How to cut acrylic ceiling panels without breaking

Updated February 21, 2017

Acrylic is a clear, durable plastic that is used for a wide variety of construction purposes. It is often substituted for glass because it is impact resistant and lighter. Thin sheets of acrylic are also used as ceiling panels to cover light bulbs and fixtures. When installing an acrylic ceiling panel, you may need to cut it into a specific size. Luckily, acrylic ceiling panels are thin and cutting them requires only basic cutting tools.

Lay the acrylic ceiling panel on a flat, sturdy table. If the panel has a decorative side, make sure it is facing downward.

Place a tape measure onto the panel to determine where you need to cut it at.

Place a straight edge at the desired cutting location and use a dry erase marker to draw a cut line on the panel.

Keep the straight edge in place and hold it down firmly with your hand. Place the blade of a utility knife along side the straight edge and push down as you pull it all the way along the cut line. Recut the panel seven or eight times using the same method.

Set aside the straight edge and the utility knife. Move the acyclic panel to the edge of the table until the cut line hangs off by 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Place one hand firmly on top of the acrylic panel. Grasp the overhanging edge with your other hand and snap it down firmly to break it off of the panel.


If the cut edge of the panel is rough, smooth it with a fine grit sandpaper, such as 200.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Dry erase marker
  • Straight edge
  • Utility knife
  • 200-grit sandpaper (optional)
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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.