How To Make Shapes ‘Cuttable’

When you’re first learning stained glass there’s so much to take in. How to hold the cutter, how hard to press, how to open the scoreline. It’s all new.

But what about what shapes you can and can’t cut in stained glass?

I often get asked this question, and it’s quite hard to explain each shape in words. So I decided to make some slide shows to show you.

Shapes You Can And Can’t Cut

This first slide show covers the basic shapes – rectangles, triangles, circles – and gives you easy ways to break them down in to shapes you can cut. I’ll take the first shape as an example. If you want an ‘L’ shape, you can’t cut around right-angled corners, so you have to divide it into two rectangles.

See what I mean about it being difficult to describe in words?!

There’s different ways of dividing the shapes, which I’ve included too. Choosing how you divide your shape up is as important as color and texture. This is something that people often forget. The solder lines make a pattern too, and you want it to be a beautiful pattern!

So I give you my slide show 🙂

What Shapes Can You Cut In Glass

How Hard Are The Shapes To Cut?

This next slideshow uses the same shapes as above, but gives you information about how difficult each cut is.

I’ve colour-coded the shapes to help you. The red shapes are impossible. Or, should I say, some of them probably ARE possible if you are very experienced. But I wouldn’t recommend using them because they are likely to break during the making of the piece.

Where you see the colour amber on the shapes, you will know that, if you are just starting to cut glass, that these cuts will be a little bit harder than a simple straight cut.

So don’t get down-hearted if you can’t do it straight away, keep practicing and you’ll be fine.

What Are The Easiest Shapes To Cut?

The Maple Leaf Test

So now let’s put it all into practice! This final short slide show imagines that you are wanting to make a maple leaf suncatcher. How would you cut those tricky inside curves in between each leaf?

If you don’t think this is possible, how would you best break the leaf down into ‘cuttable’ shapes? Let’s take a look:

The Best Way To Split A Maple Leaf

Yay! Now you know the basics, you can put it into practice the next time you’re faced with an object that you can’t (or don’t want to) cut all in one go.

Here’s a cutting tutorial that takes you through how to cut stained glass from the beginning, if you need a little bit of a refresh.



My simple to follow free e-Book shows you how easy it is to cut even the most difficult type of curves in stained glass.

On top of that you'll get stained glass tips, tricks and inspiration with the Everything Stained Glass Newsletter.

Powered by ConvertKit FrancesStained Glass TutorialsCornerstone,Cutting Stained GlassHow To Make Shapes 'Cuttable' When you're first learning stained glass there's so much to take in. How to hold the cutter, how hard to press, how to open the scoreline. It's all new. But what about what shapes you can and can't cut in stained glass? I often get asked this...Create beautiful things. I'll show you how.