How to Cut Plexiglass

Plexiglass being cut to size

Bloomberg Creative / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0-25

As many experts know, getting to know unfamiliar materials and tools is the quickest way to expand your DIY toolbelt. Working with specialty materials like plexiglass can be intimidating at first, so it's worth taking some time to learn the ropes.

Learning to accurately and safely cut plexiglass is sure to expand your DIY horizon. From making picture frames to replacing ornate glass pieces in furniture to shatter-proofing windows, plexiglass is a material worth getting to know. The steps ahead will outline how to safely cut plexiglass without damaging or scratching the surface.

What Is Plexiglass?

Acrylic, commonly known as plexiglass, is a petroleum-based plastic product marketed as an alternative to glass.

Before You Begin

The best method for cutting plexiglass will change depending on the thickness of the plexiglass and the nature of the cut you intend to make. Below, we've listed a few tried-and-true methods as well as the scenarios in which you should choose each method. Pay special attention to each use case and choose the one that most closely matches your own.

  • Table Saw Method: Cutting plexiglass with a table saw is quick and easy. This method is ideal for straight cuts and useful for both thick and thin materials.
  • Circular Saw Method: Circular saws, like table saws, are useful for straight cuts on thick and thin materials. However, this method is only recommended if you don't have access to a table saw.
  • Jigsaw Method: A jigsaw is a great tool for cutting both thick and thin plexiglass and can be used for straight or curved cuts.
  • Plexiglass knife or Utility Knife Method: Similar to the process for cutting drywall, this method utilizes a sharp razor blade to score the plexiglass, allowing the user to snap off the scored portion. This method is best for thin plexiglass and is limited to straight cuts.
  • Rotary Tool: These little handheld tools are great for precision curved cuts on thin plexiglass.
  • Oscillating Multitool: Oscillating multitools are handy for making curved cuts on thin plexiglass.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

Using a Table Saw

  • Table Saw

Using a Jigsaw

  • Jigsaw

Using a Plexiglass Knife

  • Plexiglass Knife


Using a Table Saw

  • Plywood

Using a Tablesaw

  • Plywood

Using a Plexiglass Knife

  • Ruler or level (optional)


How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw

Undoubtedly the quickest way to cut plexiglass, a table saw will yield a perfectly straight cut in seconds. However, there are a few tips and tricks to getting this right.

  1. Choose the Right Blade

    If your blade is dull, swap it for a sharp finish-grade blade. The extra tooth count on a finish-grade blade will result in a cleaner cut.

  2. Grab a Sacrificial Board for Support

    Placing a piece of plywood overtop of your plexiglass will steady it and keep it from vibrating during the cut.

  3. Cut the Plexiglass

    Adjust your blade and fence and cut the plexiglass to size, leaving the protective film in place until after the cut.

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Jigsaw

Follow the steps below to safely c plexiglass with a jigsaw.

  1. Choose the Right Blade

    Swap out your jigsaw blade for a specialty plexiglass blade.


    To prevent burning and melting of plexiglass when cutting with a jigsaw, increase the blade tooth size for thicker material. This will help move shavings from the groove, allowing the surface to stay cooler.

  2. Support the Plexiglass

    Jigsaws are notorious for vibrating and shaking material, which can yield a bad cut while posing serious safety risks. To prevent this, clamp a piece of 1/2- to 3/4-inch plywood beneath the plexiglass.

  3. Cut the Plexiglass

    Mark the plexiglass with a marker and cut along the line, through both the plexiglass and the support board.

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Plexiglass Knife

  1. Align Your Straightedge

    Place a stiff straight edge like a ruler or level along the line you wish to cut the plexiglass.


    When scoring material, the knife can easily jump from the groove. Consider clamping the straightedge to the material to ensure your hand is out of harm's way and create a firmer guide to cut against.

  2. Score the Plexiglass

    Firmly grip the knife and score the plexiglass along the straightedge. The safest, most effective way to do this is to make several light passes rather than attempting to press too deeply with the blade.

  3. Snap the Plexiglass

    Once you've made enough passes, remove the straightedge and slide the plexiglass to the edge of your work surface. Place the side you intend to keep on the work surface and hang the discard side off the edge, straddling the score perfectly on the edge. Hit the discard side with the palm of your hand to snap it off. Remove the protective film from both sides.

Tips for Cutting Plexiglass

To increase the odds of a clean plexiglass cut, always opt for a sacrificial support board when possible. Minimizing the opportunities for moving and shaking will increase the safety and cleanness of the cut. Some brands and types of plexiglass are more prone to chipping along the edge. To prevent this, consider cutting from both sides and meeting in the middle rather than cutting straight through the piece. Lastly, refrain from removing the protective film until absolutely necessary to prevent scratches.

  • What is the best method to cut plexiglass?

    The best method for cutting plexiglass differs depending on the thickness of the material and the nature of the cut. For straight cuts on thick and thin materials, a table saw will yield quick, clean cuts. For curved cuts on thick and thin materials, a jigsaw with a plexiglass blade is a great option.

  • What tools can you cut plexiglass with?

    The most common tools used to cut plexiglass are table saws, circular saws, jigsaws, plexiglass knives, utility knives, rotary tools, and oscillating multitools.

  • What is the difference between plexiglass and acrylic?

    The words plexiglass and acrylic are often used to indicate different products. In reality, plexiglass is derived from Plexiglas, which is a popular brand of acrylic sheet.