How to Drill Seashells for Jewelry

Going to the beach and picking up seashells is a wonderful pastime. Many people gather shells to make jewelry or wind chimes. Whatever you plan to make, you may need to drill a hole into the seashell to hang it from a chain or string. Drilling a hole in the seashells is not too difficult. If you practice patience, you will break fewer shells. Before you drill on a favorite shell, drill a few practice holes on broken ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Dremel tool or drill
  • Assorted bits
  • Seashells
  • Vise or clamp
  • Mask

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Step 1

Soak the seashells in a bucket of warm soapy water for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash your seashells to remove the sand, dirt and debris out of the shell. You can use a soft-bristle brush to remove the dirt. Rinse the soapy water off the seashell and allow to air dry.

Step 2

With a narrow, felt-tip marker or pencil, make a dot where you want to drill a hole. Place a dot on the front side. If the shell chips while you are drilling, it will be on the back of the seashell.

Step 3

Carefully put your shell in a vise or a clamp. You need it to stay stationary so it does not move beneath the drill bit.

Step 4

Insert a ceramic drill bit into the Dremel or drill, starting with the smallest bit available. Put on a dust mask. Holding the tool straight up and down, begin drilling at the mark.

Step 5

Drill slowly, releasing the pressure off and on. Stop drilling so the bit cools down and then begin drilling again. This will help keep the shell from breaking.

Step 6

Change the drill bit to the next larger size. Continue increasing the size of the drill bit until the hole is as large as you want.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seashell dust is toxic. Work in a well-ventilated room and wear a face mask.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying pieces of shell.


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