How to Cut Mosaic Glass Tiles

Glass tile backsplash
  • 2-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Mosaic glass tiles
Tile nippers
Wheel tile cutter
Eye protection

Mosaic glass tiles have gained popularity as decorative elements in kitchens and bathroom walls and back splashes. Though sometimes handmade, they are also widely available in standard sizes from many hardware stores. Installing a mosaic tiled floor is a time-consuming and tricky job, especially when it comes to cutting the tiles. You will need a few specialized tools at your disposal to cut the tiles and the job should be done with care and careful planning.

Step 1 - Get the Right Tools

There are devices specifically designed for cutting porcelain or glass and you should be able to get the right tile cutter at your local hardware store. Make sure the cutter is sturdy and well built. A low quality cutter may not do the job very well and could even damage the tiles. You should also have a set of tile nippers. Tile nippers are handheld tools which have opposing teeth or chisels. These are designed for cutting porcelain or glass tile. For glass tile, any tile nipper should work. Refer to the packaging for more precise application advice. The easiest way to cut glass tile is by using a specially designed glass tile cutter as explained in step 3.

Step 2 - Use the Tile Nippers

colorful tiles

Cutting the glass tiles should be done with great care as it is easy to damage them or cause injury to yourself. It is a good idea to wear goggles when carrying out this job. To start, move the tile between the teeth of the tile nipper and gradually pull the handles together. Where the teeth of the tile nipper connect, the tile should eventually crack when enough pressure is applied.

Step 3 - Use a Wheel Cutter

A wheel cutter is good for cutting tile in perfectly straight lines. Similar to a tile nipper, a wheel cutter is also a handheld tool which, instead of using teeth like a tile nipper, uses very sharp wheels to cut into the glass tile. To use these, place the glass mosaic tile between the cutting wheels of the device. The edge of the wheel should be carefully positioned over the line you have marked on the tile where you want it cut. The handles of the cutter should be firmly and quickly compressed, making a clean cut. It needs to be done quickly to keep up momentum as slow cutting can cause the device to stall and damage the tile. It takes a little practice to use this kind of tile cutter, but it is by far the easiest and most efficient method once you get used to it.

Step 4 - Use a Mallet and Hardie

glass tile

A harder way of cutting glass tile is to use a mallet and hardie. However, this is best suited to stone tiles as it is difficult to use these without damaging glass. You can wrap the tile in a rag or something else to help prevent damage to the surface if required.