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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 breakingย 4? ๐Ÿ™ Best regards, RINNA Fe”

How to drill a square bottle

Tips for drilling a glass bottle

 

 

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. You can get this set of 4 drill bits for only $14.70 & FREE Shipping on Amazon.

bits for drilling glass bottles

Buy Here

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 I needed 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.

Do you have a question about drilling glass bottles, finding bottle project resources or simply want to say ‘hi’?
Click here to send us an email or leave a comment below.

45 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.

  • I like this idea and love that you used a JD bottle, I had a question that I think I know the answer to but will ask anyways, can I use an 18 volt impact like these (which I already have) or should I consider some other type of drill because of the impact part (dangerous)? Any feedback is appreciated.

    • Ryan,

      The cordless drill I had never had enough power to finish the job. The ones on the link will probably run much longer than mine ever could when it was fully charged. As far as the torque is concerned you will really have to allow yourself to gently squeeze your way into starting. I took off full throttle with my corded drill and ended up leaving a long scratch across the bottom. Just remember to ease your way into your drilling speed and everything else will fall into place.

      Good question!

  • Is there an estimated time I should drill before giving it a break? I’m not sure what to expect. I want to make a few bottle lamps but I really don’t want to break the bottle I have. I don’t know if practicing on a bottle would help since mine is a specific thickness but I’ll give it a go. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Stephanie,
      You can walk away from it and go back to drilling at yourown leisure. It would actually work in your favor to do this so the glass and your drill bit can cool down. Let us know how your project turns out.

  • Hi! I successfully drilled a hole in a bottle but now after two days a crack is spreading. Any way to stop it? The crack is smooth to touch just visible. It will be in the back of the lamp so not a big deal. It’s a xmas gift so I can’t take buying another bottle of Jack and trying to store the liquor around my house since I still have most of the other bottle liquor left. Hoping you can help!

    • JS,

      The drilling process was hit so that sounds good. The crack that is appearing isn’t. It’s strange that it got worse after you were done drilling. If it isn’t too far away from the edge you might be able to conceal it with a rubber grommet (you can view these on our supplies page). If it goes out beyond that you might want to try adding a filler to your bottle.
      It shouldn’t get any worse and it may have started the crack because of the varying thickness of the glass.
      You could always visit your local bar and explain what it is your doing. I’m sure they could set aside an empty bottle for you. No need to become too far inebriated. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • get free bottles at any bar just ask

    • You can add some JD to your meat marinade for your barbecued meats!

  • I dont have a drill press so i use a cordless i bought some round carbon tip bits will these work.

  • Can I use standard drill bits (wood/metal) to drill into a glass bottle? Obviously they would have to be kept cool, go slow, light pressure, etc., but I was just interested if I could use my current set of skil bits.

  • Is there someplace one can take a glass project to have a hole drilled into. It? I’m 83 and do not have the necessary apparatus for my project.

    • Where are you located? We would have to get together for me to drill your bottle(s).
      I trade off between El Cajon, CA and Surprise, AZ.
      Or, if you’ll pay for shipping, you can send it/them to me and I will drill them(no charge).

  • Phyllis, I’m in Tacoma, Washington. You give me a hollar if your in my neck of the woods and I’ll take care of ya.

  • Phyllis, I have a drill press! Sarasota, Florida.

  • Did Phyllis ever get her bottle drilled?

  • ? speed for drilling bottle

  • Ok so I have a question? I want to make a jager lamp for my fiance who loves weird items. I have a cordless drill also and have absolutely no confidence e that I can drill this hole in this bottle. I don’t want to use the cork. I would like the hole drilled. With the thickness of the jager bottle can I drill the hoke in it the same way or a different way? Is there anyone in the atlanta, ga area that could help me out with this?? It’s our anniversary bottle from our first anniversary and I don’t want to break it!! Please help!! ๐Ÿ™

    • Tawney,
      I have a couple ideas. 1) You could try your run at a few practice bottles to help you get the feel for the drilling process. Once you know how much pressure and how fast you can drill it without over heating the glass, you will be able to drill any glass bottle.
      2) You could ask on the Bottle Crafts DIY FB page if anyone in your area would be willing to lend a hand.

  • I built a few of these forty years ago when I was a boy. I remember drilling the bottom with a 1/2″ carbide bit in a Black and Decker drill. The secret was to not drill through all the way. You stop drilling when the hole got big enough to allow the 3/8″ rod to pass through it. I put them on wood bases I cut with a hole saw. Then I drilled the wood with a 3/8 bit, and halfway back with a one inch bit too accommodate the washer and nut. Then just drill a 1/4 hole from the edge to the centre to allow the cord to go through. I also remember that drilling the glass took a long time. I’m going to try making more but this time I’m trying diamond bits.

  • Where can I find the wax rings to use when I cut the bottle? I live in a rural area with no craft stores close by.

    • Cheryl,
      Here is a link for plumbers putty: http://amzn.to/1SOOi3n
      I rolled it into a donut and place it over the area that I’m going to drill. In between times when you’re not using it you can store it in a ziploc bag.
      You can also pick this up at any hardware store.

      • Thank you! I found it at Home Depot. I kept looking for “wax” and couldn’t find anything on it. “Plumber’s Putty” did the trick.

  • I have a Wen Bench Drill Press, and am wondering how to keep water on the bit. Do I use a tub of some kid, and if so how do I secure it so it doesn’t slide or get knocked of the presses table? Would it be better to use some kind of oil lubercant?

    • Chip,
      Here is a link for plumbers putty: http://amzn.to/1SOOi3n
      I rolled it into a donut and place it over the area that Iโ€™m going to drill. In between times when youโ€™re not using it you can store it in a ziploc bag.
      You can also pick this up at any hardware store.
      Thanks for stopping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Need to drill drainage hole in Mason Jars. Will diamond tip drill bits from Walmart work? Hoping I don’t break the jars…

  • i’ve been slowly gathering the parts for making a jd lamp and im so nervous about breaking the bottle by using a cordless drill that i’m discouraged from even trying it. Is there anyone on the east coast in the MA area that can help me?

    • I’ll post this question on our Facebook page and see if we get a response.

      • Don’t be discouraged! The 2 that I cracked were because I forgot to take the caps off..lol Using plumbers putty with water makes a huge difference. I’m sure there is someone close who will help you out. If you don’t get any response I’d be happy to send you a bottle already drilled.
        Have a great day!
        Jessie

        • I would love if you could send me an already drilled bottle. That would help so much! How do i go about doing that if you can still help?

          • Hey Bree,
            Is there a certain bottle you wold like? If you could go like BottlesBeGlowing on Facebook we can private message info ๐Ÿ™‚

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