essential if you plan to use the cut-down bottles as drinking glasses.

Use bottle cutting to make ∙ drinking glasses ∙ decorative vases ∙ pen and pencil holders.



  • Handle the glass with care at all times – the separated halves of the bottle will be very sharp and it is easy to cut yourself

Clean empty bottles

Bottle cutting tool

Heatproof jug

Ice cubes
Plastic bowl
Wet and dry sandpaper


Wash the bottles thoroughly, soaking them in hot water to remove the labels, and leave them to dry, Practice using the bottle cutter on plain glass bottles before using ones you may want to keep or decorate further


Arrange the bottle glass cutter on the bottle with the washer in the neck of the bottle and the cutting edge at the point where you want to cut. Revolve the bottle glass cutter to score a cut in one even stroke. Don’t overlap the scoring.


Pour 1 liter / 1¾ pt of boiling water and a cup of cold water into a heatproof jug. Stand the scored bottle in a plastic bowl. Place a funnel in the bottle and use it to pour the hot water in to fill the bottle.


Immediately run an ice cube all around the score line on the outside of the bottle. The bottle will start to crack. Carefully lift the top piece away.


STOP! Keep the ice moving – if you hold it in one place for any length of time, the glass may start to crack at an angle to the scored line.


Set the cut edge of the glass on a sheet of wet and dry sandpaper. Rotate the bottle, moving it backwards and forwards, to smooth the edge and to remove any small chips of glass.


Run the bottle under cold water instead of applying the ice cube to the scored line