How To Make A Hole In Glass Without A Drill

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins
Working with glass carries extreme safety hazards, especially when it comes to making a hole. That’s why many homeowners want to avoid using a drill, and it’s possible with alternatives like glass cutters and tapered files. Whether it be specialty tools or household items, let’s take a look at how you can make a hole in glass without using a drill.

We all know that some home improvement jobs require drilling a hole into glass. However, what happens if you don’t have a drill on hand? Or, if you don’t have the best bit for glass drilling? Don’t worry! There are ways to create a hole in the glass without the use of a drill.

There are several techniques available to make a hole in your glass without using a drill. Some of the age-old methods include:

  • Duct tape and a lighter
  • A tapered file with kerosene
  • Using a glass cutter
  • String and kerosene
  • Using a carbide masonry bit with oil

Maybe you can find a method that’s best for you!

This article will explain how to execute five different methods to bore a hole in the glass. Also, you’ll learn of the precautionary measures you need to take for your safety while performing any of these techniques.

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Method 1: Duct Tape And Lighter

Maybe you remember doing this in the 7th-grade science class. It works! This is best done on a bottle, although it does work for flat glass as well. The items you will need for this method are:

  • Duct tape
  • A lighter
  • A glass of cold water
  • Ball peen hammer
  • A thin nail (The size depends on the size of the hole you need)

First, you will need to cover the bottom of your bottle with duct tape. If you’re using this for flat glass, cover both sides in the area you want to create the hole.

Add Water

Put water in the surrounding areas that you don’t want to be punctured. You’re going to heat the glass up to make it easier to puncture. The water will make it, so the surrounding areas don’t get as hot.

Heat The Tape

Now, you will heat your desired circle with a lighter until it’s extremely hot. Then, take your nail and ball peen hammer and hit it firmly just once. This should be enough to pop the hole into the glass. If it doesn’t work the first time, heat the glass again and repeat the process.

Method 2: Tapered File With Kerosene

Unlike the first method, this one is less involved, and it’s excellent for any glass. However, it may take a bit longer. For this method, you will need:

  • A three-cornered tape file
  • Kerosene, or turpentine (If you don’t have these, any lightweight lubricant is sufficient)

First, you will want to put a drop of lubricant on the tip of the file. Then, you will place the tip against the part of the glass you want to puncture and slowly turn it.

This will take quite a while, but it works! If you feel your file’s tip is too dry, you can always add some more lubricant. Try to create a little divot so the tip will stay in place as you turn the file.

Method 3: Glass Cutter

A glass cutter is suitable for larger holes in flat glass. Although, you have to make sure that your hole comes to a perfect full circle. If you don’t create a perfect ring that connects, the break will spider into the rest of the glass.

One thing you can do is put some tape around the hole to keep the vibrations at bay. Score your circle and tap the center of it until it pops through.

Method 4: String And Kerosene

The age-old string and kerosene method is best used on bottles or thicker glass. This is also an excellent method for cutting a glass bottle in half. The only supplies you will need for this is:

  • Kerosene
  • An 8-inch long piece of string
  • Matches

First, figure out where you want the hole at. Tie a circle in the string the same size that you want for the circle on your glass. Soak that part of the string in kerosene. Place the circular kerosene-soaked string on the glass where you want your hole. Strike a match and light the line on fire.

Tapping The Glass

After your string has been burning for a couple of minutes, flick the glass in the string’s center. If you are worried about burning your finger, you can use a pen or a small screwdriver. You can use this method for holes as small as 2mm in diameter.

Method 5: Carbide Masonry Bit With Oil

This method works great on bottles. However, you could chance it on flat glass too.

If you’re using this method for a bottle, you will need:

  • Carbide masonry bit
  • Water
  • Oil

If you’re using this method on a flat piece of glass, you will need:

  • Tape that you can easily peel off
  • Oil
  • Carbide masonry bit.

The way this process works is the same for both types of glass. It does take a while, but it works great!

For Flat Glass

For flat glass, you will want to tape the areas around the hole. The tape should extend to a 6-inch radius from the center of where the hole will be. The tape is meant to keep the vibrations at bay to decrease the risk of the glass cracking.

Oil the tip of your bit and slowly press against the glass. You don’t want to push too hard as your hand might hit and break the glass.

For Bottles

Fill your bottle with water to hinder the vibrations. Put oil on the bit and press firmly against the glass. Again, you don’t want to press too hard as it might break the glass.

Why Do People Want To Avoid Using A Drill For Glass?

Some people prefer to forgo a drill because they don’t have one. Other individuals may have a drill, but they don’t want to spend the money to buy the correct drill bit. If you’re only going to use the bit once, then what’s the point, right?

Drilling glass is an art. You can’t go too quickly; you can’t go too slow. Also, you have to apply just enough pressure, but it can’t be too much. Some people feel like it’s easier without a drill.

Precautions You Need To Take

You need to remember that you’re puncturing glass. Therefore, the piece that’s punctured has to go somewhere. If you’re doing this inside of a bottle, there isn’t much to worry about. Fill it with water and flush the glass into the garbage.

If you’re using flat glass, you might want to use a cloth under it. You can then take the fabric and dump the remnants. Also, it’s not a bad idea to wear some protective eye gear just in case.

Related Questions

Can I use a drill to cut a hole in the glass?

Yes, you can use a drill to cut a hole into glass. To do this, you should use a drill bit made of tungsten carbide or diamond. When you drill, don’t press too hard, and don’t drill too quickly. Going too fast may shatter the glass.

Why does my glass keep shattering when I try to put a hole in it?

If your glass keeps shattering, it’s most likely because you are pressing too hard. Glass is very fragile and doesn’t like having a hole punctured through it. Make sure you’re going slow while applying a medium amount of pressure. Also, you can add tape to help keep the vibrations from rumbling through the glass.

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Wrapping It Up

There are many different ways to make a hole in the glass without using a drill. While all methods may not be suitable for you, you can find one you’re most comfortable with. If you choose a technique with fire, it won’t hurt to have a glass of water nearby just in case!

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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