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How to Drill into Glass

Whether you're making shelves or assembling a table, there all types of projects that require drilling holes through glass. Working with glass might seem intimidating, but the task is not too difficult. All it takes a standard power drill, drill bits and the proper technique to get the job done. Here are simple steps for drilling into glass.

What you'll need:

  • A sheet of glass. Make sure the glass is already cut down to the right size and finished with bevel cuts before this project.
  • Diamond-shaped or tungsten carbide drill bits. These types of drill bits specialize in drilling through ceramic and glass.
  • Power drill. A corded or fully-charged cordless power drill should provide enough power to drill through glass.
  • Safety goggles. Wear these to help keep any stray fragments of glass out of your eyes.
  • Work gloves. A thick pair of gloves improves grip and can help prevent cuts if the glass accidentally breaks.
  • Dust mask. This will help keep you from breathing in glass or drill bit particles.
  • Tape measure. Use this to measure where to drill the hole.
  • Black marker. Mark a small dot on the spot where you're drilling.
  • Rubber pad or corkboard. Either one will act as a soft but supportive piece of material to lay the glass on as you work.
  • Spray bottle with water. Spraying the glass reduces the chances of stray pieces flying up while drilling.

Step 1: Select the correct drill bits.

Both diamond-shaped or tungsten carbide drill bits can effectively drill through glass. Make sure you plan to use a few bits. One should be the size of the hole while the others should be a size or two smaller.

 

 

drill bits for glass

Step 2: Carefully measure the location of the holes.

Measure the location of the hole and mark your spot with the black marker. Avoid drilling within three-quarters of an inch from the edge of the glass.

drilling into glass

Step 3: Place the glass on top of a cushioned surface.

Set the glass on top of corkboard or a rubber pad. Make sure this protective surface is on top of a flat tabletop or workbench.  

drilling into glass

Step 4: Spray the glass with water.

Before you begin drilling, make sure the glass is coated with water. Keeping the glass wet throughout the project helps limit stray pieces of drill bits and glass particles from flying up while you're drilling.

 

drilling into glass

Step 5: Put on safety gear.

Before you start drilling, put on your safety glasses, gloves and dust mask. This gear should help keep glass particles away from your eyes, hands or mouth while you drill.

 

drilling into glasses

Step 6: Start drilling a pilot hole.

Use one of the small drill bits to start drilling a pilot hole about halfway through the glass. Apply constant pressure and try to maintain a slow and steady drilling speed.

 

drilling into glass

Step 7: Turn the glass over to finish drilling.

Drilling all the way through the glass at once can cause chipping on the backside. Flip the glass over and finish drilling through it on the other side. Once you've drilled all the way through the glass with a small bit, use the large drill bit to go through again. Make sure to drill at a low and steady speed to finish the hole.

 

drilling into glass