Introduction: 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.

Step 1: Obtain Silhouette

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

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!!!!

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?