How to Cut Glass Tiles

What You'll Need
Wheeled tile nippers
Tile scorer and metal ruler
Plastic or wood cutting board
Tape (optional)
Wet saw (optional, best for working with thicker glass tiles)
Safety gear (goggles and work gloves)

Sparklingly beautiful glass tiles add much to a backsplash or mosaic. Follow these instructions for cutting glass tiles into numerous shapes or sizes.

Step 1 - Prepare Work Area

When working with glass tiles make sure you put down a plastic or wood cutting board if you don’t have a specific work table for cutting tiles. Determine which tools you need. A wheeled tile nipper is the cheapest, simplest tool, working like a set of pliers, but not very successful at making precise shapes. It also commonly leaves jagged edges. A tile scorer works well for most standard thickness (4mm) tiles. If a glass tile is too thick for a scorer, a wet saw can be used. This power saw must be used with a diamond-encrusted blade made specifically for glass tiles. For most purposes, a tile scorer does a wonderful job making many different shapes. Read on for more details on using the tile scorer.

Step 2 - Tape the Tile Down

Although not absolutely necessary, taping your tile down to your cutting board or table can prevent mistakes by keeping the tile still.

Step 3 - Score a Cut on the Tile

Using the tile scorer, score (etch) a cut along the face of the tile, moving slowly with even pressure along the tile. Use straight edge or ruler to help you with straight lines. There are many different qualities of tile scorers; the most professional grades will release a small bit of oil onto the tile so that the blade cuts more smoothly and deliberately. The type of shapes you will be able to make will depend on the quality of your scorer. Practice on scrap tiles first.

Step 4 - Snap the Tile

There are a couple different ways to separate the tile into two pieces. First, you could hold it in two hands and bend it so that it breaks away from you. If you scored a straight line, you could use tile nippers to finish the job, lining up the nippers “blade” with the score on your tile. Or, you can place a wire underneath the tile, lining it up with the cut (which is on the opposite side); then press down firmly from the top on either side of the tile. Finally, you could place one half of the tile over the edge of your table, and gently tap the half that is not supported by table with a tool. Make sure that the tile doesn’t fall onto a hard floor, but onto a rug or blanket so that it doesn’t shatter or scar.