How to Make a Hole in a Seashell Without Breaking it!



Seashells are great craft supplies. You can use them to make things like jewelry, ornaments, wind chimes, garlands, and so much more! The problem is that to use your shells in these crafts, they have to have a hole in them. And how do you drill a hole in a shell without breaking it?

It is possible to drill holes in delicate seashells without breaking them. Of course, the most important thing is to be very careful. So don’t immediately go and get your big drill out, there are better and more gentle ways.

Read on to learn how easy it is to make a hole in seashells so you can use them in your next craft project!

Female hand holding hand drill pointed towards a seashell on a table with more shells around it. Text on picture: How to make a hole in a seashell without breaking it. That craft site dot com.

DIY Tip: Practice on broken shells or less-than-perfect shells before drilling into your favorite sea shell. Try it out first and get a feel for the right amount of pressure and the best placement of your hole.

It is generally okay to collect a few shells from your local beach, but some beaches in State or National parks are protected and prohibit removing seashells from the beach. Make sure to check the local regulations before you take them.

If you are not near a beach, or taking shells is not allowed, you can purchase pretty seashells at the craft store or online on Amazon.

For around ten dollars you can get a small manual hand drill. These nifty little devices come with a few different size drill bits. For even less than that, you can get a nail piercing tool that works just as well to drill holes in sea shells. They just don’t come with a set of drill bits.

There are ways to drill holes in seashells for crafting even without a drill. You can use the pointed end of a screw or nail. It will take a bit longer, and hand drills are preferred, but these sharp objects can make holes in most shells and you probably already have some in your home ready to use.

If your shells are very thick you might need to use a Dremel rotary tool. Carefully and at low speed.

Female hands drilling hole in seashell with a gold colored hand drill. More shells in the background.

Go outside to drill holes in your shells or wet them a bit to prevent dust. This is especially important if you are drilling holes in many shells. Inhaling the dust from seashells can cause respiratory problems. So wear a mask to be safe.

Protective eyewear is also advisable. We are trying not to break the shells when we drill them, but even small chips can cause eye injuries.

If you are ready to make holes in your seashells (without breaking them), continue below for the full step-by-step tutorial with pictures. 

Female hands drilling hole in seashell with a gold colored hand drill.

How to Make a Hole in a Shell

Yield: 1 Seashell with hole for crafting!
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: Low

Got some pretty shells you want to use in your next craft project?

You can actually drill holes in seashells without breaking them. Of course, be gentle and follow these simple steps.




  1. Mark where you want the hole to be with a pencil.

    Keep some space, drilling a hole very close to the edge can cause the edge to break.

    How to make a hole in a seashell. Step 1: Use a pencil to mark where hole needs to be drilled.
  2. Scratch a small rough ‘starter’ mark to keep the drill from slipping and stay in place while drilling.

    How to make a hole in a seashell. Step 2: Scratch a starter mark before drilling.
  3. Position your drill on the mark and very gently turn the drill to start the hole. Use light even pressure and slow and steady, continue turning the drill until the hole forms.

    Don't push too hard or the shell might crack.

    How to make a hole in a seashell. Step 3: Slowly drill a hole.
  4. Use a thicker drill bit or gently file away the edge of the hole to widen the hole if needed.

    Now you can string thread through the hole or whatever you need to use your shell in your craft project.

    How to make a hole in a seashell. Step 4: String thread through hole.

Top photo seashell with hole in it, bakers twine strung through it. Bottom photo hands drilling hole in shell with hand drill. Text on picture: How to make holes in seashells. Easy step by step tutorial. That craft site dot com.

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