How to Cut Plexiglass with A Utility Knife – 3 Different Methods

Plexiglass is an incredibly durable and versatile material with limitless applications. The generic name of Plexiglass is acrylic sheet. Due to its outstanding strength and flexibility, plexiglass is popular with all. Cutting plexiglass is not that easy if you don’t follow the proper steps and methods. So do you know How to cut plexiglass with a utility knife? Or, can you cut plexiglass with a knife? Well, if you already don’t know how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife, you should walk with us till the end.

Do you know how to cut thick plexiglass? Actually, the method by which you like to cut the plexiglass is determined by just how thick it is. The thicker slabs can be handled by scoring while those of the intermediate thickness can be dealt with a scroll saw. However, the thinnest ones are easily managed with a handheld rotary tool. So, knowing how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife is important.

In this topic “how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife”, I will sometimes use the word acrylic glass, and sometimes I will call it plexiglass. So please don’t be confused between those two words. Actually, both of them are the same. You can tell that Acrylic glass and Plexiglass are just two different names for the same thing.

We will show here 3 methods of cutting acrylic glass. They are:

  1. Cutting Acrylic Glass With a Knife
  2. Cutting Straight Lines with a Circular Saw
  3. Using a Jigsaw to Cut Shapes  

We will gradually discuss here all these three methods. All of them are easy and simple. You can just follow the steps and you can do it by yourself.

Method 1: Cutting Acrylic Glass with a Knife

This is by far the best-known and easiest method for cutting acrylic glass. You don’t need any special tools to do this job. All you need is a knife, for example, a box cutter or a utility knife. One more thing is needed – a wooden or steel ruler to guide the blade.

Step 1: Lay the plexiglass flat on a table

Take your plexiglass and put it on a table. You should know, the thin sheets of acrylic glass that are up to 3⁄16 inch (0.48 cm) thick can be cut in an easy way. No breaking or damaging the sheet. Now, measure the sheet with a metal or wooden ruler the portion you need. Before you mark the plexiglass, make sure the surface you kept on the sheet is clean and clear enough so that you can work perfectly. Or else, the sheet can be marked by any sharp objects. Besides, it is important to use a stable structure that doesn’t wobble while you are working.

Step 2: Draw a line with a dry-erase marker

Since you have confirmed the table is firm and stable, you need to proceed with real work. Now, take a dry-erase marker and draw a line of the portion you would like to cut. Here, you must use a steel or wooden ruler as a guide. Making the line visible and being careful, the drawn line would not smudge.

You should use a dry-erase marker so that you can easily erase it after you cut the sheet. Besides, if you make mistake while drawing the line, erase the mark fully using a wet cloth or paper towel. By removing the lines, draw again rightly.

Step 3: Use a utility knife to cut along the line

Now is the time to cut along the line you marked on the plexiglass. When the question comes – how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife, here it is. What is the best tool to cut plexiglass? Well, take a utility knife to cut the acrylic glass. So, for cutting a straight line, a utility knife is the best and cheaper in price.

Now, hold the knife on the marked line using the ruler to guide and apply firm pressure, try to drag it across the line to score the sheet of plexiglass. 3-5 times running the knife over the line is quite ok. If you see you need more strokes, you can make it.

Before starting to cut, make sure the utility knife or plexiglass cutter you are using is sharp enough and it doesn’t slip off of your fingers and injure you.

Step 4: Flip the sheet over and score the other side

Sometimes if the cut is deeper, you can separate the plexiglass using your little strength. But, flipping the sheet over and scoring the other side is highly recommended. However, once you flip it over, start cutting following the same line that you marked. So, try scoring the acrylic glass until you can make a groove in the sheet.

Tips: Be very careful when you are picking the sheet up so it doesn’t bend or warp before you are ready to snap it.

Step 5: Position the sheet to snap

At this stage, position the acrylic glass so the portion you are going to cut should be hanging over the edge. Well, now move it into a position that makes it easier to snap the sheet off. Make sure that the portion you want to cut must be hanging over the edge of the table or else the work won’t be done or it may be massacred by breaking or damaging the sheet.

Step 6: Clamp the sheet

What you need to do is clamp the sheet to the table surface. Well, if the acrylic glass is a small size, you may not need to clamp but if it is size more than a big table surface, clamping two sides before snapping the sheet is very necessary. Without clamping the plexiglass, it may break from the unwanted place or make a big disaster. However, be very careful about clamp tightening. Do not tighten the clamp too much because it can put a dent or divot in the sheet that is totally unprofessional.

Step 7: Snap off the cut portion of the plexiglass

The acrylic glass is all set to break off. It’s now clamped in place on the work surface. Now apply quick downward pressure to snap it off. However, the sheet should break cleanly.

To snap the sheet off, you can use one hand to brace the sheet and use your other hand to push it down. If the sheet hangs a bit, use your utility knife to cut it off and break off the piece.

So, can you cut plexiglass with a hacksaw?

You may have already learned how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife. This is the reason to ask the question, can you cut plexiglass with a knife.

Method 2: Cutting Acrylic Glass with a Circular Saw

Still, thinking about how to cut plexiglass without breaking it? Or have you thought yourself how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife? If you want to know how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife, follow the steps. Though this method is all about cutting acrylic glass with a circular saw.

Step 1: Use a circular saw

In this method, we will try to show the process on how to cut acrylic glass with a circular saw. You have to use a circular saw which should be a carbide-tipped metal-cutting blade. Thicker plexiglass is safe to cut with a circular saw. You may already know that a carbide-tipped saw is strong enough to cut the sheet without any dust or debris flying off into the air. This is why, the fewer the teeth on the blade, the less amount of dust during cutting the acrylic glass will produce.

Warning! During cutting the acrylic glass, small particles of it can damage your eyes. So, wear eye protection when you cut the Plexi sheet.

Step 2: Set the sheet on the flat surface

We recommend you to use two same heightened tables. Set the tables 1-2 feet distance and put the sheet on it. The tables should be distanced according to your need. Using the circular saw you can make a straight line so set and position the surfaces the way you think better. After setting up properly the acrylic glass on the tables, clamp them on both of the sides so that it stays firmed and stable. One more thing, check the tables properly so that it doesn’t wobble during operation.

Step 3: Mark the line where you want to cut

You are now to mark the line with a dry-erase marker. Use a ruler to guide. Be careful when you are marking it. As once cut the sheet cannot be undone so think twice about where to cut. And a dry-erase marker will help you adjust the line by re-marking it. You can easily wipe off the marker ink.

Step 4:  Align the cutting guide of the saw and prepare to cut

Now, you should align the saw to the cutting guide. Make sure you can see where you are going ahead. If you cannot see where the saw is lined up, it certainly would be a mess. Once you are quite sure of it, you are ready to go.

So, speed up to the high of the circular saw. The blade of the saw must be rotating at full speed before it makes contact with the sheet. Remember, the full speed helps to create a smooth and even cut. Another reason to make the saw to the full speed is if it isn’t the teeth of the saw blade may be jagged or choppy cut.

Step 5: Start cutting the sheet now 

Everything is set now. Push the saw slowly and smoothly forward through the acrylic glass. You must use the cutting guide and follow it to cut. With your stable hands, push the circular saw at a steady and consistent pace to prevent the saw from jamming.

Well, if the saw is stuttering or catching, it happens because you may be pushing it too fast. Remember, consistency, steadiness, and rhythm are the things you need while cutting the sheet. So what you need to do is stop pushing to let the blade get back up to speed and start again with the rhythm. It is like a dance; too fast or too slow may ruin it. So keep it up and finish the job perfectly.

Method 3: Using a Jigsaw to Cut Shapes

You may need to make some shapes of the plexiglass. So, you are thinking about how to cut plexiglass without breaking it, right? The question still remains can you cut plexiglass with a table saw? Well, we will make shapes using a jigsaw.

Step 1: Set the acrylic glass on flat surfaces

Setting up the tables perfectly is important. Put two equal heightened tables side by side as method 2. Make sure the gap between the tables is quite enough so that you can make the shapes without any problems. The tables must be firmed, stable, and strong. Be sure, they don’t wobble during the process. It can ruin the proper cut.

To cut a specific shape, use an uncoated blade with fine teeth to cut plexiglass. In addition, you should keep a few extra blades nearby in case you need to replace them while you’re cutting.

Step 2: Mark the shape you intend to

Have you clamped the sheet with both of the sides of a single table? If not yet, please do that. Well now, you make the shape with a dry-erase marker. Whatever shape you are doing, you can take help from a ruler guide to ensure it is perfect and right. As you are using a dry-erase marker, you can adjust the drawing shape if you need to re-shape it or re-correct it.

Tip: if you are cutting a design or shape, you can use a stencil or a round object to help mark an even line.

Step 3: Put on safety glasses

Since you have made ready every piece of equipment to start cutting, you have to wear eye protection such as safety glasses to protect your eyes. While sawing with a jigsaw, small splinters or tiny particles can fly in the air and can easily hurt your eyes. This is why wearing safety glasses is a must during this process.

Step 4: Drill a hole to fit the jigsaw into the sheet

A jigsaw needs to penetrate through the sheet but it will ruin and damage the plexiglass completely. This is why drilling a hole to fit the jigsaw into the sheet is a very wise and proper technique. So start making a hole by drilling and the hole should be large enough to fit the blade of the jigsaw through.

One important thing is if you want to cut shape with twists and turns, you are highly recommended to drill holes through the sheet at the tightest corners of the shape. Remember, if the blade of the jigsaw can’t be able to turn easily, it can potentially bend the blade or break it.

Step 5: Insert the saw blade into the hole

Now insert the saw blade into the hole you made and turn the blade on to full speed. Place the blade in the direction you intend to cut. You may know a jigsaw is slower than a band saw or a circular saw, that’s why it is necessary to reach the top speed before cutting the shape through. Contacting the blade to the plexiglass can possibly bend or damage your jigsaw. This can injure you as well. For this reason, you use caution.

Step 6: Start the cut

Push the jigsaw slowly to cut through the Plexi sheet. Don’t hasten. Apply steady pressure to make a smooth cut. Follow the guide you marked and slow down to take any turns. Well, if you hear or feel the blade is stalling, slow down and back up again to restore the full speed. Now continue to push the saw through the acrylic glass. Slow and steady with full speed, in this case, is the main key to success.

So, what do you think, can you cut plexiglass with a knife?

Which Method Should I Apply to Cut Plexiglass?

The above-mentioned 3 methods are useful and effective for cutting plexiglass. Some people wonder, how to cut plexiglass without breaking it or how to cut plexiglass by hand. Well, if anybody asks you, can you cut plexiglass with a knife, what would you say? If you really don’t know how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife, this article is very perfect for you. In this article, we have covered the topic, “how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife” along with 3 methods. Choose the one you like most.

The first method is about how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife and it is the easiest and perfect method to straight-line cut of acrylic glass. You just need a utility knife that can be told a plexiglass cutter. This utility knife is cheaper and really affordable. You can draw the line and cut it with the utility knife without breaking or damaging the sheet. So, this method is the best from my point of view.

The second method is about cutting acrylic glass with a circular saw. A circular saw is also used for cutting straight lines as method one. So a utility knife and a circular saw are no different in their work. In this case, a utility knife is easier to use too. You will have to balance some points while cutting with a circular saw. Using caution is one of them too. Besides, a circular saw is costly. So, using a circular saw is not as convenient and easy as a utility knife. So, still, the utility knife wins.

And, the third method is about using a jigsaw to cut a plexiglass sheet. In this case, the tool is expensive and you need to maintain some criteria. Full swing speed, steady and firmness, slow motion forward, using caution, and others are the considerable factors while a utility knife doesn’t need any of this. So, I think, cutting plexiglass with a utility knife still wins.

So, in my view, I would say, a utility knife is really amazing to cut acrylic glass. You can follow this method. So, method 1 is the best. The question, can you cut plexiglass with a knife, can easily be solved with method one. This method is worth a shot. You can try this too. Learn more.

Final Words

So, here we are with the topic of how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife. However, I am asking you now, can you cut plexiglass with a knife now? We have tried our level best to cover in detail so that even a new user can cut the acrylic glass easily. There are many questions still in your head like how to cut plexiglass without breaking it, how to cut plexiglass with a utility knife, how to cut thick plexiglass, how to cut plexiglass by hand, can you cut plexiglass with a table saw, what is the best tool to cut plexiglass, can you cut plexiglass with a hacksaw, how to cut plexiglass cleanly, how do you cut plexiglass with a utility knife, etc. Don’t worry, once you cut any plexiglass following any of the methods discussed in this article, you can solve all of them easily.

Anyways, we will try to cover more articles related to it. Stay with us and make us proud. Thank you for walking with us till now.

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