Drilling Holes In Glass
For anyone who is starting something new, taking that first step can be the most important one.
When it come to drilling holes in glass you will want to make sure that you have both the right tools and the right technique. With a little patience and some fortitude, you can have a great deal of success with your bottle crafts and feel confident knowing that your hand made projects are something that you put together.
Let’s start off with having the right tools. The glass drilling bits that we use for our hand held drill are different from the bits that were used with our drill press. Here are the different kinds of bits you can choose from:
Hand Held Drill Bits
I have come to find that these drill bits by Vermont American are the best on the market and last for a long time. Always wear gloves and be careful when using these bits, they get very hot during the drilling process. Only $14.87 for the set!
Drill Press Drill Bits
The diamond particle coating on these DRILAX hole saws give superior performance and lifetime. Please note these drilling tools do not need center pilot holes. Center pilot hole drills are mostly for wood, metal, etc. This 10 piece set offers all the sizes you will need with shank sizes from the vary smallest at 5/32″ and the largest shank is 3/8″.
As you can see, the drill bits used for the hand held drill look more like shovel spades while the drill press bit has the hole shape with a diamond coating.
I have tried to interchange these two different styles with both the different drill tools and the results were not that impressive. The hand held drill simply wanted to slide all over the glass leaving it marred and scratched. This is the easiest way for me to explain that the drill bits do correspond with the proper drill.
Once you know which tool that you will be drilling holes in glass with we can move on to the wax ring. I have incorporated the ‘plumbers putty’ with the drill press drilling process. You can do it with both. Simply roll out a section and bring the ends together to make a donut shape. Place the ring over the area that you want to drill and fill it with water.
The wax ring can be incorporated in with the drill press or the hand held drill. By having the wax ring with water in it you will help keep your drill bits cool and also keep the glass dust contained. While using either drill you can also benefit from putting water inside the bottle. Drilling holes in glass with a little water inside will help with the clean up of your final product.
Visit our Resources Page to find all the tools you will need for your glass drilling projects.
Now that you have your tools all together let’s move on to some safety gear.
One of the first things that I reach for before drilling is the safety glasses. There are way too many different factors that are happening here for you to not shield your eyes. The combination of the heat and pressure that is applied can cause the glass to shatter.
When it comes to drilling holes in glass, you will definitely want to protect your eyes. A pair of gloves are essential with either drilling process. You will be holding the bottle during the drilling process and the same reasoning for keeping your eyes protected will also come into play here as well. A face mask can also be added to prevent the inhalation of the glass dust that will occur from the drilling process.
With both your tools and safety gear lined up let’s find a place for drilling holes in glass.
The first thing that comes to mind is the garage or a working basement. It can be loud and noisy and you will want to be in an area that allows for easy clean up. Lay out some newspapers to collect the glass dust or if your bottle should break. “An ounce of prevention is worth pound of cure.”
You are now ready to begin. Let’s start out with some ‘throw away’ bottles. This will allow you to test the waters and get a feel for the glass drilling process. I always iterate that a slow and steady pace will allow you to get the best results for drilling holes in glass.
If your going to use a hand drill, take the smallest drill bit that you have and place it on the area that you want to drill the hole. Using a rubber mallet, lightly strike the end to leave a small divot in the glass. This divot will help keep your glass drill bit in place for when you begin. Without the divot you might find your drill sliding all over the place. Place the wax ring over your divot and fill it with water.
For the drill press, you can simply line up your bottle under the drill bit. Place your wax ring over the area that you want to drill and fill it with water. Bring down the drill bit in a slow and steady flow. Let the drill bit do the work and try not to force it. Once you’ve drilled through the glass bring the bit back up in the same slow and steady measure.
Try to keep the bottle in the same spot the whole time. When your backing out with the drill bit still turning you will both hear and feel it drill a little more. This is normal and will help clean out your newly drilled hole.
The clean up process. I’ve tried a lot of different chemical cleaners and liquids but the one that seems to work the best is just plain dish soap and water. Submersing the bottle in your wash water will help get all the collected glass dust out and your end result will look that much better. If you have opted to keep the label you can still remove all the excess glass dust. Fill the bottle with the dish soap liquid and hold your thumb over the newly drilled hole and use your other hand for the top. Slosh the water around inside until you’ve cleaned it up and then pour it out.
Who knew drilling holes in glass could be so easy?
With a little practice you will find out over time that with a combination of the right pressure and speed you will be drilling holes in glass effortlessly in no time at all.
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