Making holes in containers the easy way!

Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7bMarch 20, 2013

Maybe everyone already knows this, but I didn't see it anywhere....

My husband had a brilliant idea on how to easily make holes in plastic containers (yogurt cups, etc)....use a soldering iron! We had very little luck with slits from a knife, as they kept closing up. However, we had this soldering iron sitting is my new best friend. :) If you do not have one, there is one on Amazon for under $10 with good reviews. It is easier to do before putting in dirt, etc, but still works quite well even when dirt is in there. The only downside is it does not work well on metal (pie plates, etc).

P.S. This may not work in colder climates, as it may make the holes too big. However, in my rainy zone 7b climate, it is working very well...mine were getting way too wet. :)

This post was edited by carolinaflowerlover on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 9:32

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I just use a big drill bit on my 3/8 inch drill to make holes in containers.

Sometimes I buy big cheap plastic pots for growing plants that do not have drain holes. For those, I use a spade bit to make bigger drain holes.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

Cool! That works ok on small containers, too? I am not allowed to use knives, etc....I tend to not be good with them. I almost sliced off a finger off in high school, with a scalpel. :p That is why the soldering iron works well for me. The bit is a great idea for larger things, thanks! I will ask my husband to do that with some totes in which I am storing pots. :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:35AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I don't have a soldering iron but use a skewer heated over the gas. Similar idea.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 2:02PM
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I also use an old soldering iron. I found that it made terrible fumes so it is best to do it outside. Even then the fumes can get overwhelming if there isn't a nice breeze blowing. :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Connie Kru

A wood burning tool works also

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 5:34PM
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I use a drill. A lot of people use the soldering iron. I've got Gran's playing around. I stick to the drill. Don't forge to post your sprouts.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:21PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I've used an ice pick, drill, soldering iron, and awl. The easiest for me is the awl tool on my swiss army knife, which is usually handier than the other tools. I just insert and twist, but it's pretty sharp so it's best to be careful.

I still do a few new containers each year, but I re-use a lot of containers so I don't have to prep many anyway.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 9:55AM
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I use a soldering gun. The gun seems to work better for me because I can control it better, have more use of my other hand, and don't have to mess with a soldering iron stand.
The holes are smaller but square. I just don't like the smell of burning plastic it puts off.

I started using coffee filters in the bottom of milk jugs this year. They fit perfectly and I don't make a mess moving them around after they have soil mix in them. We'll see if I have any issue with roots growing through the holes later this season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Method

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 5:32AM
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I just use a utility knife. So far no issues and I haven't cut myself yet (knock on wood). And I'm not usually not good with knives either -- I have a cut on one hand now from slicing a sandwich of all things. :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 7:27AM
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I've used a soldering iron for years and love it. I try to prep the majority of my containers in the fall, so I can do this outside because of fumes.

A few times, I have needed to prep containers inside in winter and just didn't feel like using the steak knife (several close calls with that darn thing).

So I open a window, put a fan up and heat up the soldering iron, cringing the whole time about the heat I'm wasting, (can't believe I actually put a fan up to blow my heated air OUT of the window!) trying to work as fast as I can, and thinking how my DH would kill me if he saw me.

But I got caught once. Hours later, my daughter came home, took one step in the door, sniffed, and said with a confused look on her face, "Who was blowing out birthday candles in here?"

So I don't risk it anymore, lol. Back to the steak knife if I don't have enough fall-prepped containers!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:03AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I've always used the soldering iron method. Certain types of plastic produce much worse fumes than others. Milk jugs are pretty mild. I do all my container prep indoors with no open windows. I will turn on a fan, if I have one handy, but not usually. I can't imagine using a knife or box cutter. I'd slice off fingers in no time. I might try to save my milk jugs this year, because the container prep is time consuming, and my wrists can't manage cutting the plastic, even with excellent scissors. Arthritis is catching up with me and I'm not even 50.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

Cary, sounds like me. :)

Fortunately, I do not have a good sense of smell, and it is warm enough (40s) to use the soldering iron outside. Lol at the stories. :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 12:55PM
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Connie Kru

I use a wood burner. Works very nice

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 1:28PM
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smarmyclothes(6a Kalamazoo, MI)

I'm also a fan of the drill.

I can stack up about half a dozen of the quart size plastic yogurt/sour cream containers and drill holes through all 6 at once. Then I use a utility knife for the vent holes on top.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Yes to the soldering iron! I do it on the stove with the hood fan on high to eliminate the smell. It is faster and easier than any other method.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 4:18PM
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nan-6161(Zone 7 Long Island, NY)

I use to use soldering iron.... but then I got over my "fear" of using the electric drill and I am never going back! Easy Peasy. Qucik and neat and no standing out in the cold.

Remember's not just the "bad smell", you are BREATHING that burning plastic chemical. Can't be good for you. Get a quick drill lesson from a guy (person?) with a tool belt. You will feel very proud - -I know I did!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:47PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Nan, as you have, I wanted to warn of the fumes given off by plastics and their toxicity. I too, use a soldering iron, but I use it outdoors, with a fan blowing away from me, while wearing a medical mask. I use 2 litre pop bottles, and if I must do it indoors I use an ice-pick: just need to rotate it around a bit and the hole is big enough.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 1:02AM
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I use an ice pick for my containers (and also plastic cups for when I pot up house plant cuttings). Drilling holes is the most time consuming part of WS, but once it's over, you're glad it's over LOL.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 1:40PM
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