Cutting Stained Glass Shapes

When you’re first start cutting 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. The following slide shows will help you.

cutting stained glass for window panel

Shapes You Can And Can’t Cut

The first slide show covers the basic shapes with regard to cutting stained glass – rectangles, triangles, circles. It gives you easy ways to break them down into 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 cutting stained glass being difficult to describe in words?!

If you’re struggling with accurate cutting there are many easy-to-learn techniques that will help you get better.

If you don’t have a class close by my Conquering Curves course has taught many people the skills to cut shapes accurately. And we all know how important neatly fitting shapes are!
The course is self-paced and online so you can learn these cutting techniques even if you are unable to get to a class. You can find out more about it here Conquering Curves.

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

Cutting Stained Glass – The Easiest Shapes

The slideshow below 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’re 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 learning stained glass cutting, 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 sun catcher. 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 Cut A Maple Leaf


Yay! Now you know the cutting stained glass 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. FrancesStained Glass TutorialsBeginner,Cutting Stained GlassCutting Stained Glass Shapes When you're first start cutting 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.
Share the stained glass love!