How to Drill Glass Bottles for a Lamp

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It is not difficult to drill holes in glass bottles to thread a lamp's electric cord through. However, you must have the appropriate equipment. A drill press is the best tool for drilling small holes in precise locations. If you plan to convert several glass bottles into lamps or sell them for a profit, your investment will soon pay for itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Permanent marker
  • Diamond-core drill bit
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Mark the spot where you would like to make the hole with a permanent marker. The hole should be just above the base of the bottle so that the bottle sits down flat when the cord is threaded through. If your bottle has a front, make sure that the hole is in the back.

  • Set up a wetting system. When drilling glass, the drill bit must always remain wet. Otherwise, the glass will overheat and break. The easiest way to do this is to have a friend stand above you and spray the bit with water while you work. Alternately, create a modeling clay ring around the spot to be drilled; then fill this makeshift damn with water.

  • Hold the glass bottle firmly in place so that the drill bit is inline with the mark you made in step one. You may have to hold the bottle with your hands if your machine does not come equipped with a clamp.

  • Drill the hole slowly. Bring the drill bit down so that it is just touching the surface of the glass. Start the drill on its lowest speed, then increase the pressure slightly. Increase the drill speed slightly. Alternate increasing pressure and speed incrementally until you start to make headway. If the bit begins to change color (meaning it is heating up), slow down the speed. Once you are just about through the glass, slow down the drill bit so that you make a nice, clean exit hole with no chips.

  • Rinse the glass bottle with water and let it air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Read the drill press' instruction manually thoroughly before beginning this project.
  • If you do not want to make the investment in a drill press, contact a few local machine shops. They may be willing to drill the holes for you for a small fee.

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