Studio 5 Party and Ideas Contributor Alisa Bangerter has directions to help you make your own custom cookie cutters in any shape you want!
A simple way to get started making your own cookie cutters is to purchase a kit. I recommend the Make Your Own Cookie Cutter kit by Off the Beaten Path. You can purchase the kit and aluminum strip refills at www.cookiecutter.com This online store has many unique pre-made cookie cutters available as well and the customer service is great.
This Make Your Own Cookie Cutter kit comes with a bending board and forming post, a shaping cylinder, wedge tool, adhesive, 72″ of 1″aluminum and instructions. These tools make it simple to form the cutters and are very helpful when working with metal.
Using copper strips is a great alternative when making cookie cutters, especially for gift giving. Copper strips can be purchased in different weights. Lighter weight copper is easier to work with and bend but heavier weight makes nice sturdy cutters that hold their shape and are more durable. A great source to purchase rolls of copper strips specifically designed for making cookie cutters (available in different weights) is www.basiccopper.com These copper strips have edges that have been treated so they are smooth against your hand to prevent cuts. This company is also great to work with and has good customer service as well.
(Note: If you purchase a kit, follow the directions included specific to the kit.)
1. Place a protective covering (such as newspaper) on your work table.
2. Obtain a photo, an image, or draw the outline of the shape you wish to make. Basic shapes are easier to create.
3. Carefully lay a piece of string, twine or yarn (or a pipe cleaner) around the outside edge of the shape and add 1″ and cut. This will help determine the length of metal strip you will need to cut to create your cookie cutter.
4. Cut a piece of metal strip using tin snips to the size of the string.
5. Decide where you want the ends of your cutter to meet and bend the metal accordingly. It is better if the ends meet at a straight area of the cutter if possible. Use your hands and tools to help shape the metal following the shape of the drawing or image.
6. Wash metal to remove any coating and to make sure the surface will adhere together well. Some metals have a coating and the surface needs to be clean to bond.
7. Overlap ends of cutter and adhere with double sided permanent tape or use epoxy. Use small clamps or clothespins to hold until set.
8. File off any sharp edges with a metal file if needed.
• To create your first cookie cutter, I would recommend to start by creating a simple shape with a thinner gauge metal. With more experience you can create detailed cutters and use thicker metal.
• Some metals are coated or treated with chemicals that are not food safe. Avoid using these type of supplies when making cookie cutters for food use.
• Metal strapping bands (used in shipping) can be used.
• Aluminum flashing can be cut or purchased in rolls (the heavier the gauge the stronger and more durable your cookie cutter will be). Check your local hardware store for information.
• Ends of cookie cutters can be soldered with lead free solder, spot welded or adhered together with metal rivets. This would need to be done by someone with metal working experience.
• Metal can be sharp so wear gloves if needed, protect counter tops and use a metal file to file edges if necessary.
• Take time when bending and forming cookie cutters. Some metals are subject to “work hardening” which means the more you bend in one spot the harder it is to bend it. Try to bend the metal one time to prevent this or you may not get smooth edges and a nice shape to form.
• Common items can be used to help shape the metal. Edges of drawers and counter tops easily help bend and crease metal. Look around your house for items that you could use to help shape the metal such as dowel sticks, lipstick tubes, pencils, spools of thread, tiny boxes, etc.
• An option to help guide a shape when bending metal strips is to cut a 1″ piece of pine to the shape. Wrap the strips around the wood shape.
• Household items can be used to make simple cookie cutters. The bottom edge of a can is usually tough to bend but can be made into simple shapes.
• Simple cookie cutters for one time use can be made from heavy disposable aluminum pans. Simply cut a strip twice the width needed. Fold edges over using a straight edge or metal rule and crease. Tuck ends together or adhere with adhesive and bend into shape. These cutters are quick and inexpensive to make but not very durable.
• The shape of photos and images are fun to create cookie cutters for. A creative idea would be to have the photo or image printed onto edible wafer or rice paper with edible ink (check your local bakery) and then you could cut out the photo or image and place it on a frosted cookie – thus a perfect matching cut cookie to coordinate with the photo or image.
• Old metal cookie cutters can sometimes be recycled and reshaped. Simply hold cutter with tongs or pliers over a heat source such as a gas stove burner. Smooth metal out as it is heated and then reshape with pliers or other tools. Some metals will work better than others. Remember metal can get very hot so do this with caution.
• Always wash your cutters before use.
• Cookie cutters can be used for many purposes. Check out my segment on 101 Creative Ways to Use Cookie Cutters.