Whether be for a DIY project or just decorating your home, you may fall into a situation where you need to make a hole in a glass without a drill in your reach, or you may have it but without a suitable drill bit. But you don’t have to worry cause I have cracked pretty amazing hacks that will help you in this regard.
How to make a hole in a glass bottle without a drill? To make a hole in a glass bottle without a drill, use a glass cutter to draw a circle & punch out the hole. You can also melt out a hole with a flame torch or burning a string dipped in kerosine. You can also use a carbide-tipped drill bit with your hand to make a hole.
Sometimes, we do have a drill, but don’t have a diamond drill bit to drill into the glass. So, you can also use a carbide tip drill bit instead of diamond-coated drill bits. Other types of drill bits won’t work at all. In that cases, your only option is to melt out a hole using a flame torch.
Methods to Make a Hole in Glass Without a Drill
Working on a glass bottle or flat glass surface have rather different approaches. Depending on the types of glass, some may be easy to work on, and others are quite challenging. For a glass to be a good candidate, it should have the following features,
- The glass should at least consist of 30% cullet. It has a low melting point and is easy to work on.
- Tempered glass and heat toughend glass are difficult to puncture and/or cutt without a drill.
- A Square shaped bottle is easy to handle and is the preferred choice, if available.
- Jagged surfaces are the least favored.
- Transparent glass is easy to visualize and manage than an opaque one.
- Thinner glass is easy to puncture.
- Bottles having larger diameters are fragile and should be avoided.
For ease of the reader, the topic is further divided into conventional and non-conventional methods.
A. Conventional Methods to make a hole in glass without a drill
Conventional methods were used long before we invented drills. These methods do not require many instruments and expensive stuff but come with a price of repeated errors and misalignments in inexperienced hands. Methods are discussed below.
1. Cutting out a circle with glass cutter
A glass cutter is a pencil-like instrument that comes with a cutting blade made up of tungsten carbide. It is mainly used to cut flat glass panels but can also be used to cut holes in glass. It can be tricky to cut a circle, but this can be made easy with repeated trials. The Items needed are
- Glass cutter
- Duct Tape
- Permanent marker
- Compass or a perfectly round bottle cap
I personally follow the method below:
- Wear safety gloves to avoid injuries to the hand.
- Using a geometry compass or a bottle cap (based on the size of the hole required), draw a circle with the help of a permanent marker on the glass.
- Cover the glass around the circle with duct tape (this prevents crack development and may help guide the glass cutter).
- Now hold the cutter in your hand like a pencil and scratch the glass in a circle.
- Once the circle is complete, jerkoff the middle piece of glass using the thumb or a wooden hammer.
- Polish the edges with fine grade sandpaper.
2. Puncturing a hole in glass with a flame torch and Iron Nail
This method is best used to puncture a glass bottle but also works fine with flat glass. This works on the principle that a heated glass is easy to puncture. You need the following items to execute the work:
The procedure to make a hole in a glass bottle with a lighter needs the following steps.
- Cover the surface with duct tape where you want to make hole in the glass bottle
- Light up your lighter to start heating the spot you placed the duct tape on
- Heat it for 3-4 minutes to make it super hot
- Placing the bottle directly in ice cold water is an alternative
- Use a sand paper to smoth the edges
I personally use this butane torch, as it is inexpensive and easy to replace the underneath can without the hassle of refilling it. But a regular lighter can also be used to heat the glass surface while the duct tape is on it.
3. Heating glass surface with string dipped in kerosine oil
This is old school science class method that we tried in science labs. This method is best applied on bottles (to cut them in half) and thicker glass. The basic principle behind this method is the local heating effect. You will need the below items for the job:
To perform the procedure, firstly locate the area that needs to be holed. Then soak the string into kerosine oil.
To cut the bottle in half, tie the string around the bottle and light the string. Wait for a couple of minutes till the area under the string is burning hot. Now hold the bottle in hand give a sudden jerk to hand (like breaking a stick). You can also do this by hitting the glass with a knife.
To make a hole in the glass, tie the string in a circular shape ( size should match the hole diameter) and dip it in the kerosine oil. Place it on the area that needs to be holed and light it on fire. Wait for 5 minutes and then flick the glass using a screwdriver or a pencil.
4. Filing out a hole with a tapered file
A tapered file, also known as a three-square file, is an iron bar with parallel groves. It is used for a variety of purposes, including sharpening a knife and polishing a surface.
A tapered file can be used for almost any of the glass. Although this method is effective but can be time-consuming. For this method to work, you need;
- A three-sided tape file.
- Any low-density lubricant, i.e., Kerosine or turpentine.
- Safety gloves (this is necessary because the glass may break, injuring your hand).
The procedure is simple but time-consuming and needs patience.
- Wear your safety gloves
- Lubricate the tip of the file
- Identify and mark the area with a permanent marker (this is not necessary but will help to focus better)
- Screw the file in clockwise and anti-clockwise motion repeatedly.
- The file should puncture the glass in repeated attempts.
- Lubricate the file intermittently as needed.
5. Drilling out a hole with hands using carbide tipped drill bit
The carbide bit can scratch the glass and help puncture it. It works best for glass bottles, but flat glass can also be holed to some extent. You will need:
- Duct tape (only for flat glass)
- Carbide bit
To puncture flat glass you need to cover the area around the hole (at least 5 inches) with duct tape (this will limit the vibrations). Lubricate the tip of the bit and grind it against the glass. Refrain from applying excessive pressure to avoid cracks.
The procedure is the same as for flat glass except we don’t need duct tape instead we use water to limit the vibrations.
You rotate the drill with either your hand or with a string attached to a bow like it is done to start a fire with a bow string method.
6. Use a soldering iron to cut out a hole in glass
You can also use a soldering iron to cut out a hole in glass. Start by drawing out a pattern in which you want to make a hole. Then preheat your soldering iron and slowly start heating the glass still a crack propogates in it. Once you are done with the entire hole, punch out the houl with a pen or pencil.
Learn more about this technique in this video:
B. Unconventional Methods
To make a hole in the glass without a drill, non-conventional methods can also be used. But as said earlier, they are expensive and are not available to a DIY enthusiast.
1. Using a Water Jet Method to make hole in glass
A high-pressure water jet can cut a hole in glass like a sharp knife cutting a cake. Water jet machines can produce a jet with pressure up to 60,000 PSI, but the recommended pressure to cut glass is 10,000 to 15,000 PSI. The procedure is mentioned briefly below.
- Fix the glass to support that prevents the glass from cracking, i.e., water-jet brick secured with a clamp or tape.
- Mark the area with a permanent marker.
- Use fine mesh abrasive (100) to provide better water jet parts.
- Ramp the pressure slowly to ideal pressure.
- Keep the flow rate at 0.2kg per minute.
- Cut straight through the glass.
2. Using a Laser to make a hole in glass
A laser cutting machine is a piece of highly advanced equipment that uses different gases to obtain high energy wavelength emissions that easily cut through the material. glass is no exception to this.
Although this machine is bulky, expensive,e and challenging to operate, the cutting is precise and clean next-level. To make a hole in glass using a laser, please ask for professional help.
How do you make a hole in a glass bottle without tools?
Making a hole in a glass bottle without tools is quite difficult, but a few methods mentioned below will help you achieve this:
1. Using a burning kerosine string and a nail to puncture the glass bottle
2. Using duct tape and a torch
3. Using a tapered file to puncture a bottle of glass
Details on this can be found in the article above.
What is the best drill bit for glass?
The best drill bit for glass is Diamond coated drill bits, but carbide drill bits can also be used to drill into glass.
Can you poke a hole in glass?
Yes! You can poke a hole in the glass with either a drill, a glass cutter, laser, or water jet machines.