Under 2 hours
Learning how to drill through glass allows you to complete crafts and home repair projects. Some otherwise eager DIY-ers avoid projects that require them to cut a hole in glass out of safety concerns, or sometimes a simple lack of knowledge about proper tools and techniques. It’s easy to drill a hole in glass safely when you know the steps to take and the tools to use. This guide will teach you how to get the work done, step-by-step.
Prepare the Glass with Plywood
Before you can drill glass, prepare your worksite. To keep the glass from sliding around, you need to secure it to something. A piece of plywood works well. Choose a piece that is slightly larger than the glass. It's okay to recycle a piece of plywood you used for another project as long as it's the right size.
Clamping glass places pressure on it and could break it if you're not careful. Make breakage less likely by padding the wood. Use a rubber sheet that is roughly the same size as the plywood. Layers of newspaper may also work but won't provide as much protection.
Once you have the materials, place the plywood on a flat surface and put the padding on top. Then, lay the glass down and hold it in place with C-clamps positioned near the corners.
Safety Tip: Don't try to drill tempered glass yourself. Tempered glass usually has smooth edges, while regular plate glass has rough edges. You'll get a clean line if you scratch regular glass with a utility knife. When you scratch tempered glass, it leaves behind bumps and flakes.
Use masking or painter's tape to make an "X" over the area where you want the hole to go. You don't need to find the exact drilling spot yet. The tape is simply to keep the drill from drifting while you work.
Tip: To reduce the risk of breakage, drill at least 3/4" from the edge of the glass.
Measure and Mark the Glass
Use a tape measure to measure the glass. Hold the tape flat and keep it from kinking or bending. If the glass is large, have someone else take one end of the tape measure.
Find the exact spot where you want to make the hole. Mark the spot with a permanent marker in a dark or bright color that’s easy to see.
Prepare the Drill
A variable-speed power drill will save time and give you a precise hole. If you don't own one, use our tool rental service.
Fit the drill with a 1/8-inch or 3/32-inch carbide-tipped drill bit. A carbide drill bit is hard, brittle material that can cut through glass.
Safety Tip: Wear safety goggles, cut-resistant gloves and a respirator mask during the next steps to protect yourself.
Lubricate the Glass then Start the Hole
Friction can work against you and make drilling harder. To help, put multi-purpose oil lubricant on the spot you want to drill. An oil lubricant is an oily substance that lessens friction.
Too much lubricant can make the glass slippery. One or two drops is all you need. Pour a little lubricant into a jar or bowl and use a medicine dropper to control how much you apply.
Place the point of the drill at the center of the marked point on the glass. Turn the drill to the lowest speed and apply only light pressure. If you push down too hard, you could crack the glass. Drill until you have a small starter hole and then turn the drill off.
Clean, Continue Drilling the Hole, then Flip the Glass Over
Remove the "X" by lifting off the top piece of tape and then the bottom. Lift one corner and pull at a 45-degree angle for best results.
Use a can of compressed air cleaner to clean off any debris. Begin to drill again with the power tool set at around 400 revolutions per minute. Revolutions per minute, or RPM, refers to how many times the drill bit turns around each minute.
Turn the drill off periodically and spray the glass with compressed air. Carefully touch the drill blade. If it feels hot, put another drop of lubricant on the hole.
To get the hole the size you desire, switch to the next largest carbide-tipped drill bit. Each time you change the bit, apply less pressure to the drill.
Repeat this process until you have created the hole with the desired diameter. Measure the hole with a tape measure before you go up to the next size.
Once you are 3/4 of the way through the glass, remove the C-clamps. Flip the glass over and put the clamps back in place. Repeat these steps until you drill through the glass.
Smooth and Clean
If the hole feels rough, use a 600-grit diamond file to smooth in and around it. A diamond file is made of hard materials that can shape glass. The term grit refers to how strongly a file rubs and grinds. A 600-grit file is considered super-fine and is just right for glass.
Once the hole is smooth, remove the C-clamps and rinse off the glass with warm water. Spray with glass cleaner and wipe with a soft cloth to remove streaks and fingerprints.
Whatever project you need to complete, you can drill a hole in glass with the right tools and materials. The key to success is to gradually increase the size of the hole with wider drill bits. The Home Depot has the supplies you need to complete your project. Use The Home Depot Mobile App to locate products and check inventory. We’ll take you to the exact aisle and bay.