DIY Cookie Cutter - From Scrap Metal Offcuts

Introduction: DIY Cookie Cutter - From Scrap Metal Offcuts

About: Black sheep engineer, Chartered, and very silly. Currently living in the UK. I have been fortunate to have lived, studied and worked in Hong Kong, Norway and California. I believe physical models help people…

Whilst making some baked snacks, for my son, I realised wanted to make some funky cutters!

In truth, I am too tight to buy ones from shops (COVID is not the excuse!), and have heard that 3D Printed ones are ill-advised for hygiene reasons (might be a myth but anyway!)... I had some offcuts of Aluminium from a recent prototyping project - so wanted to convert these into some Cutters, as my son is really into The Gingerbread Man story. The baking recipe is here: LINK, but this cutter works with cookie dough, etc.

I thought it was a nice way to turn a sketch into something functional, right in front of my son's eyes.

I've done this in the past for a friend, when making a bespoke baked gift for their birthday, but didn't have the time to take any pictures sadly! But as I saw this Instructables Contest, I happen to keep a drawer full of scrap offcuts and such - so thought I'd enter it! Please vote if you liked it! Thanks =)


Tin Snips:


Also need: A old (not sharp) knife, A round bar/paintbrush/stick ~5mm diameter.

Optional: Sanding Stone: (Can use a rough stone / step / concrete slab also).

Baking Recipe - see link above.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Tools listed above.

As for Scrap Metal, this was 0.5-0.8mm thick sheet. example:

As a note - you can actually cut use scissors to cut Aluminium Sheet, but of course assume they will be blunt after the task. Video to give some other less well know hacks.

Step 2: Clean-Up!

As the Alu sheet was a scrap from my workshop, I gave it a clean-up using washing-up liquid, and a scouring pad/sponge. I'd strongly recommend doing this both before and after you'd made the profile.

Step 3: Prepare Metal Strip

I trimmed the edge of a scrap of metal, and then cut a ~1.5mm wide strip. It was about 16-18cm long, but of course you can just guess this, and make the Cutter to suit the size. If you are unsure, try cutting a strip of paper and folding it around your drawing to see how long the metal is you need (add some extra for the crimp).

Step 4: Draw Your Cutter Profile

As mentioned before - if you can't guess the perimeter of the Cutter, work it out on a strip of paper first. But otherwise, draw whatever looks fun!

Step 5: Finger Bending

For the head - I just bent the metal around my finger. Take acre of any sharp edges, but should be fine. Aluminium is pretty soft. If doing this with harder metals, do take more care!

Step 6: Sharp Radii Bending

Using an old knife (blunt!), I bend a 'sharp' radii using the edge of the steel. This created the neck on either side of the head.

Step 7: Larger Radii Bending

For the arms (and legs to come), I used a paintbrush to bend the profile around. This is really just the nearest thing to hand, but anything from a wooden spoon to a stick will do.

I then used the knife again to bring the 'arm/body' angle in.

Step 8: Check Symmetry

Quick check to see if both sides look even.

After this, we close the loop...

Step 9: Legs

I made the legs, through folding around the paintbrush (large radii) and then bending sharp again with the knife. Repeating again for the second leg. You get the idea.

The excess is left near the side, and we'll close this...

Step 10: Close the Loop

To start the Crimp, I bent one edge back tightly with the pliers, say about 1.5-2mm .

I then approximated the material needed to crimp together on the other side, and then cut the excess with the snips. (Makes sense to leave extra if unsure, than cut too small!).

Step 11: The Crimp

With the loop ready, I was cable to crimp the two ends together as shown. If you're a bit unsure, practice on a scrap first perhaps.

Step 12: Profile Done / Sand Down

I used a sanding block as this was to hand, but it's really just about removing any burrs of rough edges. Even a knife sharpening steel, or a base of a ceramic (unglazed bowl will do).

Step 13: Begin Cutting!

As mentioned, the recipe is is shown above. My son is 4 and can cut these out by himself, so it's certainly feasible, even if the edge is a little fine. If your kiddo really finds it uncomfortable, place a wooden spoon or cup on top to press down.

Step 14: Legion of Gingerbread Wo/Men!

Have at it and cut away! You'll soon have a whole load of ace cookies / treats.

On Washing. Clearly, the Crimp is not a 'industry standard' join, and I should say for awareness that it can of course be a dirt trap. That said, as it was made from a scrap, I simply got a nailbrush to clean mine, and it was fine, but frankly, as it was scrap, you can recycle it as a 'single use' if you really prefer.

Another alternative would be to use a complete look to begin, but this requires some skills to work out the perimeter of the shape, and the perimeter of the can / loop that you cut it from...but certainly possible.

I personally liked the spontaneity of the cutter, and it's be a real hit at home!

Hope you have fun, please Vote if you liked it! Do please share any creations also =D

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    2 years ago

    Good idea!
    I'd add a drop of superglue (cyanoacrylate) in the crimp to keep it together. The cyanoacrylate is food stable. Or if you use copper sheet or sheet steel you could solder the joint. Copper btw is an antibacterial/antiviral substance but might be a bit soft for this application depending on it's alloy (was thinking one cut slit scrap 1/2 water piper and flattening it ).