How to Drill a Hole in Glass

Drilling into glass can be completed simply and safely with just a few precautions

carbide drills for glass

Learning how to drill through glass can expand your crafting and home repair repertoire in interesting new ways. However, 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.

What You Need

Prepare the glass

• Lay the glass on a flat surface and place a scrap of plywood slightly larger than the piece to be drilled underneath. Line the plywood with a rubber pad, sheets of newsprint or some type of cushioning material
• Measure and mark the spot on the glass where you want to place the hole. To prevent glass damage, do not drill within ¾ of an inch from any edge
• Using masking tape, tape a large X over the marked spot for the drill point. This will provide traction for the drill bit and prevent it from slipping

TIP: Do not attempt to drill safety or tempered glass.

prepare the drill

• Fit a variable-speed power drill with a 1/8-inch or 3/32-inch carbide-tipped glass-cutting drill bit
• Don safety goggles, cut-resistant gloves and a mask for protection

Drill a starter hole

To prevent glass damage, you must drill a starter hole at the marked point.

• Place the point of the drill at the center of the marked point on the glass
• Pour a few drops of lubricating oil on the area around the drill tip and glass
• Beginning at low speed with medium pressure, drill a small starter hole into the glass

Drill up to desired hole size

• Once the starter hole is begun, remove the masking tape
• Continue to drill at the marked point at low speed (about 400 rpm)
• Periodically stop the drill and gently clear the glass dust from the hole with compressed air. Add more lubricating oil as needed to keep the drill point cool
• Stop and replace the drill bit with the next size larger carbide-tipped bit, then continue drilling, lightening up the pressure on the drill with each bit change. Repeat until you have created the hole with the diameter you intend
• Once you have drilled about ¾ of the way through the glass thickness, stop and turn the glass over to the reverse side
• Beginning with the smallest drill bit, repeat the drilling process on the opposite side on low speed with slightly lighter pressure

Smooth the edges

A round file will be make smoothing out the edges of the hole easier. As an alternate, cut a small strip of sand paper, wrap it around an awl and tape it securely.

• Use a 600-grit file to gently smooth any jagged edges in and around the hole
• Rinse the glass piece to remove any dust