Disclaimer. Using rotary tools near water has never been, to the best of our knowledge, endorsed by any of the rotary tool manufacturers. If you do choose to drill near water or with attachments under water connected to your drill then you do so at your own risk. Please be aware that mixing electricity and water can be very dangerous.
If like me you love to scour the charity shops for old china plates, saucers, tea cups and tea pots then like me you will be wondering what to do with it all. And lucky for us, there are lots of ideas: bird seed feeders, jewellery, cake stands, hangings, bangles, light fittings, wind chimes, plant pots and much, much more.
For now, lets take a look at how to make a plate, cake stand. Great for your Victoria Sponges, French Fancies and Battenburg's but also brilliant for holding jewellery or household bits such as car keys and loose change. Follow these simple steps...
What You Will need
- 6mm Diamond Core Drill (often referred to as Diamond Hole Saw Drills) or if you're using a Dremel drill you might like to use a 6mm Bottle Neck Diamond Core Drill
- 1 x dinner plate, 1 x side plate, 1 x saucer or cup (a cup on the top instead of a saucer can be used to hold sweets, a flower posy or small cake forks)
- A three tier cake stand fitting
- Rotary drill. A lightweight one such as a Dremel or Foredom hobby drill is ideal but a regular household Bosch type of drill will also do.
- Sponge and bowl of water
- An old Towel
- Masking tape
- Safety goggles
- Sharpie pen or similar
- Screwdriver for tightening the fittings
Here's what our diamond core drills look like:
How to Make A Cake Stand
Step 1Mark the position of where you would like your hole to be with a marker pen (find the middle with a tape measure) and place a strip of masking tape over the top.
When you begin to drill the masking tape will help prevent any skittering across the surface of your plates.
Step 2Soak your sponge in water (keeping a bowl of water to hand in order to top up) and place directly next to your intended drill hole. The purpose of using a lubricant such as water is to ensure the plate and your drill bit do not overheat which can cause your plates to crack and will shorten the life of your drill bit. We don't want the vintage Royal Doulton breaking in two!
Step 3Place your plates on a towel and start the drill, somewhere between 1000 and 1500 RPM and angle your drill on the masking tape to begin the drilling whilst at the same time squeezing water from your sponge directly onto the drilling process. The angling of the drill will again help to prevent any skittering across the surface.
As soon as you begin to cut into the plate return your drill to it's normal vertical position and continue to drill through, slow to begin with and with little pressure, too much and you may break the china.
Repeat for all three plates and cup
WARNING: Please be extra careful and vigilant when using water and electrical appliances together.
Step 4With your dinner plate (or the one that will be on the bottom of your tier) place the washer on the bottom and put the screw through. Put another washer on the top and attach the cake stand fittings.
Repeat for all three plates and cup
The above necklace from found shards of broken china and this light fitting using a tea cup and saucer have been made using diamond drill bits. Boodi Blu has a wonderful range of jewellery using recycled broken pottery and the The rework house has a home decor range made of tea cups and jelly moulds!
Further Help and Ideas for What To Make with China Crockery
Once you've made one of these cake stands and have the hang of it you'll be seeking out unusual plates and bowls or different ways of putting it all together. For example If you use 3 tea cups or espresso mugs you can make lovely centre pieces for tables for your wedding or dinner parties. Use the bottom two for flowers and the top one for a candle.
For more inspiration of what to do with old china, take a look at our Pinterest Board.
Diamond drills have to be used to drill through china plates. One of the questions I get asked the most is 'How Many Plates Can I Drill with One Drill Bit' For the answer to this and for more information take a look at this article: 12 Things you Should Know about Diamond Drill Bits
Drilling circles out of plates to make jewellery is a bit trickier if you're looking to get the pattern around the rim of the plate, but it can be done. I used a 10mm Bottle Neck Diamond Core Drill inserted into a Dremel multi chuck in a Dremel 3000 rotary tool.
The core drills are intended to drill a hole, so the core or circle that you will achieve by doing this may be a bit ragged around the edges. Fear not however, just smarten it up with a 600 grit small diamond file.
Sheila followed our tutorial and made a cake stand, here's what she had to say...
"The tutorial on how to make a cake stand was absolutely spot on. My husband and I tackled our vintage plates with our diamond core drill bit and in no time at all we had a really professional cake stand. Thank you so much - eternally grateful to Eternal Tools!" -