Introduction: Drilling Holes in Glass Bottles
In this Instructable I will show how I drilled holes in GLASS BOTTLES for a couple of my past Instructables. Instead of trashing your glass turn it into something beautiful or practical. A bottle out of the Trash can be your next Treasure. But, first we need to be able to drill holes in glass.
I will show my success, and explain my failures.
My success is displayed at the following links.
Drilling glass came about from Instructables and the ideas that have been shared by others. The deeper I dive into this community, the more first time experiences I have.
My Rules for Drilling Glass
- BE SAFE!
- Be Patient
- Be Smart
- When in doubt, go back to Rule 1.
With this Instructable I hope someone else takes on the challenge and creates some wonderful stuff.
Step 1: Be Safe
Some important SAFETY points when drilling glass.
- Practice on some junk bottles before working on your desired piece of work
- Be Safe- wear safety goggles to protect from flying chips of glass.
- Be Safe- wear protective gloves to protect from shards of glass if your bottle cracks or shatters during the drilling process. My first two attempts at drilling glass ended in destroyed bottles.
- Be Patient- do not force the drill bit. Let the tool do the work.
- Go Slow- just a reminder of being patient.
Step 2: Failure
The Growler is the fourth piece of glass I had ever drilled. My first two attempts on other bottles were failures. Couple ideas why I failed. First was probably the area of the bottle where I was drilling. With my first design ideas, I wanted to totally hide the wiring. With that said, I tried to drill through the bottom of bottles to hide wiring once mounted on base. Due to the structure of the glass, this might cause too much stress on the glass causing cracking. Right at the point of drilling through the glass bottles, the entire bottle cracked. Unsure if that is just a bad place to try to drill, or if it was the bits I was using.
For my first two failures I was using Carbide Tile and Glass Cutting Drill Bits. The auger style seemed to grab the glass right at the point of making it through the glass and cracking the entire bottle. Perhaps if I was being more patient and moving slower the auger may not have grabbed and cracked the glass. So, I changed to the Diamond Grit Hole Saw AND went through the SIDE of the bottle instead of the bottom. Have been successful ever since changing.
Sorry, no pictures of my failure. Broken bottles went flying into the recycle bin faster than I could even think of taking pictures.
The tools above were purchased from Harbor Freight (local retail) and Amazon.com.
Step 3: Tools and Materials
For the longest time I used a hand drill for all my drilling. In the past year with Instructables, I have found myself in need of more precise and controlled drilling. Therefore, I invested in an inexpensive drill press from Harbor Freight. While Harbor Freight does not provide the highest quality tools, I feel a lot of what they offer is great for hobbyists, makers, and tinkerers. Or, for that tool that you know you will not use all that much and don't want to spend a bundle.
I found this drill press on sale for $59.99 and used a 25% off coupon. Great deal that will make your life easier.
- Cushion (placed between drill press table and glass)
- Drill Press (preferred instead of power drill, much more stable and easy to handle)
- 1/4 inch Diamond Grit Hole Saw
- Leather gloves to protect your hands from broken glass. (just in case)
- Glass Bottle
My personal preference for success is the Hole Saw style for reasons mentioned earlier.
Step 4: Drilling Glass Skull
While I do not have much experience drilling glass, I have learned to look for a hidden thinner area to drill when possible. I would have preferred to drill the hole in the bottom of the skull to hide the wiring, but that would be over a 1/4 inch of drilling. An earlier attempt of drilling the bottom of a bottle with near same thickness resulted in a broken bottle. Hence, drill the backside where the glass is not as thick. Glass on the back was less than 1/4 inch thick.
I prefer to place a cushion of material (old sweat shirt) on the drill press table to absorb a little pressure from the drill bit pressing on the glass while drilling. It also protects the glass from getting scratched.
- Place cushion material on press table.
- Insert 1/4 inch diamond hole saw.
- Check press depth to be sure you will drill through the glass.
- Set glass under hole saw where you would like to drill.
- Hold glass firmly with gloved hand.
- Start drill and beginning drilling slowly.Do not apply much pressure, let the saw do the work
- Pour a little water onto drilling area every 20 seconds or so to clear dust and keep glass cool.
- Repeat water and drilling until through glass.
- Rinse glass dust away.
At a slow patient pace it took about 2 minutes to drill the hole.
Step 5: Drilling Glass Growler
Sorry, but I do not have any picts where I actually drilled the hole in the growler as I needed both hands to operate the drill press and keep the Growler in place. SAFETY FIRST!
Basically I used the same process as this YouTube video for drilling the glass. My press is same size and used the same type of Diamond Grit Hole Saw. The only difference in my process was that once I started the drilling process, I only added a little water to the drilling area as drilling progressed. I did not use the reservoir as the video shows. Hole was drilled easily in about 2 minutes of slow patient drilling. Use a file to smooth edges of the hole.
Step 6: Summary
This Instructable was for those of you who have wondered how to drill bottles or been reluctant to do so. I hope this has eased doubts or sparked an interest to drilling glass.
Don't Trash It! Drill It! Treasure It!
Vote if you feel worthy!
Thanks for viewing.
The Water Dog