Don’t let your cookie cutters collect dust outside of the holiday season. Here are 21 fun ways to repurpose cookie cutters any time of the year.
We’ve made our fair share of icing-coated sugar cookies for the holidays in years past. But despite our best intentions (and maybe in favor of our health), we neglect to eat most of these cookies. My boys don’t love sugar cookies. I’ll take one or two but certainly don’t need a whole batch to myself. We could give them away, but it’s the season of sugar for everyone else too.
As I got to thinking about what to do with our family on Christmas day, a day when we always end up at home with no commitments and plenty of time to relax, it occurred to me that those cookie cutters are good for a whole lot more than cookies. So I got to thinking (and searching) to find some compelling ways to make use of cookie cutters other than by making sugar cookies.
Don’t go buy new cookie cutters
If you don’t have a collection of fun-shaped cookie cutters for this project, don’t despair. Cookie cutters are one of those things that I think far too many of us have stashed in closets and drawers, nooks and crannies, for those perfect seasonal activities. But they just collect dust much of the rest of the year.
I gave away a lot of our cookie cutters a few years ago because I wasn’t using them. This year, when I decided to try a couple of these projects that repurpose cookie cutters, I didn’t have that handy stash on hand anymore. So I turned to none other than my trusty Buy Nothing group. I put out a request to borrow a set of metal cookie cutters and had two offers in just a few hours. How nice, right?
Repurpose cookie cutters for something other than sugar cookies
Whether you’ve got your own or want to borrow from a neighbor, family member, or friend, consider some of these great alternative uses for cookie cutters that are just as fun (maybe more fun), and help make the most of resources we already have.
Edible Alternative Uses For Cookie Cutters
Even if it’s not royally iced sugar cookies you’re after, those cookie cutters come in handy for making food a little more exciting. Isn’t it crazy how the shape of what we eat (especially for the kiddos) can make all the difference? Here are eight unique ways to use cookie cutters in the kitchen other than for classic sugar cookies.
Fried Egg Shapes
If you have metal cookie cutters that won’t melt on a hot pan, set the cookie cutter on the pan and drop a raw egg inside of it. Let it cook up while inside the cookie cutter, and you’ll get a fun-shaped friend egg that’s festive, delicious, and nutritious.
Breakfast is on the brain. Drop your pancake batter inside a metal cookie cutter on your pan and let the batter cook inside the shape (just like those eggs). If you only have plastic cookie cutters, you could cut out the fun shapes after the pancakes are cooked. Just be sure not to waste the extra pancake outside of the shapes – food waste is no fun! You can eat it yourself or toss it on a plate for later.
Use smaller cookie cutters to cut stars, circles, and all sorts of fun shapes from melon, honeydew, watermelon, and even bananas. Skewer them up for a fancy and colorful look. And again, be sure not to waste the excess fruit outside the cookie-cutter shapes. You can eat it or toss it in the freezer for smoothies at a later date.
Fudge might be my kryptonite. I rarely make it (mostly I just buy it at cute confectioner’s shops). Whether homemade or store-bought, amp up the style by using your cookie cutters to turn your fudge into special shapes for any occasion.
Cocktail garnish made of fruit
Whip up some fun drinks and then add a splash of color to the rim with a few pieces of fun-shaped, skewered fruit. Don’t waste the excess! And did you know you can compost toothpicks so long as they don’t have any plastic attached to them?
Mini Cake Cutter
Turn a regular old cake into adorable individual, festive cakes by cutting shapes from a sheet cake, laying them up, and serving individually. You use any extra cake for cake pops, which are always a bit hit!
Frozen whipped cream shapes
The holidays are a perfect time to whip up a batch of hot chocolate (my boys are always asking!). Top it off with a holiday-inspired dollop of frozen whipped cream. Simply set the cookie cutters on a cookie sheet, add the whipped cream inside each shape, and put them in the freezer until frozen. Not only is a unique way to create a festive spirit, but it’s also a great way to cool down your hot chocolate just a tad if it’s too hot for little mouths.
Mini holiday pizzas
Do you ever make homemade pizza? Sometimes we even make pizza from naan bread. No matter how you create your carb layer, cut out fun shapes with cookies and then layer them with your favorite pizza toppings. Everyone can make their holiday pizzas in the shapes of snowmen, stockings, snowflakes, and so much more.
Creative DIY Alternative Uses for Cookie Cutters
Not hungry for a snack, you say, but hungry to put your creative hands to good use? I’ve got you covered. Try one of these thirteen alternative uses for cookie cutters outside the kitchen. Let’s get crafty!
Gift wrap accessories
As you’re wrapping gifts this year, consider using some of those extra cookie cutters as gift wrap accessories. I’ve seen some fun ideas of ways to incorporate them on top of the package using twine. And best of all, you can reuse them year after year.
I’m not the first person to suggest this. I suspect a young child came up with this idea first. But let your kids make a simple DIY playdough recipe (or just use what you have on hand) and make their own magic with all the cookie cutters. See where their imagination takes them.
DIY gel cling shapers
Did you know that you can make gel clings for windows with a bit of glue? If you want something fun, consider adding food coloring (though beware that it can stain so tread lightly). My son used regular Elmer’s school glue to make his own window decorations. Did you know that a little glue won’t hurt your compost pile? At the end of the season, compost the DIY gel clings and skip the lingering clutter.
Christmas tree ornaments
It’s pretty crazy to see how creative we can get about decorating Christmas trees beyond standard lights and ball ornaments. If you plan to reuse regular ornaments year after year, that’s amazing. But if not, consider trying to add new interest with things you already have, like festive cookie cutters! Use a bit of twine, thread, or ribbon to hang them on the tree during the holidays.
DIY candle forms
Repurpose the last bits from old candles. Make DIY candles from melted crayons or beeswax pellets. Or just melt down candles you find at a thrift store to make DIY candles in holiday shapes using cookie cutters.
Melt the wax in a double boiler (a repurposed metal soup or bean can in a hot water bath works great), and then pour the soft wax into a cookie cutter sitting on parchment paper. Let it cool and set with a wick inside of it, and you’ve got your own homemade seasonal candles. Did you know that you can buy compostable parchment paper for this project?
Homemade bird feeders
Let peanut butter be the glue for your birdseed. Mix peanut butter and birdseed and push them into shape inside the cookie cutter. You can hang them on a tree to give the birds in your community a little extra snack any time of year. Be mindful that other animals, like squirrels or bears, may be interested in your snack too. If you live in bear country, this may not be the best project for you unless you know they will stay away.
DIY soap molds
Have you ever made DIY soap bars? There are lots of fun recipes online. Find your favorite and, when it’s time, pour the soap mixture into cookie cutters on a sheet lined with compostable parchment paper so the soap bars set in the shape of your cookie cutters. You could make star-shaped soap any time of year or make special soap for the holidays with shapes like Christmas trees and snowflakes.
If you have a little one in your life, skip buying the expensive baby mobile and make your own. Tie together a few twigs and hang your cookie cutters from various branches. The metal of the cookie cutters can create all sorts of fun moving light. (Just be sure your creation is sturdy. You don’t want it falling on the little bundle.)
Stencils for drawing
Don’t buy new stencils if you already have something that does the job, like cookie cutters! Trace inside or outside of the cookie cutter shapes, whichever is easier for you, and you can make all sorts of fun projects with holiday designs on paper, cardboard, or even fabric.
If you have some smaller cookie cutters, you have ever thought about using them as napkin rings? Fold and slide your reusable napkins right through the cookie cutter and you’re done. It might even be fancier than those regular circular-shaped alternatives, right?
Mold bakeable or airdry clay
My boys (especially my younger son) enjoy making all sorts of creative things, including using airdry clay to create. For a little shortcut, pull out the cookie cutters as shaping stencils to add to your array or tools for design.
Salt dough ornaments
You’ve probably seen them on Instagram, the very ‘gramable salt dough ornaments. The simple recipe of flour, water, and salt makes them easy, inexpensive, and low-waste holiday gems that are safe even for the little ones who want to put everything in their mouths.
Once you’ve made the dough, cookie cutters are a great way to make consistent and easy-to-design ornament shapes. Did you know you can add edible glitter to salt dough ornaments? (Coming to the blog soon!)
DIY wrapping paper with potato stamps
Have you ever made stamps from potatoes? If you cut off the end of a potato and leave a flat space in the middle of the potato, you can create DIY stamps. Shape the stamps yourself with a carving knife, or make perfect stars, hearts, and more with cookie cutters!
Push the cookie cutter into the potato on the flat surface created, and then cut away the excess potato outside of the cookie cutter shape. Once you remove the cookie cutter, you’ll have a perfect stamp for all sorts of creative projects, like this DIY compostable wrapping paper!
Sometimes sustainable living is really about seeing what we have in a new light. How can we reuse or repurpose things in new ways, especially when that means we don’t have to spend more money on more new things (because overconsumption is a serious problem)?
It might seem simple to reuse cookie cutters; they’re such a small thing after all. But all the small things start to add up. And eventually, we need more kitchen drawers, bigger closets, more storage bins, and bigger houses to organize all. the. things! Seriously…
Do you have any other favorite ways to repurpose cookie cutters? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
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Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.
You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.