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[Stained Glass Gems] Magazines for the Glass Hobbyist
May 22, 2011

Issue #31 All About Drilling Holes in Glass

Greetings to all stained glass enthusiasts. These Stained Glass Gems have been found during my frequent browsing and deep digging for helpful and or unusual stained glass web sites, as well as other information pertaining to stained glass. I do hope that there's a gem or two that will brighten your day and be helpful during your stained glass journey.

Stained Glass Blogs and Web Sites

The blogs and web sites I feature cover a variety of subjects and techniques. Some of the techniques will be different from the way I have demonstrated in my tutorials, but that doesn't mean that either their's or mine are the right way or the wrong way to do it. It's just another way of getting to the end result. I hope you enjoy the following blogs and web sites and perhaps learn something new.

Glass Tips is exactly that...Glass Tips. There are numerous short articles such as removing house paint from stained glass, how to deal with a leaded panel that's growing, as well as many tips for fusing.

Vintage Style Stained Glass that specializes in transoms, many with address numbers in them.


Free Patriotic Project Sheets

Here's a nice Dragonfly Garden Stake.

This tutorial is for all of you bead makers. It shows how to use sheet glass instead of glass rods. Recycled Glass and CG Beadrollers


How to Drill Holes in Glass

Dremel Set-up

I use a Dremel tool and a drill press made specifically for small drills, but you can use any drill you have and a drill press made for it. I got mine at Sears (made for the Sears version of the Dremel) for much less than the Dremel drill press cost.

Diamond Bits

You need to use diamond coated drill bits. I get mine at Harbor Freight. They are cheap and don't last forever, but there are a lot in the box. One bit usually drills at least 10 holes. I found These Diamond Coated Twist Drill Bits and Burs online that look as though they are much better quality, and they are still a reasonable price.

Pan with Foam

Get a piece of Styrofoam at least 1" thick and put it in a container large enough to accommodate the glass you want to drill. You'll have to secure the foam down with waterproof tape or glue that won't come loose in water.

Put an X on the glass where you want the hole to be drilled. Place the glass on the Styrofoam and fill the pan with water until it just covers the glass. If you didn't tape or glue the Styrofoam down it will be floating and the glass will never get covered with water!

Pan with Foam

At this point you might have to put something (I use a phone book) on the base of the drill press to lift the container up hight enough for the drill bit to touch the glass. Set the pan on top of whatever you use.

Setting Depth

Set the depth of the drill by pulling down on the handle. It should go into the foam about 1/8th inch or a little more. The reason for doing this is because you will want the drill to go all the way through the glass and into the foam, but not far enough to go through the bottom of the container. There is a place on the drill press to adjust the depth and keep it from going any farther. Use the instruction manual to learn how to do it.

Drilling Through the XNow you can put the glass under the drill and adjust it's position so the drill bit will go through the center of the X. Turn the drill on 1/2 to 2/3 speed but no more. Pull the drill press handle down while you hold the glass steady with your other hand. Hold the drill steady on the glass, using moderate pressure, for 5 seconds. Lift the drill bit out of the glass and back in again holding it on/in the glass for 5 seconds each time. It should take about 5 times (30 seconds) to get the drill through the glass. Once the drill bit has gone through the glass, pull the drill bit up and turn the drill off.


Your glass should have a perfect hole exactly where you want it.

Make a Hole Without a Drill Press

Start at Angle

This can be done without a drill press, but you will have to start drilling at an angle until the drill starts to bite into the glass. Then you can straighten the drill up to being perpendicular to the glass. If you don't start at an angle, the bit will skip on the glass causing a deep scratch. That's why I bought the drill press. It is way too easy for the drill to skip without using one.

Make a Hole With a Grinder

Dip in WaterStart at Angle

An alternative is to use an 1/8" bit on your grinder, and if you really like to get frustrated, this is the way to go! You need to keep the glass wet through the entire process. Start out holding the glass at an angle (holding the glass with both hands and trying to keep the glass wet at the same time).

Glass Flat OutStart at Angle

As the grinder bit starts to bite in to the glass slowly straighten up the glass to a perpendicular position. Frequently stop and dip the glass in water, then try to get the grinder bit back in the same place. The glass has a real tendency to skip on the grinder wheel. It took 5 minutes to make this hole. I never found a truly successful way to use a grinder to make holes in glass. If anyone reading this has a tried and true technique please let me know and I'll put it in the next ezine.

Miscellaneous Stuff!

The spring issue of Spectrum's Score has many new patterns. You do have to sign up to be able to view the patterns, but it's free and assures that you get each issue via email.

You can find full details about all of my Ebooks Here
The books available are:
Make a Box With a Hinged Lid
Make a Kaleidoscope
Learn the Copper Foil Technique
Learn the Lead Came Technique
Frequently Asked Questions About Patina
Frequently Asked Questions About Copper Foil

Delphi has some new Metal Accents and Hangers to embellish your work. The hooks will give a much nicer finish to panels rather than using jump rings for hanging.

Join us at the sixth annual American Glass Guild Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, July 22-24th, 2011. Asheville is just around the corner.

Conference Fees - Register by May 31st for lowest rate: $320 for Members ($380 non-members). After May 31st it is $380 for Members ($430 for non-members). Students - $250. Fee includes special viewing of Tiffany Exhibition from Neustadt Museum of Tiffany Glass at Biltmore House. Workshops and tour have additional fees.

Registration Form

Hotel - Crowne Plaza Resort, Asheville, North Carolina: call 888-233-9527 through July 14th. Book now! We have a limited block of rooms. Once they're gone, they're gone.

Three-Day Fusing Workshop - July 18-20th- with Brad Walker, author of Contemporary Warm Glass
Pre-conference Workshops - July 21st and morning of July 22nd - Glass painting, glass mosaics, conservation gluing, Photoshop. There is limited space and classes are filling up. Ensure your spot!
Free Drawing Class - just let us know on registration form that you'll be attending
Post-conference Tour - July 25th - Day long tour of significant stained glass, $50 fee includes lunch and bus
Members' Exhibit - 18x20 maximum size with frame. Sign up by May 15th: Exhibit Chair, Barbara Krueger (
Members' Slide Show - Members - send up to seven slides of current work (design, conservation, etc.) by June 30th to: (jpeg format, 1024x768 pixels, name and title on file)

Go to How-To DVDs to find hundreds of "How To" DVD's for rent. If you want to learn how to do it from drawing a picture to repairing a car, it's available on one of their DVDs. They have some very interesting stained glass tutorials that can be found at Glass

Best deals in art glass suppliesDelphi Stained Glass Supplies is a place where I have bought supplies online and over the phone for many years. Some very helpful people work there, and I recommend Delphi as a reliable place to order your supplies.

Have a look at Robert Oddy's web site for some unique patterns, plus a free pattern to show you what the patterns and instructions guides are like.

Although Robert's patterns aren't for beginners, I know there are a lot of you that are very capable of working with them. These patterns will make your skill level grow by leaps and bounds and you'll learn new techniques that you won't be taught in any classroom. Have a look at what he has to offer and download that free's beautiful and something I know most of you would love to make.

Just in case you don't know, the Stained Glass Gems ezine is mailed out the third Sunday of each month. Be on the look out for [Stained Glass Gems] Issue 32 on Sunday, June 19.

I want to encourage you to have fun and experiment with your glass. Try new things and different techniques. It's amazing what you can do when you "think outside the box."


Stained Glass Patterns and Tutorials

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"He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, head, and heart is an artist." ~Saint Francis of Assisi

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