How to Drill into Glass and Create a Bottle Lamp

On a DIY mission to create one of those cool glass bottle lamps you’ve seen while perusing the web? These versatile lamps are decorative and fun. Plus, they’re easy and inexpensive to make.

Whether you’re decorating for the holidays, looking to add ambiance to a room, or in need of a unique gift for that person who has it all, you can whip up one or two of these elegant lamps in just minutes.  We’ve simplified the process in just a few simple steps.

Note: Be sure to read the entire article before getting started. We’ve listed helpful hints and variations for various skill levels.

What You’ll Need

Grab an array of glass bottles and a cordless power drill, along with the following items:

  • Diamond ½” hole saw
  • Strand of LED lights, fairy lights or Christmas lights (25 bulbs or less is best)
  • ½” grommet
  • Bottle of water
  • Electrical tape
  • Scissors
  • Suggested: Utility gloves and safety glasses for your protection

Making Your Bottle Lamp

Gather your materials, follow these steps, and don’t forget to be creative!

  1. Wet the drill bit and glass bottle where you plan to drill.
  2. Choose a spot near the bottom of the bottle near the back or side and begin drilling, taking occasional breaks to wet the drill bit and bottle, as they will get hot. Secure the bottle and turn the drill to the slowest setting. Don’t drill near seams, as these are the weakest parts of a glass bottle.
  3. Admire your work, and remove the glass piece from the bottle.
  4. Rinse and dry glass bottle well.
  5. Grab your lights. LED lights often work best, as Christmas lights tend to get hot. Remember: more bulbs = more heat. If the lighted cord includes an extension, remove it now with scissors. When removing the extension, cut close to the last lightbulb on the strand. You may need to unwind any remaining cord and cut again.
  6. Cover the exposed end of the cord with electrical tape.
  7. Plug in lights to test them before proceeding.
  8. Unplug lights and begin pushing the strand carefully through the new opening, leaving a small tail for ease of plugging in. Make and/or buy a long, thin hook to rearrange the light strand in the bottle. Secure lights with a small amount of hot glue near the opening to keep them in place.
  9. Add the finishing touches. Use a cutting tool to tidy any remaining foil or paper labels. Add beads, marbles, or tinsel and/or spray your bottle with glitter spray to personalize the project.
  10. Cut grommet carefully on one side and place it in the new opening.
  11. Plug in and enjoy!

Helpful Hints

  • To remove labels completely before creating your glass bottle lamp, soak bottle in warm, soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes, then easily remove all labels. Removing labels is even easier if the bottles are also filled with warm water. Note: Consider leaving labels on, as they can add interest to the completed project.
  • For added safety, wear a utility glove on the hand holding the bottle. We also recommend safety glasses.
  • Consider purchasing battery operated lights, and simply place the battery pack next to the lamp.
  • Try bottles of different colours, sizes and shapes.
  • If you prefer not to remove the extension, use a larger hole saw to create a bigger opening. This will also allow you to plug multiple strands into one bottle. This tip is ideal for DIYers who plan to display multiple glass bottle lamps near each other.
  • To switch up the look of your bottle, change the lights periodically. Fairy lights and Christmas lights come in a variety of colours, sizes and shapes.


Expert: Instead of electrical tape, achieve a professional finish by securing the exposed end of the cord using 1/8″ heat shrink cut into two ½” pieces and a long, multi-purpose lighter. After cutting the cord near the last bulb, place the heat shrink over both exposed wires. Finally, warm the heat shrink using the lighter. This tip is ideal for clear glass bottle lamps, as the cord can sometimes be seen through the bottle.

Novice: If you’re short on time or don’t have all of the materials listed above, skip the drilling and find a bottle with a larger opening and push the lights in from top to bottom. The cord will then come out the top, and can easily be hidden behind the bottle when plugged in. This is a fun way to adapt the project to make it suitable for kids.

Where to Display Your Glass Bottle Lamp(s)

Bottle lamps can change the look and feel of a room. Consider displaying them in the following places:

  • Fireplace mantles
  • Countertops
  • Side tables
  • Desks
  • Bookshelves

You might also consider:

  • Displaying a variety of bottle lamps together for a festive appearance
  • Using bottle lamps as nightlights

Bottle lamps make a unique, affordable gift for just about anyone, including friends, neighbours, teachers, and anyone who is difficult to buy for. Plus, these fun lamps are an excellent way to make some extra cash; they are currently a bestseller in many online shops.

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