You can make various creations using glass, such as candle covers or drinking glasses. However, if you want to reuse a glass object or bottle, you'll first need to smooth out any cracked or jagged edges. Fortunately, you can use sandpaper, a sanding bit (small circular sandpaper) mounted on a drilling machine, or silicon carbide powder to smooth the edges of the glass.
Method 1 of 3: Using Sandpaper
Step 1. Wet sandpaper that has 80 grit (roughness level) and spread it on the work surface
Make sure the sandpaper is completely wet and that you are using a hard, firm work surface. Wet the sandpaper by dipping it in a container filled with clean water, then splashing extra water on the sandpaper after you've spread it on the work surface.
You can also use cloth-based sandpaper if you don't have wet sandpaper. You can buy several sheets of cloth sandpaper at a hardware or hardware store
Step 2. Place the edge of the cut glass on top of the sandpaper
Hold the glass with your dominant hand and grip the sandpaper with your non-dominant hand so it doesn't slide. Make sure you are wearing gloves and safety glasses for safety.
- Safety glasses and gloves can be purchased at hardware stores that also sell sandpaper.
- If there are some sharp edges on the glass, hold the area so you don't scratch your palm. If you can't handle the glass this way, try smoothing the edges of the glass in another way.
Step 3. Move the glass in a circular motion for about 5 minutes to smooth the edges
Use gentle pressure on the top of the glass so that the edges are slightly pressing against the sandpaper. Rotate the piece of glass every 2 to 3 movements for a more even sanding result.
- If you don't rotate the glass, one side of the glass edge may be smoother than the other, resulting in an uneven finish.
- Try to do this for at least 5 minutes so that the edges of the glass are smooth.
Step 4. Sand the inner and outer corners of the glass by hand
Once the "front" edge of the glass is finished sanding, moisten the sandpaper by dipping it in water. Next, hold the sandpaper with your dominant hand and place it on the edge of the glass so that your thumb and middle finger are pressed against both corners of the glass edge. After that, rub the sandpaper back and forth at a sharp angle to smooth it out.
Keep the sandpaper wet as you go through this process. You may need to dip it in water frequently to keep the sandpaper wet
Step 5. Repeat this process using a finer sandpaper
Rub the edges of the glass using sandpaper with grit 150, 220, 320, and finally grit 400 so that the glass becomes smoother. After that, use sandpaper with 1000 and 2000 grit to make the edges of the glass really smooth.
Wipe the edges of the glass with a damp, clean cloth after you finish sanding to remove any remaining grit and dust
Method 2 of 3: Sanding with a Drill
Step 1. Attach the sanding bit to the drill or Dremel machine
For best results, use medium grit sandpaper (60 to 100 grit) and a large sanding bit. The larger the sanding bit size, the more edges of the glass can be smoothed at one time.
Make sure you use a sanding bit that is the right size for the piece of glass. For example, if you want to smooth the edges of a wine bottle that is cut in half, make sure the sanding bit can fit through the hole in the bottle to sand the inside corner of the glass
Step 2. Hold the drill with your dominant hand and the glass with the other
You can clamp the glass with clamps to keep it from sliding, but this makes the edges of the glass prone to cracking. However, you can hold the glass with your hands if you can grip it securely without worrying about getting hit by the rapidly rotating sanding bits.
- Make sure you're wearing thick gloves so you can safely hold the piece of glass.
- If the piece of glass is too small for you to hold it securely, you may want to use clamps to secure it, or use another method to smooth the edges.
Warning: Be careful when using electrical equipment. You must wear gloves, eye protection and a face mask.
Step 3. Move the sanding bit on the edge of the inner glass
Turn on the drill and touch the edge of the sanding bit to the inner corner of the glass edge. Do not apply pressure to the sanding bit to prevent the glass from breaking. Just stick the sanding bit to the edge of the glass and let the drill do its job of smoothing the glass.
- Do this for about 3 to 5 minutes until the inside of the rim of the glass is smooth.
- Make sure to wear a face mask when doing this step as the process will create a lot of dust in the air.
Step 4. Move the sanding bit towards the top and outer corner of the glass edge
Move the sandpaper toward the center and to the outer edges so that the edges are rounded. Move the sanding bit slowly until the entire outer edge of the glass is sanded.
You only need no more than 3-5 minutes to do this step
Step 5. Repeat this process using fine sandpaper to polish the edges
Replace the sandpaper in the sanding bit with a finer grit. Next, move the sanding bit back over the edge of the glass to make it smoother. Repeat this action as needed using an even finer sandpaper until the edges of the glass reach the desired level of smoothness.
- You can also sand the edges of the glass by hand if you don't want to use an electric drill anymore.
- When you're done sanding, remove any remaining grit and dust using a clean, damp cloth.
Method 3 of 3: Smoothing Glass with Silicon Carbide
Step 1. Place one piece of float glass on top of the foam rubber on the work surface
Plain glass is used as the "main" work surface on which you smooth the edges of the glass. The foam rubber serves to keep the plain glass from sliding out of place when you are smoothing.
If you don't have plain glass, use regular pieces of glass that you no longer use, such as window glass, mirrors, or frames
Step 2. Add water and coarse powdered silicon carbide to the plain glass
Pour a little water into the center of the plain glass to form a small puddle. Next, pour enough silicon carbide on the puddle. The last step, stir the silicon carbide and water slowly using your fingers.
To make it easier for you to add silicon carbide powder, place the powder into a small disposable cup first, before you pour it into the glass
Step 3. Place the sharp edge of the glass on the plain glass
Hold the piece of glass with your dominant hand (or both hands if necessary). Make sure you place the sharp edge of the glass directly where you mixed the water with the silicon carbide.
For maximum safety, wear gloves so you don't hurt your hands by the glass
Step 4. Rotate the hand and the bottle affixed to the plain glass for about 30-60 seconds
Move the glass back and forth across the silicon carbide in a figure 8 shape, using gentle pressure. Make sure you keep turning it inside the plain glass surface and don't let it get out of the area of the water and silicon carbide mixture.
Check the edges of the glass after you have rotated it for about a minute. If the edges of the glass are no longer shiny and feel smooth to the touch, your job is done
Step 5. Clean the glass with a towel and smooth the inside with sandpaper
Use a damp paper towel or cloth to remove the water and silicon carbide mixture that is adhering to the piece of glass. Next, use wet sandpaper as needed to smooth the inner edges of the glass.
- For example, if you smooth the bottom of a cut glass bottle, you will not be able to smooth the inner edges of the glass using a mixture of silicon carbide and water.
- You can also use sandpaper to smooth out rough areas of the glass that the silicon carbide mixture cannot reach.