How To Drill Sea Glass

There are lots of great videos online that show you the basics of drilling sea glass, but nothing teaches you quite like experience.  Time spent drilling is what helps us each find the way that is most comfortable for us.

I have drilled thousands of pieces of sea glass over the past twelve years to create my sea glass snowflakes and my sea glass jewelry. I always take care with each and every piece.

How to drill sea glass

I use a Dremel 4000 drill on a Dremel 220 Workstation (drill press).
I can’t imagine drilling without a press.  It’s easy to maintain light even pressure with a press and keep your hole straight, which is very important because you are going to be drilling half way through your glass and turning it over to finish the hole from the other side. 

As you see from the picture of my drill and press I have a lot of light at my drill station. I use a a shallow clear pyrex dish to drill in which allows the maximum amount of light around the glass and white cloths under the dish to reflect more light.

I have found a paint stir stick to be perfect support for the glass.  If I have a piece of sea glass that is a bit rounded that doesn’t sit flat I figure out the best way to firmly seat it against the wood so it’s secure before I drill. Sometimes this means that it’s halfway on and halfway off the wood, but the area I am drilling always sits firmly on the wood.

You may think you don’t need a drill press if you are only drilling very thin sea glass, but even thin sea glass can be a challenge to drill.  I have found that some of the thin brown sea glass I find locally can be very challenging to drill because of the density of the glass. 

The next item of importance is the drill bit.  You will need to use a diamond bit for glass. If you are like me and buy some of the pieces of sea glass you will be drilling  the last thing you want to do is ruin your investment due to a cheap or dull bit. A quality drill bit is your best friend. I’d suggest you spend a bit of money and buy quality bits from sellers like RioGrande, especially if you’re just starting out.

Avoid the 30 bit sets you see for cheap on Amazon. I used them in the past and always found 8 to 10 of them did not work at all or did not drill many pieces before becoming dull because they have a very thin diamond coating. It’s difficult learning how to drill and a low quality bit will only make it harder.

My favorite type of bit is a diamond twist drill and I use a 1.4 mm for most of my drilling as 20 gauge wire fits through it easily. I purchase them thru RioGrande.


In order to help keep the glass cool and the dust down you need to drill the glass under water.  The water doesn’t have to be deep, as I have learned deep water can alter the view of the glass. The glass needs to be covered.  Place your fingers comfortably on the glass to hold it down while you drill.  You will need to lift the bit up during drilling to allow the glass dust that is created to escape the hole.  I lift the bit every 3-4 seconds. This is where a drill press comes in handy as you can keep your drill hole very straight. Change your water often as it will cloud with the glass dust.


To ensure success you need to drill the glass from both sides. Drill halfway through one side then turn the glass over line up the bit to the hole and drill from the other side.  You don’t have to drill all the way through again, only until the bit drills through and creates the hole. You will develop an ear and be able to hear when this happens. I have a lot of light at my drill station so it’s easy to see to line up the bit to drill through again.

Never drill a piece of glass without putting a pencil mark on it first. That way the hole is exactly where you want it to be.

Keeping your drill speed around 15,000 – 17,000 rpm will help extend the life of your bit.


Drilling expertise will come with experience. Take your time, raise your drill bit often, make sure your diamond drill is sharp!  Do your learning on junk pieces of glass.  If the piece is large enough you may be able to drill  4 or 5 holes through it. When you have to apply pressure to the bit it’s time to change it.  Good luck and hope this helped!

The Right Light for Creating Sea Glass Jewelry

When I was setting up my workbench, one of the most difficult and important decisions was lighting. For many months I had been using a regular table lamp with a 150 watt soft white bulb. It worked well, but I often felt my eyes growing tired. I knew I needed more direct light. Then we decided in order to accommodate my growing sea glass collection and all the “stuff” that goes with it, it was time to purchase a piece of furniture that would work as storage for all my goodies as well as a new TV. My “studio” is our family room and I have to admit things were getting out of hand.

Continue reading “The Right Light for Creating Sea Glass Jewelry”

How to Start Creating Sea Glass Jewelry

I really enjoy creating sea glass jewelry. I consider it the icing on the cake of my sea glassing hobby. How lucky and I to be able to find the beautiful sea glass (or, as is the case with beautiful English Seaham Beach glass, purchase it) and then be able to “play” with it and then sell it? VERY lucky! It is also fun to look back over the course of a short year and a half and see how my styles and techniques have changed and improved.

When I started creating jewelry I used locally found sea glass and findings from local craft shops like Michael’s and A.C. Moore. This is exactly how my journey should have started.

Sea glassing was new to me.  I hadn’t paid much attention to sea glass before even though I’d seen it used in jewelry in shops in places like Hatteras, North Carolina and Rock Hall, Maryland. I was shown a sea glassing area by someone I knew who had been shown the area by someone she met. It was a place on a river that was full of sea glass and pottery. I picked up each and every piece I saw and I wanted to start creating jewelry. But how to start?

A beautiful piece of locally found sea glass with a simple gold tone wire wrap. Stunning.

Continue reading “How to Start Creating Sea Glass Jewelry”

Authentic Sea Glass vs. Tumbled Sea Glass

I wanted to write more about buying sea glass. Not because you shouldn’t do it, but because you should be cautious when you do it. Even if you’re buying a piece of jewelry, be aware that there are sellers who say they sell real sea glass when they don’t. And whether you’re buying jewelry or buying sea glass for jewelry making or crafting don’t think that you’re safe if you’re buying on sites like ebay or etsy, because you’re not.  Continue reading “Authentic Sea Glass vs. Tumbled Sea Glass”

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