Make your own polymer clay cutters

For my buddies on the City-O-Clay polymer clay listing: Here’s how I made my DIY “cookie” cutters. (These are intended for cutting shapes in polymer clay; no representation of their food safety is made 🙂 )

Materials: Piece of tin roof flashing, about 49 cents at hardware store
Tools: Tin snips, file, pliers (little jewelry pliers are nice for tiny shapes)
Safety: Eyewear and gloves

Feline observer optional.  Long as he doesn’t eat the clay.

Steps

Cut a strip off the flashing. It cuts easily, but care is needed to get a nice straight line. Edges are sharp and can slice up your fingers easily.

File down sharp edges or burrs. Feline observer should be briefly evicted during cutting and filing unless he has eyewear.

Seal or crimp the ends together. I have read that it helps to do this step before bending. Haven’t done it, but I bet glue would work. You’d have to clamp it and let it dry thoroughly before bending, though.

Bend it, shape it, any way you want to. Little jewelry pliers help here. I did a Texas shape because after Nora Jean mentioned it, I really wanted to try it out!

When you are on the Gulf Coast part, you should pause and sing:

The shrimpers and their ladies are out in the beer joints
Drinking ’em down, for they sail with the dawn
They’re bound for the Mexican Bay of Campeche
And the deck hands are singing adios, “Jole Blon”
— “South Coast of Texas,” Guy Clark

For comfort’s sake, I plan to bake a clay handle onto the back of any cutter I use a lot.  That makes one more reason not to use these on food or around kids — sharp edges, glue and other non-food-safe materials.

They are sure helping me in my polymer clay amusements, and if they are useful to others, that is even better.

8 thoughts on “Make your own polymer clay cutters

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  1. Woo Hoo, a Texas cookie cutter. Came out as good as I thought it would. You could make a bunch of them with different color mixes and give them to friends and family. They’ll be a big hit I’ll betcha.
    ATTA GIRL \(*o*)/ You done good!

    1. Thanks, you guys — very kind! A yin and yang is a cool idea; bet that looked great. I love how pure of a white you can get with Fimo, for example — the contrast would be so crisp. (If you used B&W.)

  2. Love your humor from one texas to another! btw, can you use a different metal such as stainless steel or copper and if so, where do you get it?

    1. My Texas sister! Thank you so much! I’m sure you could do it with stainless or copper as long as the metal isn’t very thick. (And a thick cutter wouldn’t cut real cleanly, come to think of it.)

      Let’s see, where could you get it. First thing I’d try is searching Amazon, believe it or not, or prowling through the construction part of your local hardware megastore. I keep spotting pretty tubes and shapes and probably strips of copper in odd places. Though I don’t recall seeing stainless, it might just not be as eye-catching as the copper. I think you might be able to buy some at a craft store like a Michaels or a Hobby Lobby, even.

      The hard thing about buying metal online is that even if the seller specifies the thickness, you can’t actually hold it, and holding the strip lets my fingers make all sorts of wordless evaluations like, is this too thick for my tin snips to cut, or is it so flexible it won’t hold a shape. I think it’s correct to say that two pieces of steel the same thickness could have different hardnesses, depending on how they’re produced (tempered?)

      Copper prices might still be high right now, but this is a small amount we’re talking. You can buy sheets of metals too, but cutting a perfectly straight edge by hand is hard, and you might end up only using the edges of a sheet to make cutters. Pre-cut strips’d be easier. (The cutting edge has to be perfectly level or it won’t cut right when you press it down into the clay.)

      If I can think of a business that would produce strips of thin stainless steel or copper as a by-product of whatever they do (giving old dishwashers a steel veneer to match newer appliances?) I’ll give you a shout. They might give you scraps. Really do prowl all over the hardware store, like hit plumbing and doors and windows too. Could be you’ll find a stainless-steel kickplate meant to protect a door from scuffs is perfect, etc.

      And I’ll keep an eye out too!

      1. wow! awesome info Sue! Thanks so much. My hubby said the metal roofing strips are made from stainless, or galvanized steel. 🙂

      2. Mine’s aluminum, but I checked and he’s right, there is also steel flashing! That raises your odds 🙂 I hope it’s not much harder to cut. When you make something I’d love to see it?

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