How to Cut Plexiglass by Hand

Updated February 21, 2017

Plexiglass is a clear, durable sheet material that is made of acrylic. It is resistant to impact and thus is used often in sports equipment, vehicle parts and a wide variety of other uses. Although you can cut Plexiglass using traditional power saws, you can also cut it by hand with a sharp knife. This cutting technique is called scribing and is best used for straight cut lines on Plexiglass that is 3/16 inches thick or less.

Lay the Plexiglass on a flat surface and place a straightedge at the location where you want to cut it. Draw a line along the edge of the straightedge using a dry-erase marker.

Move the straightedge to the edge of the Plexiglass furthest away from you and line it up with the marker line.

Place the sharp blade of a utility knife or a scribing knife beside the straightedge so that it touches it. Press down with firm pressure and pull the blade toward you, using the straightedge as a guide. Continue pulling the blade until you reach the other edge of the Plexiglass nearest to you.

Move the straightedge back to the starting position and place the knife blade back beside it. Repeat the cutting method seven or eight more times using a single cut stroke each time.

Slide the Plexiglass over the edge of the table until the scored cut line hangs off by 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Place one hand flat on top of the section still on the table and grasp the opposite edge with the other hand. Press down, firmly and quickly, on the free edge to snap it off from the remainder of the Plexiglass.

Sand down the cut edge of the Plexiglass with 200-grit sandpaper to remove any rough edges.


Wear eye protection when snapping the Plexiglass.

Things You'll Need

  • Straightedge
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Utility knife or scribing knife
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Safety glasses
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.