Useful Tips

DIY mirror cutting

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Mirrors in the interior are needed not only to look in them. To create various optical illusions, reflective surfaces can be placed in blocks on walls, under the ceiling, near wall lamps, and even play the role of kitchen aprons. But here's the misfortune: not everyone can afford to hire a team of professionals for design repair now. Therefore, home masters have a logical question: what to do when you need to cut the mirror yourself? The author of the site "Miss Clean" understood this issue.

What to cook for work?

Before you start cutting a mirror for your home interior, it is important to make sure that everything you need is at hand. These are tools, accessories, items for cleaning up after oneself, as well as for observing safety precautions, because when working with glass, care should be in the first place.

For work you will need:

  • the mirror itself
  • glass cutter
  • smooth smooth surface (wide table or a large chipboard plate),
  • long thick ruler (about 8 mm thick),
  • cloth (for example, a sheet or an old tablecloth),
  • pliers with rubber pads,
  • a small hammer
  • roulette,
  • fine emery
  • a bowl or basin of water,
  • rag,
  • soda and alcohol,
  • pencil, crayon or marker for marking glass.

For the safety of hands and eyes, you need to prepare:

  • thick fabric gloves (so as not to cut your fingers),
  • patch for extra finger protection,
  • safety glasses (construction, bicycle or any other).

What kind of glass cutter to work?

For the layman there is no difference which glass cutters are, therefore, more often than not, those that are cheaper are bought “at one time”. However, this is not always justified.

To trim the mirror, you can use different types of glass cutters. The most popular are roller and diamond. The second one is much more expensive, but working with it is much easier, less effort is needed, the quality of the cuts will be much higher, and the amount of scrap and waste less.

It is optimal, of course, to cut the mirror with a diamond glass cutter. Especially if the work is planned to be sufficiently thin and accurate or a large volume is to be performed. A diamond nose is inserted into the frame of such a glass cutter (hence the name), which has sharp and obtuse angles. During the cutting process, it is important to move an acute angle forward, then the tool will go along the surface freely, without “tripping” over the smallest surface irregularities. If you cut it with an obtuse angle, then the grain of the glass cutter will either jump out of its nest or "go off course." In order to maintain the same tilt angle of the tool during operation, it is important to always point the mark that is on the frame of the glass cutter to the ruler.

A glass cutter is more difficult to hold the line, and to get a quality cut you need to put a lot more effort. In order to facilitate the sliding of such a tool on the surface, the line of the future cut can be greased with turpentine, using, for example, a student’s brush for drawing.

Before you start cutting critical, “finishing” sections of the mirror, train yourself well to do this on unnecessary pieces of glass. Then the hand will be firmer, and the lines will be smoother.

The necessary conditions

Cutting a mirror differs from glass in that it is carried out from the front. The remaining conditions are the same, so you must have:

  • table, surface area larger than mirror size,
  • a long ruler or strip of solid material with a thickness of about 8 mm,
  • glass cutter
  • small hammer and pliers.

It is desirable to have a soft and non-slip natural cloth and several small thin pieces of rubber or leather. By the way, pieces of skin are much easier to find. How to cut a mirror

All this is true when it comes to simple mirror cutting.

Curly will require additional conditions:

  • the presence of sheet material for the manufacture of patterns (plywood, fiberboard, HDF),
  • jigsaw or shoe knife.

Mirror cutting: tools and materials

Table. In principle, there are no restrictions for cutting mirrors, as for cutting glass. As a rule, the dimensions of the mirrors are quite comparable with the area of ​​a standard countertop, and the thickness does not exceed 5 mm (a roller glass cutter is also suitable).

Ruler. Cutting the mirror with a hand tool is necessary so that the side part has a good emphasis. An ordinary metal ruler does not provide this condition, and you do not have to wait for special rulers or squares for cutting glass from an ordinary set of tools. Rarely there is a meter-long wooden ruler with the desired thickness, although it is quite common. You have to use pieces of rubber or leather for a metal ruler. They do not allow the metal to slide on the mirror (this pair has one of the lowest friction coefficients) and raise the ruler to a sufficient level above the mirror to stop the glass cutter.

Glass cutter. In everyday life, the most common is a glass cutter, in which the cutting part is made of hard alloy. Where the emphasis on the side of the line is so important.

It "rolls", but does not cut, therefore there is a risk that can lead away. Having a choice, it is better to use a diamond tool.

Hammer and pliers. A small hammer is needed to slightly tap the bottom of a thick mirror, this will facilitate its breaking along the cutting line. Pliers are used to break off strips of small width when the thickness of the “unnecessary” edge is small for breaking.

Cloth. This is a dense tablecloth or a thin bedspread, preferably from natural fabrics, you can use a linen sheet. Cut on the table, and countertops have a polished slippery surface. In addition, there is a risk that on a solid foundation, if the movement fails, the mirror may crack.

Mirror cutting

It is required to prepare not only the tool and the workplace, but also the mirror itself. It is washed and degreased. A dirty, dusty or “oily” surface can cause the glass cutter to go sideways.

Then the mirror is wiped dry and placed face up on a countertop covered with a cloth.

Make a markup, apply a ruler so that the marks coincide with the working part of the glass cutter (roller or diamond), and for this you need a small indent.

The glass cutter itself is held perpendicularly or at a slight angle to the surface, but the diamond has its own peculiarities of position. How to cut a mirror correctly.

The crystal is inserted into the metal frame so that it can have an acute or obtuse angle with respect to the mirror. It is an acute angle that is working. For the correct orientation of the glass cutter on the frame make a mark, which during the cutting process should be facing the ruler.

To facilitate the work with a glass cutter, the surface of the mirror at the place of cut can be moistened with turpentine.

It is necessary to cut the mirror with a glass cutter in one motion - repetitions are unacceptable, this is a direct way to ruin it. Therefore, the movement should be translationally uniform with the same effort along the entire length, except for the edge itself (at the edge, the pressure is slightly weakened so as not to damage it).

The trace from the diamond glass cutter is thin and almost colorless; from the roller, the strip is slightly wider and whitish. By the way, it is easier to control the cut on the mirror than on the glass. The force for a roller tool is usually a little more than for a diamond tool.

A wide streak or whitish glass dust means excessive force. Alternatively, for a roller, this may mean that it has become dull, and for a diamond, that the cutting takes place at an obtuse angle.

The incised mirror is shifted (without turning over) to the edge of the countertop so that the trace from the cut goes beyond it to a distance of no more than the thickness of the mirror (from 3 to 5 mm). With one hand they press the mirror to the table, and with the other they break it down with one sharp movement (but without fanaticism).

If necessary, use grooves in the glass cutter or pliers. The lips of the pliers can be wrapped with insulating tape or use strips of rubber (leather).

Figured Mirror Cutting

The cutting technology is similar. It differs only in the fact that it is necessary to make a pattern.

The main difference in the breaking procedure. Break off unnecessary sections in parts, dividing them into sections with more or less equal parts according to the degree of curvature or the angles of inclination to the line. To facilitate breaking, manually draw additional lines from the highs and lows of the curve to the outer edge with a glass cutter. Circles or ovals are simply broken into a series of segments.

Protection at work

Safety is considered one of the most important factors in any type of work, and glass cutting is no exception. This material, in its raw form, has sharp edges, and its fragile structure can contribute to the formation of small fragments. When working with glass or a mirror, in order to avoid injuries, it is strongly recommended to protect hands and eyes. You can use the following things for this:

Construction gloves (preferably rubberized). You can use any others, the main thing is that they do not glide too much on the glass surface. For added safety, fingers can be wrapped with band-aid over gloves.

Protective glasses. It is not necessary to use special construction. You can wear ordinary reading glasses, or sunglasses. If only they did not impede visibility.

Required Materials

What you need to know before cutting?

In order not to spoil the mirror, especially in the absence of experience with a glass cutter, you should study the general rules for such work, and then the process itself should be phased.

So, what you need to know before you pick up a mirror and a glass cutter?

  • It is important to keep the tool at a right angle. Only a slight deviation is allowed.
  • The angle of inclination must not be changed! Otherwise, then it will not be possible to smoothly and accurately separate the cut off parts.
  • The incision should be made in one precise, continuous, sharp movement.
  • The pressing force cannot be changed, except for the edges: approximately 5 mm to the edge, the pressure is weakened so that the tool does not slip and chips are not formed.
  • Always cut from the far edge to yourself.
  • Always cut on the front side (not where the amalgam is applied).
  • A thin whitish trace when working with a roller glass cutter means that the cut was not deep enough. The correct incision is dark in color.
  • Diamond tools always leave a white mark.
  • You need to cut the mirror under the ruler of large thickness. To prevent it from sliding on the surface, pieces of rubber are attached to its base (for example, from a bicycle tire).

Do not try to deepen the incision that has not turned out. It will not work to get a trace into the track along the entire length, and repeated movements will only damage the mirror, and it will have to be thrown away (or cut off a smaller part). That is why it is previously important to train “on cats” in the form of old glasses.

Work execution technology

At first glance, the work seems daunting. But if you perform it in the prescribed sequence, observing accuracy and precautions, the result will please.

Mirror cutting is carried out as follows.

  1. It is necessary to lay a cloth on the working surface to protect the mirror when pressed.
  2. Clean the surface of the mirror first with a solution of soda, then with alcohol. Otherwise, particles of fat (for example, in places of fingerprints) or dust will lead to the displacement of the glass cutter, especially if it is roller.
  3. Draw a marking line. It should correspond to the line of motion of the glass cutter (that is, in fact, be at a distance of about 2 mm from the true position of the future cut).
  4. A carver without experience should make sure that his tool is perfectly sharp, otherwise the probability of failure is high.
  5. Next, you need to make the incision itself - according to the rules outlined above.
  6. Now you need to put the mirror so that the notch protrudes slightly beyond the edges of the table, press it with one hand, and with the other, with one sharp movement down, break off the cut part (you need to break it in the opposite direction from the notch).
  7. If the “trick” is unsuccessful, a hammer will help, which need to carefully tap the cut line from below, starting from the far edge, and then repeat breaking off.
  8. If the width of the cut section is small and not enough to fully grab a piece with your hand and break it off, you can use the grooves of the glass cutter itself and grab the desired section with it. Or pick up pliers with rubber pads. If there are none in the household, you can put rubber tubes on the lips of ordinary pliers or wrap several layers of electrical tape or plaster.
  9. The resulting slices must be carefully sanded with sandpaper.

Following the tips above, even an inexperienced novice can cut a mirror with a glass cutter. The main thing is to be careful and patient.

Other necessary tools and materials

Cut pieces of the mirror can only be at a prepared workplace. To do this, take a table, its surface should be large enough and even. The mirror will lie completely on the countertop, so its size is appropriate. Before starting the workplace, cover with soft cloth. At home, often use an old sheet or tablecloth. The ruler and square take thick and long, it is advisable that they be specifically designed for cutting glass. In addition, pliers with rubber pads, tape measure and a small hammer are useful. Under the debris and trim put a wooden box or box of cardboard.

In the process of cutting and preparing for it, the following consumables will be used: rags, alcohol and soda, chalk or marker. Instead of the latter, glass-pencils are sometimes bought for marking. For figure cutting, patterns are made in advance.

Preparing the mirror for cutting

Before you start cutting the mirror with a glass cutter, you need to prepare its surface. With the help of a rag, particles of small debris and dust are removed. Mirrors contaminated with grease are wiped with a solution of soda. Additionally, it is treated with alcohol and then wiped dry. The preparation of the surface of the mirror is very important, because grease and dust contamination can cause the cutting line to be knocked down. If the mirror has just been in a cold temperature, then they give it time to warm it up. Only after all these procedures should you start cutting.

How to cut a mirror at home without a glass cutter

If for some reason the glass cutter was not available to you, you can resort to other methods. Most of them are more traumatic, but nevertheless it is not worth completely discarding these "grandfather" methods.

Thin mirrors and glass are processed with scissors.

To do this, set a tank filled with water. The mirror is placed in water and a small piece is chopped off with scissors from the edge. Water prevents cracking. Chipping small pieces from a common array over and over again, you get curved mirrors. Disadvantages of the method: not suitable for straight cutting, the area of ​​the mirror is very limited, not suitable for mirrors thicker than 4 mm.

Another suitable tool for cutting glass is a file with a triangular or rectangular cross section. The corner of this tool on the surface of the mirror makes several cuts, after which a piece of glass breaks off on the edge of the table. The method requires a proven skill; before its use, training cannot be dispensed with.

For cutting, drills with victorious tips were actively used before. The workflow is similar to that of a glass cutter. The mirror is placed on the countertop, make markings and apply a guide ruler. The drill is turned so that the sharpest corner of the tip is in contact with the mirror.The method, like the previous one, requires a lot of skill and experience.

It happens that glass is cut with a grinder. During cutting, the disc does not penetrate into the material, but only touches the surface. The goal is to form an even groove along the entire length of the cut. Further, the material breaks off on the edge of the table in the same way. For such work, diamond blades with a thickness of 0.1 mm are suitable. The disadvantage of this method: cutting with a grinder requires strict observance of safety rules.


The latter method is very exotic, in it the processing of glass will be carried out not by mechanical, but by temperature exposure. Need a soldering iron or apparatus for burning. For starters, markings are made on the future cut line. Then a file at the beginning of this line pose a risk. Then they take a soldering iron in their hands and begin to heat a point on the cutting line, located 2 mm from the notch. As a result, a microcrack is formed between this place and the risk, when this happens, the soldering iron is pushed further 2 mm, the cycle repeats. The main disadvantage is slowness, which can be partially leveled if the mirror is cooled with a damp cloth during operation.

Safety precautions when cutting mirrors

Cutting mirrors, like any other industrial type of activity, poses a significant threat to human health with careless attitude to it and violation of safety precautions. The main threat - glass fragments that can crash into the hands of the master, get into the eyes.

General safety requirements for glass cutting are as follows:

  • Before starting work wear safety glasses and gloves. It is important that glasses should not reduce visibility. Gloves are better to take rubberized.
  • Provide a special box for scraps so that they are not in the working area and are not scattered on the floor.
  • Waste from the drawer is carefully removed, cracked pieces are better chopped and removed in parts.
  • To cut the mirror you need a normal table. Using a workplace assembled from improvised things can lead to unpleasant consequences.
  • After work, the countertop is wiped, and the floor around the workplace is carefully swept.
  • It is worth cutting glass in compliance with all aspects of the technology. Innovations from oneself are unacceptable.

How to use a glass cutter

To get a beautiful and high-quality mirror cut you need to adhere to the following recommendations:

  • First, the health of the tool is checked. For roller glass cutters, the disc should not hang in different directions. For models with a diamond cutter, sharpening looks, if necessary, the location of the stone is adjusted. Additionally, it is advisable to do a cutting training on an unnecessary piece of glass.
  • The glass surface is prepared for work, it is cleaned and degreased.
  • If one of the glass surfaces has some kind of texture, for example, a color pattern or a reflective film, the cutting is carried out from the opposite side.
  • It is necessary to press the glass cutter with constant force throughout the entire cut, the pressure is only slightly weakened at the edges of the mirror. The angle of the tool during operation also does not change. The force with which they press on a diamond glass cutter is less than the roller force.
  • The tool is usually kept as follows. In the hand, the glass cutter is clamped with the thumb and middle finger, the index presses the head of the glass cutter.
  • A well-sharpened glass cutter with proper operation does not emit squeaks and leaves behind a thin, inconspicuous feature. Whiteness and microcracks indicate a low-quality cut.
  • If the incision is of poor quality, the master steps back a few millimeters and starts a new cut, not trying to fix the previous one.
  • Glass cutters lead strictly from the far end to themselves.

Independent work with mirrors, perhaps, will not only help to master the glass cutter, but can also awaken the inner designer in a person.

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