17 Dec
2015
Posted in: projects
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Tips for Gingerbread House Construction

gingerbread houses in a row

The last time I made a traditional gingerbread house was years ago. Everything was chugging along smoothly until the three boys realized their were only two sides to the roof. The fun was sucked right out of house decorating. The best part of a gingerbread house is the roof for my kids. My job became referee. Heaven helps us if one brother had more design input on the roof than the other brothers. We finished the house, and I vowed to find a better way. I was never doing that again.

gingerbread house pieces

I thought about making individual houses, but I, honestly, didn’t want to bake the pieces myself and the gingerbread manufacturers hadn’t begun to make miniature houses and trains to go along with the traditional larger gingerbread house.

Remind me to tell you about the time a friend and I baked and constructed a giant gingerbread house from scratch. It was for a contest at a local art museum and was a replica of an older movie theatre in our town. We took first place, and I’ve never baked another gingerbread house from scratch again. Anyway…

Six years ago, I found a blog, which I can’t remember the name of, that used graham crackers adhered to plastic blocks with frosting to help keep the structure sturdy for gingerbread houses. I have never looked back.

graham cracker cutting

Our structures begin with one Mega Blok First Builder block as the infrastructure. You could easily stack LEGO pieces. Each of our houses uses five graham crackers, but it’s good to have plenty available for construction mishaps. Two of the walls are one cracker divided in half. For the two end walls, I use a butter knife to gently saw a diagonal line from one corner of the half line to the opposite corner and repeat for the other side to make a point. See the photos for a better idea. It sounds confusing but really isn’t. The roof takes two graham crackers. Cut one quarter off one end of each cracker. I find it’s easiest to gently and slowly saw across the cracker to shape it. If you move too fast, you’re liable to become frustrated like a certain teenager who attempted to help cut the pieces at my house.

gingerbread house construction

After the pieces are cut, use a small amount of frosting, any kind you’d like, to adhere the walls to the block before adding the roof. We construct the houses on disposable plates. Each child has their own plate, their own house and their own small bowl of frosting for construction and decorating. This year, two of the boys used the cut off pieces of graham crackers to build a second floor as well as a chimney on their houses.

gingerbread house decorating

We save Halloween candy for gingerbread house decorating. They sort the candy and decorate as they like. No one fights over decorating the roof. Everyone has their own entire house to do as they like. The size is manageable, and I enjoy seeing them create their vision unhindered by sharing the medium. Plus, I no longer play the part of referee.

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