Collection: All About Cutting Mosaic Tiles

woman using wheeled nippers to cut mosaic tile

 

Getting that perfect cut can be frustrating – the cuts are wrong, they leave jagged edges, or just breaks your tiles into tiny pieces you can’t use. The more cutting techniques you become skilled at, the better your mosaics will become. Plus, your opportunities open up for bigger and better designs when you master these skills.

There are 4 tools that I use a lot and love. Wheeled nippers are the most common tool mosaic artists use. They are great for nipping vitreous tiles, stained glass, china, mirror, even smalti can be nibbled with wheeled nippers. For larger pieces of stained glass, however, a glass scorer and running pliers are the best tools for cutting and shaping it. For smoothing those rough edges or getting rid of that teeny-tiny bit, a glass grinder works wonders. There are several different bits for grinders available that work with all sorts of materials. Another wonderful tool is the ring saw. It comes into play when you need to cut out shapes that are impossible with hand tools. It costs more, but depending on your design, can become an essential tool to have.

Using all of these tools takes practice. Due to my stained glass background, I was able to transition my skill in using the glass scorer, running pliers and glass grinder into mosaics. However, using a wheeled nipper proficiently took some time and lots of practice.

As mentioned above, wheeled nippers are used a lot in mosaics. It is vital to learn how to hold them correctly in order to 1) maximize the leverage power so you don’t wear out your hands; 2) achieve straight cuts when needed; and 3) know how to cut curves, squares, triangles, and circles. Keystoning is done with wheeled nippers and is vital to creating curves that don’t have those ugly gaps.

Cutting stained glass requires practice and patience. The glass scoring tool is easy to use but there are some definite tricks to working with glass. You don’t actually cut glass – you score it. So you need to know how to score glass successfully and then how to use the running plier to snap the scores without them breaking off in the wrong direction.

A glass grinder is a very simple, easy to use tool that allows you to clean up those jagged edges and smooth away unwanted material. It is preferable to remove as much material first with your hand tools before you use the grinder – this helps save your grinder bits and is generally quicker. A grinder with a small footprint is also recommended because unlike stained glass artists, you are cutting small pieces and it saves space.

The ring saw is a larger tool that has a diamond blade for cutting all sorts of materials. I usually mark my design on my glass and then cut away as much material beforehand with my hand tools. This also saves wear and tear on the blade. There is a myriad of designs you can cut out with this saw and it is very safe and easy to use.

We have assembled a collection of 8 Mosaic Technique Videos that will give you the knowledge to ultimately become a master of cutting glass mosaic tiles regardless of your current skill level.

As always, chat with me if you have questions before or after you buy.

8 products
  • Making Biconvex Shapes for Mosaics (How to Cut Fur, Feathers and More)
    Woman showing a mosaic of an owl
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  • How to Master Keystones in Mosaics
    woman demonstrating how to cut mosaic tiles to fit in a circle
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  • How to Cut Basic Shapes Using Wheeled Nippers
    hands showing how to cut mosaic tiles with wheeled nippers
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  • How to Use Wheeled Nippers
    Woman's hand holding wheeled mosaic nippers
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  • How to Achieve Precise Shape and Fit with Wheeled Nippers
    Closeup of mosaic artist fitting in a piece of glass
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  • 3 Basic Stained Glass Cutting Techniques
    Woman demonstrating how to cut stained glass
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  • Cutting Letters and Numbers with a Wet Saw
    Closeup of a wet saw cutting stained glass
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  • How to Achieve Precise Shape and Fit with a Grinder
    Grinding stained glass smooth with a glass grinder for a mosaic
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