How To Cut Glass Circles

No Circle Cutter Needed

Glass circles can be cut easily with basic stained glass equipment. It's true that you can buy expensive circle cutters to help you - and they do work - but this page will show you how you can cut perfect circles with just a cutter and a pair of grozer/breaker pliers. Not even a grinder.

Before you start with this circles tutorial, you will need to be confident making a cut line with your cutter. If you haven't done this before, then this page will take you carefully through the process.

Cutting Glass Circles Video

Take the fear out of circle cutting with Milly's 6 minute tutorial

Cutting Circles Tutorial

1 Getting Started

cutting circle in yellow glass

Making first circles cut

  • Draw your circle on the artglass with a permanent marker
  • Put some linoleum or newspaper down to cushion it
  • Wear safety goggles
  • Make your first cut line by coming in from one side, follow the circle around, and off the opposite edge

2 Opening The Cut

using thumbs to press glass score open

Using thumbs to open score

  • Turn the glass over, so that the cut (or scoreline) that you've just made is underneath
  • Press firmly along the scoreline with your thumb
  • You will see the cut 'open' out along its' length. It will start to look shiny and as if it is cracked

3 Separating The Cut - Method 1

cutting yellow glass circle

Separating the scoreline with thumbs

  • Turn the glass back over, so that the score line you made is on the top
  • Place your thumbs either side of the line where your score line FINISHED
  • Ease the two pieces of glass apart by gently waggling your wrists back and forth
  • Make sure you hold it securely underneath with both hands as you do this

4 Separating The Cut - Method 2

Repeat 1-3 on the other side of the circle. These alternative methods are good if your thumbs aren't very strong.

grozer pliers glass circles

Using grozer to press on cutline

The handle of the breaker/grozer pliers can be used to press open the scoreline

grozers for snapping glass circle

Use breaker/grozers for easing artglass apart

The plier jaws can be used for separating the glass:

  • Make sure the flat jaw is on top
  • Line the end of the jaw along the cut line and bend it downwards
  • If you need to, go to the other end of the score and repeat, this time with more of a 'snapping' motion
  • Your artglass should now break apart

5 Glass Circles Cutting - The Sides

Now for the trickier bit - the two sides. You don't need to turn the artglass over and press the scoreline open for this stage.

grozing nubs off glass

Using grozing pliers for smaller bits

  • Choose one of the sides first
  • Score along the remaining bit of the circle with the cutter
  • Using the grozing pliers, line up the flat jaw along the cut and 'snap' as much as you can off with a short, sharp movement downwards
  • Keep your fingers underneath close to the pliers to hold it securely

6 Removing The Shards

The breaker/grozing pliers leave little 'nubs' of glass which have to be removed. This is done in two ways, and you will probably need to use both.

grozing shards off yellow glass

Removing tiny shards

- Snapping
If the tiny shards are big enough for you can get a hold of with the grozing pliers, you can snap them off, as in 5 above.

- Grozing
If they're stubborn, more rounded nubs that are making the edge uneven, you need to to 'groze' them away.

grozing circle edges

Grozing circles edges

  • Hold the circle firmly underneath with your spare hand
  • Place the flat jaw of the pliers over the uneven edge and scrape them down and around the edge
  • The serrated inside of the grozer jaws will 'groze' or nibble the uneven bits away. This takes some practice.
  • You must wear safety goggles for this.

7 Finished Glass Circles

And there you have it, a perfect circle. And all without using an expensive circle cutter :)

yellow glass circles

Finished circles

If you need a bit more help with your cutting, I've written 'Cutting Perfect Curves' just for you. It's a free e-book that shows you how to avoid cutting mistakes by learning from all the costly ones I've made over the years!
To receive it, sign up for the Everything Stained Glass newsletter, 'Dazzle'. It features:

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- An occasional 'Fresh Focus' surprise that may not be strictly about glass, but will always be fun and interesting

If you think you’d like some of this ongoing sharing of ideas and inspiration, sign up below for ‘Dazzle’, and the 'Cutting Perfect Curves' e-book will magically appear in your inbox!




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