Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cookie Cutters - Tutorial!

Here comes one of my few non-sewing/non-illustration posts!
Especially around the holidays I start taking out my crafting supplies and tools, be it for presents or decorations. Yesterday, I made these cookie cutters:

Being able to make your own cookie cutters could be so cool - even if it's just numbers and letters, maybe for somebody's birthday, or an anniversary. But I'm sure you will come up with all kinds of ideas - instruments, logos, animals. All kinds of stuff that maybe you won't find in the store, or you just don't have the time to go looking for it.

I have recently become somewhat obsessed with recycling instead of always buying and buying and throwing things away... and I was thrilled to find this book a while ago:

It comes in English and Spanish and you can order it HERE. There are also lots of upcycling videos on that site, so go have a look!
I will try out some of their projects and post them here, but that will only scratch the surface. It's definitely an inspiring book and worth the money. I paid only 5 Euros and was told that the money goes towards making this a bigger, nicer book, maybe with better pictures... (hint***hint***).

So anyway, it's not my own idea, but it is a "creative commons" project, which I am allowed to share as long as I mention the source.


You'll need:

  • Soda cans
  • Tin shears (or a really old pair of scissors....)
  • A pair of pliers
  • Paper
  • A marker
  • Scissors

You'll need about one hour to make the first few, depending strongly on how complex your shapes are.

I don't have tin shears, so I used a pair of scissors that I don't use for anything else anymore. It worked alright, but tin shears would definitely be much better for this...

First, cut off the top roughly. After that is a great time to wash it out thoroughly... Then, wrap a piece of paper around it, line up the edges and tape it.

With your marker, draw the cutting line. You can now take the paper roll off and cut it into several strips of 3.5cm width (about 1 1/4 inches). One of those strips can now be used to mark the second line on the can, the other strips will be used for trial shapes in paper, before we move on to the can.

In the picture below you see the steps I took:
  1. Sketch the shape on paper
  2. Try it on the paper strips
  3. Now move on to the can.
The paper strip has the same length as the tin ring, so you can see how long each segment needs to be to get to the right shape in the end. This way, you'll only be bending the cans where you need it - if you have a lot of trial and error, they will break.

I tried cutting the cans by folding them, as you see below. The cutting went really easy that way, but the cans broke later at the folded lines. 

You can put them back together if they break, as seen below.

 The same technique could be used if you want a bigger cookie cutter and you need a longer strip of can. You just put two together like this. This also applies to complex shapes, for which you also need longer tin strips.

This was just a trial - on the "real" thing, you want your edges to be MUCH smoother!

 After folding the tin ring into the desired shape, you cut triangles into the top edge, about 1 cm deep (3/8 inch).

Now fold the edge over. The cookie cutter will be a lot more stable that way. 


I have to say they are not the most stable things I have ever made, and cutting the rings off the can in a straight line is very important, yet difficult. Otherwise they won't cut the dough evenly. I will try to make more cookie cutters with a more stable can, like the peanuts can you see in the top picture. But for that, I definitely need tin shears - the scissors won't do it.

The first thing I tried to make was a scissor-shaped cookie cutter, but complex shapes are quite difficult. With a bit of practice though, and by putting two tin rings together, it should be possible.
I'll practice some more and maybe I'll be able to show off better shapes next time, and actual cookies I made from them - as a good blogger would do. But I really don't know when I will have the time to get back to this, and so I just wanted to show it to you already, as it's definitely cookie baking time! I think you have enough information to fly with it - and I'll share some other fun recycling projects from the book soon.

Take care and happy baking!

1 comment:

  1. thank you for this, very impressive.