Drilling conkers

November 13, 2017

An easy introduction to drilling that can result in some amazingly creative pieces of art.

Palm Drilling a Conker
Author: Muddy Faces

Age Range: 3+

Duration: 1-2 hours

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: autumn

Tags: conker, drill, palm drill, tools

Category: tool use & traditional crafts


Find a hard surface that can’t be damaged to lean on/drill into (there’s a link to our log rounds in the ‘what you’ll need’ box above, which could be used for this purpose).

Use softwood drills to make thinner holes (2mm) for use with activities like the conker person, or palm drills for holes with a bigger circumference – approx 5mm – more suitable for threading conkers with string.

A conker clamp is handy for holding your conker still, but it’s not essential. For more information about palm drills and conker clamps and how to use them look at our Guide to palm drills

kit needed for creating a conker person

Environmental considerations

  • consider where and how many conkers you are collecting
  • many conkers can fall where they are unlikely to grow, such as paths / roads
  • try to collect where there is an abundance
  • we have some foraging guidelines which may help

Health & safety considerations

  • palm drill bit has sharp edges
  • softwood hand drill has a sharp point
  • choking hazard

Head out on a conker hunt

We collect conkers that have fallen onto the pavement near our house, which I know would inevitably end up being crushed in the road, so I feel happy collecting lots from the pavement.

Step 1

Place your conker into the conker holder or down onto a hard surface.

Step 2

Place the drill at the top and drill directly downwards.

child using a palm drill to drill hole in conker

Step 3

Drill straight downwards until you break right through to the opposite side.

Step 4

Keep drilling until you have a nice clean hole – you may need to remove some of the debris from the hole by pulling the drill out of the conker.


Have a brush or pointy stick ready to clean the drill bit with – don’t be tempted to clean the bit out with your finger or you could get a cut.

toothbrush cleaning palm drill next to conker

Take it further

Use thin drill bits to make holes for cocktail sticks – depending where you put the holes you can make different creatures – see our conker person activity.

Thread drilled conkers on to a string to make a conker snake.

Thread conkers, leaves and other natural materials on a string to make an autumn leaf mobile.