Scoring ceramic tile with a glass cutter to cut the tile to size.
Scoring ceramic tile with a glass cutter to cut the tile to size.

To cut ceramic tile by hand without a tile cutter:

  1. Mark the top of the tile where you want to cut it.
  2. Place a square on the tile slightly away from the mark.
  3. Use a glass cutter to score the tile on the cut line.
  4. Place the tile on solid surface with a wire clothes hanger under the tile aligned with the score mark.
  5. Press down on either side of the tile to break the tile along the score line.
  6. If needed, smooth the cut by rubbing the edge on concrete or a brick.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Danny Lipford: Usually when you’re doing some ceramic tiling around your house, you have to go to the rental center and rent a tile cutter. But Joe’s got a method on small ceramic tile jobs that you can save that rental money.

Joe Truini: That’s right, Danny. When you only need to cut a couple of tiles, all you need is a glass cutter and a wire hanger, and of course a pair of safety glasses.

First mark the cut line on the tile, then use a square to guide the glass cutter along the line. When you hear that crackling sound, you know the glass cutter is scoring the ceramic surface of the tile. Then you simply place the tile on the wire hanger with the line directly over the hanger and press down.

Now the resulting cut is sometimes a little rough, but it’s typically hidden by another tile. If it’s going to be exposed, you can smooth it out on any concrete surface or even just a brick.

Danny Lipford: That’s a great tip, and actually this same method can be used on any size tile.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I’m finishing up a ceramic floor tile repair,(125 12″ Sq.) I need to cut two 12’x12″ in half to complete a rectangle border design. I’ve seen good and bad reviews re; slide type cutters, and I need to own it for about 30 sec. Thanks to your glass cutter method, problem solved. I suspected this wood work, and your video confirmed it. Thank you
    Jim

  2. This video was really impressive! Who would have thought that you could cut ceramic tile with glass cutters and a hanger; I sure didn’t! I wonder if my wife knows this? She is definitely the more crafty one in our marriage. I feel like she is constantly working on a new project. Thanks for the video!

  3. I managed to brake our class cutter and accidentally make a Harry Potter lightning scar type fracture like in the tile

  4. Thanks! I used my glass cutter for glass tiles, but only have two cuts to make to finish my diy countertop, I will definitely try this method, don’t want to buy tile cutter for just two cuts.

  5. I tried doing this a few times before and I have to say, it’s not as easy as it looks. I have managed to make some pretty bad cuts and wasted tiles. I think in this case it might be better to have a professional do it so I’m not wasting money on poorly cut tile. t

  6. I’ve done it at home and it’s easier than glass cutting, though small pieces are easier.

    While large tiles are more difficult, small pieces are much easier. For example, snapping a 1″ square into two triangle, one scores then holds both sides with flat pliers and snap – it’s easy. In fact even those with tile saws is likely to do this since doing small work with a 7″ saw is harder (and looses 1/8″ of the middle).

    Unless you have good solid edge to snap on (ie not a coat hangar), count on tile loss. And some loss besides. Same rules as a professional glass cutting would give (NOT a coat hangar – see instructions how to cut glass with scoring tool on internet)

    Tile saws blades are only $20, (or a concrete saw no wetness required, but rougher finish) will work though not as cleanly as a good score/glass cut or a very high quality fine grit diamond tile saw blade. There are few these days who don’t have $20, but maybe some who have few tiles and excess tile.

  7. This may work with very small tiles, but don’t try it on larger tiles. Fractured 18x18in tiles doing this. Rent a tile cutter!

  8. I have to replace 2 tiles on my outdoor table. I bought 2 tiles that closely match but they are about 1/8 inch too big. Is there any way to ‘file’ them down without using any kind of saw?

  9. I need to cut two ceramic tiles to fit a wider basin, but they are already fixed to the wall. How can this be done?
    Graham

  10. Thank you so much. I was pulling my hair out trying to do cut tile this way until I saw your short video. Right to the point with the most important tips. The other ones I watched were much longer and didn’t help a bit. Thanks again.

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