There may be a lot of reasons for you to make holes in glass bottles. Maybe you have a bottle with a removable cap, but the cap isn’t threaded and there is no way to attach a cork.
In such an instance, you would want to drill a hole in the bottle so that it can be used as a vase or flower pot. Another reason you may need to drill a hole in a glass bottle is that you may need to add a string or rope for carrying purposes.
You may also want to drill a hole in the bottle itself so you can use it as a candle holder on your patio or deck. No matter what reason you have, having a drill will help. Or perhaps you have an empty wine bottle and would like to put it out on display during the holidays or during a party.
But what if you don’t have a power drill? We are here to share some tips with you so you can make holes in your glass bottles without a drill.
How to make holes in glass bottles using soldering iron
- Glass bottle
- Glass cutter (optional but recommended)
- Soldering iron and solder
- Blow torch
- A damp rag
Step-by-step process of making holes in glass bottles with a soldering iron
Soldering iron can be a cheap and easy solution for making holes in glass bottles. I’ve done this before and it’s pretty simple. Here’s how:
1) Get a soldering iron (the tip should be fine). You’ll need some solder too – get rosin-core solder, not acid-core. The curvy part of the bottle is ideal and simple for making holes.
2) Heat the blade from below on your iron, and melt a small pool of solder onto it. As soon as the bottom of the bottle is covered in molten solder, turn off the iron and dip both sides into ice water to cool them. This keeps you from overheating the glass and keeps the noise down.
3) Clean up any excess solder with a damp rag and some elbow grease, then use the iron to heat up the pool of solder on the neck of the bottle. The glass is now annealed – you can just push it out from below by pushing on the wire, or give it another small “piloted” cut.
I did this on a wine bottle – it takes less than 2 minutes if you’re experienced with the solder-and-ice trick!
Pro tip: This can be done by using a glass cutter to crack off the bottom of the bottle, or by melting off the bottom of the bottle with an oxyacetylene torch. You can also purchase a glass cutter for about 5 dollars at your local hardware store.
To melt off the bottom of the bottle, use a blowtorch or oxyacetylene torch with a rosebud tip. To cut off the bottom of the bottle, you will need to purchase a glass cutter. A fine-tip soldering iron can also be of use.
Making a hole in glass bottle using a lighter and duct tape
There are many different ways to make a hole in a glass, but the easiest that I’ve found is using a vent lighter and duct tape.
Here are the things you will need for this method:
- Glass bottle
- Duct tape
- Vent lighter
- Cold water
- A hammer
- A thin nail
- First, you need to wrap the bottom of the glass bottle with duct tape. If you have a flat glass, you will need to cover both sides of the point you want to make a hole in.
- Add some cold water to the surrounding to prevent puncture. The point where you will make holes, will need to be heated. The cold water surrounding will keep the other areas from overheating.
- Now, onto the final step. Use a vent lighter to heat the duct tape wrapped area. Make sure the area gets extremely hot. Now, place a nail and hit it firmly with your hammer once to make the hole. It should do the work but if it doesn’t try hitting again on the same spot.
The key here is to keep everything steady so you don’t slip accidentally and start a fire! If you have trouble getting the hole started, try rotating the glass while melting into it.
If you want, try melting random patterns on different sides of the tape as well! This can be done with just about any kind of glass or jar, but if it’s something that you want to drink out of, I recommend using a different method since the heat from the lighter can weaken the glass.
Making hole in glass bottles with kerosene and tapered file
This process works for any type of glass but it is a bit time-consuming. If you want a simple process and don’t mind spending some extra time, this method is ideal for you.
- A tapered file with three corners
- Put some kerosene on the tip of the file. Now, place the lubricated tip on the target part of the glass and turn it gradually.
- You need to wait for some time after that. If the file’s tip is not lubricated enough, put some more. You can even make a divot to ensure the tip is placed at the right spot.
Using a glass cutter to make hole in glass
Making holes with a glasscutter is a lot more straightforward than some of the other mentioned methods.
- Glass bottle
- A glass cutter
- Duct tape
- A handful of sand
- A fiber cloth
1. This method works for thicker glasses as well. Sand the bottle to rough up the surface of the glass, so that it will hold a seal while being sealed (This step can be skipped if sealing an object inside)
2. Use a fiber cloth and coat the entire outside of the bottle with petroleum jelly except for where you want to make your hole. This will keep them from sticking together, only sealing the bottle when they are in contact with each other.
3. Place the fiber cloth on top of the glass cutter and make sure it is clamped down securely (putting your weight into it helps). Make sure that you line up your scoreline with your center mark or else you can end up off-center and cause the bottle to break when you try to make a hole in it.
4. Using the mallet, hit the top portion of your glass cutter with enough force so that it makes a small scoring line in the surface of the glass (do not hit too hard or else you will have shattered glass drill bits and destroy your whole project)
5. While maintaining firm, even pressure on your glass cutter, continue to rotate the bottle until the scoring line has reached about halfway around the bottle.
6. Continue to apply firm but even pressure on the glass cutter while rotating your bottle in one fluid motion. Continue this process until you have scored the entire circumference of the bottle at least three times (the more you score the bottle, the less likely it is to break)
7. Again using firm but even pressure rotate your bottle so that you are moving the scoreline away from yourself, this will create greater pressure on the glass and increase chances of it breaking under high stress. Rotate your bottle three times until the scoreline starts to fade and disappears.
8. Once the scoreline has disappeared place a damp cloth on top of your bottle and set it in a padded, stable surface with the scored side facing up.
9. Using a clean, dry towel, apply pressure to the bottom portion of the glass pressing down firmly, but evenly. If done correctly you should see cracks begin at where you first made your scoreline and radiate towards the bottom of the bottle.
10. Apply pressure with your towel at a 45 degree angle along all edges of the scoreline you created until the entire circumference has shattered, leaving one large opening in your glass bottle (to make two openings, simply repeat steps 2-8 and do not apply pressure to the bottom of the bottle).
Pro tip: You can wrap the glass bottle with a bit of duct tape to reduce vibration.
Using string and kerosene
Like I said before, having a drill is the best solution for cutting glass. If you don’t have one
but you need to make holes in thicker glasses, you can try this method. It works well.
- Safety matches
- Glass bottle
- 8-10 inches long string
- Determine where you want to make a hole first. Fasten a string (same size as the hole you want to make) in the shape of a desired circle. Put some kerosene on the string circle. After that, place the string on the targeted area and fire the line using a match. You should be able to make a clear hole.
- After burning the string for a few minutes, flick it in its middle point. You can use any small screwdriver or pen to create this hole because of safety reasons! Flickering helps you make an even smaller one-millimeter sized cut with ease.
Using Carbide Masonry bit with oil
This method works for both flat glasses and glass bottles. The oil carbide masonry bit method takes a bit of time but it does the job.
- Glass bottle/ flat glass
- Carbide Masonry bit
- Water (for flat glass)
- Easy to peel off the tape (for glass bottle)
Process of making a hole in flat glass
Cover the surrounding area of the hole with duct tape. You need to ensure a 6-inch radius from the hole. The tape will reduce the vibration and prevent the glass from cracking.
You have to oil the tip of the bit now and push gently against the glass. If you push firmly and hurriedly, the glass may crack.
Process of making hole in glass bottles
Fill the bottle with water so it doesn’t vibrate while you work. The other methods apply to glass bottles as well. Soak the bit in oil and gently press against the bottle. Do it carefully and you will see a hole in your glass bottle/flat glass soon.
Why do people look for alternatives to make holes in glass?
It’s pretty simple. Not everybody has a drill on their home. Most people don’t want to buy a drill just for making holes in the glass. That’s why they look for alternatives.
Some people have drills but they still look for other methods because making holes using a drill is tough; it requires skill. You need to apply the right amount of pressure and have to be patient. Obviously, it’s not anyone’s cup of cake!
FAQs about making holes in glass without a drill
What are the safety measures while making a hole in a glass?
Make sure glasses and bottles don’t slip while you work on them. If you are making a hole in a glass, make sure to put a piece of cloth underneath it. You should wear eye protective gear while you work because you may shatter the glass accidentally.
What is the best drill bit for glass?
Glass is usually not a difficult material to drill through, but if you are looking for durability in your project there’s only one way to go: diamond coated or carbide drills that will get the job done quickly.
Can you make holes in a tempered glass?
No. You cannot drill tempered glass. If you need holes in these glasses, you need to do it before tempering the glass.
If you want to make a hole in glass, a drill is recommended. But it requires skill to operate a drill. Maybe you don’t have a drill or don’t want to use it. I have discussed some alternative methods in this article, keeping that in mind.
Be careful while you try out any of the methods discussed in this article. You may end up cracking the glass and hurting yourself, if you don’t take precaution. I always recommend wearing eye protective gear. Let us know what you think of this article. Feel free to share with others if you found this useful. You can check out our other articles on power tools on our site. You can also check our article on drilling a square hole In the Wood.