The holidays are fast approaching and there is excitement in the air. Your children may have certain expectations and their happiness is your happiness. If you’re looking for a holiday activity or Christmas craft that will keep your kids engaged and allow you to participate in a safe and fun way, then building a gingerbread house is a perfect holiday activity. Here are tips for making a gingerbread house. These are great things to read over and make sure you plan out before you get started. This gingerbread house tutorial will help you avoid the common mishaps as well as offer inspiration for cute ways to decorate the gingerbread house with various candies.
DIY Gingerbread House Tips & How To Make A Gingerbread House From Scratch
1st Step In Planning: Gingerbread House Inspiration
- The first thing you will need to do is to make sure that the building you have in mind will be structurally sound. Planning ahead of time will save you from collapsing a beautiful idea, literally.
- Creating the structure out of poster board and setting it up to the exact dimensions you have in mind will let you know if your measurements are correct. If it stays together properly then you know you have a working model to build. Don’t feel limited to the typical four walled house however. You can make virtually any shape or design. If this is your first time making a gingerbread house, you may want to use a premade template.
- To make the base which you will need, use a large baking tray, platter, or a piece of plywood covered in foil. Remember that your structure will be limited to a 12-15 inch baking tray or platter so make sure that your template matches up to the restrictions of your base.
- So far I have shared planning tips for picking your gingerbread house inspiration, now you are ready tor action tips for making a gingerbread house!
Baking Your Gingerbread House Dough
- When rolling out your gingerbread house dough make sure that its maximum thickness is no more than 3/8 inches. Typically the dough should be 1/4 inch for houses that are larger than 6 inches square. For anything smaller keep the dough at 1/8 inch. The walls should always be slightly thicker than the rest.
- Using a sharp knife cut along the templates with the dough. It is best to powder the knife with flour as this will prevent the dough from sticking to the knife. You may also want to cut designs such as windows or doors prior to baking. Using things like crushed lifesavers in the windows will create a stained glass window when baked.
- While baking your own gingerbread pieces can be part of the fun, feel free to skip this step if you are a novice or working with young children. You can always get a gingerbread house kit or use graham crackers.
Building A Gingerbread House
- Gingerbread house icing will be the glue for your entire structure. To prevent the royal icing from drying too quickly wrap a damp paper towel around the bag you are using. Adding vinegar to the icing will increase its ability to act as glue. You may also add food coloring to the icing to get the desired color you want.
- To put the structure together align the walls and simply fill in the seams with the icing. Make sure that you use a generous amount but not so much that it is dripping. Hold the glued parts together for a while before you set up a structural support.
- You may also use alternative structural supports with candy like peppermint sticks or candy canes. Using cans or jars can also help keep the structure together while the icing dries.
- That concludes the planning and structural tips for making a gingerbread house. Now comes the fun part of decorating your gingerbread house!
Gingerbread House Decoration Ideas
- Using marshmallow snowmen peeps and coconut or powdered sugar you can create a winter wonderland on the landscape outside the house.
- Using licorice pieces or jelly beans you can create a cobbled path leading to the door of your gingerbread house. You can also use crushed color candy to make the path and line it with long licorice pieces.
- Using chocolate covered pretzels you can create a fence surrounding the building. This can also line a walkway to the path leading to the door.
- Using marshmallow or a similar product is a perfect way to show smoke coming out your chimney.
- Use colored sugar to create the stained glass windows effect.
- Colorful candies can be used as roof tiles.
- You can use about anything edible to decorate a ginger bread house. Some favorites are hard candies like Red Hots, Smarties and peppermints. Hershey kisses, cotton candy and nuts are also a fun and versatile option.
- Round candies make excellent door knobs and Christmas ornaments for decorating icing wreaths.
- A Candy Cane fence rooted in snowy icing is super cute.
- Gingerbread men out front are a nice touch.
- Create your own sugar fantasy! It is fun family project and so interesting to see how many different ideas each person will have.
More Ideas For Festive Gingerbread Houses
If you still want more traditional gingerbread house ideas and inspiration, I have included a few helpful links here:
Have Fun With Your DIY Gingerbread House Decorations!
I hope you have fun and you found these tips for making a beautiful gingerbread house helpful. The most important thing to remember is that the experience should be shared with others. It really is fun getting to be creative and working together at the same time. By including your children in the design and decoration you will have an experience of togetherness for a few hours. After all, isn’t that the true spirit of the holidays!? Now that you have read this DIY Gingerbread House Tutorial, do you think you will make your own classic gingerbread house from scratch? Will you make an annual gingerbread house part of your Christmas celebrations?
Gingerbread houses are so much fun to decorate. It is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. I’d love to hear about if gingerbread houses are a part of your family’s holiday traditions! Will you be making your own gingerbread house this year? Tag me @familyfocusblog to let me see how your gingerbread house came out this holiday season and share your best gingerbread house ideas!