How to cut glass tiles

Written by garnet greene
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Glass tiles come in an extraordinary range of colours and effects. They shine and sparkle in a way traditional ceramic tiles cannot hope to match. Working with these materials is simple as long as you take the appropriate safety precautions.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Work gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Glass cutter
  • Wood or plastic cutting board

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put on your safety gear. Gloves are necessary to protect your fingers, and protective eyewear is needed just in case a tile shatters or is dropped.

  2. 2

    Prepare your cutting surface. Place your glass tiles on a plastic cutting board or piece of wood. The tool you will use is designed to etch glass and therefore is dangerous to most surfaces. Cut your tiles away from all delicate surfaces.

  3. 3

    Tape your tile to your cutting surface. Taping your tile down will prevent it from moving and give you more control.

  4. 4

    Score your tile with your tile-cutting tool. Your tile-cutting tool contains a small blade that will "score" or etch a line across your tile. The tool is simple to use. Essentially you draw the tool across your tile in whatever shape you like. You should move slowly and apply even pressure when scoring. Cutting tools can be very cheap, under £6 or so, or much more expensive. The professional-grade tools release a bit of oil as they cut to improve the smoothness of the etching.

  5. 5

    Snap your tile into two pieces. Once your tile is scored it should break along the scored line. You can snap the tile by holding one side in each hand and snapping it in two, facing the break away from you. You can also elevate one side of the tile by floating half of it off the edge of your cutting surface, and gently tapping the unsupported side with a small tool. A wooden spoon is a good choice for tapping. Make sure that the falling piece lands on a soft surface (like a folded towel) to prevent it from breaking.

Tips and warnings

  • When decorating, glass tiles are great for walls and backsplashes but are too fragile for countertops.
  • Cut glass tiles are as dangerous to work with as any other piece of broken glass. Wear gloves in every step of the process.
  • Glass tiles cannot be cut by a traditional grinding tile saw.

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