The Amazing Dremel with Jill Timm – Day 1

I just finished my first day at the Focus on Book Arts conference. After having spent over 12 hours traveling yesterday, it was so nice to get to play all day long.

Today was day 1 of a 2-day workshop with Jill TimmThe Amazing Dremel. The amazing thing is that I finally own a Dremel after having wanted one for several years. I’m so happy.

My Dremel’s name is Stan. I don’t know why I picked that name other than the fact that he just looks like a Stan. See for yourself:

Dremel set with accessories

Hello, my name is Stan

I arrived at my workstation to find a wooden box. I open it up and meet my new friends:

Set of Dremel bits and accessories

Dremel attachment box o’ goodies

Best.materials.fee.ever. Jill spent some time giving us a basic overview of how to use the Dremel. I’ll be honest – the thing Stan scared me a little. At first I held it too tight, which gave me some unpleasant hand cramps. I was able to relax my grip more as the day went on.

Jill Timm teaching Dremel workshop

The class moved from brief demonstrations to Dremel play. We got to practice techniques on a small piece of material and then would work on a larger piece for us to refer to in the future.

We were able to choose the design we used for each material and I decided to stick with something basic for the whole series. I didn’t want to waste time trying to figure out what to do – I just wanted to dive in and play with the Dremel. Sometimes I just get too hung up on the details.

Welcome to the “E Series”:

Letter E carved into wood with a Dremel

Dremel + wood

Letter E etched into glass with a Dremel

Dremel + glass

Letter E etched into mirror with a Dremel

Dremel + mirror

Letter E carved into linoleum with a Dremel

Dremel + linoleum

So far, I think I like working with glass the best. Since the surface is hard, you can get nice smooth lines. I also found that the Dremel was easiest to control on glass. Plus you can work on both sides to get some depth. The thicker the glass, the more interesting effects you can achieve.

Jill explained that one drawback to using a Dremel on glass is that drilling holes in it usually causes the glass to shatter – the glass heats up quickly in one area while another stays cool – then kablooey. I’m guessing that a drill that uses water to keep the drilled surface cool would work better.

The mirror was also fun to work with – you could remove the back surface layer to reveal the glass beneath. You could then lay something over the exposed glass to add color to your front view.

After having worked on the glass, I felt that the linoleum was a bit submissive. I discovered that if you use a grinding bit for a length of time, you risk melting the linoleum onto your bit. Luckily, I had a brush attachment that I used to remove the offending linoleum.

I’m sure that I’m not the first person to find linoleum offensive.

You can use the Dremel to work the linoleum and then use the finished piece for printmaking. I’m guessing the same is true for wood, although the detail isn’t as crisp. You’d have a much rougher image or one without much detail.

Overall, a really fun day. I’m covered in a delightful dust blend, but totally worth it.

28 Responses to “The Amazing Dremel with Jill Timm – Day 1”

By Monica/BoomBoxBindery - 26 June 2009 Reply

What a great time with Stan and his friends! That really does look like a materials fee well spent! I hope you enjoy part two today. Your E series has been very informative. Thanks!

By Shannon - 26 June 2009 Reply

Um, yeah. Best materials fee ever.

I haven’t taken my Dremel out of the case since I bought it. So many things to discover, so little time.

By memphisweaver - 26 June 2009 Reply

Looks like it was a great workshop. I can understand completely your relationship with Stan! I love my Dremel too.
Thanks for sharing your E series.

By elissa - 1 July 2009 Reply

Monica, Felicitas, and Shannon –

Day 2 was a dream as well. Sadly, I had to ship my Dremel and samples home from Oregon to avoid the airline overweight baggage fee – I can’t play again until they get here. I miss Stan!

When I do get my Dremel back, I plan to write a blog post with pictures of the different bits and the materials they service. Stay tuned!


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By billiescraftroom - 30 August 2009 Reply

Great post, I’m so glad its not just me who finds a need to name favorite tools 🙂

All sticks are called SID 🙂 in my world hehehe When all else fails tool wise sticks are the way to go hehe

I bought a dremmel and a stand to hold it as I have RSI and couldn’t manage to hold it. I bought mine for drilling paper stacks for stab bindings. Have you used yours for this?

best wishes

Billie 🙂

By elissa - 4 September 2009 Reply

Billie –

I’m guessing you have one of those awesome Dremel workstation thingies. It looks like a great way to convert a Dremel into a drill press. I don’t have one yet (that’s a big YET)…give me time. 🙂


[…] Getting a Dremel (and using it!) […]

By Carolyn - 20 March 2010 Reply

Great post. My problem is remembering what all the different bits are for. They are so small that it’s hard to tell if they are even numbered. I need to find a way to identify which is for what!

By Elissa - 25 March 2010 Reply

Carolyn –

I’m thinking of identifying the bits inside the lid of the case…maybe a small photo of the type of bit, along with how I can use it. It would be an easily-accessible reference.


[…] The Amazing Dremel with Jill Timm – Day 1 […]

[…] The Amazing Dremel with Jill Timm – Day 1 […]

[…] The Amazing Dremel with Jill Timm – Day 1 […]

By Richard - 1 November 2012 Reply

Hi. Are you going to put these classes on dvd for sale ?
Thanks Richard

By Elissa - 1 November 2012 Reply

Richard –

These weren’t classes I taught. If you’re interested in DVDs, you should talk to Jill Timm – she’s the mastermind behind the Dremel class.


By Arlene - 19 January 2013 Reply

WOW I am envious about the box with the tips …. WOW!! 🙂

By Elissa - 28 January 2013 Reply

Arlene –

You can get a similar set on Amazon and it’s not too expensive!


By Bretton - 25 February 2013 Reply

Just used one to make a finely carved shelf for my apartment. The guides were nice. Was fun.

By Chris - 12 November 2013 Reply

I *love* your series about this workshop and the tools! Thanks for sharing.

You’re on the right track for drilling glass. You can make a snake of some kind of clay and press it firmly onto the glass around the future hole, making a circle of clay that will hold your cooling fluid. You may have to experiment to find the right cooling fluid (I seem to remember using rubbing alcohol a million years ago). Use a very slow speed to drill with.

By Elissa - 12 November 2013 Reply

Chris –

Glad to get verification on that method from someone else. Do you know of any Dremel bits made specifically for drilling glass or do you use other ones?


By bricabracwizard - 14 April 2014 Reply

You buy diamond drill bit which are made for cutting hard surfaces like glass, stone, granite etc. It is better to use a rechargeable hand drill the speed on these are nice and slow….the dremels are way too fast for drilling holes. You’ve heard this before but let the tool do the work, don’t force it. I build dams with blu tac and fill with water, you don’t need very much water. I drill old radio valves, glass (many thicknesses) light bulbs, bottles etc. Good luck!

By Elissa - 15 April 2014 Reply

Thanks for the tips!


By David - 28 May 2016 Reply

Hi, I would like to know how to make an engraving more visible on a plastic. For example I engrave a name on a plastic chair that is white in colour, how can I make the name more visible maybe in a black colour?


By Elissa - 29 June 2016 Reply

David –

I don’t have any experience in this area, but I’ll take a stab at it.

You could take some acrylic paint and rub it into the engraved areas with a rag, then rub off any excess that’s on the smooth areas. It would be worthwhile to test it on an inconspicuous place on the chair – perhaps the bottom?

It’s worth a shot – good luck!


By gloria worlley - 23 February 2019 Reply

I bought a dremel and want to use it for silver work. Which is the finest wheel or disc available for polishing? I too jump in at the deep end hehehe.

By Elissa - 24 February 2019 Reply

Gloria –

I haven’t used my Dremel for work on silver, so I’m reluctant to offer advice on what bit(s) to use on a precious metal. I recommend contacting Dremel directly and see what they recommend.

Good luck!

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