How To Drill A Hole In Glass (Without Breaking It!)
Here’s How To Make Holes In Glass
I never thought drilling a hole in glass would be a useful skill, but it turns out that it's actually a necessary skill for many art projects and household crafts.
I've used it to make ornate planters, miniature versions of real places, and a few other odd projects. Occasionally, I've had to drill a hole to properly attach things to glass pieces of decor. It's a pretty versatile skill.
A lot of people over-complicate the process, though. It's only slightly different than drilling through wood or metal, but you can find all kinds of examples of people turning it into a 30-step process for no reason.
In this tutorial, I'm going to teach you how to drill holes into any glass object that you feel might need an extra hole or two, and I'm going to do it in the simplest way possible.
What You'll Need
If you've done any type of remodeling or crafting in the past, you probably have everything that I'm about to list sitting around your house. The only thing the average handyman will have to purchase is a new drill bit.
Here are the necessities:
1. The glass you want to drill
2. A drill
3. A drill bit capable of drilling glass
In general, any carbide bit will work. You can also use any diamond bit, but those are a bit more expensive. If you're only doing one or two projects, I suggest using carbide. A hole saw made of carbide or diamonds is another option, but it'll work the same way as the other tips, and I won't be describing that bit shape in detail.
Other Items To Consider Using
The following items aren't a necessity, and a lot of people will ignore this list anyways, but I highly suggest purchasing the following pieces of personal protection equipment.
Gloves: You don't want the glass to shatter while you're holding it. Your medical bills will cost more than every other item on this list.
Goggles: Do you want glass in your eye? My guess is that you don't. Wear some safety goggles.
Clamps: Find some clamps that can hold the glass for you. It doesn't really matter which ones you buy, but buy some that won't mess the glass up. These are just there to keep both of your hands free while you drill, and you won't have to worry about a mistake sending glass through your hand.
Dust mask: If you thought inhaling wood dust was a bad thing, wait until you inhale glass particles. You might not see the tiny particles flying off of your drill, but they're there. Use a dust mask to keep them out of your lungs.
How To Drill Holes In Glass (Step-by-Step)
Step 1: Determine The Type Of Glass
Before you ever attempt to drill through a piece of glass, you need to make sure it's not tempered. Tempered glass cannot be drilled. It'll shatter into a million pieces the second you start digging into it.
If you want to make sure your glass isn't tempered, check the corners of the glass. Manufacturers are required to etch a label into each of the corners on a piece of tempered glass.
if it is tempered, ditch the glass, and find another piece to use. You'll get a pretty big surprise if you don't.
Step 2: Use A Container Or A Safe Area
It should be common sense that you shouldn't drill into glass on your coffee table, but some people will still do it. If you do, you might end up picking up glass for a few weeks.
Drilling glass isn't difficult, but you are bound to mess up the first few times you try. Do it in a safe area, and use a large container if you can. It's a lot easier to clean up the mess if you have the glass in a big tub when you mess up.
Step 3: Brace The Glass
First, tape some cardboard around the part of the glass that you're going to drill. If you have a thick piece of tape, you can just tape the surface directly. This will keep the glass from fracturing around the hole you create, and it'll keep the bit from slipping out.
If you have clamps, you want to use them during this step. Just clamp the glass to a sturdy surface. Don't apply so much pressure that you break it, but you shouldn't be able to easily wobble it around.
If you don't have clamps, you can hold the glass still. I highly recommend using a glove. I said earlier that you'll probably mess up the first few times. If you aren't wearing a glove, your hand might get messed up.
Step 4: Lower The Drill Speed
If you're like me, your power drill is probably on its highest setting at all times. Turn it down before you work with glass. Not only do you increase your chances of breaking the glass, but you can cause your drill to slip out if you fire it up at full speed on a glass surface.
You want the drill to slowly carve out a hole. It takes longer, and I know that can get boring, but it's a lot safer.
Step 5: Drill It
Start slowly drilling into the glass with your preferred bit. Don't go all the way through it, though. Just make a small crater in the glass. After that, you can remove the cardboard or tape.
Now, you can increase your speed and pressure slightly. Don't get out of hand with it. The pilot hole you created will let you go faster, but you can still break the glass pretty easily.
Once you're almost through the glass, you need to slow down to a crawl, and you want to apply very little pressure. You don't want to punch through the glass. That increases your chance of breaking it dramatically.
Tips For Drilling Into Glass
Here are a few tips to make your holes look better:
Take your time: I can't think of a single situation where you'll have to drill a hole in glass within thirty seconds. Do not rush the process. That increases your chances of shattering the glass, and that can cause serious injuries. It also wastes all of the money you spent on the glass.
Lubricate the glass: Drilling holes creates friction and heat. If you generate too much, you'll break your materials. You can simply spray some water on your glass to keep it from getting too dry, but I like to use sewing machine oil or Bones Speed Cream. Both of those are very thin forms of grease, and they reduce friction extremely well.
Don't be a macho man: You don't have to push the drill through the glass. You shouldn't use much force at all. Let your drill do the work, and you'll have cleaner holes as a result.
As you can see, drilling holes in glass isn't a complicated process. It's like drilling through any other material, but you have to have a bit of patience.
I hope this guide gave you the info you need for your project! I recommend checking out our other tutorials to help you with other crafting projects.