How To Drill A Hole In A Ceramic Pot without breaking it: Easy Steps

You do not have to be a DIY expert to quickly and easily turn any ceramic pot into a planter. Drilling a hole in the base of a pot is simple, and once you know how you may even find yourself searching for suitable pots at garage sales to add to your plant collection. 


10 Steps to drill a hole in a ceramic pot:

  1. Fit a diamond drill hole saw bit
  2. Wear safety specs
  3. Turn the pot upside down
  4. Mark the spots 
  5. Wet with water
  6. Drill anchor marker at 45° angle
  7. Flatten drill bit on surface
  8. Increase speed 
  9. Remove drill bit from hole
  10. Repeat on other holes

If you have a ceramic pot that you are reluctant to use as a planter because it doesn’t have a drainage hole, read on. Making a nice clean hole in the bottom without breaking the pot is a quick and easy process if you know how. 

How To Easily Drill A Drainage Hole In A Ceramic Pot without breaking it

You can easily create a drainage hole in any ceramic pot without breaking it if you own a power drill. The only extra requirement is a special drill bit that can power through hard, brittle materials like ceramic without cracking it. Diamond hole saw drill bits are sold inexpensively in multipacks, and they will enable you to quickly transform any ceramic items, even coffee mugs, and jugs, into planters.

You will need the following equipment to drill a hole into any ceramic pot safely:

  • Safety glasses
  • A power drill
  • A diamond drill bit hole saw
  • A soft surface to work on – an old towel works well
  • A piece of tape
  • Water to cool the bit and the ceramic while drilling.
  1. Fit A Diamond Hole Saw Drill Bit

Diamond tip drill bits are specifically designed to cleanly remove a small circular disk of the ceramic pot. They are sharper than regular bits, and since they have a larger surface area and a textured tip, it is easier to hold them steady against the smooth ceramic surface. Ceramic is a hard material that may crumble if you use the incorrect drill bit. 

Diamond tip drill bits are suitable for use on various materials, including glass and plastic. They are sharper than regular drill bits but don’t last as long. You can use a masonry bit, but it doesn’t work as well, and you need to be super careful about holding it in place until you have made a proper anchor hole.

  1. Put On Safety Goggles

When drilling anything, tiny specs of dust and debris could fly up off the surface. Keep your eyes safely protected by donning a pair of safety goggles. 

  1. Turn The Pot Upside Down

Drilling a hole through a hard material like ceramic is more comfortable if the pot is resting on a firm yet soft surface. An old towel is ideal as it can be spread evenly over a flat tabletop and will also absorb some of the vibrations during drilling. A towel is also helpful because it absorbs the excess water you use to cool the drill bit, so it doesn’t drain onto your work surface and floor. 

  1. Mark The Spots Where You Want Holes

If your planter has a price sticker on the base, do not remove it. Simply make a mark on top of the sticker where you want the hold to be. If it doesn’t have a sticker, stick a piece of masking tape on the bottom and make a mark on top of the tape. The tape will make the base less slippery so your drill bit can dig in. 

If you only want one hole on the bottom of a pot, it probably won’t matter if the hole is not exactly in the middle. Some larger pots may need more than one hole, and the holes mustn’t be too close to each other. It helps to make a mark to keep focused on the spot where you want the hole to be if you aren’t confident with drilling. 

  1. Wet With Cool Water

Ceramic is a hard substance, and drilling causes the buildup of heat. Keep your ceramic pot and the drill bit cool by having a watering can handy. Before starting, wet the pot and add a sprinkling of water to the area periodically during the drilling process.

  1. Drill Anchor Marker At 45° Angle

You are ready to start drilling the hole. Ceramic is smooth, and if you rest your drill bit directly on the surface, it may slip around, making it hard to stay in one spot. The solution is to position the drill bit next to your mark at a 45° angle, so you are coming in from one side. 

You only need to make a slight notch in the ceramic pot to give yourself an anchor. The tape will also help you remain steady while creating the initial hole. Once you feel that the bit has penetrated the pot, you can straight up the angle of the drill. 

  1. Flatten Drill Bit On Surface

Once you have successfully created an anchor notch, you can proceed to drill into the base of the pot. Straighten the angle of the drill so that you are pressing down on it directly from above. Let the hole saw drill bit do the work, and don’t try to hurry the process by pressing. The bit needs to cut through the ceramic material neatly and cleanly. 

  1. Increase Speed 

Once your drill bit has created a circular groove, you can increase the speed slightly. Remember to regularly douse the area with cold water to cool off the ceramic and the drill bit. 

  1. Remove Drill Bit From Hole

Before you know it, the tip of the drill will have moved through the base of your pot, and voila, your drainage hole will be made. Carefully and gently remove the drill bit back out of the hole. You can also remove any remaining tape from the pot’s base and get ready to start planting.

  1. Repeat On Other Holes

If you need more than one drainage hole, repeat the process. One usually only requires one decent-sized hole where excess water can drain out, especially on regular-sized pots. However, some plants like cactus might need more as they prefer dry soil. If you need to make additional holes, ensure they are far enough apart and repeat these steps. 


Being able to drill your holes into ceramic pots will open a world of possibilities when it comes to creating thrifty and creative planters. If you have the correct drill bit suitable for drilling into ceramic objects, making drainage holes in anything is a snap. 


How to Drill a Hole in a Ceramic Pot