How to Cut Stained Glass for a Stepping Stone

Cutting your glass pieces for a stained glass stepping stone.  (see video at bottom of page)

Lay the glass that you are working with on your work surface front side up. The front is usually the smoothest or shiniest side. Try to always work with this side. The rough side of the glass will not produce as clean a cut. Place your pattern piece on the glass. If you are using patterned or textured glass make sure you cut the piece so that the side you want to face up is correct. Hold the pattern in place and trace around it with a felt-type pen. Remove the pattern from the piece of glass and mark it with a number that corresponds with the pattern piece. That way you will know where it goes. Note: Always cut glass on the smooth side.

Scoring your glass: Stand in a comfortable position and hold the cutter like you would a pen or pencil and remember to keep it straight up and down on the glass. Dip your cutter in oil and then start at the edge of the glass that is closest to you. Place your cutter head on the glass approximately 1/16″ away from the edge. Apply light, even pressure to the cutter and carefully guide the head across the surface of the glass on the inside edge of the line that you created. There is no need to re-score over a line. Just one pass is sufficient. Going over a line multiple times can result in a bad breaking score line and can also damage the wheel of your glass cutter.

Start with your most difficult cut first and finish with the easiest cuts. Inside curves are the hardest , outside curves would rank second, and straight lines are the easiest. Cut complex pieces a little at a time instead of all at once. Once you have practiced and understand the limitations of glass, you will be able to score and break more extreme curves.

Note – If there are small flakes of glass popping up from the score line then you are applying too much pressure on the cutter. Try applying a little less pressure to your next score line. If you are not able to see where your score line should be then you are not applying enough pressure. A white score line is called a dry score and simply means that you need to add oil to your cutter.

After scoring your glass, you will need to break it. First, make sure you are wearing safety goggles before attempting to break glass. There are two basic ways to break glass. You may use your running pliers or breaker/grozer pliers. Always remember to break each score line right away before making the next score. Do not score across other score lines.

To break glass with running pliers, hold the glass with score side up. Place the pliers at the beginning of the score and line up the pliers with the score. Tighten the screw until it touches the lower jaw of the pliers, then loosen the screw a 1/4 turn. Gently squeeze the running pliers to run the score. If the score only runs part of the way, you can turn the glass around and repeat the process from the other end of the score line.

Breaking glass with breaker/grozers: Hold your glass in the hand that won’t be holding the pliers. (If you are right handed, hold the glass in your left hand or vice versa.) Form a fist with your thumb on the top of the glass and your fist under it. Your knuckles should be adjacent to the score line. Place the breaker/grozers (with the flat jaw on top) directly across from your knuckles and parallel to the score line. Hold the glass firmly and apply even pressure while snapping up and away. Again, always remember to wear safety goggles when breaking glass.

If your glass breaks unevenly, clean up the edges with breaker/grozer pliers. With the flat jaw of the pliers facing up, grasp small pieces and snip them off. If the pieces are too small, hold the pliers at a 90 degree angle to the edge of the glass and drag the serrated jaw of the pliers across the edge. If the edges of your glass piece is rough, simply smooth it out with your grinder. Since you are using the pieces for a stepping stone and not for a standard stained glass piece you don’t have to be quite as exact.

The widget below features diamondcrete, stained glass patterns and a nice program for resizing patterns called rapid resizer.