Introduction: How to Drill a Hole in a Glass Bottle

Picture of How to Drill a Hole in a Glass Bottle

In this Instructable, we look at a way to drill a hole in a glass bottle.

The procedure is fast, simple and effective.

What's needed:

Diamond core coated drill bits are great for drilling glass bottles.

You will need a cordless drill. Cordless for your own safety - in case you drop it in the water.

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Step 1:

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Bottles are slippery, so it can be challenging to drill a hole in exact point you want without scratching the bottle.

Melt the Instamorph and wrap it half way around the bottle.

Step 2:

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When Instamorph has cooled down, drill a hole in it with a drill bit you are planning to use for the bottle.

Step 3:

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Cover the bottle with water.

Put your Instamorph plastic guide on the bottle.

Now you can drill a hole in the point you want.

You can also use the guide to mark the bottle. Drill a little bit and then take off the guide.

Continue drilling without it to see the hole better.

How fast should you drill?

That depends. I keep changing the speed depending on how it feels.

After drilling so many bottles, you know when to slow down or go faster.

It's a good idea to practice on a bottle that is not too fancy.


Augustny (author)2017-01-09

Awesome and very neatly done!

dougbalko (author)2016-12-05

Make sure you have a spray water bottle when you do this. Heat and glass are not good friends! Spray plenty of water when using these type of bits.

Gizmo2kat (author)2016-11-26

What all is needed (tool wise) to make a circular hole in a quart size mason jar?The hole will be approximately 2" above the bottom of jar, and needs to be big enough to run a small string of Christmas lights thru.

Thank You in advance...

Raitis (author)Gizmo2kat2016-12-05

You will need a bit somewhere between 12 and 20mm (1/2" to 4/5") depending on the light string used. Instamorph is a nice trick, but not necessary - just start drilling with one edge of the bit, at an angle of about 45 degrees or so. The drill bit will want to run away, so expect that.

Something soft to put under to stabilize the bottle will be very useful too.

chefranger (author)2016-04-17

Did I ever tell you your Awesome? If id didn't well here I say it now your Awesome.

ECRusch (author)2015-12-10

Very cool idea.

Does the cut out portion remain in the bottle, or can it be removed?

blenderbender (author)ECRusch2015-12-10

Sometimes the core remains in the bit where they need to be forced out, when they do fall back into the bottle, since they are a smaller diameter than the hole you just drilled because of the wall thickness of the bit they can easily be removed via same hole.

If you turn the bottle upside down, any bits will fall out.

That's exactly what I was going to say :)

I got nothing to Add.

justdavid (author)2015-12-14

I use a container with water covering the bottle and use towels to hold the bottle in place.

hassanstudio (author)2015-12-10

Hi, Its brilliant. Clean holes My dear, I'm also struggling with cutting a coke bottle vertically as shown in the illustration below. 2 identical halves, top to bottom. Please help if you can.

scratch a line in the length of the bottle on all sides, where it should crac. u can use a fixed glasscutter, and a rail 2 slide the bottle up n down. take two-second-glue, and glue a cord along the scratch, then use lighterfluid to soak the cord. put the bottle upside down, light the cord, and when it starts to turn black, put it in a bucket of water. a combo of following techniques:

DIY-Guy (author)hassanstudio2015-12-10

Try googling a diamond hoop saw, or diamond ring saw, context is glass cutting.

hassanstudio (author)DIY-Guy2015-12-12

Thank you DIY-Guy for the tip and video. Amazing.

You might want to consider the fire/string method that is sometimes used to cut glass. Basically find a way to heat a vertical line on both sides of the bottle, then quench it in cold water and the glass will crack along the heated portion in a nice line due to internal thermal expansion forces.

I have never done it myself, but I would try a diamond band saw.

ok. If you ever post. And since we are at it, I have another issue - cutting a high heel shoe into 2 identical halves. Tried many methods, nothing worked. If you have an answer, please let me know. Love your hacks.

I would try a band saw. Create a jig to hold the shoe steady and slowly feed it through the saw. Good luck.

marcintosh (author)hassanstudio2015-12-10

If I had to cut a high heel shoe in half I would use heavy duty double sided tape and place it on a plank or bit of plywood and then put a plastic bag (perhaps the cling film might do) in the shoe and fill that with expanding foam intended for use with window's and door jams. When the foam was finished expanding, I'd stroll over to my band saw (making certain I had a clean blade) and have at it after I had made the appropriate adjustments to the fence and marking the center line on the shoe and wood. Use a blade with smaller teeth for a nicer cut

p3nguin (author)hassanstudio2015-12-10

You need access to a water jet to do that.

Sorry, I have no idea.

I would also go for the band saw, Unfortunately I don't own a band saw, so it's unlikely I will try it in the nearest future.

If the high heel shoes is made from a material that melts, you could try to cut it with a nichrome wire. You would probably need to strip down any fabric or things that would not melt.

ldonayre (author)hassanstudio2015-12-10

How about soaking the shoe in water, then freezing it and cutting it with a bandsaw (meat cutting blade.)

As stated previously, a diamond band saw would do it, but a wet tile saw with the proper blade (non-intermittent, thin kerf, diaomond) would be a tool more likely available, and would be easier to make a straight cut with.


LondoB5 (author)hassanstudio2015-12-10

You can't cut both sides at once as the force created by clamping on the
recently cut end would be strong enough to crack or break it. I cut a
bottle once for an art project by scoring the area to be cut with a
diamond edged dremel (the kind of blade that looks like a tiny circular
saw blade), and then completing the cut. Alternatively, a tile saw may
work, but it may be too much of a blunt instrument for a glass bottle.

By the way, I had to sand the bejesus out of the bottle after cutting as the dremel did not do a completely even job (part of the nature of a hand-based tool and my inability to cut a straight line, I guess). For what I was doing though, it was sufficient.

Dgidgi (author)2015-12-10

Hi there, thanks for the amazing idea and tutorial
Maybe it's a stupid question and I apologise for that, but since this is not my work/action field, I just wonder why is necessary to be a cordless drill. I mean, I know of course that water conducts electricity therefore it could be dangerous but haven't those cord drills some kind of isolation at the top where you insert the drill? Pardon my ignorance and also my sinful grammar, english is not my mother language as it's obvious..

blenderbender (author)Dgidgi2015-12-10

You're exactly right about mixing water and electric corded drills! If you were to try this I would make certain you are plugged into a ground fault protected circuit, and wear rubber gloves. I've drilled many a bottle using a small (corded) drill press with a small aquarium pump splaying water around the cut line.... all plugged into a GFI protected circuit. BTW.... your grammar is much better than most! You were perfectly clear.

Yonatan24 (author)blenderbender2015-12-11

Lets just say this:

In both cases, The drill probably wont survive.

In the case of using a corded drill, You're now going to be in danger...

blenderbender (author)Yonatan242015-12-11

I'm not certain what you mean when you say "In both cases, The drill probably wont survive"......

Yonatan24 (author)blenderbender2015-12-12

You will probably ruin the drill if you drop it in water, Electric motors do not like water...

studleylee (author)Dgidgi2015-12-10

The corded drills should have a grounded body if they are metal. If the drill got splashed you might still get a shock.

If the drill body is mostly plastic, the isolation path will be an insulated element in the drill motor body, ie plastic gearset, or chuck assembly, which is indeterminate unless you take the drill apart or do an ohm check. Personally I might do it with a corded drill, probably wearing gloves, but in an Instructable you can't say this. So many people will become armchair experts and fluctuate on how dangerous 120vac and water is. I've been shocked and know what to expect so it's my call. Most contractors would laugh and go ahead. Be careful whatever you decide :-)

Yonatan24 (author)studleylee2015-12-11

The only thing I can say is if you want to use a corded drill, Do it in the USA...

weish (author)2015-12-10

sort of a high-tech version of the layers of painter's tape aquarium keepers use to drill their tanks for plumbing bulkheads. a good option for those with a powerful torch is also to flame-polish the cut edges once you're done, to knock down all the sharp edges quickly.

blenderbender (author)weish2015-12-10

You'd be hard pressed to flame polish the rough edges without thermally shocking the rest of the bottle.

RigelBlue (author)blenderbender2015-12-11

Exactly my query: would a torch smooth the edge, and what kind of torch?

What do I have to do to keep the torch from breaking the glass?

blenderbender (author)RigelBlue2015-12-11

It's necessary to get the cut, ragged edge up to about 1500 deg F in order to fire polish. The temperature differential between that and the rest of the bottle will be around 1430 deg F (1500 minus room temp). The glass is going to suffer thermal shock, begin to crack, then break. I just did it and took a couple pics. The third pic shows a crack starting, though I don't know if you can see it. And eventually the bottle failed to be a bottle. The only way I could feature being successful with a torch (maybe)... perhaps using a tiny pencil torch and doing very tiny portions, not allowing the flame to go beyond the very face of the edge of the hole..... I wouldn't bet on it though. Another idea that might be worth trying is using a thermal heat sink dam around the hole. It's a clay like moldable product. If it could absorb the heat fast enough to keep the bottle from shocking..... I don't have any on hand or I'd try it.

RigelBlue (author)blenderbender2015-12-11

Thanks blenderbender, for your research. So , I guess the sanded edge is my only option. I sure thank you!

blenderbender (author)RigelBlue2015-12-11

If you own a Dremel tool, there are lots of inexpensive diamond coated bits you can use to grind a smoother finish on cut edges like these. Takes a lot less time than hand sanding. You won't achieve a polished surface but it can get much smoother. And there are glass polishing tools also available for a Dremel tool, though these will take much more time and patience though they can get you a near polish if you expend the effort. Harbor Freight sells a 50 pc. diamond point set (see pic) that include several diamond bits suitable for such work. Best to use them wet (keeps glass cool and abates dust) and the simplest way is to have a spray bottle of water in one hand and Dremel tool in other hand. This would necessitate affixing the bottle in some way to keep it from rolling around. A bed of modeling clay would work for this, or a third hand.

Chipper Bert (author)2015-12-11

I've never seen anything like Instamorph in my country (South Africa) so am kinda envious. Looks like the sort of stuff every home needs..

Envy aside, would it not make life easier if one made a sort of flat bottomed cradle out of some, for example, mix enough to make a slab say 10cm x 5cm x 1cm, roll it onto a flat surface and press a bottle into it. When it's set trim the edges if needed.

Placed under bottle while drilling, it would help stopping it rolling while drilling?

I am hope you follow the word description. I would make an Instructable with photos if only I could hold of some Instamorph ;-)

Come to think of it, a bundle of glue sticks and a hot air gun might do the trick..

Stand by...!

Try searching for Polymorph,Thermomorph, Plastimake or thermoplastic.

It's the same thing, just different brands.

arwest (author)2015-12-11

Wondering why you submerge the bottle in water. Could you use a wood hand screw to hold the bottle steady then clamp it onto the drill press table? Thanks for posting---something I've pondered on for a while now!!

ShakeTheFuture (author)arwest2015-12-11

The bottle was submerged in water to cool it down and to lubricate it.

It is also great for preventing glass dust formation in the air.

Alternatively you can pour water on the drill bit while you are drilling.

If you don't cool down/lubricate the bottle, it might crack/chip.

arwest (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-11

Ah yes, once I began thinking on it, I figured as much! Thanks for your response, validating that thought------much appreciated!

Ninzerbean (author)2015-12-11

Your response to ECRusch of "think buddy, just think......" could be applied to you as well in that comments need to be positive and constructive. Please continue to help others but do keep our policy in mind.

Yonatan24 (author)Ninzerbean2015-12-11

He just said think, It might not have been the nicest way to say it, But it wasn't that "mean" or anything...

HTMF Metal Pizza (author)2015-12-11

Excellent video. Shows a technique quickly and efficiently. Nicely done.

Thank You!

ECRusch (author)2015-12-10

Thank you for reminding me to think.
Why didn't I think of that.....

Ninzerbean (author)ECRusch2015-12-10

It's the same reason that sewer covers are round - so they can't fall in. Never be afraid to ask a question - if someone gives you a smartass comment back it's about them - not you.

ECRusch (author)Ninzerbean2015-12-11

Thank you.

It's people like the guy who had to make a wisecrack, that make people like me decide not to comment or ask a question.

I'm glad I'm not them.

Thank you for your help.

About This Instructable




Bio: Innovative Projects, Diy's, Life Hacks
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