Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gingerbread House Hacks : Tips for Easy Construction and Decoration

The first gingerbread house I ever built was condemned.  The walls slid together, the frosting was too watery, and if a gingerbread man tried to move in, he would have been killed by a collapsing roof.  But over the years I've learned a few tips and tricks to build a better gingerbread house.  Especially when there are kids involved!





Hack #1: Purchase a Kit

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've seen all of those fabulous Pinterest posts about homemade gingerbread and organic houses made from the finest imported ginger.  But if you just want to build a house, for fun, then do yourself a favor and buy a kit that is easy to assemble and comes with everything you need.  I won't argue about this anymore, people!  My favorites?  Wilton's Pre-Baked Fully Assembled or Create-a-Treat Gingerbread House Kit.


pre-assembled gingerbread house kits found at Walmart
One of Wilton's Pre-Assembled Gingerbread House Kits - not always easy to find!


Hack #2: Use Easy Ingredients

I'm all about easy gingerbread kits, so that also means I'm all about the easy frosting, too.  I highly suggest buying prepackaged frosting.  In fact, I really like using the Betty Crocker frosting in a can because you can squirt it right on there in any design you like.  I know it's 3.99 a can so I usually just get white and work from there. Wilton also sells a prepackaged cookie decorator icing that's a thinner consistency but will also dry hard like the frosting.  The canned frosting is great for sticking on candies, decorating the roof or adding small details, although I must admit that I'm not crazy about the taste of it.


The Jersey Momma's Boy decided to use cereal for this gingerbread house roof!


Hack #3: Glue It!

Yup, you heard me.  Raise your hand if you actually eat your finished gingerbread house. No? I didn't think so. Then get out those hot glue guns, and get going! If you buy a kit that comes pre-made but not pre-assembled, then the hot glue gun is the best way to go. Trust me, I know these things! Obviously, you can't eat a house or kit that's been glued, so be sure to use common sense and let your kids know, too.  The hot glue gun is especially good for more complex kits, like the gingerbread train from Wilton or the gingerbread cottages.


Okay, so the glue looks really gross when it's all dried like that.  But guess what?  Cover it with frosting and no one will ever know!!  The house above was made with the Willy Wonka Gingerbread Cottage Candy Kit.  The mini houses below are pre-baked but come disassembled, so they would be perfect for hot glue!

Wilton's mini gingerbread village, pre-baked

Hack #4: Buy on Clearance

I have been known to purchase gingerbread houses up to 75% off after Christmas and save them for the next year.  You need to keep them in their original packaging (in the box, sealed) and pack them somewhere safe so no critters get them, though.  And again, I wouldn't consume a clearance house the next year, they're strictly for show!  But we've even used Halloween houses at Christmas time, and just changed out the candies. Sometimes the frosting included with the kits doesn't survive for a year (they tend to dry up or lose the right consistency) but it's no big deal to just toss it and buy yourself a can of fresh stuff (I told  you I'm all about convenience!).  This Hello Kitty cookie house kit was purchased on super clearance after Valentine's Day! It was seriously about two bucks.  I used the Betty Crocker canned frosting to decorate it, and the candies and add-ons that came with the kit.


Hello Kitty Cookie Kit Cottage
This house was created using a Halloween gingerbread house kit from the previous year.

Hack #5: Save Your Halloween Candy

Speaking of Halloween, a gingerbread house is a great place to put all of that excess candy that you could just not get rid of after Halloween.


Bonus Tip:  If you can find one of these cute cardboard stands for your house, they really do come in handy! The one pictured below was from Wilton and easily unfolded as a display stand.  It came with its own little set of steps.  It's so sturdy that we use it every year (and I've had it for several years now). You can still find them here on Amazon (affiliate link).

Hello Kitty Cookie House Kit on a Wilton Gingerbread House Cardboard Display Stand



Disclaimer #1:  This post contains affiliate links for Amazon, but they are all products I highly recommend and have used myself.  

Disclaimer #2: If you decide to purchase on clearance or use a hot glue gun, don't go eating that stale stuff and blaming me for getting a belly ache.  If you decide to hot glue gun your house, do so at your own risk and don't let your kids get burned, either!  The Jersey Momma is not responsible for negligent gluing or any injuries that occur as a result of carelessly gluing your gb house together.  So there. 

6 comments:

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I already have my eye on some kits for next year - I hope they go on clearance!

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  2. Hot glue gun! I should have thought of that when my daughter was little because I made homemade royal icing and that stuff dries up so fast so it's hard to use. Great tips.

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    1. Ugh! Tell me about it! I remember trying to wipe it all over the roof with my hands before it hardened! lol

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  3. SO EXCITED! Charley and I do a house every year and your tips will truly make it much more fun!!! THANK YOU!

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    1. Awesome!!! I'm so glad!! I hope you will share photos when you're done!!

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