Cutting Glass Bottles- Adventures in DIY

I had saved some glass root beer bottles with the hopes of cutting them and making candles. I watched this tutorial and felt fairly confident I could do it.

  • I assembled my bottles, yarn, nail polish remover, lighter, scissors, and sink of cold water.

Bottle for ProjectTools neededIced sink one

  • I wrapped my yarn around the bottle six times, took it off and soaked it in some acetone I poured into an old container.
  • I then placed my yarn back around the bottle, wiped off the excess acetone, and lit it on fire.
  • I’d like to add at this point that I after having worked on an ambulance and for a fire department, I was fearful of this project and the possible emergency room trip that could follow. Therefore, I wiped down the excess acetone to prevent it from flaming up the bottle (and me) and wore my glasses in case the glass popped. Read on to find out what happened when I threw caution to the wind.
  • I rotated the bottle slowly until the fire went out and plunged the bottle into the sink.

After lighting my bottle I rotated it slowly until the flame burned out.

Nothing happened.


Absolutely nothing.

Ok, back to the internet. This is simple science after all, so I had to be messing up somewhere. After some research and watching another tutorial video, I decided to switch yarns and give it another try. I also decided to add more ice to the sink to make the water extra cold.

Different yarn

Different yarn.

Iced sink two

Added lots more ice to the sink.

  • Just like before I wrapped my yarn around the bottle six times, took it off and soaked it in some acetone I poured into an old container.
  • I, once again, placed my yarn back around the bottle, wiped off the excess acetone, and lit it on fire.
  • I rotated the bottle slowly until the fire went out and plunged (ok, ok, dropped) the bottle into the sink.
Burning two

I lit that bad boy on fire and proceeded to repeat my earlier steps.



The bottle made a popping sound and broke cleanly above the yarn. It worked! It worked! Plus, it had a nice, smooth cut to it. Excited I repeated the steps with another bottle. And another bottle. I could not achieve the same results.

First and second result

Left: Jagged edges of the second bottle.
Right: First bottle.

Second bottle did not come out so nice. I figured I could sand it down and kept trying. I tried tilting bottles different ways as they burned and holding them straight. I rotated them all slowly until the fire burned out. I tried plunging them and dropping them in the water. Nada.

1 out of 4

Four bottles later, all jagged except the first.

Frustrated, I grabbed a wine bottle wondering if it might be the type of glass.

Wine bottle

The wine bottle.

It came out fairly well, except it cracked all throughout the glass.

Cracked wine bottle

Came out great- except the cracks.

I kept pursuing with different root beer bottles. I tried placing the yarn at different spots, I tried rotating fast and rotating slow while it burned. I tried dropping the bottles in the ice water and plunging other times. Twice more it didn’t work at all. I finally became frustrated.


6 root beer bottles and one wine bottle. Only one came out correct.

Let me start by saying frustration and DIY are not a good combination. We’ve all been to that point where we want something to turn out so well but it just keeps failing. That being said, safety should always be on the forefront of your mind.

As I mentioned previously, I have worked for a fire department and for ambulance services. I’ve had some gruesome stuff in the back of my ambulances, and a few caused by DIY home accidents. I’m smart enough to take precautions and worry enough to enforce them.

I do get stupid occasionally though.

I was down to my last bottle and decided not to take the string off the bottle, but to pour the acetone over the string as I rotated the bottle. This caused a lot of acetone to get on the string. I wiped the bottle down, but not carefully. When I lit the string on fire, the excess acetone on the bottle lit on fire, and the remaining acetone I didn’t wipe off my hand. I dropped the bottle into dry side of the sink quickly and jerked my hand back before plunging my hand into the ice water (note to self: working as a stunt double on fire is not a career option).

I got lucky, I didn’t burn my hand. But when I jerked my hand back my shirt came up a bit and some fire reached out and bit my side, burning it a little (nothing serious).

I grabbed the bottle out of the sink and started rotating it like a mad woman. The fire went out and I tossed it into the ice water. It too, cracked all weird.

For now, I’m going to use the two bottles that came out ok and see if I can sand the others. If not, I give up on this one.


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