Mastering the Art of Drilling for IKEA Hacks: Preventing Blowout and Ensuring Precision

As you modify and repurpose IKEA furniture, you’ll need to drill holes for mounting hardware, shelves, or other decorative elements. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to help you master the art of drilling for IKEA hacks, focusing on preventing blowout and ensuring accurate hole placement.

Preventing Blowout

Blowout occurs when the drill bit exits the back of the material, causing splintering and damage to the surface. To prevent this, you can use a simple trick: place a block of wood behind the material you’re drilling. The block will provide support for the material and help prevent splintering as the drill bit exits.

Using a Centre Punch

A centre punch is a crucial tool for controlling the start of the drilling process. Before drilling, use the centre punch to create a small indentation at the desired hole location. This will help guide the drill bit, ensuring accurate positioning of the hole and reducing the chances of the bit slipping or “dancing.”

Drilling for Shelf Pins: The 5mm Rule

If you’re drilling holes for shelf pins, always use a 5mm drill bit. This is the standard size for system holes in cabinets around the world. Using a 5mm bit will ensure compatibility with most shelf pin hardware, making your IKEA hack more versatile and functional.

Using Tape, Stoppers, or Blocks for Depth Control

One common issue when drilling is going too deep or accidentally drilling through the material. To avoid this, you can use tape, a stopper, or a block of wood to control the depth of your drill.

  1. Tape: Wrap a piece of tape around the drill bit at the desired depth. As you drill, the tape will act as a visual guide, letting you know when you’ve reached the correct depth.
  2. Stopper: Invest in a drill stopper, which is a small collar that attaches to the drill bit and prevents it from going too deep. Adjust the stopper to the desired depth and tighten it in place.
  3. Block of Wood: If you have a block of wood with the same thickness as your desired drilling depth, you can use it as a makeshift stopper. Place the block on the drill bit, then drill until the block reaches the surface of the material.


Mastering the art of drilling for IKEA hacks is crucial for successful DIY projects. By using these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to prevent blowout, ensure accurate hole placement, and avoid drilling too deep. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be creating your own unique, functional, and stylish IKEA hacks.

Here is great video from @lee.mei.10048379 demonstrating using a block of wood behind the material you’re drilling.

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