Condo Blues: How to Cut a Glass Bottle with Hot Water

Friday, June 12, 2015

How to Cut a Glass Bottle with Hot Water

The most difficult part of when reusing a wine bottle for a DIY recycling project is cutting the bottle. I tried several methods and had varying levels of success with each one.

Pin this for reference!

Cutting a bottle by lighting string dipped in acetone on fire method doesn't work for me. I can’t get a clean break and I  am afraid I’m going to burn down my house because acetone burns scary hot.

I get better luck when I use the candle method I used in my tutorial How to Cut a Wine Bottle Perfectly Every Time. Unfortunately it is also messy because the bottle gets covered in soot from the candle.

Messy and sooty!

I experimented and found an even better, cleaner, and less fire hazardous way to cut a glass bottle. I am going to use the power of Science and a tea kettle. Yes you can cut glass with hot and ice water!

How to Cut Glass Cleanly Every Time

If I haven’t cut a glass bottle in a while my first few bottles sometimes have a broken edge. I think it is best to have extra practice bottles or jars on hand and cut a few of them first because every bottle or jar has its own unquiet features, thickness, angle, etc.

Sometimes I can save the wonky breaks with extra sanding and sometimes not. So it never hurts to cut a few practice bottles because cutting your only fancy/unique bottle you want to use for your wine bottle project. This is why you will see a series of bottles in this post.

You will need:

Glass bottle

Bottle cutting cut - there are several types of  glass bottle cutting kits to choose from here

Kettle full of boiling hot water - I use an electric tea kettle similar to one like this

Bucket or sink full of ice water as cold as cold can be - I use a reusable freezer ice pack like this one because it doesn't melt as quickly as ice cubes. Very handy when you are cutting several bottles!

Science! (I'm really fighting the urge to embed Thomas Dolby's She Blinded Me With Science video here. Please recognize my struggle.)

Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.

1. Remove the label from the glass bottle or jar. If try to do Step 2 through the label you will end up scoring the paper label and not the glass underneath.You need a solid score line around the glass bottle for it to break. Trust me on this one.

I left the labels on my wine bottles because I am cutting the bottom off my bottle below the label. Your mileage may vary.

2. The best way to ensure a clean (or cleaner, because cutting bottles is not an exact science) cut is to lightly and evenly score the bottle using the bottle cutter using one rotation only.

I'm using a green wine bottle in this photo so you can see the score line better

This is where bottle cutter kit is your best friend. There are cheaper ways to score a glass bottle before cutting it but they make it more difficult to make sure you have an even and level cut line.

There are three major glass bottle cutting kits:

Ephrem's Original Bottle Cutter Kit,

Armour Products Bottle and Jar Cutter,

Generation Green (g2) Bottle Cutter - a variation of the Armour kit.

and the Glass Bottle Cutter - a variation of the Ephrem's kit

They all basically work the same and the type you buy really comes down to preference. I am using the Ephraim bottle cutter in this tutorial. It is my favorite.

Tips: I always get a better break from a light score line on the bottle than when I smash the bottle into the cutting wheel to make a deep score line. If you have little gaps in your score line it may lead to a chunky cut.

If you go over the score line more than once, you might get a chunky or useless cut. I learned the hard way, don't be me.

3. Heat water in the tea kettle until it is boiling hot.

4. Fill a bucket or sink with cold as possible ice cold water. I add as many reusable ice cubes and cold packs to the water as I can because the water needs to be super super cold.

5. Carefully pour the hot teakettle water over the score line on the bottle. Be sure to rotate the bottle as you pour water over the score line. The goal is to get the bottle as hot as possible.

This is were having a double sink helps. Do not do Step 5 over your cold water bucket.

6. Immediately plunge the hot bottle into the ice water. With your mighty Science Powers the stress from heating and cooling the glass will make the bottle crack and break long the score line. This may not happen the first time out. Repeat Steps 3 - 6 as many times as necessary until the bottle breaks a long the score line.

 Warning: Be very careful handing the edges of the bottle. Cut glass is sharp!

You just glass bottle using science!


What will you  make?

Looking for more glass bottle cutting tools and ideas? Check out the following options - and more!- below!

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Debra said...

Excellent posts. There is certainly a trick to how to do this, that is for sure. Thanks for sharing at the Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Many people need to know to cleanly cut glass bottles for DIY and crafting projects

Anna Rain said...

Found this blog through pintrest. Love the way you write, and thank you very much for the insight!

Tracey said...

Salt makes cold water colder. I'm thinking this is the perfect time to try that theory too...when I find my bottle cutter.

Unknown said...

I'm doing this method but my bottles crack up and down the bottle instead of a clean crack. What am I doing wrong?

Dee | said...

Good to know!! Pinned.

Frugal Hausfrau said...

I can't tell you how many things I made with wine bottles when I was a kid back in the folks did NOT drink enough wine for me, lol! Might be fun to revisit! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday!


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