The Mosaic Tile Nipper is our recommended hand tool for cutting glazed ceramic tile up to 3/8-inch thick and can also be used for cutting most varieties of stone, porcelain, and dinnerware. However, the tile nipper should not be used for glass tile because it crushes and splinters more glass than it cuts. For cutting glass mosaic tile, you should use a Mosaic Glass Cutter, which has wheel-shaped blades and cuts more cleanly.
Cutting Unbreakable Dinnerware and Hard Stone?
This tile nipper is fine for cutting most types of stone and dinnerware. However, some varieties of modern dinnerware are extremely hard. In fact, some of the “unbreakable” plates found at thrift stores are made from some of the hardest engineered materials known to science. We generally avoid a plate if it is particularly difficult and move on to the next piece unless it has a pattern we like. Keep in mind that a plate that is extremely hard tends to break into pieces with extremely sharp edges. If you do need to cut extremely hard materials, then use the Compound Tile Nipper, which has a force multiplier built into its mechanism.
Safety and Cutting Tile
- Always wear safety glasses with side shields when using tile nippers.
- Make sure that you don’t cut glass around people not wearing safety glasses. Flying chips could potentially hit their eyes as easily as yours.
- Be aware that cutting tile of any type can produce sharp edges.
- Crumbs from cutting can be extremely sharp. Never sweep off a work surface with your bare hand. Use a vacuum or counter brush.
It is much easier to cut up four or five pieces of tile and choose the one that fits best than it is to try to trim one piece to a certain shape or size. It is quicker too. Keep your rejects in a small pile and pay attention to the shapes that are in it. If you don’t use a certain size or shape as often, try to cut fewer pieces like that. This is much more effective than trimming a piece down to what you need, and it is a lot less tedious.
We now carry replacement springs, but no, your nippers are NOT defective or useless if the spring falls off. The springs tend to fall off all hand tools eventually, even the most expensive brands. They can still be used efficiently without the spring: Keep your pinky fingers inside the handle instead of outside with the rest of your fingers and use your pinky to open the tool. This is basic shop/studio practice for using any type of plier tool, most of which do not come with springs in the first place, at least not back in the day.
How To Make Mosaic Art
For more advice on designing your mosaic project or mounting, cutting, and grouting tile, please see our page of Mosaic Frequently Asked Questions or our Mosaic Information Guide, which lists instructional pages described by topic. We also post new articles about making mosaics at our How to Mosaic Blog.