How To Cut A Hole In A Plastic Container [5 Effective Ways]

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Whether you're looking to make a drainage hole in a plastic container for your indoor plant or cutting multiple holes on top of it for another home project, you've come to the right place. This post will cover a few different methods that you can use to cut holes in a plastic container.

Using an Electric Drill to cut a hole in a plastic container

1. Secure the container 2. Drill 5-10 holes in the plastic 3. Cut between each hole

Using a Piece of String to cut a hole in a plastic container

1. Secure the plastic container 2. Heat the needle 3. Punch holes in the plastic with the needle 4. Pass the thread through the hole 5. Position the thread in your hands 6. Pull the string back and forth

Using a Jigsaw to cut a hole in a plastic container

1. Secure with C-clamp 2. Mark your lines 3.Position jigsaw and power on

Using a hacksaw to cut a hole in a plastic container

1. Secure with C-clamps 2. Mark the cut lines 3. Position the hacksaw over the container

Use a circular saw

1. Replace the blade 2. Place the plastic on the tabletop in the C-clamp 3. Mark the cut lines on the plastic 4. Power on the saw and position it over the plastic

Continue reading to learn more about each method.

A plastic food containers on a wooden table, How To Cut a Hole In A Plastic Container (5 Effective Ways)

Use an Electric Drill

Plastic food containers on a wooden table

A power drill is probably one of the quickest ways to cut holes in your plastic. Drilling several small holes into the plastic can make the surface easier when you begin to cut it. It's best to use smaller drill bits that are less than 1/8 inch in diameter.

Things you'll need:

  • Electric drill
  • C-clamp
  • Utility knife

1. Secure the container

Place the plastic container between C-clamps or secure it using another method such as placing it between two heavy-weighted objects. You'll also want to make sure that they continue is clean and free of any debris.

Check out this C-clamp set on Amazon!

2. Drill 5-10 holes in the plastic

Next, drill anywhere from five to ten holes in the plastic container. Make sure to drill the holes along the lines that you plan to cut later.

3. Cut between each hole

Now that you have your holes drilled, it's time to cut it. Take your utility knife and while the container is still securely held in place, cut it along the holes, making sure to get between each space of the holes. If you find that the surface is proving difficult to cut, you may need to drill more holes.

Check out this utility knife on Amazon!

Use a piece of string

You can also use a piece of string to cut holes in a plastic container. It's important to know that this method may take a bit more elbow work and take longer than other methods.

Things you'll need:

  • A piece of thick string
  • Pliers
  • Sewing needle
  • C-clamps
  • Utility or knife

1. Secure the plastic container

Place the plastic container in C-clamps or secure it using another method so that it doesn't move at all.

2. Heat the needle

Take your sewing needle and place it in the teeth of the pliers. Then light the tip of the needle.

Check out these pliers on Amazon!

3. Punch holes in the plastic with the needle

Next, punch multiple holes in the plastic using the needle. Make sure that you are punching the holes along the same line that you plan to cut.

Check out this needle set on Amazon!

4. Pass the thread through the hole

Now, take a piece of thread about twelve inches long and pass it through the first hole on either end.

5. Position the thread in your hands

Position the thread securely by wrapping it around your hands a couple of times.

6. Pull the string back and forth

Next, work the string back and forth in the hole as if it were a saw. Do this until you cut one hole to another and continue until there is a cut line between all of the holes.

Using a Jigsaw

For this method, you will definitely need C-clamps before using the jigsaw to securely keep the plastic held in place with a tight grip.

Things you'll need:

  • Jigsaw
  • A Marker
  • Safety goggles
  • C-clamps

1. Secure with C-clamp

Secure the container with the C-clamp

2. Mark your lines

Use a marker to mark cut lines on the plastic container.

3.Position jigsaw and power on

Turn on the jigsaw by pressing the trigger on the bottom and then slowly move it across the top of the plastic container, cutting it as needed.

Check out this jigsaw on Amazon!

Jigsaw tips:

Make sure to firmly press down on the saw so that it can easily cut through the plastic as you move over it. It's best first to check the jigsaw blade to make sure that it is fresh and new before applying it to the plastic--this will ensure that it will be able to cut through the plastic smoothly.

Use a hacksaw

Hacksaws are also great for cutting through plastic containers, as they are fairly lightweight and have super-sharp teeth--which means less effort is required on your part.

Things you'll need:

  • Hacksaw
  • C-clamps

1. Secure with C-clamps

Position the container in the C-clamps so that it cannot move at all. Be sure that the container is steady, as it can easily break if it moves while you're using the hacksaw.

Check out this hacksaw on Amazon!

2. Mark the cut lines

Use your marker to mark the cut lines on the container.

Buy this marker set on Amazon!

3. Position the hacksaw over the container

Start at the edge of the container and begin to work the saw across your first cut line. It may be difficult to make the first swing, but once you get into a rhythm, it would be easier.

Use a circular saw

Blue cordless circular saw

If you have a piece of plastic that is particularly thick or hard to cut, a circular saw may be the best option for you. The great thing about circular saws is that you can change the blade to cut almost any type of material, including plastic.

Things you'll need:

  • Circular saw
  • C-clamps
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Marker

1. Replace the blade

You'll first need to place the blade in your circular saw with one that is able and more fitted to cut through the plastic.

Check out this circular saw on Amazon!

2. Place the plastic on the tabletop in the C-clamp

Secure the container in the C-clamps on top of the table and make sure that it cannot move even a little.

3. Mark the cut lines on the plastic

After you secure the container, mark the areas on it where you plan to cut.

4. Power on the saw and position it over the plastic

Next, power on the saw, and I'm slowly moving toward the plastic. Be sure to move the blade completely over the length over the entire length of the container.

Circular Saw Tips:

Using a circular saw can leave the plastic with jagged edges, so be sure to wear gloves when handling it after. The circular saw's high speed can create an excessive amount of heat, so it's important to have full ventilation in the area that you are working in (i.e., open windows, doors, etc.).

How do you drill through plastic without cutting it?

It's pretty easy to crack a plastic while attempting to cut holes in it. However, there are a few measures that you can take to prevent this.

Provide support for the plastic

When cutting holes in plastic, it's important to know that it will be prone to bending if it's not supported properly. This is due to the stress placed on the surface, and with enough tension, it may actually crack.

Placing a stiff board beneath the plastic can minimize any plastic flexing while you are cutting it. Consider using a piece of scrap wood or old pieces of plywood. Placing the wood beneath the plastic can help prevent any chipping once you start cutting with a jigsaw or hacksaw.

Secure the plastic with quality C-clamps before cutting

For the best results when cutting plastic with a saw, be sure to place the C-clamps over as much of the plastic area as possible--this will help reduce the stress on its surface. You'll also want to be sure that you do not secure the clamps too tightly, or the plastic may crack once you start cutting.

You can also try to use rubber strips over the plastic to help avoid dancing scratches as you cut it with the saw. Cardboard will work fine as well; just remember to avoid placing too much pressure on one spot at once.

What is the best drill bit to use on plastic?

The most commonly used drill bit for plastic is one that you see on everyday electric drills, which is the twist bit. The twist bit works best for general-purpose drilling in surfaces such as wood, light metals, and plastic. You will often see this drill bit as the default bit in drills made for home use, such as the popular Black & Decker, Dewalt, and Bosch brands.

The best sizes for this bit to drill into plastic are:

  • 1/8"
  • 5/32"
  • 3/16"
  • 7/32"
  • 1/4"
  • 5/16"
  • 3/8"

Thicker the plastic, the bigger the drill bit that you may need to use. However, you'll want to keep it as small as possible and not crack the plastic.

Check out this Bosch drill on Amazon!

What is the easiest way to cut hard plastic?

The most straightforward and quickest ways to cut plastic would be to either use a saw or a drill, followed by a utility knife. Hard plastic can be challenging to cut due to its brittleness, but it's definitely possible when you have the proper support in place to prevent cracking.

How do you smooth the edges of cut plastic?

After cutting plastic, the edges can be extremely sharp to the touch. However, there are a few ways that you can smooth out to prevent injury and make it easier to work with. Let's take a look at them.

  • Use fine-grit sandpaper (220, 400, 800, or 1200-grit)
  • Use a metal file
  • Use a plastic finish or varnish
  • Buff the edges with an electric buffer

Check out this metal file on Amazon!

You can also add a little bit of olive oil (yes, olive oil) to the edges of the plastic to help create a bit of a paste, which will make for a great polishing job.

Check out this sandpaper set on Amazon!

Wrapping Things Up

Hopefully, this post has provided you a few different ways to cut holes in a plastic container.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

Are Plastic Food Containers Dishwasher Safe?

Do Cookie Jars Keep Cookies Fresh? [Inc. Special Tips]

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