I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days and here are my
How you go about making this thing will depend, firstly, on how
exactly like a cupcake liner it is supposed to be, and, secondly, on
how many you plan on making.
I’m going to assume that you want it to be as like a cupcake liner
as possible and that you will be making just a few pieces, rather
First you need to get yourself a pattern. Pay a visit to the best
baker’s supply store in your town and buy a package of the cupcake
liners which you want to duplicate. By flattening one out you will
be able to get the measurements of the disk you’ll need to start
with, the number of pleats in the circle, the size of the pleats at
the edge, the size of the central unpleated bottom and the angle and
depth of the pleats.
Someone suggested using a corrugating mill. The problem is that
corrugating rollers produce parallel pleats, and the pleats in a
cupcake liner describe a cone.
I suggest making a crimping stake and matching crimping iron that
duplicate the depth and angles of the pleats in your sample. In
order to make the paper sample rigid enough to take accurate
measurements, or to use as a model, you can glue together 3 or 4 of
the paper liners. You could even glue together enough of them to
bring the model up to the thickness of the metal you plan on using.
The material you make the crimping stake and iron from will depend
on the material you plan on making the finished piece in. If you plan
on using 0.010" annealed sterling you could make the stake and iron
from hard maple. That would be sufficient to put the crimps into soft
thin metal, assuming you don’t need hundreds of the things. But I’d
make the stake and iron in bronze, less chance of breaking and it’ll
last longer. You could make them in steel, if you have the necessary
technique, but bronze would be easier.
Using your glued up model as a form you can press or melt wax onto
an interior fold and into its complementary exterior pleat. Make sure
to coat with some sort of release first. You can then have these
waxes cast in bronze, giving you the faces of your crimping stake and
iron. You’ll then have to mount the stake so you can fix it rigidly
in a hardy hole or stake holder, and add a handle to the crimping
I’d make the interior wax of a mountain fold, as the origami folks
call it, and the exterior wax of a valley fold, thus the stake will
be a valley and the iron a mountain and you will be forcing the metal
into a depression when you do the actual crimping.
You may need to beef up the back of the iron to take the blows of a
mallet, which you’ll need to get the folds nice and crisp. It should
only take a few practice pieces in copper for you to get the hang of
the spacing and pressure needed to produce your liners.
If you cast the crimping iron from a wax taken off the paper model
it may have a sharp edge from the lowest part of the fold. This could
cut through the metal you’re working rather than deforming it. To
work the metal down into the crease of the crimping stake you might
need to use a series of steel rods of decreasing diameter, or better,
a series of cross peen hammers, before finishing off with the cast
crimping iron, to get a nice crisp crease. You might also slightly
round over the fore edge of the iron to make certain that it presses
rather than cuts the metal you’re working.
That’s how I’d proceed, I think. I hope I made my notions on the