How To Make Glass Garden Art Flowers. And Drill Through Glass.

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How to make flowers from dishes and plates

Glass Garden Flowers

Glass garden art flowers are made from used or recycled glass and metal dishes, plates, cups, pickle dishes and more. They are easy to assemble: the dishes are arranged in layers, with the largest plates forming the back of the flower (to appear as petals), and the smallest ones at the front (like the flower pistols).

While you can assemble them with a good, waterproof adhesive (more on this below), I find it’s best to also drill through the plates and secure them with wire. This way the dish flowers can stay in the garden throughout the seasons without the risk of falling apart. Don’t worry about drilling holes in glass: I promise you it’s safe and way easier than it sounds.

You’ll probably want to start watching at yard sales or thrift stores for suitable dishes so you can make several flowers all at once. I have also provided instructions for other glass garden art projects here, so if something doesn’t work for one creation, it will probably find use in another.

How to make flowers from dishes and plates

These instructions will show you how to create glass garden flowers from start to finish, including a video showing how to drill through glass. With the right drill bit, it’s really a simple process and once you try it, you’ll definitely feel confident enough to make a whole bunch more.

You can mount the flowers on wooden posts as I’ve done here, use rebar or pipes, or simply hang them on a wall or fence. This post shows an update of how I displayed them on my patio wall.

Plus, as soon as you are confident that you can indeed drill holes in all sorts of used kitchen items, the entire key to the garden art kingdom is yours.

How to make flowers from dishes and plates

Supplies

Some of these links go to my affiliate account at Amazon.com

  • Used kitchen glassware and metal plates, bowls, serving dishes, votive candle holders…. I choose pieces around 1/8″ thick.
  •  Tiered serving dishes work great because they already have holes drilled in them.
  • Old forks and spoons (to use as leaves on the wooden flower stem)
  • Plastic or metal dish pan
  • Old towel (you might drill a hole in it)
  • 5/16″ diamond drill bit ($17.50 US) – cuts glass, marble, porcelain, granite, and slate
  • 1/8″ masonry drill bit (optional-if you want to make a pilot hole in the glass to keep the diamond bit from slipping
  • 1/2″ titanium drill bit (for drilling holes in the forks and spoons)
  • Electric drill
  • Safety glasses and protective gloves
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Sharpie marker
  • GE II Silicone Sealant and caulking gun (or similar adhesive in a tube)
  • 16 gauge wire (10 inches for each flower)
  • Washer and bolt (1 each per flower) or strong metal buttons with two holes (1 button per flower)
  • 1″x1″x48″ wood posts (1 for each flower)
  • 1/2″ wood screws (for attaching forks and spoons to the wooden stem)

Design

  • Pick various sizes of dishes that look good together and fit well together.
  • For the flowers you see here, I used clear and blue glass plates plus some small metal serving dishes.
  • If you want to make several flowers to group together, you might want to pick a colour theme (blues, reds, greens, or simply all bold colours or pastels).

Set-Up

  • Place folded towel in bottom of dish pan.
  • Add enough cold water to cover towel plus a little more.
  • Have dishes, drill (and bits), and safety glasses and gloves ready.
  • Mark the plates where you want to drill each hole with the Sharpie.

Optional – Pre-Drill

  • Place a small piece of masking tape over the intended drill hole area and pre-drill a starter hole using a 1/8″ masonry drill bit. The masking tape keeps the drill from slipping. The starter hole helps the diamond drill bit stay in place.


Drill The Glass
This will take from 1-4 minutes per dish, depending on the glass.

  • Place the glassware in the dish pan. Allow some water onto the surface of the glass.
  • Put on your fancy safety glasses and gloves.
  • Start drilling on medium speed, holding the drill at a 45 degree angle to the plate.
  • Hold the drill steady but do not press too firmly against the glass. The diamond drill bit will do the work. You want consistent speed, not force.
  • After about ten seconds, slowly move the drill (while you’re drilling) to a 90 degree angle, directly over the hole.
  • As you drill it will look like little clouds of smoke are moving in the water around the hole. That’s the tiny bits of glass being drilled away.
  • Usually after a minute or two , the drill bit will suddenly plunge through the plate when the hole is done (be prepared).

Drilling Metal Plates & Cutlery

  • Thin metal serving dishes drill quite easily using a metal (titanium) drill bit.
  • Metal cutlery (forks, spoons) can really vary for ease of drilling. You just have to try and see if it works. I have luck with about half of what I try. The rest are mightier than me and my drill and will survive a nuclear attack.

Assembly & Adhesive
Assemble the Flower

  • Place some silicone sealant wherever the plates will be touching each other to keep the pieces from rubbing too tightly together. Work from back to front and line up the drilled holes as you go.
  • Allow the sealant to dry (usually takes 3 hours).
  • Thread a nut onto a 10″ piece of wire and fold the wire in half. Pinch the wire together to hold the  nut in place and thread the wire through a washer. Thread everything through the front of the dishes.  The nut and washer keep the wire from slipping through the flower. Alternately you could use a two-hole metal button at the center of your flower to hold the wire in place.

Prepare the Wooden Stem

  • Drill a pilot hole and then a 5/16″ hole through the wooden stem. (Drilling the pilot hole first keeps the wood from splitting.)
  • Use forks and spoons as leaves, attaching them with small wood screws.
  • Hammer post into ground.

How to make flowers from dishes and plates

Mount the Flower on the Stem

  • Attach flower by threading wire through hole in wooden stem and secure at back.

How to make flowers from dishes and plates

There are lots more garden art projects here.

But Wait! There’s More!…

Tin Can DIY Garden Art
Garden Art Project: Make tin can robots and more!

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Comments

  1. Crafty Gardener says

    I haven’t tried drilling glass yet, but you make it look and sound easy, so I need to check the drill bits and give it a try.

    • says

      Hi Linda, The only tricky part is getting the bit started so it won’t slip, but if you use masking tape and make a pilot hole, it’s fine. There’s lots more garden art that can be made once you know you can drill dishes and teacups!

  2. says

    Wow, you make it seem so easy! I know my husband has a diamond bit set, will have to check this out. First, I need to do some yard saling to find some neat old plates, etc for this project!
    Thanks Melissa for the tutorial on this.
    Debbie :)

  3. Judy says

    I learned to make a clay worm then form a circle, press it around where you want to drill the hole… press it onto the glass to form a bowl shape larger than the drill hole… Fill the bowl with water… It will keep the bit & glass cool as you slowly start the hole… you can increase the speed a bit after you have the hole started… I use a tabletop drill press that uses a regular drill… It’s scary at first but after you do a couple you get relaxed just remember to keep the speed slow at first…

  4. Barbara says

    Can’t understand why you are using a wire and washer, a large glass bead would look a lot better, also you can use hose washers between the glass to keep them from touching and not use glue. I use a diamond bit that i get for less from7.00 and a drill press, so much easier.

    • says

      Hi Barbara,
      I use what I have on hand and like. It would be great to have a drill press but I don’t. I encourage everyone to use what they have and make choices that they like too.

  5. Cindi Crews says

    I want to drill a hole in a glass bottle and I assume it would use about the same procedure but I want the edges to be smooth so what would I sand the hole with, just regular sand paper?

    • says

      Hello Cindi,

      If you want the glass edge to be really smooth, use a fine sandpaper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen sandpaper made for glass in particular but there’s probably a type that’s best for it. You’ll be able to sand the outer rims of the hole but perhaps not the inner edges (depending on how thick the glass is).

      For drilling a glass bottle, the trick will be to figure out a setup that keeps the bottle really steady while drilling. The first minute of drilling is when the glass tends to slide around.

  6. Barbara Price says

    Now I know why I’ve been breaking so much glass. I was using a masonry bit instead of a diamond drill bit. Thanks so much for this instruction. Barb

  7. Bethany says

    Just wanted to thank you for hours of entertainment. I haven’t been through every link yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have gone to. Fun, entertaining, and informative. Thanks again.

  8. Leida says

    These are SOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! BTW, I love the leaves of the flowers too. Thank you for the print free option.

  9. peggy says

    Melissa, your helpful hints and directions are just great!!!!!
    think “outside the box” and just “go with it” are sometimes the best way to go!!!!!! AND in the end you sorta surprise your self when its all finished. you are the best!!!!! keep up the good work.

  10. Jill says

    I have made several teapot and teacup lamps so I have the bits that I need for drilling thru the pieces, but I can’t figure out how to attach the finished ‘flowers’ to the rebar. I would think it would need to be removable for installation (so the flower doesn’t get broke while pounding the rebar into the ground). Do you have any suggestions???

  11. Kathy says

    Just saw someone making glass flowers on “Family Plot” in Memphis. was that you? She was using a draw pull as the center. I don’t see that on your tutorial. Wondering if its an update?

  12. Mistie says

    Hi! Thanks for the info! Seems like this will work a lot better than simply gluing. My question is this, if you drill a pilot hole with a masonry bit, why go back with the diamond bit?

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