Cutting Mosaic Tile

Mosaic Tile is cut with a specific tool based on the type of material. Using the wrong tool wastes a lot of tile and is dangerous.

What tool should I use to cut which material?

Glass Tile

Cut glass tile with a wheeled Mosaic Glass Cutter. This is okay for vitreous or recycled glass. Cutting glass tiles can create sharp edges, jagged edges, and edges that just don’t look right. The edges can be cleaned up with a Ceramic and Marble File or a Dual Grit Rubbing Stone.

Stained Glass

Stained glass can be cut into small irregular rectangles and triangles with the mosaic glass cutter. If you are trying to make long, straight cuts or curved cuts use a Pistol Grip Cutter to draw the line and then snap the glass with a pair of Running Pliers. It is also possible to wrap stained glass or china plates in old newspapers or magazines and hit them with a Chipping Hammer, which has tapered heads for more controlled breaks and less waste by crushing at the site of impact.


Ceramic tile and china can be cut with a Tile Nipper and sharp edges can be smoothed with a Dual Grit Rubbing Stone.

Marble, Porcelain, Stone, and Hard Dinnerware

For stronger or thicker ceramics and for stone, marble, porcelain, and hard plates or bowls a Compound Tile Nipper is recommended. The compound nipper has a lever mechanism which acts as a force multiplier. When cutting especially hard materials with the compound tile nipper, pieces are likely to fly out when the material is snapped. It may be helpful to cut underneath a rag or towel to catch the shards.

Other Safety Considerations

“Always use the right tool for the right job.”

When working on mosaics using the wrong tool can present a safety hazard or damage the tool. Use tools as instructed above, don’t use them for other kinds of materials.

For example, never use a wheeled mosaic glass cutter on ceramics and dinnerware. Some kinds of dinnerware are among the hardest materials known to science. The wheeled blades can shatter and snap violently.

Also, you should never use a regular tile nipper on glass. Too much tile will be crushed and wasted.

Safety Glasses with Side Shields should be worn when cutting mosaic tile. Other people in the area should definitely wear safety glasses as well. Chips tend to fly away from the tool and out towards any people facing it.