How to drill through ceramic, DIY ceramic clock

When rummaging in the charity shops, I notice lots of china, porcelain and patterned crockery. I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to china cups, especially ones with ditsy floral patterns. Sometimes I like to upcycle any odd china sets that I have into something new. In this post, I will share how to drill through ceramic or china to create a clock.

While I love to collect pretty china, I cannot always use it for its intended purpose. Sometimes I like to upcycle any odd sets that I have into something new. In this post, I will share how to drill through ceramic or china to create a clock.

Mismatched china can look beautiful together when styled for a vintage tea party. This project is more advanced, but do not be put off by cutting through tile or china, as you can always get someone to help you drill through the plate.

** This post contains some affiliate links and was updated in May 2021

How to drill through ceramic, DIY ceramic​ clock

What you will need to drill through ceramic and create your very own DIY plate clock

How to drill through ceramic, DIY ceramic​ clock
how to drill through a tile
How to drill through ceramic
DIY Clock making kit

When choosing a plate, keep in mind that the thinner the base, the easier it is to drill through. However, thin plates can crack easily, so take your time when drilling the hole in the ceramic.

When drilling through a tile or ceramic, the key is keeping the drill bit cool and lubricated. So, pausing every few seconds to cool down the tip of the drill bit will prevent the china from overheating and cracking.

Begin by placing two pieces of masking tape to the centre of the china plate, as this helps stop the china from cracking.

Measure the plate to find the centre and mark it with a pen.

Load your drill with an 8mm tile drill bit and slowly drill a hole in the centre of the plate. Apply a small amount of pressure, but let the drill do the work, and it is best to go slow.

Make sure to stop every few seconds and dip the tip of the drill bit in your cup of water. You can also add some water to the centre of your plate.

Be patient when drilling through china plates

It can take a few minutes to drill through china, as it isn’t as quick as drilling through wood, but I promise your patience will pay off. To build confidence, I recommend doing a trial run on a broken piece of china before drilling your final project. 

Once you have successfully drilled the hole, you can assemble your clock kit and create the clock. Most clock kits will come with detailed instructions in the pack. 

I found my kit easy enough to put together. My tip would be to be gentle with the clock hands, as they can be delicate and bend easily. Once you pop the battery in the back, your clock should start working. 

You can add a hook to the back to hand on a wall or use a plate stand. I love the plate stands, as I feel the plate stands are more secure. You can display your clock on a mantle, on a bookshelf or in the kitchen. Anywhere that you can show people and say, “look, I made this!”

How to drill through ceramic, DIY ceramic​ clock
How to drill through ceramic, DIY ceramic​ clock
How to drill through ceramic, DIY ceramic​ clock

If you would like a better look at how I created this clock from a china plate, check out the YouTube video below. Sometimes watching a video gives you a better understanding of how to do something. I know I prefer watching videos when learning to do something new.

Please share this post on your social media if you found it helpful, and thank you for reading. Chat soon, Catherine.

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How to drill through a vintage plate
Some of the links used in this post are affiliate links. You will not pay any more for your purchase however, I will receive a small commission (€1-€5) if you decide to purchase. Affiliate links are a source of income to keep my blog running. Thank you so much for your continued support.


  1. August 12, 2023 / 6:10 am

    Hi Catherine, I loved your detailed guide on creating a ceramic clock! I’ve always been hesitant about drilling through ceramic due to the fear of cracking it. You mentioned using an 8mm tile drill bit and the importance of keeping it cool. Would you recommend any specific brand or type of drill bit that has worked best for you in these projects? Thanks!

  2. daintydressdiaries
    May 20, 2021 / 1:23 pm

    Thank you for your kind comment x

  3. May 20, 2021 / 11:35 am

    Really Diy is the fun way to recycling old products. I think this is a great idea you implement.

  4. Janet Byrne
    January 11, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    I am always amazed at how inventive, creative, insightful, and skilled you are… and you are fearless! Whether it is travel, carpentry, sewing, painting, tiling, or decorating, your creativity and skill looks effortless and the results are remarkable! You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for helping me try new skills and for providing a guide to beauty and utility!

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