Sunday, December 23, 2012

DIY Cookie Cutters (Labbit Butt Edition)


For the final Christmas Cookie, the labbits went with the classic Iced Sugar Cookie. Sugar cookies are easy to make, and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry. You probably even have the ingredients to make your own icing, but you'll need to pick up some food coloring (available in the baking aisle at your local grocery store), or you can simply buy cookie icing, which comes in tubes. The labbits have posted the recipe for the cookies here, but first, they bring you a DIY guide to making your own cookie cutters. The labbits searched the stores in vain for a rabbit shaped cookie cutter, but those are probably not around until Easter, or they just didn't look labbity enough. Also, none of the rabbit shaped cookie cutters showcased the charming rear ends of the labbits. So, they decided to make their own.

You can always improvise in a kitchen and look for shapes to cut out cookies: Jar lids, cutting around templates, or hand trimming cookie dough works well in a pinch, but if you want lots of the same shaped cookie, and a permanent cookie cutter that lasts through a dishwasher, you'll want to make something more substantial. Here's what Ted did to make the labbit butt (labbutt?) cookie above.

DIY Labbit Cookie Cutter
You'll need:
  • Template of the shape you want your cookie cutter
  • Scrap corrugated cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Roll of aluminum flashing, available at your local hardware store. Note from cakecentral.com: (the heavier the gauge the stronger your cutter will be and the harder it will be to bend) WARNING: Be sure to ask the hardware store if the aluminum is safe for food contact. Some kinds are not safe because they are chemically treated.
  • Piece of string
  • Straightedge/ruler
  • Marker
  • Gloves (a pair for cutting the metal, a nitrile/thin rubber gloves for the gluing)
  • Newspapers, craft paper, cardboard, to protect your work surface
  • Tin snips
  • Knife or sharp edge to score flashing
  • Fine grit sandpaper, sanding block (Ted used a piece of 2"x4"), rags (old sock)
  • Needle nose pliers, snub nose pliers
  • Small clips or rubber bands
  • JB Weld Cold Weld or some other strong adhesive. JB Weld is food safe and will last through a dishwasher.
Method:
1. Sketch out the shape of your cookie cutter. When you've got the shape you like, cut it out so you have a template.



2. Trace about 5 or 6 of these shapes on a piece of corrugated cardboard.


3. Cut out your shapes and stack them. You'll need to stack these as high as you want your cookie cutter to be deep.

 

4. Glue each shape to the next to create your mold. Press together and allow glue to dry.



5. Take a piece of string or twine (something not stretchy) and measure the length around the mold, following any curves and bends in the pattern.  Add a half inch to the length, and cut the string. Use the string to measure and mark the length of aluminum flashing you'll need to cut.


6. Using a straightedge, mark off the length and width of your cookie cutter. If you want to crimp over the edge of the cut side, make another marking about 1/4" along the length.


7. Now we're ready to cut the flashing. If you haven't already, you should line your work area with some newspapers, craft paper, or a piece of cardboard. You'll also want to put on a pair of gloves. Cutting the aluminum flashing may create small shards of metal, and they can be sharp. Don't cut your paws, put on some gloves. Now get your tin snips and cut along the outside lines of your cookie cutter.


8. Now you've got a sharp, rough edge, with bits of metal. Prepare a sanding block by wrapping a rag or an old sock around a piece of 2"x4" or anything on hand that's block shaped (deck of cards secured with an elastic, a tin of spices, etc.,). Wrap your sanding block in fine grit sandpaper (Ted used 150 grit). Gently sand the edges until smooth, then wash with a little soap and water to remove any dust and fine metal bits.

Sharp. Ouch!
Smooth, ahhhh!

9. Folding over an edge gives your cookie cutter a bit more rigidity and helps it keep its shape. If you use a heavier gauge of flashing and you sanded the cut edge very smooth, you may not need this step. To fold the edge, start by lightly scoring along the inner marking with a sharp blade. With snub nosed pliers, bend the edge towards the score, then fold over and gently crimp the edge.


10. Now for the fun part! Take your strip of flashing and bend it around your mold. Use pliers to help with sharp turns, or different sizes of dowels to bend around curves.


11. Put on a pair of thin latex or nitrile gloves for working with the epoxy. Mix together the JB Weld Cold Weld epoxy according to the package directions. Spread a thin layer on the two ends and press together. With clips or a series of rubber bands, clamp together the ends and allow to cure overnight. Ted used a bunch of rubber bands around the mold to help the cookie cutter retain its shape. Depending on the shape you've made, you can skip the reinforcing and just clamp the ends together for the epoxy bonding.


12. After the epoxy has cured, remove clamps and rubber bands. Use pliers and refine your shape. Wash with some soap and hot water and TA-DAH! You have your own cookie cutter! Now go make some cookies!!


3 comments:

  1. I *SO* want to make this but I fear my clumsiness will make me lose a few fingers and a thumb in the process.

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    Replies
    1. Well, that's why Ted recommends wearing gloves. You can do it! The labbits are all paws, if they can do it, so can you.

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