Friday, 11 March 2016

Tutorial Clay Cutters

Hello there :)

As promised I want to share with you how I make my own cookie cutters for clay.
Especially if you want to buy small cookie cutters which are especially designed for clay, it can get quite expensive. 


metal (from a barbecue tray, cake pan or old cookie cutter)
old scissors
glue or soldering equipment


You'll need some kind of metal for your clay cutters. I tried using old tea lights but I found that the material is really thin and bends too easily. For this project I used an aluminium barbecue tray. You can also try shapable cake pans or something similar, like a soda can (be sure to fold over the metal at the top if it doesn't have a folded edge already, so you don't cut yourself).
The most sturdiest solution would be to cut up old cookie cutters you don't like. This metal is perfect for keeping its shape but on the other hand hard to bend and to glue together.
So maybe start with softer metal and for the cutters you use the most, create a sturdier one.

Tutorial Clay Cutters

This is my barbecue tray. For this project you will need to cut off the border. You can do this with an X-acto knife or old scissors. Don't use your best cutting equipment for this, it will get dull.

Cut a piece from the border first and then cut the sharp side straight if it's wonky. You can use a ruler for this. This will be the cutting part and the folded part at the top is where you hold it.
You can measure everything out if you want to and even create a template so you know how much material you need.

For a leaf cutter you'll need to measure twice the length of the size of leaf you want plus about 50 mm.

Fold your strip of metal in half, leave a bit of excess to glue it later. Flatten the folded edge down with your fingers or using pliers. Then fold over the leftover part on top to glue it later.

Now take your piece and using a knife or anything else that's thin, push it into the 'pocket' you have created. Carefully wiggle  it, so that it opens up in the middle. Bend it like a leaf with your fingers or by pushing in larger tools to shape it. The shape doesn't have to be perfect on top, only the bottom needs to be straight for cutting.
Now bend up the folded over piece a bit so that you can add glue and then bend it back and press together. Add a paper clip or some sort of clasp to help it stick together while drying. You can also solder it if you have the supplies for it.

Tutorial Clay Cutters

For a square you need to make sure that all the sides are the same size. It's best to measure that out with a ruler. For a square of 3cm, measure four times 3cm on your metal strip and a smaller section for gluing it together.

Then fold into a square, glue together and add paper clips or something else to hold it.

This is what it should look like after the glue has dried.

The same procedure applies for a triangular shape, you'll only need to divide it into three parts.

Here you can also see the folded over edge much better. (It's hard to take photos of the shiny metal :D)

Of course you can also make asymmetric shapes like this. If you have a template you can place your strip of metal on it, curve it as you need to and make a bend with your fingers or pliers where you need to.

Glue it together again. 
Here also a picture with the paper clips.

Those are the cutters I've created above:
Tutorial Clay Cutters
And this is my leave cutter made from an old cookie cutter. It's of course much more precise and doesn't bend out of shape as easily:
Tutorial Clay Cutters
Before you go running to make circle cutters yourself, let me tell you, that there is a wide range of things you can use which are circular. For example I use caps of spray bottles, straws, empty refills (if you want to make a hole and don't need the cut-out) and all kinds of stuff. I saw people use those cable clamps, so-called bootlace ferrules. Here a blog post in French about them. So if you know an electrician, he might give you one of each size. However, if you want to buy them, you'll always need to buy big packs of them... Which can be expensive, especially because you basically only need one of each size... Might be the same price as if you buy kemper cutters, depending on where you live. So what to do? Share a pack with all your clay friends? Sure. But if you're the only one of your friends with a quirk for clay...
That's why I came up with another idea :)
Check out my next tutorial for this.

So what do you think? Does this help you with your clay projects? If you have any questions, let me know.

See you soon