Making & Drilling Beach Glass
Most of us aren’t lucky enough to live near the beach to go beach-glass collecting. Here, you can learn how to make your own and drill it to incorporate into your jewelry designs!
Making beach glass
Fill the Lortone single-barrel rotary tumbler half-way with abrasive silicon carbide ceramic media and small pieces of glass sheet. Add water to the tumbler until it’s 1/2" above the glass and the media. Add one drop of liquid dishwashing detergent. Run the tumbler continuously for at least two weeks.
Insert a diamond core or diamond twist drill into a Foredom® flex shaft handpiece, then attach the handpiece to the Foredom® DP-30 drill press.
Place a small metal bowl of water on the press platform, directly under the drill. Suspend a small block of wood in the water; this will serve as a support to the piece of glass while grinding in the water.
Set the piece of glass on the wood. Using the flex shaft’s foot pedal to control the speed of the drill, and the lever of the drill press to control the downward pressure, begin grinding a hole into the piece of glass, making sure the glass and wood remain below the surface of the water (this will keep the glass from overheating and breaking). NOTE: You do not need to apply as much pressure when drilling glass as you would a piece of metal; the diamond-coated drill is highly effective at grinding glass.
Continue to grind until the drill pierces all the way through the glass.
NOTE: For larger holes, switch out the drill for a larger size. Start drilling at a slightly lower speed, using less pressure on the lever. Use brief pulses in pressure to eventually grind the hole all the way through the glass.
3mm glass sheet assortment; 23/4" x 4"
Foredom® DP-30 drill press
Foredom® SR/30 flex shaft system
Metal water bowl with water & block of wood
Citation safety glasses
Lortone small single-barrel rotary tumbler
Silicon carbide ceramic media
Liquid dishwashing detergent
Diamond twist drill; 1.3mm
Diamond twist drill; 2.1mm
Diamond core drill; 3mm
Diamond core drill; 11mm
Always wear your Citation safety glasses when drilling glass.