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Drilling holes in plastic music picks?

Hi, what is the best way to drill holes in plastic music picks? I’m
not sure exactly what kind of plastic the picks are made of… they
just say celluloid. What kind of drill bit it best and can you use a
dremel tool as a drill?

what is the best way to drill holes in plastic music picks? 

Here’s some

The Dremel turns much too fast. You want a slow-speed drill, and
take care not to oveheat it - celluloid is highly flammable.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY

Any twist drill will work Terri. My first summer home from college I
worked the swing shift in a guitar pick factory. Celluloid is really
flammable. I am making brooches and earrings with ping pong balls
(heat formed) which is also celluloid. When they catch fire they burn
fast and furious.

Take care, Andy


The most important thing when drilling thin plastic material is to
back it up with a piece of scrap and clamp them together so the
piece can’t spin. Otherwise when the drill breaks through you’ll get
a ragged hole and the piece will try to “climb” up the drill. Use
light pressure and a slow speed so the plastic doesn’t melt–a dremel
might be too fast.


Altho I haven’t touched a guitar pick in many years, I’m sure you
can easily drill holes in the picks. Any simple drill bit should
work, as should a dremel, I’d think.

I generally use a slow speed when drilling plastic, so I think that
would work on the celluloid, too. Last piece of plastic I drilled
was the cap for a 10 cc syringe cover that I use as a basket for
small items in the pickle pot.

Linda in central FL

Hi Al and Andrew.

Thanks for the info on drilling holes in picks. I never even thought
about the possiblity of fire! Yikes Do either of you know what
consistutes a ‘slow’ speed ? How many rpms? New to this aspect of
jewelry making.


You can heat a metal wire in the gas torch and use the hot wire to
melt or pierce a fairly precise hole through plastic. The hole will
have a raised rim which may or may not be desireable.


You will be far better off to punch holes rather than drill. Get
youself one of these:

You’ll find 100 other ways to use it.

Drilling picks is pretty basic and easy. Have you tried drilling with
a regular drill (e.g. Black and Decker, et al) and a small bit? They
work fine. The only drawback is that the drill is heavy and awkward.
Just hold a pick down on a piece of scrap wood and don’t go too fast.
You won’t need to study rpms for this. I know that you can use a
drill press or a flex shaft, I have done the job with both. But once
you have tried it, you will understand what needs to be done,and you
will be able to determine if your dremel will work for the job. I
wouldn’t hesitate to try the dremel, although the high speed will be
quite a bit of overkill. Just keep a bowl of water handy if you
really think you might need to toss a pick into it. You might even
dull the drill bits prematurely, the high speed can have that effect.

A handy tip to help keep the picks from spinning out of your hand
during drilling: drive a nail into your scrap wood and place the
pick against it before drilling. If it starts to spin, the nail will
act as a stop. You could even fashion a simple clamp by using a small
screw instead of a nail; you can tuck the pick beneath the screw head
before drilling.

Have fun !
Lisa Weber


Being a dinosaur again. What about an archimedes drill?
Easy to control, low speed and very versatile.


What about an archimedes drill? 

Good idea! Very controllable, inexpensive device. Should work well
for this job.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY