How to drill holes in resin on polymer clay

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Hi! I love all your work! I just saw your post on the Watercolor Agate. 🥰🥰 I am new to resin but have made several earrings lately. I drilled a hole into my earrings tonight and my resin cracked. Do you have an article that shows how to drill into resin? I’m using UV resin. Also, what drill do you use? I broke my small bit and I’m using a bit that’s too larger, I think. I got one on Amazon I love but can’t find replacement bits.

Lorie from Texas

Hi Lorie,

Just drill into it from the resin side. Use a small, sharp drill bit, and don’t press. Let the drill bit sit on the resin for a few seconds, slowly making a divot in the resin. Once the drill bit starts to grab itself and pull through, then you can press the drill bit through. The cracking happens when you press too hard on the drill with too large of a drill bit. Since the resin is brittle, the pressure cracks it.

Always start with a tiny drill bit and then enlarge the hole with a bigger bit if you need a larger hole.

Here are some tiny drill bits from Amazon. This is the set I use.  They will work in any Dremel or similar microtool, but you will need a small enough collet to hold these bits. They also work with a hand drill such as this one, which works nicely if you’re just drilling into polymer alone. Use the size drill bit that gives a large enough hole so that your jump rings are able to move freely.

small drill bits for polymer clay
Collets are the little holders for Dremel tool bits. They come in four sizes so the Dremel can hold variously sized bits. If you need more collet sizes, here’s a replacement set of collets for a Dremel.
dremel collets and collar
Pro Tip: Rather than changing collets every time you change Dremel bits, try this. It’s a universal chuck that holds all sizes. It’s an endlessly variable chuck, just like a big drill, but in tiny Dremel size. Yes, this will fit on your Dremel.
dremel with universal chuck
Oh, and since I know readers are gonna ask, which Dremel is the best? My personal feeling is to skip the cheap rechargeable ones. They’re underpowered and the battery doesn’t last long. Get the plug-in kind. And if you go with a big Dremel, which makes sense if you’re also working with more demanding crafts, get the flex-shaft attachment so that you aren’t holding a giant log of a machine. (You can also buy a flex-shaft if you already have a heavy Dremel.) But if you’re starting from scratch, get a Dremel Stylo. They’re super lightweight.

dremel with flex shaft
Be aware that there are also generic and no-name versions of all of these things. You don’t have to stick with the Dremel brand name. Do what makes sense for your needs!

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2 thoughts on “How to drill holes in resin on polymer clay”

  1. Ginger,
    I have areal dilemma!
    I am one of your insider people & need to know what’s a good & Less Expensive UV resin I can use on jewelry.
    I’ve went thru several tiny vials of Pandora’s (it thick like honey, usually covers well & always hardens – not sticky but costly).
    I realized I had Lisa Pavelca’s UV resin in my stash (never used). Ruined my pendant! Sticky, sticky. I lengthened the UV time….finally contacted Lisa’s people & they sent a replacement bottle. Same results! I had to use several coats of my usual sealer, Varathane, to cover the current tragedy- as this design was for a client- to cover/coat over the sticky UV resin that Never hardened.
    No buffing (in case your asking) due to the design wanted & micro glitter used. Had to have a seal & he wanted it “shiny “.
    So! Am going to redo pendants, just in case But Please, what do u recommend??
    P,s. My UV light box is Pandora’s & is excellent, with many lights on sides & top…..just in case u wanted to know.

    1. UV Resin has a short shelf life and therefore a high failure rate when it’s not super fresh. That becomes a problem, even for new (to you) product when the shop has a slow turnover. I have had good results with any of the cheap Chinese resins from Amazon (when fresh). But if you only use it every six months or so, it will get thick and/or refuse to fully cure. You can also have cure failure when you use some paints, dyes, and/or varnishes under it. People rave about UltraDome and also Art Resin (which is a 2-part epoxy resin).

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