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How To Drill a Hole In Glass (Like The Pros) - Step-by-Step

Drilling a hole in glass

Whether you’re hanging a mirror or making a DIY art piece, drilling a hole in glass is easy with the right tools and a few minute’s time. Many people avoid drilling through glass because they’re worried about getting hurt or breaking the glass. These are valid concerns and a good reason to make sure you have the right tools and processes. Below we’ll show you how to drill a hole in glass so you can build anything you want without breaking your glass or getting hurt in the process.

Let’s dive in...

Tools Needed

  • A diamond-coated or carbide drill bit made for glass
  • Cordless drill
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Guide
  • Water

Steps To Drill a Hole Through Glass

Prepare the glass

  • Lay your piece of glass on a stable surface that’s safe for drilling. Make sure there’s nothing underneath the glass that could be damaged when you drill through. Ideally, you want a piece of scrap plywood under the glass.
  • Mark the area where you want to drill your hole.
  • Place masking tape over the area where you want to drill your hole. This provides traction for your bit so it isn’t slipping when you’re drilling. You may also want to tape down a piece of cardboard over the spot where you’re drilling. You then drill through the cardboard which helps you keep your bit a little more stable.
  • Never attempt to drill through tempered or safety glass.

Safety first

  • Ensure you have the proper drill bit on your drill and that your speed is set to low RPM’s (around 400).
  • Put on your safety goggles and gloves.

Prepare the glass

  • Lubricate the glass with either oil or a steady stream of water where you’re drilling. If drilling into a bottle, you may even want to submerge the bottle in water while drilling.
  • Begin drilling your starter hole by drilling through the center of the tape or cardboard where you marked the glass. Start very slow and avoid putting pressure on the drill. Let the weight of the drill itself do the work.
  • Once you have a small hole in the surface of the glass, you can move on to the next step.

Properly drilling through

  • After you have drilled your starter hole, you can remove the tape/cardboard from the glass surface and begin drilling your desired hole in the glass.
  • Slowly begin drilling the hole, making sure to have a stream of water on the glass where you’re drilling. This keeps the drill bit from overheating and keeps glass dust out of the air.
  • Once you’ve gone ¾ of the way through the glass, you want to flip it over and drill out the hole from the other side. This ensures you don’t chip or break the glass.

Finishing touches

  • The edges of your hole may have some chips and be a little jagged. Use a fine sandpaper (600 grit or more) to smooth out the edges so there are no sharp points.
  • Rinse the glass off to remove any debris or glass dust.

Pro Tips

  • You want to make sure that you let the weight of the drill do the work. Never press down on the drill because you can chip or even break the glass surface.
  • Keep your drill on a slow RPM. Most high-quality drills have multiple speed settings which can range from a few hundred revolutions per minute up into the thousands. Keep your drill on the lower setting of around 400 RPM’s to avoid chipping or breaking the glass.
  • Use a guide for the hole. You can drill a hole in a piece of wood and place that over the glass to ensure your drill remains straight. You can also tape down a piece of cardboard and drill through that to help you stay in place. Once you have your hole started and you’ve formed a divot in the glass, you can remove the guide and drill directly on the glass surface.
  • Never attempt to drill a hole in safety glass or tempered glass. These will just shatter into pieces on you.
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