Cutting Stained Glass Circles
No Circle Cutter Needed
Cutting stained 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 here you will learn how to cut perfect circles with just a cutter and a pair of grozer/breaker pliers. Not even a grinder!
Before you start with this cutting stained glass circles tutorial, you will need to be confident making a cut line with your cutter. If you don’t feel confident with this then go to my How to Cut Glass page, which will take you carefully through the process.
Cutting Glass Circles Video
1 Getting Started with Cutting Stained Glass Circles
- 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
- 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
- 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.
The handle of the breaker/grozer pliers can be used to press open the scoreline
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.
- 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.
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.
If they’re stubborn, more rounded nubs that are making the edge uneven, you need to to ‘groze’ them away.
- 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 🙂
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!
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