Stained Glass for Beginners -Part 1: Cutting Tools

Stained Glass SuncatcherStained glass projects are really fun and surprisingly, it doesn’t take a huge investment to get started.  My goal is to get you familiar with the language and necessities so you can decide if it’s the right art form/craft for you.  There are two ways to assemble stained glass; the foil method and leaded came method, the foil method is a little easier so I’ll go over that in this series.

I have a bit to cover on stained glass so I am going to break it down with a four-part mini-series starting with the basic cutting and shaping tools. There are three basic steps in the foil method; cutting, foiling and soldering. We’ll start with the cutting tools and by the end of the mini-series we will have worked through an assembly.

Cutting tools you just can’t live without

Safety Glasses: always wear safety glasses, c’mon, you’re working with glass here! I bling mine out with jewels! How fun is that?

Hand Cutters: These are like shoes; you have to try them on to find out which one(s)  rocks your world – you can’t have too many shoes right. To find out more about these tools and see them in action check out our guide for choosing the best stained glass hand tool.

  •       Pencil Grip – My fave! It’s a self lubricating cutter that gives you a ton of control over your scorePistol Grip Glass Cutter
  •       Pistol Grip –it looks like a toy gun, but cuts like a knife! Also self lubricating, but easy to hold so it helps reduce wrist    fatigue. I find this one helpful when I work on a lot of projects.
  •        Steel Wheel Glass Cutter – Talk about economical, this is the cheapest cutter you can buy and it really works! Love the fact it doesn’t use oil!

Cutting Oil: a high-viscosity fluid used with glass cutters to keep the wheel clean of dust and glass chips, increasing the life of the cutter – I like to think of it like grease for a bicycle chain, it won’t work right unless you have it.

Ruler – helpful in cutting straight lines

Marking Pen – to trace your pattern onto glass for easy cutting and fitting

Running PliersRunning Pliers – these have a curved jaw which allows for more control when making long or more difficult breaks  – these are the equivalent of using a paper cutter to chop paper – it will help you make a clean break from end to endBreaker Grozer Pliers

Breaker/Grozer Pliers – these have a curved lower jaw and a flat upper jaw, both with a serrated inner surface for removing pieces of glass too small for running pliers – these are like using scissors to cut smaller pieces of paper

Scythe Stone –this tool well help you shape and smooth your glass pieces, like using a nail file or emery board on your nails!

Power Max Stained Glass GrinderGrinder – Not really necessary for beginners unless you happen to be a perfectionist with little patience (like me) – an electronic tool used for quick and accurate trimming of cut pieces, like a scythe stone, but faster – much faster

Diamond Blade Saw – again, not  really necessary until you start cutting  a lot of glass or if you want to cut out shapes very quickly, but I absolutely love using a band saw to cut my glass; it’s fast, easy and I love power tools


For some really great free stained glass patterns, check out the Diamond Tech Creative Corner and to find these stained glass cutting tools in a store near let our store locator be your guide.

Stay tuned… next week I’ll tell you all about the tools you need for foiling  soldering your glass.

Stained Glass Suncatcher


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