How to drill seashells for jewelry

Updated April 17, 2017

Going to the beach and picking up seashells is a wonderful pastime. Many people gather shells to make jewellery or wind chimes. Whatever you plan to make, you may need to drill a hole into the seashell to hang it from a chain or string. Drilling a hole in the seashells is not too difficult. If you do it with patience, you will break fewer shells. Before you drill on your favourite seashell with a dremel, try to drill a few practice holes on seashells that are not so important.

Soak the seashells in a bucket of warm soapy water for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash your seashells to remove the sand, dirt and debris out of the shell. You can use a soft-bristle brush to remove the dirt. Rinse the soapy water off the seashell and allow to air dry.

With a narrow, felt-tip marker or pencil, make a dot where you want to drill your hole. Place a dot on the front side. If the shell chips while you are drilling, it will be on the back of the seashell.

Carefully put your shell in a vice or a clamp. You need it to stay stationary so it does not move beneath the drill bit.

Insert a ceramic drill bit into the dremel. Start out with the smallest drill bit. Hold the drill or dermal upright.

Drill slowly, releasing the pressure off and on. Stop drilling so the bit cools down and then begin drilling again. This will help keep the shell from breaking.

Change the drill bit to the next larger size. Continue increasing the size of the drill bit until the hole is as large as you want.


Seashell dust is toxic. Work in a well-ventilated room and wear a face mask. Wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying pieces of shell.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Dremel
  • Assorted bits
  • Seashells
  • Vice or clamp
  • Mask
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Gail Delaney is a writer in South Dakota and has articles published online at various websites. She is the garden editor for BellaOnline, with years of gardening experience. Being the caretaker of her parents led her in the direction of medical issues, especially natural remedies.