DIY (Halloween-) Cookie Cutters

I got the idea to make cookie cutters myself when I saw a cute gingerbread reindeer in a bakery and wanted to bake some myself. Since that worked out so well, I made cookie cutters for Halloween gingerbread in the form of a ghost and a pumpkin last year, and since this year I finally have black food coloring, I would like to make a black angry cat and a bat. Oh, and my form for NOTFUNNY-lemmings I've showed you here already. As promised in that post, here come my instructions on how to bend your own cookie cutters - bringing you unexpected possibilities of creativity ;-)

steel sheet / clean tin can / metal strips, 0.1-0.5 mm thick
tin shears
stencil or outline drawing of the desired motif
narrow pliers
rivets / solder and soldering iron / two-component adhesive


The biggest challenge in bending cookie cutters in my opinion is not the bending itself but the acquisition of the right material. I had searched the internet and found the following possible materials: "serving tray made ​​of aluminum", "metal strip from the hardware store" or "tin of food cans".
Here, a blogger writes that she has found copper strips specially for cookie cutters, but I don't think that they deliver to Germany and also I don't need such quantities! What I'd like to try soon is to ask a plumber for metal strips, though.

I actually found a serving tray made ​​from aluminum in a dollar store once, but the resulting cookie cutters were way too soft and shaky - you can see it in this picture (tree cookie cutter)! 

I've never found metal strips in any hardware store, but I did find a steel plate which is 0.5 mm thick which makes it hard to cut to strips, but it also makes very sturdy cookie cutters! Thus, I tried bending cookie cutters from a steel 
sheet and a tin here. 

1. Material procurement
Select a suitable design and print it in the correct size, or draw the shape on paper.
You should be careful with 
too narrow corners in the design, because the cookies will brown more quickly at this point, or they could break, or the cut dough is difficult to get out of the cookie cutter! You should also keep in mind for the design selection that cookie dough deforms slightly in the oven while rising and baking.
As a precaution, use a thread to follow the scope of the design and measure the thread to know how long a metal strip you'll need, add about 2 cm for the corners and the overlapping ends.
From the metal plate, cut a straight strip in the necessary length and remove any splinters with a file - my boyfriend usually helps me, or does it for me :-*)
Possibly wear gloves for that task!
As an alternative, cut a strip off the tin can, using tin shears - since the can metal has very sharp edges, I only used the top and bottom part, so that I won't cut my fingers when cutting out cookies!

2. Bending

Once you have a metal strip of the right length, start to bend it with the pliers and your fingers, maybe also use pens and mugs to bend the stripes into the shape of the design. It is important to start at a convenient corner of the design, such that you can secure the metal ends by overlapping and fixing them! With my first three cookie cutters (see above), the corner was so well chosen that the cookie cutter held its shape by itself, even without fixed ends. To form tight corners, you can take the whole corner into the pliers and squeeze it! While you bend, make sure that the bottom edge of the cookie cutters lies in a plane, so that the cookie cutter won't tilt!
If you make a symmetrical cookie cutter without a printed template, as I did with the bat, it is a good idea to start with the center of the metal strip  - or you may run out of material for the second half, as you can see here at my first bat attempt!

Here, I found a different bending technology, where the design is glued to wood, then, nails are beaten into the wood at the corners of the design, and the metal strips are bent around the nails. Since just pliers worked fine for me, this method seemed a little complex, but maybe it helps someone else! 

3. Closing the cookie cutter

Depending on the material, there are various techniques for fixing the ends of the cookie cutter. With strips of aluminum trays (which I don't recommend - too soft), you can simply staple the ends together. My first attempt with the steel-cutters was using two-component adhesive. With time (and after several rounds in the dishwasher) the ends opened up again.
Alternatively, you could solder the ends together or use rivets, which I will try next. 
If you have created a very complex and wobbly cutter, or if the top of the cookie cutter is very sharp, you can attach another metal strip as a handle and stabilizer across the cutter

Here are some example cookie which I baked with the three cutters  shown above (gingerbread is ideal):

For simple shapes as the NOTFUNNY Death here, I think a template made from baking paper is enough, but once a design has complicated corners or you want to make very many of them, like here for the lemmings, a cookie cutter saves you a lot of time! 
Since I was in a hurry when I made it, I had not cut off the excess sheet metal part and the shape is not well sealed, however, it has worked out quite well! I ended up using the excess sheet strip for the frangipani cookie cutter.

Happy Cookie Cutting! :-)

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