Free 3D Printable Cookie Cutter
Cookie Cutters are like opinions there are popular ones, but sometimes you want to have a particular one. So, take a picture and turn it into custom cookie cutter. But have reasonable expectations. After you bake a cookie shaped like Samuel L. Jackson and another shaped like Sir Patrick Stewart, they are going to be hard to tell apart.
This article covers:
- What You Need
- I am not a Master Baker
- A Word on Cookie Cutters, Their Use and Food Safety
- It’s all Black and White
- Remember Cookies Don’t Just Crumble, They Spread
- And Now for COOKIECAD
- Sign Up or Sign In
- But Wait, There’s More
- Print or Purchase
- And the Results Are
- The Print
- The Cookies
- The Clay
- Cut and Run
What You Need
A picture you want to turn into a cookie cutter.
A way to access the Internet (which you must have if you are reading this)
I am not a Master Baker
My expertise is in computers and 3D printing. I am not a Master Baker and you will never see me on a cooking show unless it is cooking Ramen in the Microwave. Scratch that, I am sure there are people more creative about that than me. As you will find out, I can walk you though making the Cookie Cutter, but, well, the cookie suffered at my hands.
A Word on Cookie Cutters, Their Use and Food Safety
This post has Cookie Cutter in the title, but you are not limited to cutting cookies with these cutters. I grabbed some Crayola Model Magic I had lying around, and it worked great with that. If you have an aspiring artist that is into Castles or Cars or Dinosaurs or whatever, these are great tools.
If you are cutting cookie dough, be sure to follow the instructions if you buy premade dough (like in a tube). I did not and found out that adding flour was important if you don’t want the dough to stick to the cutter and make a huge mess.
Finally, there is the question of food safety. I am not an expert on food safety and do not claim to be. From what I have read PLA (Polylactic Acid), a common 3D printing material, is food safe for limited contact like cutting cookie dough. Additionally, it has been suggested that using “natural” filament (filament without and pigments or additional additives) is best, so for my cookie dough examples that is what I have done. PLA will melt, or at least deform in very hot water, so hand washing is recommended. Day to day non-food use, like cutting clay, is fine.
It’s all Black and White
To start we need a black and white image of the shape we want to make into a cookie cutter. The image does not have to be in black and white, but I found that color images can confuse the app that turns the image into a 3D shape.
As usual, I turned to Creative Fabrica for my inspiration. I searched for “Rubber Duck” and found the Rubber Duck Monogram set from SVGStoreShop. The ducks are in color, but I took the PNG versions of the files into a program like Inkscape (free) or PhotoShop (not free) and easily converted it to a black and white image.
Remember Cookies Don’t Just Crumble, They Spread
This design is pushing the limits of cookie dough. When a cookie bakes it spreads. This means fine details tend to blob together. The cowlick on the duck and its tail feathers have a very good chance of flowing together. But again, if this being used to cut clay, then the details will hold up.
I merged the beak into the body but made the eye and the wings white. This will not make them cut outs in the settings we will use, but instead will become raised areas.
And Now for COOKIECAD
Yes, you read that right there is a program specifically for creating cookie cutters for 3D printing. Go to https://app.cookiecad.com/.
Drag your black and white image onto the web page and give it a little bit of time (it never took very long for me, seconds, not minutes).
By default, the app creates an outline cookie cutter as shown below:
This view is from the bottom looking up (as if you were the dough about to be cut). The thick edge farthest back is the so you can press down on the cutter. You can adjust the size of the cutter and save it in several different sizes. Perhaps you want a momma duck and some ducklings?
Sign Up or Sign In
When you click on “DOWNLOAD STL” to say your free file, you will be asked to sign in or sign up. There is no fee and if you have a Facebook or Google login, you can use them. But if not, you can create a login with just this site.
But Wait, There’s More
An outline cutter is what most of us think of as a cookie cutter, but you can get a bit more complex. Scroll down to the Advanced section of the page until you get to the section called “Imprint / Stamp”. Flip the switch on to create a three-dimensional cookie cutter.
The COOKIECAD program automagically recreates the cutter using the internal white areas to create cutout areas and create raised areas for the rest of the interior space. Depending how thick you want your cookies to be you can adjust the height of the outline. The bigger the number, the thicker the cookie can be. But remember, a thick cookie has a good chance of becoming a blob in the oven. If you are cutting things you will not be cooking (like melon slices for a fruit plate) then a tall blade might be perfect.
Print or Purchase
At this point in other posts I would tell you to fire up Cura, the program that will turn the STL files you just downloaded into something a 3D printer can print. And if you have a 3D printer, go forth with my best wishes and a reminder to choose your filament wisely. But if you do not have a 3D printer, there is another option. If you go to http://www.cookiecad.com you can use the same black and white image to create your cutter (yes, I know this means you have to do it over again, sorry) and you will have an option to pay to have the cutter printed and sent to you.
And the Results Are
So, the saying is “the proof of the pudding is the eating”, or in this case, the printing, the cutting and the baking. So here are some pictures of my real-life experience with the STL files that this web site creates.
In Cura they are nice and sharp. They are also yellow, which is just the default color. For the actual prints I used a natural-colored PLA as discussed at the beginning. Unfortunately, this makes it a little hard to see the detail.
First off, the 3D cutter did not work for me because I did not have flour on hand and all the dough got stuck in the cutter. That is not a flaw of the cutter, but a lack of preparation on my part. Another problem is that I was WAY to ambitious with the design I chose. The cowlick and the tail feathers are too fine of details for the cookie dough I had.
The top cookie has a sharp bottom because I cut it away from a sibling that flowed into it. The second duck was an only child done later when my dough was even warmer and less willing to hold a shape. Neither duck held on to its feathers, but I think they RESEMBLE ducks at least.
For this test I used Crayola Model Magic which air dies, so you don’t have to bake it. For those that are into baked polymer clay (i.e., Sculpey) a cutter like this would work in the same way. Based on the experience with the cookie dough I created another, simpler, cutter. Since I only planned to use this for clay, I printed it with a transparent yellow PLA filament. In this picture you can clearly see the lip around the cutter that allows you press firmly without cutting a duck into your palm.
With clay, the detail holds up, but you need to be careful when removing the cutter or the detail will get hung up in the cutter. Much like with the cookie dough, the clay got stuck in the 3D mold. I don’t know what will fix that. In the case of cookie dough, flour may help. With clay, maybe some sort of release like WD-40 or Vaseline.
Cut and Run
There you have it, all you need to go wild with uniquely shaped cookies and other objects. I can think of many things you might want to cut with these such as fondant, fruit slices, brownies (after baking), sandwiches, polymer clay, and homemade play dough. I am really curious to hear what you do make and what your experiences are. Leave comments below and have fun!