Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tutorial: How We Made Our Own Glass Terrarium/Hurricane Lamp

Pin It

I admit it. This project came about for one reason. Just pure and simple necessity! The cause? The "Great Lamp Tragedy" that resulted in a broken lamp and lots of tears...

After being short a lamp, I had to ponder a while on how to remedy the situation. Why not use the existing lamp components and the surviving terrarium/hurricane to make a new lamp? Would it work? I wasn't sure, but it was worth the try.

Here's what we (and by "we" I mean Ron & his dad) did. I came up with the idea and took the photos. The menfolk did the rest! :)


1. We started by placing the glass terrarium/hurricane with the bottom up. We used the tape measure and paint pen to mark the center of the cylinder.

2. We inserted the 1/4" prismatic carbide drill bit into the cordless drill.

3. We put a few drops of oil on the mark before drilling.

4. After putting on safety glasses, we lined up the drill bit with the mark and gently drilled.

5. VERY IMPORTANT TIP #1: When working with glass, do not put extra pressure on the drill. Let gravity and the natural weight of the drill do the work. Be patient. 

6. VERY IMPORTANT TIP #2: Keep adding oil throughout the process so that it keeps the bit cool, which extends the life of the bit and reduces the chance that the glass will crack.

7. After the 1/4" tip made its way through the bottom of the terrarium/cylinder, we kept the drill running and gently pulled the drill upward to remove it from the glass cylinder.

8. The 1/4" drill bit was replaced with the 1/2" drill bit and the drilling/oiling process was repeated to make the hole larger to accommodate the size of the lamp components we had on hand.

9. In our case, we had the existing lamp parts from the broken lamp. After putting on protective gloves, we removed the broken glass bit.

10. The threaded lamp rod was inserted into the hole just created.

11. Rubber washers were placed over the threaded rod first to protect the glass. That was followed by a metal washer and then a nut on the threaded rod.

12. Using a ratchet and ratchet extender, the nut was tightened to affix the lamp parts securely to the terrarium/hurricane. VERY IMPORTANT TIP #3: Be sure not to over-tighten the nut when working with glass. Over-tightening can cause the glass to break.

13. Add the lamp shade. (To the lamp, silly!)

14. Place the lamp wherever your heart desires!

Thanks to my DIY heroes, Ron and his dad, for making one more of my ideas come to fruition. Between the two of them, they make DIY look so easy!!

DISCLAIMER: Be sure to take all safety precautions with this type of project. If this is beyond the scope of your experience or skill level, hire a professional at a glass & mirror shop to do it for you.

Featured at:

Linked up at:

Transformation ThursdayBeyond The Picket Fence Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special



  1. Clever! it looks fantastic. I've always wondered how to drill glass.

  2. Well all be, now that's an idea! I love this!

  3. Clever as ALWAYS!!! I have wanted to attempt this! Now I just might! Love it!


  4. Very cool! I never knew there was a drill bit for that!

  5. Thank you for such a clear tutorial. I've always wanted to know how to drill glass.
    - Joy

  6. Wonderful tutorial!! And nice and clear photos!! Well done and the finished product is fantastic!!

  7. wow - that is great - have always been to afraid to drill glass...maybe I'll try now that I have the step by step instructions - thanks!
    amy of four corners design

  8. Ok Amy I might be totally dense here. But I don't get it. You had two glass terrarium lamps. One broke. And then you used the glass of the unbroken lamp to fix the broken one. So you still have only one lamp. I must be missing something here, but I read over this post and your last and I simply don't see it.
    But anyway. Thanks for that tutorial on how to drill in glass. Looks still scary but doable now. And one or two lamps, whatever, this one looks great.

  9. Well they made it all look very easy. But the hurricane was new wasn't it?

  10. Great Idea....smiles.

  11. Good one! Thanks for the tips on drilling glass too!

  12. This is fantastic! Great job

  13. I love it! what a great tutorial! I have a glass lamp that broke too and want to make a new one but I was afraid of cracking the glass.

  14. This was a great "save"! I have never been brave enough to drill glass, but one of these days...


Life whispers...what is it saying today?