On a recent Facebook post, a newby to the art of mosaics posed the familiar question, “Which glass should I buy?”.

She got several great suggestions, but one opinion stuck with me.

“Real stained glass artists don’t use the cheap, plastic wrapped glass from Hobby Lobby”!

Ummmmm…we don’t?

To be honest (be prepared…I say this phrase a lot in this post), I still consider myself to be inexperienced. I was advised to venture to Hobby Lobby to get my stained glass.

In fact, it’s the only stained glass I use and I use it for three reasons…

  • close to my house
  • 40% off coupons
  • decent selection

Bonus Reason: If you find a sheet of broken glass, Hobby Lobby will usually cut you a heck of a deal on it.

Now, let’s examine the reason I don’t order online (which is where most artisans suggest you order).

  • Shipping will eat you up!!! And, nine times out of ten, your shipping is more than the glass purchase itself, ouch!

Glass is heavy, there’s no way getting around it.

The prices of the stained glass is usually more, and I wouldn’t even mind paying a little more, however……glass is heavy (I feel like I’ve said that before).

You can catch some great sales online. I know Delphi Glass runs a daily deal. But, did I mention glass is heavy?

Let’s revisit the response Ms. Stained Glass Snob gave.

When I inquired about why “said snob” shuns Hobby Lobby stained glass (I love poking the bear…don’t you?!), she said that it was cheap quality. Cheap quality, she went on to tell me, means unpredictable cuts (even with the most amazing scorelines).

Who am I to disagree? After all, I’m a newby too.

This whole conversation/post stuck with me. I pondered over whether my precious shunned glass at home was really that untrustworthy.


I came across a woman who has run her own stained glass shop for more years than I have fingers and toes. Lucky for me, I got to sit down one after noon to pick her brain.

I quickly confided in her that my cuts were not up to par and I had been recently told it could be partly due to my “brand” of glass. And guess what she told me…

Glass is Glass.

Glass will do what glass wants to do, regardless of how perfect your score lines claim to be. I’m looking at you Ms. Stained Glass Snob!

She also went on to point out that in transit or even in factory, we don’t know the exact history of the glass or the path it has taken to get to you. It could have a hair line fracture waiting to rear it’s ugly head when you need your cut to be stellar.

**Cue Incubus**

Doesn’t life in general seem to do that too?

It is true that some glass, by nature, is easier to cut than others. It varies in texture and thickness and this needs to be taken into consideration before scoring.

Tried and true practice is what will help you most.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve an art gallery-worthy score (regardless of your stained glass choosing).

Room Temperature

This tip is golden!

Cold glass is brittle and can fracture away from the intended score line. I work in a shed, though insulated, it still gets cold. I have two space heaters that keep me company and will stick my glass in front of the heater for a few minutes to warm it up.

You are not looking to “cook” it, just bring it to room temperature.

Warm glass actually cuts better.

Stand when you Cut

to help you achieve the right amount of pressure. It is harder to control when sitting. The goal is to achieve consistent, firm pressure.


Score on the Smoothest Side

This isn’t too hard to discover by just running your fingers over it.


Continue the Score

once started (from edge to edge). Follow through with the score. Pause if you need a “breather”, but the blade should remain where it stopped.


  • Do not go back over your score line. This will ruin your cutter.

My husband has told me (every time the subject has come up) that I improve my skills by working with lower end material. He would be referring to treasures found at junk stores or hidden gems discovered at flea markets.

To be honest, I’ve never had the pleasure of working with the more iconic, expensive ends of glass.

And, to be honest again (honesty is a good habit to have), my cuts aren’t that bad!

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