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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Make Your Own Cookie Cutters — or — How to Ruin Your Wrists

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.

Originally uploaded by Green Kitchen.
Since we've been thinking about gnomes a lot lately, I thought I'd show you a gnome craft of yore.* This cookie cutter is something I did way back when I was in college — back when my dream home was a castle (got to cross that off my list a few years ago); back when I suffered the unrequited love of Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet on Beta, not even VHS; back when I made a yearly costumed pilgrimage to the Renaissance Faire. Man, that was a lifetime ago.

I got the idea of making cookie cutters from a woman at the Ren Faire. She sat on a stool with a pair of pliers, quickly bending metal into any shape of your choice. She had a book of drawings, some of them quite elaborate — I chose a cat and a dragon.

Next step was to find some metal strips. I went to a local sheet metal shop and told them what I was doing. I felt a bit little-woman-ish, but the guys were pretty nice and suggested the smallest gauge metal they had on hand. I didn't have the money to special order something thinner. They cut up a bunch of strips and bent over/crimped one of the edges, so there would be the cutting edge and the pushing edge.

After getting the materials it was really quite easy, sort of. I drew an outline of the shape I wanted to make, and, with a couple pairs of needle-nose pliers, bent the metal to fit. The only difference between me and the woman at the Ren Faire was that my metal was about two times the thickness. I bullied my way through each cookie cutter and my wrists suffered for it — they haven't been the same since. Apparently, I like to suffer for my craft, because I made several gnomes as gifts, as well as, a set of Alice in Wonderland cutters for my sister, including, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum and The Walrus.

To finish the cookie cutters, I had a friend solder the ends together. He didn't charge, just wanted a dinner date in exchange. I thought the price a little high and avoided him for a long time. I guess I'm willing to suffer for my craft, but never have been one to pimp myself for craft. I'll leave that to my friend, Meghan. ;)

Overall, I'd say the cookie cutters were some of my more successful crafts. I still like them, we use them occasionally, and they'll last for friggin' ever.

*I still forget Blaize's definition of Yore.

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Anonymous dorie said...

What a cool idea! I would never think of making a cookie cutter, but I guess someone has to make them in order for them to get made, right? You're so gnome-ish.

Sun Jul 22, 07:01:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Claire said...

That is so cool! I think your kids next bday party should be nome themed...

Sun Jul 22, 11:15:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous gracia said...

A gnome cookie cutter... too marvelous for words.
see you, g

Mon Jul 23, 04:37:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Ali said...

Do you know how dangerous this information is in my hands? I am a cookie cutter junkie and I'm feeling a need to have some custom made numbers. And hubby can solder, so no high price to pay for favours!

Your gnomes are excellent.

Mon Jul 23, 05:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Funky Finds said...

omg! this is so awesome! i want!!!

Mon Jul 23, 06:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger stephanie s said...

so very cool... i am filing this away in my brain - and remembering to do it with a thinner gauge. i have lots of copper cutters designed the same way and my wonder was always how do i turn the edge... never thought of having the metal place do it for me. thanks... i think, my wrists will let you know for sure.

Mon Jul 23, 06:33:00 AM PDT  
Blogger capello said...

how bad is it of me, when i first saw that i thought, she made a cookie cutter of Patrick Star? my kids would LOVE that.

pretty bad, right?

oh, and the fact that i blinked and saw it was a gnome? yeah, LOVE THAT MORE.

Mon Jul 23, 07:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Green Kitchen said...

Thanks and hello everyone.

Capello: I had to look up Patrick Star -- alas, we are cable-less. I can see how you thought that, though. Your note made me think about what other contemporary cookie cutters we could make. How about something Japanese-inspired with big heads and little bodies.

Steph: There's also the other way to make cutters, where you solder the cutter to a flat sheet of backing. That way you don't need a bent over edge.

Mon Jul 23, 08:41:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Project Pink Suitcase said...

So cool!

Mon Jul 23, 09:11:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Nancy said...

i'm crazy about the gnomeyness over here lately! that is a fabulous cookie cutter. though, oh dear, sorry about your wrists!

Mon Jul 23, 10:16:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bunny said...

Great gnome cutter. My dad Made me a music note cutter when I was in highschool. He used a piece of plumbing strap tape (I don't know if that is the correct name for the stuff. But it is the metal with the holes in it you use to hold the pipes up.) I have been wanting to make a few special ones but never thought about folding one edge and solder. My dad did not solder the one he made either.

Mon Jul 23, 12:28:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Natasha said...

That is so awesome and it looks so perfect. I atempted doing that once with a cutter that was messed up and created a really great looking blob. (cookie blobs were in thank-goodness:)

Mon Jul 23, 06:50:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Debby said...

Great story and great out come from the story. I love metal cookie cutters. I will date myself and say I remember Beta....

Mon Jul 23, 07:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Sonya said...

I love it so. We were all about gnomes years ago - do you have the gnome book? Suffer for your craft, you make me laugh. Michelle, I'll be your gnomey and roll with you any day.

Tue Jul 24, 12:57:00 AM PDT  
Blogger futuregirl said...

Unbelievably cool! It's too bad that the little buggers crippled you, but they are quite wonderful. I love diy.

Tue Jul 24, 08:51:00 AM PDT  
Blogger AmberCake said...

Oh, the solder-er who doesn't want payment, "just" a date... reminds me of getting suckered in to doing a "favor." And then the guy didn't want the favor to be so much "work" for me, instead of me doing a little translation favor for the school paper, he did me a "favor" by pretending we would do it in a cafe. Or something. And why don't we just go out, somewhere, that will be more fun than this boring translation work, we can do that later...

Yeah, funny memories.

I do LOVE the gnome. And the reminder to stop, stop, STOP when it's hurting. Though, who knows? Perhaps the wrists would have happened anyway?

Wed Jul 25, 12:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Blaize said...

"Yore" is usually anytime before 1987. Or, basically, whenever. The Olden Days of Yore, however, have a more precise definition: The Olden Tymes before you were 12.

Wed Jul 25, 04:32:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous JoAnna said...

Sooo cool! Have you seen the gnome fabric from crafty planet? Perhaps I saw it here first? Well anyway, Martha Stewart would neverr think up such a cool subject to turn into cookie cutters!

Sun Jul 29, 04:22:00 AM PDT  
Blogger *BB* said...

That is so cool! My wrists are already screwed so this is one I can't try but a great idea anyway!

Sun Jul 29, 09:33:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Di said...

Brilliant! I love that you were so industrious in making them yourself!

Mon Jul 30, 07:16:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Brenda said...

Wow, I never thought about making my own cookie cutters, I am always saying how I wish I could find one in a certain shape.
That is so cool.

Have a fantastic day. :) Bren

Wed Aug 01, 05:13:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Leta said...

Oooooh, these are cool. Want to see Alice in Wonderland!!

Thu Aug 02, 03:53:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Katrin said...

My mom has a custom cookie business, and she often gets requests for specialized shapes. She comes up with the designs, and my dad fabricates the cookie cutters from strips of tin cans. A few years back they made a Minnesota-themed set including the shape of the state, a loon, a moose and Jesse Ventura.

Tue Aug 14, 08:15:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Suzi said...

That's absolutely fabulous! I can see getting carried away making all kinds of specialized cutters to make everybody their own personalized cookies. Fun!htt

Wed Sep 19, 02:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger SewDelish said...

What a great idea. I might just have to give it a go! Thanks.

Wed Jan 23, 08:29:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your gnome looks slightly like a kkk member lol good job though!

Wed Jan 07, 02:20:00 AM PST  
Blogger waka said...

it looks alike a klansmember cookie cutter
kookie kutter klan

Sun Jan 11, 07:48:00 PM PST  
OpenID stonemaven said...

I use AC duct s It isn't as pretty as yours, but it makes for unique cookies. It's thin and perforated, but very easy to bend to shape. I wrapped the cut ends together with tape, but I could have used lead-free solder just as easily. I did "The Gingerbread Cowboy" for my kindergartner last Christmas, and everyone who saw the cookies wanted to know where I got the cutter!

Sat Nov 14, 07:21:00 PM PST  

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