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how to build a cookie cutter collection


I recently posted my shopping list of cookie decorating supplies along with some tips on where to find these items (see that post HERE). A reader, Alexa, asked a fabulous question I think deserves a whole post:

what are the basic cookies cutters that every cookie enthusiast should have?

I spent much time researching cookie cutters for my book(I have a whole chapter covering the invention and evolution of cookie cutters through history), so I love this question.copper or other metal?

When building your cookie cutter collection, you can choose copper or other metals (usually tin or aluminum or stainless steel). Each have pros and cons. (Also note, there is a world of colorful plastic cutters out there. Their omission here is not meant to overlook their place in the world, but capturing their history will take at least one whole other post!)

copper cutters…

…tend to be large (5 to 8-inches)
…are gorgeous, sturdy and wonderful investments
…are expensive ($8-$15 each)

other metal cutters…
…tend to be small (2 to 6-inches)
…can be flimsy and prone to rust
…are very affordable ($1-$5 each)

So when determining if you should buy copper or other metal, think about how often and for how long you will be using the cutter? How much are you willing to spend? Do you want a large cookie (sometimes harder to decorate) or a small cookie (a better size for party favors)? I own hundreds more metal cutters than copper, even though I love copper cutters, because I like a smaller cutter and because of affordability. However, at the store where I worked for a decade, we had hundreds of copper cutters, because we had planned on using them for many, many years.

basic shapes to own?
While you of course need to cater this list to your own need, here is what I personally believe the best way to build a collection, in order:

1. basic shapes, both cookie and fondant cutters. Purchase either individually or in sets. Sets usually have several cutters, ranging in sizes from 1 inch to 5 or 6 inches. Shapes include: circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, stars or hearts. In a pinch, you can decorate any design on a basic shape if you don’t have the cutter. Fondant cutters are basic shapes, but smaller (1/2 inch to 2 inches). These are great for bite-size cookies and fondant decor.


2. flowers. Flower cookies work for tons of occasions.

3. holiday. Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Valentine’s….you’ll use these year after year. If you aren’t a holiday-cookie-person, skip to number 4.

4. basic celebrations. (birthday shapes, baby and wedding shapes, for example)
5. unique shapes. Lastly, build your collection with unique shapes as you need them. Hosting a cocktail party? Add a martini to the mix. Spa day with a friend? Add a dress and shoe cutter. Almost any cutter you can imagine, from aliens to zebras, likely exists.

where do I buy them?
You can find almost any shape imaginable out there. There are a katrillion great shops offering great cutters. Here are a few of my favorite sources (and if anyone out there has more suggestions for our readers, especially for my non-US based readers, please feel free to add!):


how to clean and store cutters
?

And a quick addition based on the great comment below:

  • Always clean your cutters thoroughly after you use them. Wipe with a damp cloth or, if needed, wash in soapy water. And make sure to allow your cutters to totally dry!!! You can even put the cutters on a clean baking tray and stick in the warm oven after you’ve removed your last batch and turned off the oven.
  • You can polish copper cutters with copper polish, like Penny Brite
  • I store my cutters by simply tossing them in plastic storage containers (about 15 x 20 inches, or 30 quarts), like these, found at the container store or target or such stores. I label the boxes accordingly (“shapes,” “party,” “Christmas”, etc.). It’s probably best to use water and air tight containers, but I just use whatever storage boxes are on sale.

more cookie cutter info

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19 Comments

  1. Kristi
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a great post on cutters! Can you add suggestions for how best to store them?

  2. cookies and cups
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    great post, this will be an invaluable list for people starting out!!

  3. Kim @ Frostmeblog.blogspot.com
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    You are so good to us! Thanks for sharing all the tips!

    Kim @ http://frostmeblog.blogspot.com

  4. Sue Sparks
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Yep, I'm a sucker for cookbooks and cookie cutters! I love coppergifts.com too! Informative post!

  5. Brisbane Baker
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Wow this is great..

    I know what to add to my wish list now :D

  6. Susan
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    There is even a national club for collectors of cookie cutters. Annual membership includes an annual custom cutter and a quarterly newsletter. The club has biennial conventions and the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum within the Joplin Museum Complex in Joplin, Missouri. For more information on membership in the club please see http://www.cookiecuttercollectorsclub.com/

    There are many wonderful cookie cutter designs in plastic as well; these often include characters from children's books. Some even imprint inner lines on the cookies.

  7. Chic Cookies
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks all! I totally forgot about the club, Susan, I had come across that in my book research. Thanks for sharing! And you're so right. The plastic cutters can have twenty posts just for themselves….they have a solid place in history (and in my book), especially as they tend to be relics of pop culture (of current characters, like the Blondie comic strip folks).

  8. Pink Martini
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    I store and labels mine exactly as you do! Like minds! :) The Container Store shoe boxes are the best, ever.

  9. Kathleen
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I love this post! Thanks for all your great info. I adore cookie cutters! I think they are adorable,

  10. lcbannon
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I have collected cutters for years *used to own a bakery) I store mine in a Clean Large Popcorn Tins- The ones you get at Christmas with the 3 flavors. Works great and easy to find.

    Great post on cutters.

  11. Chic Cookies
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    ooooh, popcorn tins are a great idea. My mom used to order those ALL the time from the popcorn factory. Looks like I better start ordering some…

  12. ariel the lermaid
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    what is the bottom most cutter on the 1st picture? i can't figure it out.

  13. Chic Cookies
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    eyeglasses. I debated including that one bc I figured it'd be a tough one to recognize, but it made for such a sturdy base!

  14. Gabby
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Great post!

  15. Cookie Cutters
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    Love the post – great walk thru of the cookie cutter world but you forgot us! :) Check our Cheap Cookie Cutters for our big selection of hard to find cookie cutters!

  16. Nicki Mc
    Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    OMG I'm not the only one. LOL I LOVE collecting cookie cutters. I'm the neighborhood go to person for that odd cutter. :)

  17. canvas prints
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    What a great post, this is very hand and I think I still need to get a few of the most common cutters.

  18. Diane
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    http://kitchengifts.com/ (Kitchen Collectables) has some good copper cutters and they have free Shipping when you buy 3 or more cookie cutters

  19. Laura
    Posted May 30, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    cheapcookiecutters.com is fab for us ‘Internationals’, free shipping when you spend over $29.95!

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