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Welcome to Biddle Bits! My name is Sarah & I believe that *anyone* can create amazing things, if you just work on them one step at a time.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to cut glass bottles using polish remover & a flame

I've seen a few posts on Pinterest, explaining how to cut glass using fingernail polish remover, cotton string, and a flame. I was curious to see if it *really* worked, and my hubby just happened to have saved some cobalt-blue beer bottles in the garage...just waiting to be used for a cool project :)

Here are 2 of the tutorials I looked through for instructions:

Everything but the sandpaper!
Items needed:
  • glass bottles
  • acetone nail polish remover (I haven't tried non-acetone, though I'd imagine it would work too)
  • cotton string (or yarn)
  • lighter
  • sandpaper (I used 100-grit, but any grit would probably work)

I will admit that my first try was a Pinterest FAIL. It's hard to tell in the picture below, but the glass did break, though it was a very jagged cut.

FAIL - jagged edge

My 2nd try worked like a charm!
(Safety first! My brother is a fireman, so I should begin by saying that you should keep a fire extinguisher nearby...just in case)
  • Step 1: rinse out beer bottles and fill up a sink with ice-cold water.
  • Step 2: cut enough string/yarn to wrap around the bottle at least twice. Knot the string tightly and cut off the extra string.
  • Step 3: remove the string from bottle and soak in nail polish remover - just long enough to saturate the string
There *is* polish remover in there
  • Step 4: Roll saturated string back over bottle, and position the string in as straight a line as you can. (Position the string at whatever height you like - I chose a tall position, so I can use the cut bottle as a vase)
  • Step 5: While holding the very top of the bottleneck, light the saturated string on fire. Use your other hand to hold the base of the bottle, so you're using both hands. Roll the bottle around in your hands, keeping the flame evenly distributed. Keep rolling until the flame burns out. (less than 1 minute)

Step 6: Immediately as the flame burns out, dip the glass into the sink of ice-cold water (still holding both sides). You should feel, and maybe hear, the glass break. It should break just above the string position.

  • Step #7: take sandpaper (I had 100-grit handy, so used that), and carefully sand the broken edge of the glass, taking care not to cut yourself. Sand until completely smooth.
  • Step #8: I had to use (a lot of) goo-gone to remove the stickiness left under the beer label
Not an *exact* straight line across the top, but pretty close!
VOILA! You have a beautiful cobalt-blue flower vase! 
If you sand the bottle neck, you can use it in your plants as a self-waterer!!

Gotta love a goofy husband - here he is, trying to, erm...find a few other creative uses for the bottleneck...

Has anyone else tried this glass-cutting technique with success?


  1. Nice tutorial! And a cameo from Mr Biddle! I'm looking to try out this cutting tool called The Kinkajou. It's still in production, but it cuts glass without having to use any flame!

    1. Thanks, Matt! Haven't heard of the Kinkajou, but if you have a chance to try it out when it's available, let me know what you think.

  2. http://www.bottlecutting.com/ gives you a demonstration of the Kinkajou.

  3. To remove the glue from the label use metal polish, either as a cotton wadding or the liquid type with a cloth.
    Then wash in soapy water to remove any grease from the glass before using the burning string.

  4. Do you have any idea why my nail polish remover didn't ignite when I tried?

    1. Perhaps the alcohol content in your polish remover wasn't high enough? That's a totally uneducated guess...but I'd try another brand of polish remover. Best wishes!