A Cool Way to Drill Glass Bottles

Stephen Scott Johnson
by Stephen Scott Johnson

Who doesn't like to recycle glass bottles? Perhaps you like turning them into lamps or a bird feeder or something else. I recently discovered a new way to do. Would you believe it involves plumber's putty.

Let's set the stage - I would like to drill a 1/2 inch hole near the bottom of this wine bottle.

I discovered that this 1/2 diamond hole saw bit works very well on glass.

Here is the secret weapon --- plumber's putty. I will show you how to use it in the next few steps.

Take some putty out and roll it between your hands. I know, it looks disgusting, but hey, it's like going back to kindergarten.

Take the rolled up plumber's putty and form a small bowl around the area you will drill.

Add about 1/4 water in the putty bowl. Putty should be pressed down firmly against the glass.

Adjust your drill press to 700 RPM. Or whatever is recommended with your glass-drilling bit.

Wear a face shield preferably. ANSI standard safety glasses if you don't have the face shield.

Wear some work gloves and make sure your bottle or glass is secured somehow on the table of the drill press. If you're unsure, don't do it, but I found this method to be very safe.

Turn on drill press and gently begin applying the drill bit to the glass surface. I liked to bump the drill bit up and down, gently. The water will facilitate drilling the glass and keep the bit cool and lubricated. When done, the water drains through the hole.

I didn't time it, but I think it took me about 3 to 5 minutes to drill this hole through. When done, remove putty and discard. Clean up the glass and you're done.

This hole turned out pretty nice. Since I'm placing an electrical cord through here, I will probably sand the edges or create a bushing for the holes. You don't want to cut an electrical cord.

Here's another example where I'm drilling through an antique telegraph insulator.

My finished 1/2 inch hole, looking up through the antique insulator.

My finished steampunk lamp. I used some steel pipes for the body. The diamond hole saw bit and this drilling method really made this project a lot easier.

DIY home decor using recycled glass bottles

Check out more fun and easy ways to make DIY home decor using recycled glass bottles here.

Stephen Scott Johnson
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 12 questions
  • Amber Breanne Vandever Amber Breanne Vandever on Dec 28, 2016
    Could you do this using a regular drill or is it not safe to use anything but a drill press?
  • Mst4178849 Mst4178849 on Jul 27, 2017

    How do you create the bushing you mentioned in the tutorial?

  • CrazyDYIer CrazyDYIer on Feb 10, 2018

    I don’t have a drill press, can i use a drill? and the vice to hold it? the lamp is really cool!!

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  • Susie Mueller Susie Mueller on Dec 03, 2017

    I was excited about this idea until I realized you need a drill press. Yet another glass tool I don’t have. Great idea thougH.

  • Mary-Anne Swanson Mary-Anne Swanson on Jul 13, 2018

    was just looking at glass bits today. I will keep this in mind when I purchase mine :)