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Tips for drilling a Glass Bottle

We receive emails with questions regarding the glass drilling process, where to find diamond tipped bits, light strings, bottle fillers and various other questions on a regular basis.

Here is a great reader email I would like to share with you regarding drilling holes in a glass bottle. Thank you Rinna Fe for sending in your question.

“Hi Nick and Silke. Thanks for this, I am so engrossed in making at least 1 bottle lamp.
However, some 4 good wine bottles are now gathered in a bin for future applications–
like maybe a porch fence top (to avoid trespassers).

Sad to say, I am very unsuccessful in this new endeavour. Should I give up after breaking
4? :( Best regards, RINNA Fe”

Nick’s reply:

Rinna Fe, Wait! Don’t give up. Before you throw in the towel I have a couple of suggestions and points I’d like to share with you.

First off: Pressure. How much force are you using when you’re drilling? You don’t want to go to hard at it. One way that might help you with this is to drill for a small amount of time and walk away from it for a little bit. Take your time. Don’t rush it or feel you need to do it all in one setting.

Second: Using multiple drill bits really helps. Switch back and forth between your pilot hole drill bit (which is the smallest one you have), and the next size up. By switching back and forth you can displace the heat that can build up by using just one constantly.

Third: Investing in a wax ring might help you as well. Once you’ve made the mark on the bottle using the punch, you can place a wax ring around the area and put water in the ring. If you do this before drilling your hole. You will be able to keep the heat on your drill bit low and also monitor the amount of drilling you’re doing. The water should turn a milky color. If it isn’t and the water is rising in temperature then your drill bit isn’t even drilling and you may break the bottle.

I broke a few bottles myself and always felt to go back and try it again. So I know how you feel about wanting it work out for you. Keep a slow steady drill bit speed and minimal pressure and you should do just fine.

Good luck.

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4 Responses to Tips for drilling a Glass Bottle

  • I find that if you fill the bottle with water and lay ithe bottle in a wash pan of water were the water is just over the bottle it keeps it cool while it is being drilled. If you want to keep the label just tap a piece of plastic bag over it temporarily till the hole is drilled.

    • Jeri,

      This would work perfectly and I’m glad you shared your idea with us. For those who want to enhance their favorite bottle this would work perfectly.

  • I saw a video using a drill press and wax ring to drill a hole in wine bottles…. Awesome!!!! The drilling process was FAST! The drill bit I purchased from Home Depot is a Ridgid 1/2 inch diamond drill bit .

    • Ruth,

      I’m glad you found us! Let us know how it turned out for you. We have a DIY Show Off page on our site and we would post your project to it.

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