How to Cut Into Beach Glass

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Examples of beach glass.
Examples of beach glass. (Image: sea glass image by Patrick Moyer from Fotolia.com)

The sea creates beach glass from old bottles. The motion of the waves breaks these bottles apart and grinds down the edges until they are smooth, round pebbles. The sea then deposits these pebbles onto beaches where collectors find them. Many collect beach glass just for the simple pleasure of it. However, artists also fashion beach glass into jewelry, developing specialized techniques for cutting into the glass without splitting it.

Things You'll Need

  • Dremel
  • Diamond tipped drill bits
  • Wood block
  • Sea glass
  • Plastic container
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves

Pour some water into your plastic container and put the block of wood in the middle. The container should be shallow, no more than 4 inches high. The block of wood should be thin enough that it will be covered by the water.

Place the beach glass on top of the wood and slide the whole container under your dremel. A dremel is a machine that drills holes--the water in the box will help cool the drill bit and the glass and prevent it from cracking.

Check the glass from several angles to make sure that the drill is positioned correctly over the beach glass, which you should hold in place just under the water. It is up to you where you wish to place the hole, although placing it too near the rim of the glass increases the risk of breakage. Attach a diamond tipped drill bit in your dremel. Don your safety goggles and gloves.

Turn the dremel on and bring it down on the glass as you carefully hold it in place with your fingers. Be very careful to keep your fingers out of the way of the drill itself. Bring the drill bit down onto the glass for a moment, then bring the drill up again up. Repeat this process, each time bringing the drill bit down on top of the same hole, until you have drilled a hole all the way through. Use a low drill speed and be very gentle. Lightly drilling the glass like this a little at a time prevents it from cracking.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to etch the glass, you can do so using diamond dust coated glass etching tools.
  • Be very careful not to bring the water into contact with the dremel, which is electrical. Also follow proper safety procedures when using the dremel. Read through the machine's manual for more.

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