Aluminum For Making Cookie Cutters ~ Food Safe?

Baking By kellertur Updated 7 Oct 2008 , 11:27pm by TracyLH

kellertur Posted 1 Oct 2008 , 10:52pm
post #1 of 23

I read the tutorial on making own cookie cutters. So I went to Home Depot, thinking they'd know "something" about the metal... yeah right. They said NO aluminum Flashing was ever food safe. I didn't get the galvanized, because I know that's treated with chemicals. ( I do realize CC would not post an article that would harm someone. )

Anyway, I purchased some Aluminum flashing and now am left worrying am I going to make someone sick? I know there is an oil coating...

Can someone tell me exactly the type to get...because at Home Depot, much like Walmart, everyone's tagline seems to be:
"sorry... that's not my department."

thanks

22 replies
TracyLH Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 2:03am
post #2 of 23

Unfortunately, the aluminum flashing from Home Depot that the tutorial author purchased is no longer made the same way as when she bought it. It is no longer made with food safe oil, as hers had been back when she bought it. I found this out when I called the manufacturers of the alum. flashing at Home Depot and got the same answer each time - the way they make it now is not at all food safe.

The only type of metal to use would be one that is designated 'food safe' by the manufacturer, but, honestly, I am not sure any aluminum flashing is made that way anymore. Not to discount anyone at Home Depot or Lowe's, etc., when dealing with food safety you have to talk to the manufacturer directly.

Oh a 'happier' note, bakinccc goes to Hobby Lobby and buys large circle and heart shaped cookie cutters and reshapes them. I don't have a Hobby Lobby here and the cutters at Michael's are too small, so I am in the process of trying to find a supplier who will cut designated food safe metal into 1" to 1 1/2" strips. Right now, I am looking at stainless steel as it won't rust and holds its shape very well, but am working on trying to take that sharp edge off as it is too thick to bend over. I'll post the info on where/how to order once I get it figured out, which should be shortly.

Another option is to purchase the cookie cutter making kit from www.foosecutters.com. I am just trying to find a bit cheaper alternative.

If you do have a Hobby Lobby, give bakinccc's idea a try! I have recycled plenty of old, unused cutters this way, bonding them with JP Cold Weld. This is the same food safe 'glue' that KHalstead, the tutorial author, mentioned. I just scrape off any that peeks out from under the seamed edges. Just because that is me!

So, sorry to be the bearer of bad news icon_cry.gif , but if you got the same alum. flashing I got at Home Depot (and I am guessing you did), you really can't use it. I did go up and down the aisles and struck out left and right when I called the manufacturer of anything that seemed it might work, so tthat is why I am researching metal myself. Hope this helps and again, sorry for the bad news!

Mike1394 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 2:27am
post #3 of 23

HUH. Aluminum is aluminum. Even different grades are still aluminum. Your right if it's coated it isn't food safe. Just make sure you wash it real good with a solvent like an acetone. Acetone won't leave an oily residue. The you can wash it regularly.

Mike

TracyLH Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 2:55am
post #4 of 23

Goodness, I feel like Chicken Little! icon_redface.gif "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" I did ask the manufacturer if I washed it many, many, many times if I could get the non-food safe oils off and he said I couldn't. He said it had to do with what they used in the processing, but if Mike has the magic solution, that is really great!

Mike1394 Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 3:05am
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracyLH

Goodness, I feel like Chicken Little! icon_redface.gif "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" I did ask the manufacturer if I washed it many, many, many times if I could get the non-food safe oils off and he said I couldn't. He said it had to do with what they used in the processing, but if Mike has the magic solution, that is really great!




You have hot rolled, cold rolled, and casted aluminum. I don't have a magic solution, but aluminum is aluminum. How it was processed doesn't matter. Now as long as we aren't talking galvinized.

Mike

TracyLH Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 3:07am
post #6 of 23

Thanks for the info, Mike! Much appreciated!

kellertur Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 3:18am
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

HUH. Aluminum is aluminum. Even different grades are still aluminum. Your right if it's coated it isn't food safe. Just make sure you wash it real good with a solvent like an acetone. Acetone won't leave an oily residue. The you can wash it regularly.

Mike




thanks everyone~ I just want to make REAL sure I'm not going to hurt anyone. The worker said, after much prodding, that I could "burn" off the oil. I feel stupid because here I am a welder asking about aluminum icon_confused.gif
Definitely NOT galvanized... that much I do know. Steel I can handle, but they don't carry thin sheets around here... I asked.
I think I'll try the acetone. Mike, have you made your own cutters this way? The type I bought had the orange band (they said they were color coded?) I took a blow torch to my cutters today... not sure what that did in terms of cleaning.???

For the record, I wasn't implying that HD employees are thoughtless, etc... but I get the same response from both Walmart and HD everytime I have a question. "Not my department."

Thanks for being so helpful ~ I'm not the most patient of people... icon_rolleyes.gif

TracyLH Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 3:26am
post #8 of 23

I never got that impression from you about the HD employees. I did find I got a run around with a couple of the companies I called to check if their product was safe. (I think I went up and down just about every aisle.) I am guessing it was a liability issue in stating something could be used for food when it wasn't specifically sanctioned as such. Kind of a "I'm not putting my neck on the line!" sort-of-thing.

SweetDreamsAT Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 4:37am
post #9 of 23

Tracy - I was going to PM you back about your cookie cutter question, but I might as well put it here for everyone else too. What's funny is that I originally bought the kit from foosecutters, and when that ran out I went to Home Depot to find some aluminum strips. Obviously, I had the same experience as you all did, and they all thought I was crazy icon_smile.gif So, I decided to go to a local metal shop - where they do welding, etc. The kid in the shop also thought I was crazy, but was happy to cut me some strips of copper with the top edge folded down (copper sheeting comes in different thicknesses, and sorry, I don't know the exact thickness I get) I shape my cutter according to my drawing, then I solder it using food safe pure silver solder. If you haven't used a soldering torch before, it takes a little to get over the intimidation factor, but I promise its super easy and so quick, you wouldn't believe it (there are also other steps involved with soldering - so would recommend getting instructions first). They charge me about $2 for each 20" strip which I get 1 cookie cutter out of. Pretty good deal! Next time I'll take them cookies, and maybe they'll give me an even better deal! icon_smile.gif One important thing - since you need to use flux on the metal to solder it and flux is not food safe, any of it that doesn't burn off needs to be cleaned off with a solvent (I use "goof off") then wash the cutter really well with soap and water.
Whew - sorry so long.

TracyLH Posted 2 Oct 2008 , 11:33am
post #10 of 23

SweetDreamsAT - Thanks so much!!! This will steer me in the right direction! I have called over a dozen metal places around here, asking about aluminum and stainless, but nobody had anything food safe of the right thickness. I will call again, asking specifically for copper. I love that they can bend the tops as my stainless idea is too sharp and won't dull enough. Thanks again for posting! icon_biggrin.gif

bakinccc Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:28pm
post #11 of 23

I don't mean to restate the obvious here, but if you'all are going to the trouble to find a food safe metal and find someone that can turn down the top edge to mimic a store-bought cookie cutter, why don't you just buy the large ones at Hobby Lobby to redo? They're so much cheaper than all the running around to get your metal here and the "fabricating" of it done there. If you don't have a Hobby Lobby near you maybe you could order them. I really wish everyone had access to the HL stores.

The reason I suggest this (thanks TracyLH for also mentioning it in your first message) is that I've been through all of this too and found all the same frustrations you're running into.

Seriously, if you have a HL store near you it's worth a try, at least IMHO. Good luck to you all!

kellertur Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 6:25pm
post #12 of 23

I have no intention of turning down the edges (what do you mean?). Mine do the trick, are filed for sharp edges, and that's about it... not fancy at all.

Well, I'm stubborn and live in Maine with very little chance finding what I need in terms of decorating... icon_rolleyes.gif I wish we had a Hobby Lobby (whatever that is). Does anyone remember Grossman's or HQ, because I am so nostalgic for those hardware stores too.... icon_sad.gif
I do order online from Amazon (no shipping on most orders over 25.00) but don't like to pay TONS of shipping costs.

I appreciate the info ~ I just wish there was more around here for decorating. We have a fairly decent art supply store about a mile away, but very little of what I'd like for decorating.

~take care all. icon_smile.gif

bakinccc Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:18pm
post #13 of 23

I tried cutting strips of flashing and turning the top edge over to mimic a "real" cookie cutter (it makes the top edge not so sharp on your hand) but the metal apparently didn't bend very well and separated where I bent it. I was so frustrated with the whole "making my own cutter" process and didn't want to spend the money on the cookie cutter kits because they sounded expensive too. That's why I do the HL thing. I'm going to search the net and see if I can order from HL online or maybe another source. I'll let you know what I find.

TracyLH Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 8:58pm
post #14 of 23

bakinccc - Alas, no Hobby Lobby here! The ones at Michael's and A.C. Moore are too smal. icon_cry.gif Maybe I will be luckier when we move next. I really appreciate you checking to see if it can be ordered online!!!

K2cakes - I have made a couple with stainless 24 (?) guage and, although there was no blood per say, it did really hurt my hand to push down on the cutter. I resorted to putting an oven mitt on my hand that I use to push down. I did file, but didn't have the greatest luck as it still is a very narrow edge and I had the same issue.

MaisieBake Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 9:20pm
post #15 of 23

How about dipping in that rubbery/plasticy/vinyly stuff you use to coat tool handles?

kimsmom Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 9:29pm
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracyLH

bakinccc - Alas, no Hobby Lobby here! The ones at Michael's and A.C. Moore are too smal. icon_cry.gif Maybe I will be luckier when we move next. I really appreciate you checking to see if it can be ordered online!!!

K2cakes - I have made a couple with stainless 24 (?) guage and, although there was no blood per say, it did really hurt my hand to push down on the cutter. I resorted to putting an oven mitt on my hand that I use to push down. I did file, but didn't have the greatest luck as it still is a very narrow edge and I had the same issue.


I use a plastic bowl scraper to push down on my sharp home-made cookie cutters. It's sturdy and I can push down evenly.

kimsmom Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 10:34pm
post #17 of 23

bakincc how large are the heart cutters from Hobby Lobby?

TracyLH Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 11:02am
post #18 of 23

Maisiebake - That may well be something to look into. I thought of that when I last used one of my big Wilton cutters, so I will need to check the whole how-to/food safety issue, but Wilton does do it!

Kimsmom - good idea with the bowl scraper! Better than taking my mitt on and off!

shanzah67 Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 10:09pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracyLH

Goodness, I feel like Chicken Little! icon_redface.gif "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" I did ask the manufacturer if I washed it many, many, many times if I could get the non-food safe oils off and he said I couldn't. He said it had to do with what they used in the processing, but if Mike has the magic solution, that is really great!





Me too! Guess I better go get some of the big cutters from Hobby Lobby....and toss the aluminum siding icon_eek.gif

bakinccc Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:19pm
post #20 of 23

Sorry it's taken so long to get back about ordering from Hobby Lobby, but I found out HL has an affiliate on their website called Crafts, Etc. that you can order through. The heart cutters I get in the stores are the 5" ones...on the Crafts, Etc store online they're 99 cents each. A little more, yes, but they have free shipping on orders of $25 or more. They're on sale right now (I think) for 75 cents each so you can get about 33 large cutters for the $25. Not a bad price. I think any cutter for less than a buck is a great price. I hope this info helps.

Oh, on a side note, while I was doing the metal research thing also I came across and kept a recipe in a recent Southern Living magazine for homemade ice cream..............and what do you think they served it in?????.........little galvanized metal buckets!!!! Go figure.

TracyLH Posted 6 Oct 2008 , 10:33pm
post #21 of 23

Bakinccc - Thanks SO much for taking the time to do this! That was very thoughtful! Galvanized buckets??? Okay, I may be extra cautious, but galvanized buckets? Eek!

shanzah67 Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 11:25pm
post #22 of 23

Well, I did it. I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday afternoon and bought 10 of the big 'heart' cutters and 5 of the big 'gift box' cutters. I'm set now thumbs_up.gif

TracyLH Posted 7 Oct 2008 , 11:27pm
post #23 of 23

Cool! thumbs_up.gif Once you take apart the heart and straigthen it out, how many inches of metal do you get?

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