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Portrait Cookies

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The most personalized cookie on the planet : the Portrait Cookie.  Using a person's silhouette, you can create a timeless treasure for all to enjoy - a likeness they can eat! 

Whether you're feeling nostalgic or vengeful, nothing can lift the spirits like eating a cookie in the shape of someone's face.  It's impossible not to take some pleasure out of the methodical munching of a sweet treat that harkens back to the last time you bit the head off an animal cracker, or devoured your chocolate bunny ears-first.  Where will you start?  The nose?  The chin?  Or go for the eyes?  Make up a dozen and have fun decorating them with crazy expressions!  Let the fun begin.

This project is made super simple by the aid of an Epilog laser cutter.  But if you're sadly lacking one of these, you could try using j_l_larson's technique using sheet metal and a little patience.


 
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Step 1: Obtain Silhouette

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For the following example. we used the light from a projector and took a photo of the shadow it cast on a blank wall.

You could also shine a light on the subject and either photograph the shadow or trace it and scan it into the computer.

I made cookie cutters of myself, my brother and my fiance.  Even though my brother and I don't live in the same state, it was easy for him to email me a photo of his silhouette!

Step 2: Convert Silhouette into .eps file

I used Adobe Illustrator to complete this step.  This was really my first use of Illustrator, oh, probably ever.  I'm sure there are simpler ways to achieve what I did, but I'll walk you through my clumsy trial and error process.  I attempted to screen capture whatever step I was on, and hope the picture notes I made will help to illustrate what steps I was taking at each turn.

What we need to do is:
  • Place the Image in a new document
  • Live trace the shadow
  • Expand the tracing into separate segments so you can clean up the image
  • Remove unwanted elements
  • Offset path to create a second tracing (to create an inner and outer edge to your cookie cutter)
  • Fix any crazy weirdness that happens from the path being offset (though I'm sure this won't happen to you)
  • Save as a .eps file for the laser cutter
The following images below depict this process.  For more information, check the yellow text boxes on each image for details.

Step 3: Bring out the Lasers

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I used the Epilog to cut 3/8" acrylic.  I tested a bunch of different thicknesses of acrylic (according to what we had lying around), and widths of the edge of the design.  I can't say I ever felt completely content with my experiment, but I did manage to achieve the end goal of making an effective cookie cutter.

Below are some images of cutting other shapes I was practicing with.  Teeny tiny cutters, perfect for the top crust of a Pie-in-a-Jar!

Step 4: Make Cookies!!!!

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The best way I could think to feature these unique shapes was to make a firm sugar cookie topped with fondant cut from the same cutter.  When the cookies are baked, they spread a little, and the fondant shape sits perfectly on top!

This is a great surprise for parents and friends.  Who knew eating someone's face would be so fun?

Ok, when i saw this thumbnail, it looked like a JFK cookie with the back of the head bitten off. I thought it was very uncharacteristic of you scooch. But i know its not now, so we can still be friends.
Bierle3 years ago
Would be nice for a wedding also
Beautiful
Your instructables always never fail to impress me! Great job! :)
HollyHarken5 years ago
Maybe I'm missing something, but Idon't see how you cut the cookie out with a plastic shape.  Did you cut around the plastic shape?  I don't see an edge on the shapes to cut with so I'm confused.  Cutting out fondant and putting it on a warm cookie is a very old, but tasty idea.  Do you have a recipe for fondant?  The stuff that Wilton puts out is the nastiest tasting gunk ever made. 

steve3rj5 years ago
Hey Scooch,,,couple more months we will be n SF so thanks for all the info. Now back to this. Please bear with me as I have absolutely NO pictures because I used to do this 25 years ago. For all the low tech people I used to make wind chimes and wanted different wind catchers to move the striker. I had a small vacuum pump ( I think a shop vac would work too) and would cut my designs out on a piece of plywood with a small scroll saw. I would then put a narrow rubber seal around the outer edge and had the vacuum hole in the center of the template.  I would suck the piece of plastic to this and then run it through a simple router bit with roller guide. No home lasers back then. Of course I guess you could skip the step of making the template and just scroll saw the plastic unless you wanted multiple silhouettes. Hey, whatever works,LET'S EAT!!!
kcls5 years ago
Cool cookies! Nice job!
sunshiine5 years ago
I like these!  Makes me want to did out the cookie cutters!  Thanks for sharing. 
lemonie5 years ago
Didn't you make these last year? Image #1 looks familiar to me, but I don't remember the instruction. It's great, but you had me thinking of lasers-on-dough for a moment!

L
scoochmaroo (author)  lemonie5 years ago
 I did, I did!  I used the picture as my avatar for a while, but I never got around to writing up the full Instructable until now.  
Thanks for confirming my mind wasn't askew, I really like this (needing the laser-thingy is a wee-hindrance but-) it's top-stuff.

L
fazgard5 years ago
Excellent combination of Tech and Food!
Kiteman5 years ago
Argh!

It's bad enough knowing you have a laser cutter to play with, without you rubbing our faces in it with delicious cookiness at the same time!


scoochmaroo (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
 I wanted to publish the cookie recipe and the fondant recipe as well, but I didn't know how best to handle this 3-tiered Instructable as it were.  Which is what kept me from publishing it for so long! I don't know if I'll ever get around to the others. . . I can't just use the same pictures for all of them.
Simples: More steps

Put links in the introduction so people can jump to the section they want, like I did in step 2 here.