How to Cut Plexiglass

Plexiglass, also known as acrylic glass, is a versatile plastic material that can be used for a variety of applications. Cutting plexiglass properly is key to creating clean edges and achieving your desired results. With the right tools and techniques, cutting plexiglass can be easy. This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about cutting plexiglass successfully.

Selecting the Right Plexiglass

Plexiglass comes in different grades, thicknesses, and transparency levels. The type you need depends on your specific project.


There are three main grades of plexiglass to choose from:

  • General purpose – Good for indoor applications like decorative dividers or cabinet doors. It scratches easily.
  • UV filtering – Blocks UV rays while maintaining transparency. Ideal for outdoor use.
  • Abrasion resistant – Withstands scratching better than general purpose. Good for high-traffic areas.


Common plexiglass thicknesses range from 1/16 inch to 1 inch. Thinner sheets are flexible while thicker cuts are rigid. Consider both the application and desired structural integrity when selecting thickness.


Plexiglass comes in perfectly clear as well as colored, translucent, mirrored, or patterned variations. Pick the level of transparency suitable for your project.

Tools for Cutting Plexiglass

Cutting plexiglass requires specialized tools to make smooth, precise cuts without cracking or chipping the material. Here are the best tool options:

  • Table saw – Fitted with a fine-toothed blade, a table saw makes straight cuts through plexiglass. Use a slow feed rate.
  • Circular saw – For long straight cuts or beveled edges. Use a plywood blade to prevent chipping.
  • Jigsaw – Ideal for cutting curves and other custom shapes. Use a fine-toothed blade.
  • Router – Attach a flush cutting bit for a clean edge when trimming plexiglass.
  • Bandsaw – Makes curved cuts and can saw thick plexiglass sheets. Use a high TPI blade.
  • Plexiglass cutter – A specialty tool for scoring and snapping plexiglass. Use for simple straight cuts.
  • Drill – Fit a high-speed steel twist drill bit to drill holes in plexiglass.

Cutting Techniques

Follow these techniques when cutting plexiglass for flawless results:

Straight Cuts

With a table saw or circular saw:

  • Mark cut lines with masking tape to prevent chips.
  • Secure the plexiglass firmly on the saw table. Use stops to prevent shifting.
  • Feed the plexiglass slowly through the blade at a steady pace. Don’t force it.
  • For circular saws, clamp a straightedge guide to ensure straight cuts.

With a jigsaw:

  • Mark cut lines on the protective film if present. If not, use masking tape.
  • Work on a smooth, debris-free surface like MDF. Secure the plexiglass with clamps.
  • Use slow, even strokes allowing the blade to cut through the material. Don’t rush.
  • Support the waste side as you finish the cut to prevent cracking.

With a plexiglass cutter:

  • Place the plexiglass on a cutting mat or smooth cutting board.
  • Use the cutter to score the plexiglass firmly along the cut line. Score 2-3 times.
  • Position the score directly over the edge of the work surface.
  • Apply even pressure on both sides to snap the plexiglass cleanly along the score.

Curved Cuts

With a jigsaw:

  • Mark the curve on the protective film or use masking tape.
  • Drill a starter hole just inside the curve. Insert the jigsaw blade.
  • Cut slowly using a blade with about 10 TPI. Support the waste side.
  • For tight curves, drill relief holes mid-curve for easy turning.

With a bandsaw:

  • Mark the line using a permanent marker or vinyl strip.
  • Tack down a straightedge guide to help track the curve.
  • Release the blade tension slightly. Cut slowly to avoid overheating.
  • Keep blade guides as close to the workpiece as possible for control.

With a router:

  • Use a fine-point marker and ruler to mark the curve.
  • Position the plexiglass on a router table over a sacrificial backer board.
  • Reduce the router speed. Take light passes along the curve to prevent cracks.
  • For detailed curves, make relief cuts first with a jigsaw.


To make interior cutouts:

  • Mark the dimensions of the cutout area. Drill holes at the corners.
  • Use a jigsaw to cut along the perimeter connecting the holes.
  • File smooth any rough edges from drilling or cutting.
  • Consider adding polished, beveled, or rounded edges for aesthetics.

Drilling Holes

Follow these tips to drill clean, crisp holes:

  • Mark hole locations using a center punch or awl to prevent the drill from wandering.
  • Secure the plexiglass with tape or clamps on a backer board to prevent cracks.
  • Use high-RPM drill speeds. For less than 1/8” holes, start with a smaller pilot drill.
  • Drill slowly at first until the hole is established, then increase speed. Use minimal pressure.
  • For smooth edges, back out the drill periodically to clear chips. Lubricate with oil.
  • To prevent stress cracks, drill oversized holes up to 1/8” larger than fasteners.

Smoothing and Polishing Cut Edges

For safe and smooth plexiglass edges:

  • Use 220 grit sandpaper to lightly smooth away any rough edges or burrs.
  • Wet sanding helps give a smooth, glossy edge. Take care not to over-sand.
  • Finish by buffing gently with plastic polishing compound.
  • For beveled edges, use a router table fitted with a chamfering bit.
  • Flame polishing melts and fuses the edge for a transparent finish. Use a propane torch.

With the proper tools and technique, you can achieve clean and accurate cuts for any plexiglass project. Pay attention to safety and let the tools do the work. Follow these tips for hassle-free plexiglass cutting.

FAQs About Cutting Plexiglass

How can I cut thick plexiglass sheets?

For plexiglass over 1/4″ thick, a bandsaw is the best option. Use a fine-toothed blade and slow feed rate to cut smoothly through thick material. You can also stack thinner sheets to achieve the desired thickness when cutting.

What’s the easiest way to cut circles and curves in plexiglass?

Using a jigsaw is the simplest way to cut curves and circles in plexiglass. Secure the plexiglass and use relief cuts, slow speeds, and tight blade turns for the cleanest curved and circular cuts. A bandsaw also works for wider curves.

Should I use oil when drilling plexiglass?

Yes, applying light oil like WD-40 when drilling plexiglass helps keep the bit cool and lubricated. The oil helps prevent heat buildup that could crack the plastic and reduces friction for a cleaner hole.

What blade is best for cutting plexiglass on a table saw?

A table saw will cut plexiglass best when using a high quality plywood blade with about 80 teeth. The small teeth made for cutting wood help reduce chipping on the edges of the plexiglass. Limit your feed rate as well.

Is plexiglass scratch resistant?

General purpose plexiglass sheets scratch fairly easily. Abrasion resistant grades are designed to withstand scratching better. Applying scratch-resistant coating or contacts can also help prevent scuffs and abrasions. Handle plexiglass carefully to limit scratches.

How do I polish the cut edges of plexiglass?

For polished cut edges, sand the edges smooth using wet sandpaper in 220 grit. Finish by using plastic polishing compound applied with a microfiber cloth or buffing wheel. Take care not to over-heat the plastic when polishing. Flame polishing also fuses the edge smoothly.


Cutting plexiglass involves paying close attention to material grade, tools used, and cutting techniques. With patience and the proper methods, you can achieve clean cuts and polished edges. Be sure to work slowly and safely. Using the right blade, speed, and feed rate for the thickness and style of cut prevents cracking or chipping. Follow this guide to cut plexiglass like a pro for any DIY or construction project.