With a bottle cutting jig, you can easily recycle your used glass bottles into reusable drinking glasses or flower vases. After scoring the glass with the jig, there are a few different ways to make a clean break. In this video, I show how to do this using a candle flame and a piece of ice. It doesn’t work perfectly every time, but many imperfections can be sanded down fairly easily. For another way, check out Sean Michael Ragan’s bottle cutting method over on Make: Projects. If you have a method of bottle cutting that you prefer, share it in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “How-To: Bottle Cutting

      1. I used a bottle cutter and the “heat and cool down” – method. Heating the bottle over a flame, like a candle or gas oven then cooling it down with cold water. It needs a few attempts before it breaks, but it works good.

      2. I used a bottle cutter and the “heat and cool down” – method. Heating the bottle over a flame, like a candle or gas oven then cooling it down with cold water. It needs a few attempts before it breaks, but it works good.

  1. Almost four years ago the Corning Museum of Glass showed the “cracking off” technique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4yovEi7j7E  You make a short scratch at the level you want the cut, put the bottle on a turntable, spin it (looks to be about about 75 RPM to me), and apply a fine torch to the cut line till the glass goes ‘ping’.  “Cracking-off has two great advantages.  First it’s very quick. Second, it requires virtually no skill on the part of the worker.” On April 24th another guy posted a video showing his use of the technique. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2a-DiTdC_g

  2. Where can one find a bottle cutting jig like that one? It seems simple and possibly not too expensive. A quick search didn’t yield anything that looked like this (but, I haven’t looked too hard yet).

    Thanks and great video.

    1. Thanks! The bottle cutting jig I used in the video is from Ephrem’s Bottle Works at http://www.ephremsbottleworks.com/

      One of the commenters on YouTube also pointed out that there’s an Instructable on how to make your own jig for about $10: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-glass-bottle-cutting-jig-for-10/

    2. Thanks! The bottle cutting jig I used in the video is from Ephrem’s Bottle Works at http://www.ephremsbottleworks.com/

      One of the commenters on YouTube also pointed out that there’s an Instructable on how to make your own jig for about $10: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-glass-bottle-cutting-jig-for-10/

      1. Not as cheap as I would have liked, but I’m sure I could use the instructable and make something pretty decent.

        Thanks.

  3. I’m a hobbyist, myself, and I started with these methods outlined in the video, but last year I learned a much more predictable technique.  Ditch the ice cubes and dunking method and do a web search for the “cracking off technique” in youtube.  (It’s a video posted by the Corning Museum of Glass.)  Essentially, all you need is a glass cutter, a lazy susan, and a small butane/propane torch (like you’d use in the kitchen for fancy cooking).  Scratch a tiny, horizontal line on the bottle at the height you wish to cut it.  Place the bottle in the middle of the lazy susan, and begin spinning with your left hand (or right) as fast as you are comfortable spinning the platform.  Then, take the torch to the outer edge of the bottle in line with that scratch you made… and slowly draw it closer and closer to the glass until the flame is right on the glass.  It’ll “pop” on its own accord and make a near-perfect cut every time.  LET IT COOL before handling.  I’ve used this method for almost a year now, plus some finishing/polishing tips I’ve picked up over time.  Don’t use sandpaper… use diamonds instead.  I’m glad to offer advice!  My site is http://www.castawaybottles.com if you want to get in touch with me for other ways to do this!  :)

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

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How-To: Bottle Cutting

”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODJYutJERe0&feature=youtube_gdata”
With this unconventional method of recycling, you can turn many kinds of bottles into drinking glasses, vases, or other vessels. In this video, Matt shows you how to convert a used beer bottle into a reusable drinking glass.

Sean Michael Ragan’s bottle cutting method on Make: Projects: http://makeprojects.com/Project/Bottle-Cutting/106/1

2 thoughts on “How-To: Bottle Cutting

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

View more articles by Matt Richardson