Easy! How to Save Money Cutting Glass at Home DIY

How to Cut Glass and Save Money - A glass cutter, cutting a piece of glass.

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Do you know how much it costs to have a piece of glass Cut?

Do you think that cutting glass at home is too hard, or dangerous?

Getting a piece of glass cut from a hardware store has become harder and much more expensive than 20 years ago.

Years Ago: We had 6 small pieces of glass cut for the outside lights/lanterns on our garage. We bought a large piece of glass for about $15 at Home Depot and they cut it for free.

Things have really changed since then.  We were looking at a $20 charge for 3 small pieces of glass.

Keep reading to learn how much we paid to replace 3 small pieces of glass on a borrowed lantern that we used at our daughter’s wedding.

Can You Cut Glass at Home?

We’ll show you how we cut glass at home for next to nothing.

If you want to skip to the video of how we cut a piece of replacement glass at home, just scroll to the bottom of the page!

Broken Glass at a Wedding

Bride and groom dancing on the dance floor with lanterns in the background.

During the setup of our daughter Becky’s wedding reception, one of the 12 borrowed lanterns used to decorate the stage was dropped (you can see them in the background of the picture above). As a result, 3 panes of glass were broken.

We quickly picked up the broken pieces and borrowed a replacement lantern from our friend who loaned us the other lanterns. Then we went on with the wedding reception and It was a glorious time.

Do Home Depot and Ace Cut Glass?

A few days after the wedding, Steve decided to call Home Depot to find out how much it would cost to get 3 small (5” x 8”) pieces of glass cut.

He was thinking with his 1980’s brain – expecting the price to be around $10.

At Home Depot, he was told that they sold glass, but they no longer did glass cutting. Steve was referred to a nearby Ace Hardware.

The clerk at Ace Hardware told Steve over the phone that it would cost $2 for each cut and about $20 for the glass.

The total would be somewhere between $30 and $40 depending on how the glass was cut. Getting this lantern fixed was definitely not cheap.

Lowes Cuts Glass

We discover Update 2019: We were in a Lowe’s Store in August 2019 and found that they will cut glass for you. They have a special glass cutting booth built to be super safe. 

We talked with Bennie at our local Lowes and he said that if you buy the glass from them, they will cut it for you at no charge. Even if you wanted several cuts out of one piece of glass. 

Call your local Lowes to confirm.

The Dilemma – Repair or Replace

The borrowed lantern cost somewhere between $30 and $50.

Since the glass was broken, we needed to fix it. The cost to replace the glass at ACE Hardware was greater than the cost of the lantern.

Should we buy another lantern? We started looking, but the problem was that this lantern was from a matching group of 6. And the chances of finding one that matched was pretty slim.

The DIY Discount Glass Cutting Option

Clear plastic Glass Cutter with oil chamber.

Steve knew that there had to be another way, and told Annette he was going to cut the glass himself.

Eight white lanterns hanging on shepherds crooks with lit candles inside.

He watched a couple of YouTube videos and then went to his workshop to find a glass cutter. He came up empty-handed in his search, so we decided to look online to see how much a glass cutter cost.

The price at Home Depot was about $5, on eBay we found them a little cheaper at about $4.50 with shipping.

Then he decided to check Michaels and found an oil chamber glass cutter for $7, but by using one of their 40 percent off coupons the price came down to about $5 with tax. The DIY option to cut our own glass seemed to be the way to go here.

How to Cut Glass at Home by Yourself. A Great Cutting Glass Project.

A Clever Way to Buy Glass – Thrift Store Picture Frames

With the oil-based cutter in hand, Steve needed to buy some glass. But then a light bulb went off in his head.

Light bulb great idea.

Didn’t we have a lot of old picture frames in the garage?

Yes! And many of them were given to us or bought at garage sales for $1 each.

We were sure if we looked carefully, we would find a picture frame with a big enough piece of glass for this project. Sure enough, we found one!

He set up a cutting mat on a table, measured the glass, and marked it with a Sharpie marker.

Using a metal straight edge and the oil cutter from Michael’s he was able to quickly cut the three pieces of glass in about 20 minutes.

When he put them in the lantern and cleaned them, you’d never know that the glass had been replaced. Learning to cut glass at home wasn’t so hard to do after all.

The Final Costs for the Cutting Glass Project

Total Cost was about $6

Total saved was about $24  to $50

The total time spent was about one hour when you calculate in two phone calls, a trip to Michaels, cutting the glass and reassembling the lantern.

How We Cut Glass Video

In the video below, Steve demonstrates how he used the same glass cutter to cut new glass for one of our picture frames and this glass cutting project. It’s so simple and inexpensive to cut your own glass.

2 thoughts on “Easy! How to Save Money Cutting Glass at Home DIY

  1. Jimmy

    No way you only spent 1 hour thinking about this. You went to Home Depot and Ace, watched YoutTube videos, and looked for a lantern to match. You then checked ebay for a glass cutter after it was $5 at Home Depot, and then went to Michaels. You spent time looking for the right glass in the garage. Then you cut the glass and put it into the lantern.

    That is more in the 3-4 hour range. I have the same problem, trying to save money and then I use up a lot of my time. Sometimes it is better to pay upcharge and keep your time. I am not saying that is the case for you, but there is a tradeoff, and if you spend your life always DIYing, you will spend a lot more time. The trick is trying to balance that for what is best for you.

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Jimmy, we agree that there is always a tradeoff of time and money. We love doing projects and saving money (not spending when we can find a cheaper way to do it). And then we write about it to help others save money too. We did spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do about the broken lantern glass … mostly because it was a borrowed lantern. Had we found a replacement for $10 I wouldn’t have bothered with researching how to repair the old one. But we only found lanterns that were $30 or more. So we resorted to DIY. But the time I spent fixing the broken glass in the picture frame was truly less than an hour. We already had purchased the glass cutter to repair the lantern. And we truly did have extra glass in the garage from old picture frames.

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