DIY bottle cutter

Written by nat fondell
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DIY bottle cutter
A wine bottle can make an excellent vase or glass. (wineglass of wine and bottle image by NatUlrich from

Cutting your own bottles is an excellent way to make attractive, distinctive candles, vases or drinking glasses. The bottle cutting process is also interesting enough to fascinate friends and family, and can serve as an excellent show and tell, speech presentation or school science project. With a good supply of bottles, it is easy and quick to create an entire set of drinking glasses or an assortment of Christmas gifts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • String
  • Bottle
  • Nail polish remover
  • Match
  • Deep container
  • Sandpaper
  • Safety gloves
  • Eye protection

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  1. 1

    Wrap a string around a bottle two times, tie it tightly and cut off the excess string. Remove the string loop and soak it in nail polish remover for a few seconds so the entire string is thoroughly soaked. Quickly apply the string to the bottle in exactly the place where you would like the bottle cut.

  2. 2

    Hold the bottle on its side and light the string with a match. Rotate the bottle smoothly in your hands so that the fire stays consistent around the entire circumference of the string. After 20 seconds, or just before the fire goes out, plunge the bottle neck down into extremely cold ice water so that most of the bottle is submerged.

  3. 3

    Wait a few seconds until you hear a cracking or popping sound. Remove the bottle and hold it in both hands wearing your eye protection and safety gloves. With one hand on the neck and one at the base, attempt to pull the bottle apart while it is facing away from you. It should break cleanly; if it does not, allow the bottle to dry completely and repeat the process.

  4. 4

    Clean up the rough edges of the broken bottle, using rough sandpaper at first and then smoother and smoother sheets as desired for as smooth of an edge as you wish. If you will be drinking from your glasses, you should also buff the edges with a soft cloth or buffer.

Tips and warnings

  • Bottle-cutting kits and apparatus are available which will allow you to cut your bottle while it is mounted on a vice-like tool.
  • Hand-held glass cutters are not recommended for bottle cutting, as they can be very difficult to apply to the curved surface of the glass.
  • Some bottles cannot be cut using this method, due to the thickness of the glass and the curvature of the bottle. Thicker wine bottles and beer bottles can be especially difficult. Very thin beer bottles can be an excellent starting point for the beginning glass cutter.
  • Wash your cut bottles thoroughly before use to eliminate any small glass shards or dust.
  • Cut bottles in a well-ventilated area to eliminate the risk of glass dust inhalation.

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