Thursday, January 9, 2014

Making your own clay cutters

I don't know if I'm the only one, but every time I have an idea for something, it usually involves spending money on new supplies. So wherever possible, I like to save my pennies and come up with alternatives to expensive shop bought products. It's also good for some instant gratification as quite often, by the time something has arrived, I'm off on a new idea and the new tool sits in it's packet until I get back around to it.

Something I use a lot of is cutters. I have lots of favourite shapes and sizes, but sometimes, I either can't find what I need, or it just isn't available in the size I want. So I make my own.

To start, you need a can of fizzy drink. Drink the contents and wash out the can and leave to dry.

Now for the safety side of things...

*Warning... Cutting cans can leave very sharp edges, I recommend you wear gloves if making cutters using this method!

So with your gloves on! Take a sharp knife and carefully cut around the can, removing the top and the bottom. You should be left with a cylinder of metal. Slice down this with scissors so you have a sheet of metal.

Flatten it out and cut in to strips. I make mine between ½ – 1 inch depending on the size of the cutter. If it's going to be a small cutter, don't make it too deep, as you need to be able to poke your clay out to remove it.

Bend the metal in to the shape you want. To make sharp corners, use a pair of flat pliers to bend the metal to whatever angle you need. Don't pinch corners too tightly, as the metal is quite thin, it will split along the edge and spoil your cutter.

Make sure the bottom edges line up, it doesn't matter too much about the top, and use sticky tape to secure them folding it over the top edge. It's a good idea to put tape around the top rim of the cutter too to give your fingers a bit of protection while you're using them.

Use them as you would your normal cutters. They are a little more flimsy than shop bought, and you might need to smooth your clay back in to shape a little bit before drying/baking, but you should get plenty of use out of them before they need replacing!

Happy cutting!



  1. That is an awesome money saving tip!

  2. Ingenious...These types of tool are so expensive when you need a whole range.

  3. I've used this method to make tiny custom shapes in polymer clay, Caroline. If the cutter is one you would like to make longer lasting, just cut your strip twice as wide and fold in half lengthwise (gently... rather than crease the fold, I slowly roll over it with an acrylic roller). The folded edge become the cutting area, which works nicely if using plastic wrap over the clay to produce a gently rounded cutout. One end of the strip can be tucked inside the other. I've always glued the joins, but I love your idea of using tape, which could be applied all around the cutter for a smoother surface. Awesome tutorial!

    My post showing the bracelet focal I created using micro-cutters:

  4. Excellent idea. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I am going to remember this for one day when I am making things out of metal clay! Thanks Caroline!

  6. Yay - great idea. I'm gonna try this!

  7. I've done this with some thin brass sheet but never thought about pop cans, will give it a go, thank you

  8. I am SO going to do this!
    You are awesome!

  9. NOTE: Great idea but DON"T use this with metal clay (PMC) Aluminum contaminates metal clay. Use copper or brass instead.


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