How to break Tempered Glass

Recycled - Tempered Glass

Find a local Glass and Mirror place and get friendly with them 0- and let them know you want to recycle  the tempered glass - they typically bring back old shower doors , table tops  etc... or even get  the wrong sizes from the factory (new is a bonus ) since its custom it cant be cut down or used really anywhere else


  • a really big tarp - at least  12 x 24  ( we want to wrap the  piece of tempered inside - completely so when broken it does not shoot everywhere and clean up is easy )  orif small pieces a big garbage bag will do 
  • Hammer
  • Nail Set 
  • 5 gallon buckets - home depot type is fine or even the smaller 2 gallon from ice cream parlors works 
  • work gloves 
  • safety glasses 
  • windex
  • paper towel
  • scraper
  • dust pan  (small dollar store is fine - it just helps scoop up )

Be sure the piece your breaking will fit inside your tarp when folded over (you dont have to tape  closed just overlap the tarp and fold up the ends )

place your piece on the tap -  at this time  clean both sides and scrap off any tape or adhesives - you cant remove the edging if any - you can do this after its broken)

after cleaning - wrap your glass up 

with tempered glass you can hit in the center or even the corner  and it will shatter 

with goggles and gloves on -  I just open a small area and wrap the tar around my nail set  and smack the living daylights right onto the nail set (I"ve seen me do it 3-4 times before it breaks and sometimes even embed the nail set into the ground/wood flooring - so do it somewhere it wont matter
glass waiting to be broken - these all fit in a really big garbage bag 
(glass in garbage bag- nail set just on corner ) when usuing the garbage bag you can tip into buckets 
scooped an put into buckets each bucket is a different piece of glass 

Once broken -  open tarp -  take one edge at a time and pick up to push the glass to the center - make a pile -  now with  full shoes - such as running shoes or even  clean soled work boots -  step on the glass to help break it up -  squish, twist step and  keep moving it to the center -  now you wont catch it all but when most is broken down - start scooping it into your pails - 

you will get  some thicker than others - right now I  put  one sheet per bucket  and keep it stored together - I am not sure of the coe of tempered glass if it is all the same - I need to do  some test firing so I only use the same glass for each firing  or  one type per plate  not mixed - e.g.  I dont use tempered from a table top  along with the shower door -  not at least till I am convinced they will be ok fired together 


  1. Carol from Cdn Glass AddictsJuly 27, 2016 at 1:14 PM

    these are gorgeous Deborah!! really like the effect of the alcohol inks

  2. Are the alcohol inks added before or after the firing?

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  4. Does anyone know the firing schedule for this process or how do I find the best one? Thanks

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