Welcome! This tutorial is the most basic method of making wine bottle drinking glasses. It requires no glass tools other than an inexpensive glass cutter.
Step 1: Mark the bottle where you want to cut it.
Anywhere from 3.5″ to 5″ is good for a drinking glass, it just depends on how big of drinks you want.
I find it helpful to mark a solid line all the way around the bottle so I can keep my score line straight.
Step 2: Score the bottle
A “score” line refers to the line that the diamond wheel of the glass cutter makes on the glass. Ideally, this is where the glass will break. Start by clamping the glass cutter to the table top with the wheel side up.
Line up the marked line with the cutting wheel and roll the bottle down onto the cutting wheel. This takes a bit of pressure, and a bit of practice. As the cutter scores the glass, it should sound like tearing silk. Try to do this in a continual rolling motion. Don’t be discouraged if you get off course, this takes practice. Simply recycle your bottle and start over, or make a new line on the bottle (toward the bottom) and try again.
Step 3: Separate the bottle halves.
We’ll be doing this by thermal shocking the bottle on the score line. Basically, this means we’ll use alternate heat and cold to make the glass expand and contract and hopefully, break on the score line.
For this we’ll need the candle and the ice water. Starting with a lit candle, run the flame along the score line, you may hear slight pinging or crackling sounds as the glass heats.
After heating for a while, dip the bottle into the ice water (that’s on the right hand side of the photo)
Repeat until the two sides of the bottle pop apart. This will take a while, maybe as long as 10 minutes if you are tentative in your heating. This part also takes practice, if your bottle breaks unevenly, don’t give up! Just do another one, it won’t take long to become an expert.
Once the sides separate, be very careful of the cut edge, it is very, VERY sharp. There is no need to try and clean the cut edge before you polish it, the polishing will help clean it, and it’s much safer to clean it later.
Step 4: Polishing the cut edge
For this part, we’re using a steel pie pan, rock polishing grit, and the cut off bottom of a champagne bottle. If you have access to these things, great! If not, we offer a kit with all three of those items.
Add 1 tsp of grit to the pie pan.
Add 1 tsp of baby oil (or mineral or vegetable oil) to the pie pan.
The idea here is to make a slurry (a mix of an abrasive and a liquid) to polish the cut edge of the bottle. When you rub the cut edge of the bottle around the pan, the abrasive will polish the sharp edge of the glass. It will also polish off the surface of your pan, so the oil in the slurry will keep the pan from rusting and prolong the life of your kit. (you can still use a rusty pan, the slurry will polish off the rust lickety split).
The sloped side of the pie pan will bevel the outside edge of the drinking glass, and the flat bottom of the pie pan will polish the cut edge flat.
Run the cut side of the bottle around and around the edge of the pan. This will take somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes depending on how much pressure you put on the bottle, and how thick the glass is. Check occasionally to see how things are progressing. Once the edge is polished to your satisfaction, set the glass aside.
At this point, you can either store the gritty pan in a ziploc bag and use the slurry again later
Or wipe the slurry out with a paper towel and throw it away. Never wash grit down your sink, it is very bad for the plumbing.
Step 5. Bevel the inside edge
To bevel the inside edge of the drinking glass, we’re using a cut off champagne bottle bottom and grit. The bump in the bottom of the bottle (also called the punty) and grit will bevel the inside of the drinking glass with a bit of effort. Add about 1/2 tsp grit to the groove.
Since we don’t have to worry about rust here, we can add about 1/2 tsp water to the grit to make a slurry
Rotate the cut edge of the drinking glass in the groove until it is polished to your liking.
This will also take between 3 and 5 minutes, so be patient (maybe watch some TV while you polish?) and check the edge every now and then.
Once the edge is finished, wipe out the extra slurry and then wash the glass. It’s important to note that this will NOT give a factory finish. It’s very difficult to get a perfect factory finish by hand polishing, but, it will give you a fun little glass to serve drinks in.