How to Cut Plexiglass

Plexiglass, also called Acrylic, is used as a substitute for normal glass in a range of applications, including picture frames, aquariums, windshields, and more. Not only is it durable, inexpensive, and lightweight, it is quite easy to cut as well. However, the method involved in cutting plexiglass varies according to the thickness of the material as well as your particular needs.

To cut thinner sheets of plexiglass, you can use a utility knife whereas, for thicker sheets, you will have to resort to power tools like a circular saw, jigsaw, or a Dremel tool. Whichever tool suits your needs, here are the four basic steps you’ll have to take:

  • Lay the plexiglass sheet on an appropriate workstation
  • Mark the cut
  • Set up the tool
  • Make the cut

According to the tool under inspection, the aforementioned steps can be further modified. Fret not, as our guide below details how you can cut plexiglass with all the relevant tools there are. So, let’s begin!

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Utility Knife

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Utility Knife

Thin sheets that are no more than 3/16 inches in thickness can easily be scored and snapped using a utility knife. Follow the steps below to know exactly how:

Required Supplies

  • Utility Knife
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Ruler
  • C clamp
  • Utility knife
  • Safety gear

Step 1: Laying the Plexiglass Flat

Choose a flat and clean table or any other work surface and place the sheet of plexiglass on it.

Make sure that the surface you have chosen is stable so that it doesn’t wobble during cutting.

Step 2: Mark the Cut

Using a dry-erase marker and a ruler, draw a straight line where you want to make the cut on the plexiglass sheet. Be sure to draw a neat and visible line.

If you smear the line during the process, erase it fully using a paper towel and draw it again.

Step 3: Make the Cut

Now, with the ruler in the same place, guide a utility knife across the marked line in order to score the sheet of plexiglass. Repeat the scoring process until you’ve made a considerable groove in the sheet.

Now, flip over the sheet, and score along the marked line from the other side. Apply the same procedure, producing a groove as deep as possible.

Keep in mind that the deeper is the cut, the more convenient will it be to snap the sheet afterward.

Step 4: Hang the Cut Portion Over the Edge

Now that you have scored the sheet, hang the portion of the plexiglass sheet, that you wish to snap, over the edge of the work surface. This way, it will be easier for you to break it off.

Step 5: Clamp the Sheet in Place

Using a C clamp, secure the plexiglass sheet from the portion which you don’t wish to cut. Avoid tightening the clamp too much as it could create a dent in the sheet.

Step 6: Snap Off the Cut Portion

Finally, use one of your hands to brace the cut portion and the other to apply a quick force in the downward direction so that it snaps off.

If the sheet doesn’t break entirely, using your utility knife, cut along the groove and tear off the cut portion.

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw

If you wish to make straight-lined cuts in thicker sheets of Plexiglass, a circular saw is your best bet.

Follow the steps below for the detailed procedure:

Required Supplies

Step 1: Choose an Appropriate Blade

When you plan to cut plexiglass sheets with a circular saw, you need to look out for certain things in its blade, such as the teeth of the blade are of the same size, shape and evenly distanced.

Normally, a carbide-tipped metal-cutting blade is powerful enough for handling tasks involving plexiglass. It has relatively fewer teeth which allow for reduced dust and fly-offs during the cutting process.

Step 2: Place the Sheet on a Sawhorse and Mark the Cut

Set the plexiglass sheet down on a sawhorse so that it is flat and taut. Just as you did in the case of a utility knife, use a dry-erase marker along with a ruler to mark the straight line where you plan to cut.

Step 3: Set Up the Circular Saw

Unlike a utility knife, a circular saw has many facets to it. Therefore, you should set the tool appropriately before moving on to the cutting process.

A circular saw has a viewer which is intended to line up the saw. Align it with the marking line that you just made while ensuring that the plexiglass sheet is fully secured.

Now, turn on the saw and wait until it attains its maximum speed. This is important because if you start cutting the plexiglass sheet with anything under its full speed, the blade of the saw is likely to experience a jerk and produce a snaggy cut.

Step 4: Make the Cut

With the circular saw rotating at full speed, gently guide it through the plexiglass sheet. Push it along the marked line at a uniform pace to make a nice and tidy cut.

If, along the way, the saw starts to stutter, stop pushing the blade, wait for it to gain back the required speed, and then, resume pushing.

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw

A circular saw is well and good for cutting straight lines on plexiglass but what about circles or any other shape? That’s where a jigsaw comes into play. Following are the steps you need to adhere to in order to cut plexiglass with a jigsaw:

Required Supplies

  • Jigsaw
  • Dry-ease marker
  • Ruler
  • Stencil or a circular object (according to the requirement)
  • Sawhorse
  • Uncoated blade with small teeth
  • Power drill
  • Safety Gear (mainly glasses to cater fly-offs)

Step 1: Set the Plexiglass Sheet Down

Similar to the case of a circular saw, place the plexiglass sheet on a sawhorse and make sure that it lies flat and secure.

Step 2: Mark the Desired Cut

Using a dry-erase marker, draw the outline of the shape on the sheet that you plan to cut.

According to the shape you intend to cut, you can use a circular object or a stencil to help you draw a neat outline.

Step 3: Drill a Hole

In order for the jigsaw blade to fit into the plexiglass sheet, you need to create an opening.

So, accordingly, choose an appropriate masonry drill bit, equip it to a drill, and make a hole into the sheet.

If your desired shape involved twists and turns, make several holes at the taut corners of the shape so that the jigsaw blade doesn’t bend when it comes into contact with those twists and turns.

Step 4: Fit the Jigsaw Blade into the Hole

Insert the jigsaw blade into the hole you created and turn the tool on.

Allow the jigsaw to attain its full speed before you start making the cut. Otherwise, you could potentially damage the tool as well as yourself.

Step 5: Make the Cut

Once the jigsaw blade is at its full speed, start pushing it along the outline of the desired shape with consistent pressure. If there are any turns involved, slow down when passing through them.

If you feel like the blade is catching, halt immediately and allow the blade to return to its maximum speed. Then, you can resume pushing it through the plexiglass sheet.

How to Cut Plexiglass with Dremel

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Dremel

For high-quality and smooth cuts, Dremel rotary tools are another possible option for you. Similar to a jigsaw, they can be a straight line as well as any other shape you would like.

Required Supplies

Step 1: Set the Plexiglass Sheet Down

Similar to the cases of a circular saw and a jigsaw, you first need to place the plexiglass sheet, that you plan to cut, on a sawhorse.

Clamp the sheet to ensure that it is flat and secured.

Step 2: Mark the Cut

Again, use a dry-erase marker for drawing the intended cut. If it is a straight line, use a ruler or a straightedge and if it is some other shape, choose a stencil or a circular object for a neat outline.

Step 3: Set up the Dremel Tool

Slacken the collet of your Dremel tool and equip a 561 multipurpose cutting bit. Using a wrench, tighten back the collet and plug the tool into a suitable power outlet.

Step 4: Make the Cut

Choose the speed of the tool around 6 to 8, turn it on, and begin cutting. It is recommended that you cut at a 45o angle for best results.

If your Dremel tool stalls during the cutting process, pause for a moment, allow it to regain its maximum speed, and then, continue.

Polishing and Buffing the Rougher Cut Edges

Whichever cutting method you opt for, oftentimes, you may not get the smooth and neat cut edges that you would have wished for. In that case, you can use a handheld power sander. However, for even better results, you should resort to the manual wet-sanding process.

For the wet-sanding process, start off with 120 or 180-grit waterproof sandpaper along with a rubber or wood sanding block. As the edges get smoother, move on to finer grits. Finally, complete the polishing with the 600-grit sandpaper.

Now, for buffing, equip your drill with a buffing pad. Apply a polishing compound made for plastic on the edges and turn on the drill. Stop when you have reached the desired results.

Important Tips to Keep in Mind

Although a tough material, plexiglass is still prone to breakage. Here are some of the tips that you can keep in mind while cutting the plexiglass sheets.

  • Plexiglass sheets normally come covered with a layer of plastic film. It is intended to prevent the material from contracting scratches as it travels from the manufacturer to your location. Keep this film on as you mark and cut the desired portion.
  • Whether you are using a circular saw or a jigsaw, make sure that its blade is sharp. With a dull blade, you risk breaking or cracking your plexiglass sheet. Add to this the fact that a dull blade produces rough cut edges.
  • Furthermore, the blade of your cutting tool must always be cool since an overheated blade can result in cracks and tears in the plexiglass sheet during the cutting process. So, while cutting, if your saw’s blade begins to overheat, pause, turn off the saw and allow it to cool before resuming the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Cut Plexiglass

Can You Cut Plexiglass with a Hacksaw?

Yes. In fact, a hacksaw is one of the most inexpensive ways for this purpose. However, it is only recommended if you’ve got only a few small pieces of plexiglass to cut.

How Do I Cut Plexiglas that is Already Bent?

It doesn’t matter if a sheet of plexiglass is bent or not; the same rules apply. For thin sheets of the materials, you can score it with a utility knife and snap it whereas, for thicker sheets, you can use a circular saw, jigsaw, or a Dremel tool.

I am Cutting 1/4″ Clear plexiglass; Should I score it, or Use a Circular Saw?

Circular Saw is your best bet in such as situation. You can score and snap it, but that would take a lot of your time and effort.


We really hope that this guide answers all the questions that were boggling your mind regarding cutting plexiglass.

Simply put, there are different tools that you can use for cutting plexiglass. To figure out which one suits you the best, you have to determine the thickness of your plexiglass sheet(s) and whether you need to cut straight lines or some other shape.

In any case, however, be sure to put on the necessary safety gear, especially when working with power tools.

Liam Weissman

Hello and welcome to PowerToolGenius! My name is Liam and for the last 9 years, I have worked extensively with various power tools and accessories. I have tested hundreds of different brands and models and understand the industry extensively and have been working with tools my entire life!

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