How to Cut Glass Tile

Cutting glass tile is very similar to cutting standard ceramic or porcelain tile. You can use all of the same tools that work for standard tile, including a wet saw, a bar cutter and score-and-snap tile pliers. However, when cutting glass, any of these tools should have a carbide blade or cutting wheel, which is more effective than other materials at cutting and scoring glass. For a wet saw, you can also use a diamond blade. The one tool that's specific to glass is wheeled tile nippers. These have two carbide wheels and cut small pieces of glass more cleanly than standard tile nippers. Once your cut is made, you can straighten and smooth the cut edge of glass tile with a rubbing stone made for glass.

Glass wall tile.
credit: tilebar
Glass tiles can be cut with the same tools used to cut standard ceramic tiles.

How to Cut Glass Tile With a Wet Saw

Tile wet saws make clean cuts in all types of glass tile, including individual tiles of all sizes as well as mosaic sheets. As with ceramic tile, a wet saw is the best all-around choice for cutting glass. You can buy cheap saws for around $100 or rent better saws by the day.

  1. Mark the face of the tile with a non-permanent marker.
  2. Set the tile on the saw bed so the line is under the saw blade and the tile is face-up, and one edge is flush against the saw bed's fence.
  3. Turn on the water and the saw, and let the blade get wet for a few seconds.
  4. Support the tile on both sides of the blade, and carefully push the tile into the blade with light and even pressure. Be especially careful not to push the tile too hard at the end of the cut, to prevent chipping.
  5. Complete the cut, then turn off the saw and water flow.
  6. Clean up and smooth the cut edge of the tile with a rubbing stone, if desired.
tile wet saw
credit: Dewalt/Home Depot
Tile wet saws can be rented or purchased.

How to Cut Glass Tile With a Bar Cutter

Bar cutters are tabletop versions of score-and-snap pliers. They have a table surface for placing the tile and a cutting assembly that slides along one or two bars. The cutting assembly has a cutting wheel that scores the tile and a handle-operated presser foot that breaks the tile along the scored line.

  1. Mark the cutting line on the face of the tile with a non-permanent marker.
  2. Place the tile on the cutter table, face-up, so the far edge of the tile or sheet is squarely against the fence or lip at the back of the table. Align the tile with the cutting wheel on the cutting assembly.
  3. Support the tile with one hand while using the other hand to work the handle of the cutting assembly. Press the cutting wheel onto the tile with moderate pressure, starting at the near edge of the tile. Move the wheel away from you to make the scored line. Maintain even pressure throughout the motion to score a definite line. Make only one score; do not score each tile more than once.
  4. Position the presser foot so it is centered over the scored line, then press down with the handle to snap the tile along the line.
  5. Clean up and smooth the cut edge with a rubbing stone, if desired.
Tile cutter in the man's hand. A builder is cutting white tiles for renovation maintenance work indoors.
credit: Vadym Plysiuk/iStock/GettyImages
Tile bar cutter.

Tips

If you're cutting mosaic sheets, score all of the tiles with one pass, then snap each tile individually. Remove the sheet from the bar cutter, and cut through the mesh backing with a utility knife.

glass tile rubbing stone
credit: Mosaic Art Supply
Rubbing stone for glass tile.

How to Cut Glass Tile With Tile Pliers

Score-and-snap pliers include a cutting wheel, much like that on handheld glass cutters, and slightly curved jaws that snap the tile after it is scored, similar to a presser foot on a bar cutter. This tool works for individual tiles and mosaic sheets, but because it's a handheld tool, you may need a straightedge to make sure longer cuts remain straight. This is also recommended when cutting multiple tiles of a mosaic sheet.

  1. Mark the cutting line on the face of the tile with a non-permanent marker.
  2. Place the tile face-up on a flat work surface.
  3. Support the tile with one hand. If desired, set a straightedge or square over the tile to guide the pliers, holding the straightedge and tile with one hand.
  4. Score along the cutting line with the pliers' cutting wheel, starting at the far edge of the tile and pulling the pliers toward you. Maintain even, moderate pressure on the wheel, and score the tile only once.
  5. Position the tile in the pliers' jaws so the scored line is centered under the jaws.
  6. Squeeze the pliers' handles to snap the tile along the line. If you're cutting mosaic sheet tile, break each tile one at a time, then cut through the mesh tile backing with a utility knife.
  7. Clean up and smooth the cut edge with a rubbing stone, if desired.
Glass tile cutting pliers.
credit: EZ Travel Collection/Amazon
Glass tile cutting pliers (score-and-snap).

How to Cut Glass Tile With Wheeled Tile Nippers

Wheeled tile nippers are sold at craft stores and specialty suppliers for mosaic and stained glass enthusiasts. They work just like standard tile nippers and can cut small tile in half or can nibble away at tile edges to form curves and irregular cuts. To use wheeled tile nippers, simply place the tile between the two wheeled jaws of the tool and squeeze the handles to break the tile. Be careful to watch out for flying pieces of glass as the tile breaks. Smooth the cut edge of the tile with a rubbing stone, if desired.

Wheeled tile nippers.
credit: QEP/Home Depot
Wheeled tile nippers.

Philip Schmidt

Philip Schmidt

Philip Schmidt is author of Install Your Own Solar Panels, The Complete Guide to Treehouses, and 18 other home-related how-to books. A former carpenter, he has been a full-time writer and editor for over two decades, teaching DIYers about houses and everything we do with them.