Cutting Safety Glass

Safety glass can make great home accent and can be used in many different shapes and sizes. To get the look right, you may need to cut the glass yourself. The following tips establish the best ways to make your glass cutting effective and safe.


You must perform this project either outside or on a hard floor. Do not cut glass in a room that is carpeted as glass chips may become trapped in the pile. Also, ensure you have heavy duty gloves and safety goggles on at all times.


You will need to score the glass where you want to cut it before the actual cutting takes place. This way, you are weakening the safety glass so it will break along the exact line you want. You can score the safety glass using a wheel cutter.

Carbide vs. Steel Wheel Cutters

There are 2 kinds of wheel cutters made of either carbide and steel. Carbide wheels last a long time and some are self-oiling which is incredibly helpful. It is also very easy to replace the wheel when it finally wears down so you won't have to buy a whole new tool. One drawback is that they can be quite expensive.

Steel wheel cutters are not as expensive as carbide models and even though some professionals will tell you that they work just as well, they actually become dull much quicker than carbide. This can be remedied by oiling the steel wheel regularly.

How to Score

Clean the glass. If the safety glass is dirty, debris will make the wheel cutter dull rapidly and also will prevent your wheel from establishing continuous contact with the safety glass so your score will not be clean.

Hold the wheel vertically and apply pressure as you roll it along the safety glass. On most kinds of glass, you will know you are scoring correctly if you hear a screeching noise. If you do not hear this noise, it means you need to apply more pressure. If you see glass chips flying, you are applying too much pressure. If you are cutting textured safety glass, always score the smooth side.

Breaking the Glass

The professional term is "running the score" and this is the stage where you carefully bend the glass so that it breaks along the score. If your score is straight or only slightly curved and the safety glass is a decent enough size to get a good grip, you can grab the glass by both ends, with your thumbs on top, and bend carefully to pull the glass apart.

If your score is straight, you can put the safety glass on a table with the score just hanging off the edge. Make sure you are holding the part that's on the table tightly and press down on the section that's hanging off the table to snap it in two.

If your score is curved, another method is to put the safety glass upside down on a piece of cardboard. Press your thumb over the score and it should break or "run" quite easily.