Which Glass Colors Cut Most Easily?

Anyone who has taken our stained glass art classes in Monterey County, CA learns quickly that some colors cut easier than others. This fact arises from the different properties of each glass color and the metal oxides used to create their hue. Some students like knowing ahead of time which glass colors will challenge them, and wish to understand why that’s the case. Here is an overview of stained glass colors and their ease of handling:

  • Blue and green: If you want to complete stained glass art but you do not want the challenge of being difficult to cut, focus on blue and green. These are the easiest colors to cut, and if you choose cathedral glass, it is even easier. Most window glass is cathedral style, and it’s an excellent option for beginners because it’s thinner and less resistant to shaping. However, be careful that you do not shatter it or cut yourself!
  • White: White glass (not clear) is difficult to cut. It contains antimony or tin oxide, which fortifies strength and makes it resistant to shaping. The only real solution is to press harder on the cutter and hope you gain a clear cut without shattering the glass. For this reason, reserve using white in your projects until you gain more experience with a glass cutter.
  • Red: Red is not difficult to cut, but red cathedral glass is easier to cut than opalescent glass. Be aware that when cutting red glass, you will see a faint gold color along the score lines. The score line is due to the gold chloride and other similar metal used to create the color, but it will not show up in your final color.

Even with this guide, you will discover that glass may pose more of a challenge than expected. Different glass brands and their opacity will cut differently even if they are the same color. Before you start your project, test the glass to see how it cuts and whether it’s difficult to handle. Learn the pressure required to cut it, and find the best way to run a score line. If your glass contains bumps, seeds or small cracks, find a way to work around them, or perhaps buy higher quality glass in the future.

If you are interested in stained glass, the best way to get familiar with the cutting process and other techniques is to learn from a skilled supplier. Many locations offer classes, and in this time of COVID-19, some of them are even available over Zoom. It is a good idea to create guided projects in a class environment before striking out on your own to design and build your own.

If you are interested in stained glass art classes in Monterey County, CA, Smiths’ Stained Glass is here for you. Each class is six sessions long and focuses on the critical elements of the stained glass process. Contact us today to check out our current class schedule and enroll in one of your choosing. We look forward to working with you!