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How to Drill a Hole in a Ceramic Pot

Drilling a hole in a ceramic pot is a great trick to know when you find the perfect pot that needs drainage. Learn how to do it with this tutorial post!

How to drill a hole in a ceramic pot

Drilling a hole in a ceramic pot—have you done? I thought this would be a great quick tip to share because it addresses a common problem: lots of cute ceramic pots don’t have drainage holes in them.

For Mother’s Day, I treated myself to a few plants. All three are smaller succulents, so I am excited to get one of them in the little $3 pot I show in this post. I had a donkey tail succulent in it, but I recently repotted that. So I decided to use this pot as an example for this easy tutorial!

small ceramic pot

So here’s what I used:

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And here’s how to drill a hole in a ceramic pot.

Step 1: Find a masonry bit

We used a masonry bit to drill our hole. Masonry bits are designed specifically for brick, stone, concrete, and similar materials. The masonry bit is different from the regular drill bit your drill came with. Its tip is larger than the bit’s shaft, and when you drill slower with moderate pressure, this helps prevent cracking.

This kind of bit can be used with a regular power drill. We used it on a battery-powered cordless drill—we didn’t need a hammer or corded drill. You can buy a masonry bit for just a few bucks at your local hardware store or on Amazon.

It isn’t a huge investment, but since I didn’t know how often I’d be using a masonry bit, I asked my dad if he had one we could use. Highly recommend phoning a friend or asking a handy neighbor for assistance so you don’t have to buy things you don’t need—most handy people are more than willing to share!

Note: You can also use a tile bit like you’d use to drill in to tile in your bathroom.

small ceramic pot

Step 2: Drill your hole

Pop your masonry drill bit on to your drill and secure it in place. Make sure you add eye protection, too—you don’t want to mess with flying shrapnel!

I flipped my pot upside down and placed the tip of the drill bit in the center of the pot. Then we applied moderate pressure while drilling down into the ceramic pot with a slow to moderate speed.

If your pot is quite thick, make sure to blow off the ceramic dust as it piles up. My pot was pretty thin, so we were able to easily drill through it in one go. It took only about 10 seconds total.

Drilling a Hole in a Ceramic Pot
Hole in a Ceramic Pot

And here’s my lovely new succulent planted in it! It’s a Calico Kitten Succulent, what do you think? Simple as that, and perfect for a succulent that loves good drainage. If you want a bigger hole, just use a larger drill bit. Or you can drill multiple smaller holes.

If you do that, just make sure the aren’t too close to one another. This could result in the ceramic cracking and potentially breaking out the bottom of the planter.

succulents on a windowsill

Can you drill a hole in a ceramic pot with a regular drill bit?

It’s possible to drill a hole in a ceramic pot with a regular drill bit. However, using a regular bit on unglazed ceramic is much easier. Glazed ceramic, which is what most store-bought pots are, will make it hard for the bit to “grab on” to the pot to start drilling the hole.

Additionally, even if you can get through the exterior, if you use a regular drill bit on a ceramic pot you run a greater risk of cracking the pot. The hole could also be a bit rougher looking.

succulents on a windowsill
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Here is a link to the Dropbox folder with the guide!

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How to Drill a Hole in a Ceramic Pot

drilling a hole in ceramic pot

Have you ever wondered how to drill a hole in a ceramic pot? It's the perfect trick to know when you find a great pot with no drainage holes. You can use a masonry bit to drill a hole with minimal risk of cracking.

Materials

  • Ceramic pot
  • Masonry or tile drill bit
  • Drill

Instructions

  1. Obtain a masonry drill bit; a masonry bit has a tip larger than the bit’s shaft, which helps to prevent cracking.
  2. Attach the masonry bit securely to a drill and wear eye protection.
  3. Flip the pot upside down and drill slowly through the ceramic applying moderate pressure.

    Notes

  1. Minor surface cracking may occur on the underside of the pot.
  2. Larger holes can be achieved with a bigger drill bit or multiple smaller holes.
  3. While regular bits can work, they can be ineffective depending on the pot and can also lead to cracking.
  4. Pin my tips for how to drill a hole in a ceramic pot!

    image collage of ceramic pots with plants with text how to drill a ;hole in a ceramic pot, step-by-step tutorial
    Brittany Goldwyn
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    1. Linda Madson says:

      Just exactly the information I needed as I’ve been buying holeless pots to repot baby plants into bigger homes. Thrift stores.

      Could you address how/if I can reuse pots that have had glued down oasis with fake plants? I’m finding some nice ceramic pots with those blasted fake plants and the pot would be such a nice home for a living plant, if only. That glued down oasis is difficult to remove and I hope hasn’t made the pot unsafe for a live plant. Thanks.

      • Hey Linda! Glad the info is helpful. As for the glued-down plants—that’s a tough one. I haven’t personally removed something like this, but I am definitely familiar with what you’re describing. I would probably try to cut down all of the fake foliage. Then if you can’t pry out the glued-down areas, maybe you could use a drill bit to drill down into the glue and weaken it to remove in parts. I wouldn’t worry about any residual glue in the pot affecting any live plants, though.

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