How to Drill a Hole in a Rock

    by Virgil Dudley

    About the Author

    Virgil Dudley is an artist, designer, and urban theorist who has written, researched and designed projects in the fields of art, architecture, fashion, and design since 2001. She has written for websites such as eHow. She holds a B.F.A. in ceramics and art history and a M.Sc. in architectural history and theory and is co-owner of an environmentally responsible clothing line.


    Rocks come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but when it comes to drilling the hardness is the most important factor. Soft rocks are simple to drill and are ideal for beginners. Rocks that rank high on the Mohs hardness scale, or that have a rating higher than 7 are difficult to drill and require stronger bits, but just about any rock you choose can be drilled with the right equipment.

    Things You'll Need

    • Diamond tip or masonry drill bit
    • Drill or drill press
    • Water

    Select a rock. A soft rock such as limestone or sandstone is much easier than a very hard material such as granite. Choose a rock that fits your need, keeping in mind the difficulty level.

    Mark the location for the hole with a fine-tipped marker. Be sure to include the exact point for the center of the hole where the tip of the drill bit will be placed.

    Choose a drill bit and drill type. If you are using a softer rock, such as one that is less than 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, a masonry drill bit might be appropriate. For harder rocks, a diamond tip drill bit is needed. It is ideal to use a drill press, if the size of the rock is suitable, otherwise, choose a strong drill with plenty of power.

    Begin to drill. Use water to cool down the drill bit. If your rock is very small, it can be submerged in a small container of water. Larger rocks will require water to be poured over the drilling area during the drilling process. Place the drill bit on the marked center point for the hole. Begin to drill, adding water to cool the bit as you drill. Make sure to hold the rock securely as the drilling takes place. Gently push the drill bit into the rock, making sure to continually cool the bit with water. The process can be lengthy, depending on the thickness and hardness of the rock. Do not force the drill bit into the rock; patiently apply pressure to insert the bit through the rock. Continue to remove any particles that have been created throughout the drilling process. Continue gradually applying pressure until the hole is complete.

    Finish the hole. Once the hole has been created, wash the rock thoroughly. If there are rough edges in the hole, use a file to sand them down.

    • Glue rocks that are too small to hold without your fingers getting in the way to a piece of wood with white glue to hold them in place during the drilling process.
    • Always wear safety glasses when using a drill bit. If the drill bit or the rock breaks, sharp pieces will go flying, creating a hazard.
    • Be sure to secure the rock when drilling and keep your fingers away from the drill bit.