Pinbusters – Cutting a Glass Wine Bottle

Have you ever wondered if the stuff people post on Pinterest is true? Well I have, and I test them all so that you don’t have to, ’cause ain’t nobody got time for that.  Click here to check out all of the pins I haven taken on. You might be surprised by some of the results!

I am really pulling for this one.  It looks so cool!  All of the elements are there, too:  water, fire, ice, wind, acetone … let’s get down to business.

The pin in question claims that you can “cut” a glass bottle (in reality cause a thermal fracture due to differential expansion) by soaking a cotton string in acetone-based nail polish remover, wrapping it tightly around the bottle, setting it on fire, and then dunking it in an ice bath.  Sounds easy enough.

The Boy was skeptical, and said you would have to get it REALLY hot, and then REALLY cold immediately to cause the glass to break along the clean line.  I agreed, but remained optimistic that it would work.

I chose a length of cotton string, and wrapped it very tightly around the bottle three times. (Note: it is not preferred to drink an entire bottle of wine right before attempting this task.  I did drink this bottle over the course of a few nights, and every time I poured a glass I declared that I was “drinking in the name of science!” which frankly everyone should do more often.)

I removed the string, and soaked it in 100% acetone for at least 30 seconds.  Then I fished it out and slid it back onto the bottle.

Next: light it on FIRE!!

It didn’t take too long for the flames to die out, and I immediately dunked the bottle in the cold water.

Nothing.  Nada.  Not even a gratifying crack.

The Boy was now interested in taking a shot at it.  Permission to light things on fire in the kitchen granted?  Count him in!

We chose a longer length of string, and he wrapped it around 5 times or so.

This time we dunked it in regular nail polish remover (with acetone), put it back on the bottle, and lit it.

The flames were about the same, but did burn longer.  I also added more ice to the ice bath to bring the temperature down.  Flames started dying down, bottle took a swim, and …

NOTHING.  I was just about ready to break this bottle the old-fashioned way.

Last ditch effort.  The Boy sacrificed a shoelace from his yard work tennies.  We soaked this baby in 100% acetone (there should be no difference between the regular nail polish remover and salon strength stuff, because its only purpose is to be flammable, and the acetone is the ingredient that is flammable, so the salon strength 100% acetone should work best).  We let it soak for about a minute, during which I emptied our ice maker’s contents into the ice bath.

Then, we squeezed the shoelace around the bottle, backed away from the kitchen cabinets, and got our pyromania on.

Flammable? Ya don’t say.

The Boy, holding a flaming borderline-Molotov cocktail, suddenly started looking up and all around the ceiling, and then said “Oh thank goodness we don’t have any smoke detectors.”  Thank goodness?!?  This burned for well over a minute, and as soon as it started to go out, The Boy dunked it, even hitting it against the bottom trying to cause a fracture.

BIG FAT NOTHING.  And it caused the kitchen to smell vaguely of nasty burnt shoelaces.  Yum.

I haven’t been this disappointed since NKOTB got back together (why can’t we just have our lustful childhood memories and leave it at that?  Sigh).

Verdict:  Don’t try this at home.  Liar, liar, bottles on fire (c’mon – I HAD to do it).

11 thoughts on “Pinbusters – Cutting a Glass Wine Bottle

  1. Score the bottle then alternate pouring hot water on the score line and then run it under cold water, do this a few times and the top should fall right off. Boom!

  2. Thank you for doing this! I have a feeling it could have gone MUCH worse at my house had I tried it! I think I will stay to just drinking the contents of the bottle, and not attempt to decorate with it!

  3. I actually did this one. I did it outside though so I didn’t stink up my kitchen with acetone fumes….and I filled a cooler with ice water. The problem in the photos is that you’re burning with the neck pointed UP. You need to hold the open end down in order to trap the heat in the bottle and heat the glass, then the SECOND that flame goes out, drop it into the ice cold water. If it doesn’t snap, your water probably isn’t cold enough.

    I also recommend leather work gloves and safety glasses. I didn’t have any exploding bottles, but any time you’re trapping heat inside glass…are you REALLY willing to bet your fingers and eyes on that chance that it won’t have a weak spot and explode????

    I did this a few times….and if the glass is super thin (like a beer bottle) you’ll get stress fractures on the rims. Liquor bottles are awesome for this because the glass is thick enough to not fracture. You’ll need to wet sand to finish the lip of the glass too….and make sure it’s a WET sand. Breathing in glass dust can have serious complications.

  4. I just did this the other day with success! However, we only used beer bottles…and when we tried to use the wine bottle, we were frustratingly unsuccessful (maybe something to do with the thicker glass? I don’t know…). Something I read was that it had to be fully submerged into the ice bath, so we used our kitchen sink filled with ice water, and then we dunked it when the flame was almost burnt out, but not completely, and it worked liek a charm. I’m on a mission to figure out how to get it to cut my wine bottle though because I’ve got big plans for that baby!

  5. I have done this with beer bottles. Clear glass seems to work best. When I tried a Stella bottle (green) I had a hard time as well. I’m not sure if it is actually the color or the thickness but you can get some to work. Thanks for doing this! It was entertaining to read.

  6. I have done this myself with great success. I actually have a set of glasses made from old glass Coke bottles.

    One of the tricks is to only use a single wrap of string so you get a much narrower hot spot. This works by causing an rapid change in temperature and a wider string will actually hinder this by allowing the bottle to cool more slowly when dunked (the more area is heated, the more heat there is to dissipate…and if it does fracture the wider area could cause a crooked break). Also i use Methanol for a hotter, better burning fire. You can get this as hobby fuel anywhere that sells gas powered RC cars/boats. Last trick i use is to quickly dunk it in a cooler of salted ice water (salt makes the water colder). And dunk it before the flames die so there is no time for the bottle to cool.

    When done wet sand the edges for a smooth finish =).

  7. This actually does work, I worked in a glass studio and this was one thing we did with students not yet ready to blow glass. Scoring the glass will help as well. Wanna do it without the fire, score the glass then spin it on a wheel with a heat gun blasting the score mark. Once you hear the ping, remove the heat and the glass will fracture itself through. Makes a clean cut except at its last point of connection. Just file it down, like I hope you’d be doing with all the sharp edges. Makes me chuckle when they forget to mention the file down part on social media sites, where they are promoting turning your old beer bottle into glassware. ouch!

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