Instructables

Glass Block Christmas Decoration

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I received one of these as a gift last year, and figured how hard would it be to make one. It was not as easy as I thought but just about anyone can make it with a little caution and safety measures.

Use a glass building block to make a decoration, by drilling a hole and inserting Christmas lights, then add some decorations on the outside of the block.
 
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Step 1: Prepare to drill the glass block.

Items you will need for this step include:
8 in X 8 in X 3 in glass block (Home Depot)
glass and tile drill bit 1/2 inch
Drill press preferably
Water
Gloves
and Eye protection

Step 2: Drill Glass Block

Picture of Drill Glass Block
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Take it nice and slow with this step. The glass can and will shatter if not careful. Make sure that the bit is kept cool by dripping or spraying water on the drill bit as you are drilling. If the glass bock is not clamped, use a towel and glove to hold the block down. Don't want anyone getting hurt.

Step 3: Clean the inside of the block.

Picture of Clean the inside of the block.
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The inside of the block will have a lot of glass dust inside once you have finished drilling. It will look dirty, don't worry it will come clean. First use a vacuum to get as much of the dust out as possible. There will be a little bit of dust still clinging to the inside of the block. Use a air-compressor to blow air into the hole. CAUTION: do not allow air pressure to build up inside of the block, IT WILL EXPLODE. That is why I do not have a picture of myself using the air-compressor.

Make sure that you have on gloves in this step as the glass dust escaping the little hole will feel like a sand blaster on your hand.

Step 4: Insert lights into block.

Picture of Insert lights into block.
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Use a 50 count light strand, not the sting together kind as you won't be able to insert the plug at the end of the sting. These are hard to find, I found mine at a local CVS store.
Zorik4 years ago
For drilling, put one or two of the blocks in a bucket, they should fit tight, and fill the pail with water till 1/4 inch or so above the blocks. Then drill, coolant is always on the bit that way. When the hole goes through the pressure inside pulls in water, then shake and rinse out the glass dust. Submerging also keeps the fragments and dust on the outside from flying around while drilling.
moideux Zorik2 months ago

Hi Zorik, I would really like to try drilling these glass blocks - can you tell me what type and size drill bit you used. Thank you very much :)

Zorik moideux2 months ago
The best drill bit is a "core drill" which is round and hollow with diamond bits on the edge. About $20 CDN funds. Mine came with a guide you can tape on the glass to keep the drill from skipping and rolling off the edge! Make sure someone squirts water at the spot to keep the bit cool. Drill very straight down, steady but not pushing too hard or the glass will break inward and you'll never get the bit of glass out. Control is the key. I found cordless drills not strong enough, very slow. Electric drill works better. Then rinse out the drill dust from inside, put it hole upwards aside till the inside dries. I like to do this in the winter and put the block hole downward on a heat vent, dries fast. Let me know how it goes. If you have a problem contact me again and I'll try to help. Good luck! It's fun when it goes well.
moideux Zorik2 months ago

Thank you for all that info :) - I'm living in Ireland, but the information you have given me should be sufficient to do a search. Will let you know how I get on, well actually how my dear hubby gets on. I do the craft part lol! :)

Zorik moideux2 months ago
Oh yes. Use a drill not the same dimension as the light string you'll be using. I used half inch for thinner light strings and 3/4 inch for thicker strings. In checking I see that the bit is actually called a hole saw. They're separate from the regular drill bits so look hard. Good luck!
twighahn Zorik3 years ago
great idea for those of us using hand held drills
bhvm2 months ago

Looks very Pretty But the lights won't last. Soo many lights crammed into tight space with no air circulation= FIRE HAZARD!

Mrs Donohue11 months ago
I made one for a wedding gift. It turned out really nice. I used Liquitex Gel Medium on a photo. Took me a couple days to finish. I put a white corded light string with 20 lights in the block. I think any more lights than that would get too hot. I left mine plugged in all day and even that got a little warm. If I get a chance, I will make another one and try to post a picture.
twighahn3 years ago
oneside with a bow the oher with and etching
twighahn3 years ago
etching powder and stencils
aireamme5 years ago
These blocks also come with predrilled holes, making the project easier. T here's also a prodcut called "Create A Block" that is basically the same thing in acrylic (http://www.artsandcraftsbyrayson.com/02.html). I work for a company that sells a great product to decorate these- check out my website: http://veronica.uppercaseliving.net . In particular, the "Embellishment Library" has some great items (go to Products, then Idea Catalog). In the Idea Catalog, the 6x6" items fit perfectly on 8x8" blocks, too!
i wonder if those acryliuc blocks are fish safe
DIYDragon5 years ago
These would look way cool with etchings on them.. : ) I had some of these too, and didn't know what to do with them.. Blast my anti-pack rat-ness..
etching powder
twighahn3 years ago
if i used l.e.d.'s and solar power this would be prefect for my motorhome
 another thing that could be done with this is to use the potpourri that comes in a bag when the lights are plugged in they heat up and it warms the potpourri up and it makes the whole house smell

mrubesch4 years ago
I made a batch of blocks for Christmas this year using both the angled drill bit as pictured and also the rigid brand circular one and found that the rigid brand cut a much cleaner hole and was definitely worth the few extra dollars
Great job.  Hope I have time to make a few this year.

On the coolant, kerosene is the lubricant that the old timers used when cutting glass.  Never tried it with a drill.

As for etching, I've seen people use stencils and a sand blaster to etch glass with very good results.


Suggestion - you can also try glass tiles. They're just a square of glass with spacers on all four sides used in designing. I think gluing two together might be easier than drilling a hole in a glass block.
Miss World5 years ago
I've always wanted to drill glass ... I should get that drill bit.. thank you so much for the instructable.
lambsb5 years ago
Very nice instructible. Makes a very pretty decoration and could be decorated for many occasions! Take a look at my instructible, the Mod Podge stained glass would work on these too!

Stained Glass Instructible
Today, I found a glass block for crafts in Lowes for $9.95. It is predrilled with a 1-3/4" hole and a comes with a plastic plug slotted for the power cord exit. Good deal!
To clean it, could you pur water in and pour it back out? I might make this for my mom
selena_19775 years ago
I plan on making these for friends and decorating the blocks with stain glass window paints and stain glass patterns. The possibilities are near endless with this project.
also there is a glass paint that creates a frosted glass effect that helps diffuse the light and make it glow softer. Very pretty.
deancp16 years ago
My wife is after me to make some of these for her. She says there are sources for plastic blocks - no worries for shattering when drilling. Also supposed to be lighter and not as dangerous to drop, both for the block and for your toes...
hlong (author)  deancp16 years ago
Not really that hard to do. I made 20 of these and only shattered the last one I made. I was making it to take the pictures for the instructable. I got a little carried away with the air compressor. I jammed the blower into the hole and did not allow any air to escape and the block exploded. I am lucky that non of the shrapnel was inbedded in my skin. But I have a lot to clean up in the garage. Glass glass everywhere.
deancp1 hlong6 years ago
Cool, sounds like the warnings of block breakage are overstated. Thanks for the info.
hlong (author)  deancp16 years ago
Just prior to posting I had one break, explode on me, It wasn't very fun. Harry
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Great instructable! You could etch it by using acid, sandblasting or even just sanding
canida6 years ago
That looks great! What a neat Christmas present.
jrc9766 years ago
I made one of these for my x for christmas last year. I etched everything into it. It turned out amazing!
hlong (author)  jrc9766 years ago
Are you lucky enough to have a VarsaLaser or how did you do the etching?
Woah... nice job! That's amazing, I really want to do this. Maybe I will. :-) (favorited)
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