How to Cut Wine Bottles

Cutting empty wine bottles is a good way to recycle them for use around the house as vases, glasses or other decorative items. They come in many sizes and colours, so you can find bottles to match just about any decor Save up your own wine bottles, or ask a bar or hotel for empties. With a small investment, you can easily make beautiful handcrafted gifts for family and friends.

Acquire an empty wine bottle to cut.

Soak the bottle in hot, soapy water until you can remove the label. Use a plastic scrubber if the label is stubborn or leaves behind some adhesive. Allow the bottle to dry thoroughly.

Position the cutting head on the bottle cutter where you want it. It should be below the point on the bottle where it starts to taper into the neck.

Place the bottle on the cutter, and make sure it is seated well. Put on your safety glasses.

Turn the bottle slowly toward you so that the scoring head makes a line on the bottle. Exert even pressure with one hand on the bottle for one entire rotation. Turn it only once. Rescoring over the line will cause uneven breakage of the bottle and will also wear out the scoring head.

Hold the scored bottle over the lighted candle with the score line just above the flame. Rotate the bottle very slowly at an even speed. Hold the bottle with one hand on each end, and apply a firm pressure toward the middle of the bottle. Two slow turns over the flame is a good starting point.

Put the bottle upright on a table, and slide an ice cube quickly over the score line. You will hear a cracking sound, which means the bottle is breaking along the score line. The top of the bottle will break cleanly away from the bottom after you apply the ice all the way around. If it does not break, you can repeat Steps 6 and 7 until it does. Bottles are different thicknesses and qualities of glass, so perform these steps as many times as necessary to separate the bottle.

Sand the cut edges of the bottle with sandpaper. Alternatively, you can use carbide grit powder sprinkled with a little water on a flat glass pane and rub the cut side of the bottle in the grit using a circular motion to polish the edge.


You must have a lot of patience to cut bottles this way. Never try to force the bottle apart; it will break cleanly on its own using this method. Recycle any broken bottles that do not turn out right. Drop a small amount of cutting oil on the score head prior to each cut. Use your cut bottles for drinking glasses, votive candle holders, vases or lamps.


Always wear safety glasses and protective clothing when cutting glass. Never try to cut a bottle with the cap on; the bottle could explode when you hold it over the candle.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty wine bottle
  • Soapy water
  • Plastic scrubber
  • Safety glasses
  • Bottle cutter
  • Cutting oil
  • Candle
  • Ice cubes
  • Carbide grit powder
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.