Glass crafters often find that they need to drill holes in glass to complete their project. This is a guide about drilling holes in glass.
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If you drill your own glass blocks, you will need to clean out the glass dust. Following are some suggestions for ways to clean your blocks.
Try using rice and water shaken around in the block to clean it out. Then simply empty out the rice, rinse, and let the block air dry.
Another method that works well is to use an empty toilet paper roll attached to the end of your vacuum hose. Bend the unattached end into a cone shape and insert and tape a drinking straw to the cone. Put the straw inside the block and suck out the dust.
Finally, just wash each one with hot water "no soap", immediately after drilling and turn them hole side down in a dish drainer. Washing this quickly will not allow the glass dust to dry inside. They just sparkle when you are done.
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Here are questions related to Drilling Holes in Glass.
Can someone tell me of a tool that will make a hole in a glass jar for wiring a light? The drill bit tools don't work. Or can I buy jars with a hole in them already? Please help.
You can purchase glass drills. They have a rounded point. I dipped mine in oil and went slowly. Careful not to break through as that will crack your glass. Check the web to see what they look like. You may have to purchase them there also.
I am looking for a diamond drill to drill a 3/4 inch hole in glass blocks. Can you help me find one?
By Greg I
Home depot and or Menards have them as I have bought one a few years ago at Home Depot....maybe even try Lowe's.
What do I need to cut a hole in glass (bottle, blocks)? I want to put lights in them and use them for decoration. Can anyone tell me the tools that I would need for this? Or if there is a web site that I could go to for help. Thanks.
By Karen from Reynoldsville, PA
Get a diamond hole drill bit - sorta looks like a thimble. Use 3/4" as it is much easier to put the lights in. I use a drill press with the speed set around 1100 RPM (my press allows you to easily move the drive belt to raise/lower speed) Use a spray bottle with water only to keep the bit cool, and bear down with light to medium pressure. This process takes less than 30 seconds per block.
These hole drills create a smooth hole that will not cut your fingers. I then vigorously shake the block to knock off the glass edges of the glass piece that is inside the block. I then fill half-way with water, plug the hole and shake vigorously, then pour out. This brings out all glass bits and usually the glass plug - though who cares if it remains inside? You can't see it nor does it harm anything. I set it aside to drain/dry and the block is clean.
As to the lights - I use 50 or 70 lights, whatever is cheapest, with white cords. Cut off the end plug and tape the ends with scotch tape or white tape. It won't short out, and can't harm anyone/anything inside the glass block. I drill these blocks a case at a time, and I'm done with everything, including rinsing, in 15 minutes total.
How do you put a hole in the bottom of a wine bottle without breaking it?
I bought an incense burner that is a jar and I would like to put a small hole close to the bottom for the scent to come out instead of having the incense coming out the top and having ashes everywhere. Any ideas on how to do this without breaking the glass?
By Brennan (Guest Post) 07/11/2006
try this one its a technique used on aquaruiums buy a diamond drill bit because diamond is like the hardest and they're thirty bucks.
We drilled a case of glass blocks and the rinse out process didn't work, there is still residue left inside. How do we get the cloudy residue out?
I am looking to find the best way to drill a hole in glass. I have used the Dremel rotary tool, and also a drill press. Both of these work, but it takes so long just to make one hole. It is very time consuming. I would be grateful for any info.
By Rose M from UT
Does anyone know how to drill a hole in sea glass without it breaking?
I have had pretty good luck using my Dremel with a diamond bit and also my drill using masonry bits. The process is as follows: 1-wrap the area of the glass where you want to drill with masking tape, three or four times. 2-in a shallow container place a thin piece of wood, paneling or plywood work fine. 3-on top of the wood, place a regular cleaning sponge, nothing fancy. 4- once these items are stacked in the container, add enough water to cover the wood and wet the sponge, but do not cover it. 5- with your free hand place the piece of glass on the sponge, gently push down until firmly seated on the sponge and wood. 6- with your drill or Dremel in the other hand place the bit in the spot you want to drill then slowly start to drill, firmly holding the glass so it doesn't spin.
This speeds up the process of drilling only a little, but by constantly keeping the bit and the glass wet so it doesn't get hot there is rarely any breakage. Also, by having the sponge as a cushion you can keep constant pressure on the glass and the drill works faster. It may take some trial and error before you have a process that works for you, so try out on some glass that you aren't too concerned about. Hope this helps!
I am wanting to drill a hole in the old glass insulators to make a pendant light. What is the best bit to use and size if anyone knows?
By Judy B
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.
I am trying to drill the glass blocks. I have the 1/2 inch diamond drill bit but it seems to be taking a lot if effort. I put it in water first but it heats up rather quickly.
Carrie from Canada
When using any kind of diamond drill bit, you don't just put water on it, but must keep the tip WET while drilling the hole the entire time. The water is what keeps the bit cool, and otherwise you'll ruin the diamond tip if it heats too much (and you'll never get through the block). Even with the water, it'll still heat up. Diamond bits come in several shapes and sizes too. Make sure that you the right one for the job--just because it's a diamond bit doesn't mean it's the right bit for the intended job. (10/04/2007)
This is a slow process. I keep a bottle of antifreeze sitting close by to pour on the drill bit to cool it. I have been tempted to find a table drill to keep the constant pressure on the drill. Holding it makes my arms go numb. I don't know the purpose of the antifreeze, but most instruction suggest it. Another suggestion is use your Dremel with a small bit to start the hole then increase the size of the drill. i use tungsten bits from Lowe's. They are cheaper than the diamond ones. (10/06/2007)
I order my diamond core drill bit from the internet. It is cylinder shaped, so it actually cuts a hole in the glass in about 3-5 minutes. Just remember to keep the drill bit wet, use moderate speed and pressure. I have used the arrow shaped diamond drill bit but it takes a very long time to drill a hole, plus blocks easily get overheated and break. (11/21/2007)
Is there a way to drill holes or cut holes large enough to fit night light bulbs in the glass lit blocks? I have seen some for sale on the internet that say they are lit by 7 watt night light bulbs.
Kathy from Starkville, MS
I use a diamond hole saw and a drill press. I make a clay dam and fill with water to keep my bit cool. To make the hole larger, I use my drimmel too, while going slow and stopping frequently so it doesn't overheat and crack. (10/08/2008)
I took mine to the local glass company. They don't charge much and it is much easier. (10/08/2008)
By joyce from Canada
When making the lighted glass blocks, are the diamond bits round like a hole saw? Can a 3/4 size work? We have made some but have used a bit shaped like an arrow head. Is the round one the correct one to use?
Lady of the Lake
The arrowhead shaped bit is the correct one to use, they are sold as glass/ceramic bits. The hole saw bits will not cut glass effectively if at all without cracking. (03/07/2007)
My experience is that you need to use a diamond bit which can be purchased at a home improvement store or hardware store. My husband uses the "arrowhead" type of bit to drill the beginnings of the hole because it just makes it easier to drill the actual hole. Be sure to keep your bit cool by using cool water drops at the drill site. We suggest you drill for a few seconds and stop to cool the bit and then begin again. I had originally used a 1/2" bit but have found that 3/4" works better for inserting the lights.
At first I was trying to put the lights into the block light tip first and then I discovered inserting them in base first worked much better. The biggest problem I have had was not breaking the glass, but cleaning out the dust once the hole was drilled. I've read on this thread that someone used rice inside the block with some water and shook it around to clean out the dust, but, I did not find that to work for me. However, maybe I did something incorrectly. Now I just put a drop of liquid dish detergent in the hole and fill it with hot water and let it set for a few minutes. Then I use a long handled brush, similar to the ones we used to use to clean out glass baby bottles years ago. I think I found it at a Dollar store.
One more thing, until a few days ago I had no problem with the lights I had purchased. However, somehow I bought a box of lights that had a connector on each end. One end had the prongs to fit into a receptacle and the other had only the receptacle for prongs to be inserted. Of course, neither of those ends will go through the hole so I wound up cutting the wires to the end without prongs, stripping back the wire a little and putting wire nuts on each strip of wire.
See photo. It worked beautifully and fit easily into the hole. The wire nuts can be purchased at home improvement, hardware, or electrical stores. Also, Walmart carries them. Don't make the mistake of putting the two stripped wired together and putting one nut on the two together because you'll burn out the entire string of lights and have to throw them away. Hope this helps. (08/31/2007)
<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=13999651" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Drilling Glass">
This is on cleaning the inside of the glass brick after drilling. I use a small drill press that I put in my utility sink and use the arrow head bit to drill a hole in one of the corners of the brick (as close as possible to one corner). I run water over the brick to cool the bit. Once the holes are all drilled I will run water into the hole for 3 seconds then swish the water back and forth in the brick and hold the brick with the drilled hole away from me. As I am swishing it around all the water will drain out. I do this three times. Then I leave the bricks to air dry until the next day if you are not in a hurry. (12/06/2007)
I also use the arrowhead bit. Makes smooth hole. (10/22/2008)
Has anyone made glass block luminaries? If so, how do you drill the hole in the side of the glass block? Any tips?