Making and decorating gingerbread houses before Christmas is a super fun activity that you cannot miss out on. Every year my family has a gingerbread house decorating competition and we’re all super competitive. We usually just buy the Gingerbread house making kit that includes all the pieces, colored icing, and the decorations.
To help you build your own Gingerbread house from scratch and decorate, without doing too much work and spending a very limited amount of time in the kitchen, follow the instructions below.
How to Build a Gingerbread House
FOR THE STRUCTURE OF THE HOUSE:
You will need:
- 7 full size graham cracker sheets
Take the first rectangular sheet and break it in half, so you get 2 squares. They will be used as the two sides of the house. For the front and back, take a full sheet and place it perpendicular to the other 2 squares and cut a 45-degree angle starting at the top half of the square on both sides, so that the top is in the shape of a triangle. Do this with 2 sheets. Next, for the roof, cut off 1/4th off 2 graham cracker sheets and make sure they are both the same length.
FOR THE ROYAL ICING:
You will need:
- 1/4th cup Powdered sugar
- 5 teaspoons of Water
Keep the water aside and add it one teaspoon at a time to the bowl of powdered sugar. Do not add too much water. The icing should not be watery and should be thick enough to stand in its own. When you pull it up, it should not flow back into itself, it should stay on top. But If it does, you can just add a little more powdered sugar to get the right consistency. It dries very fast and hardens, so make sure to use it fast.
To use it, pour the mixture into a small zip lock bag or a pastry bag – whichever you have at home. If you are using a zip lock bag, you will have to cut a tiny hole on one of its corners.
THE GINGERBREAD HOUSE:
- Glue together the 2 graham cracker sheets that were not used before. Glue them side by side as they will be used as the base. To make it stronger, draw on a zig-zag line of icing on the top of the joining and spread it out with your finger.
- On the front piece of the house put a line of icing along the inside edge and then glue the square piece onto that icing. Make sure to put enough icing, so as to keep the pieces in place. Also, hold it on for at least 30 seconds so it stays on.
- Do the same on the other side of the front piece to stick on the other square piece.
- Line the open sides of the square pieces with icing and stick on the back piece. Hold it in place for 3o seconds and then leave it for about 10 minutes to set.
- After 10 minutes, the icing should be firm and would have hardened. Continue to carefully handle the house.
- For the roof of the house, line the icing on one side of the top first and then stick on the sheet kept for the roof. Then do the same on the other side. Turn the house upside down each time on the side that you have ice on. Keep it on each side for about 2 minutes.
- Seal up the roof – there will be a gap on the top, between the 2 graham cracker sheets. Fill up this space with icing, so that everything stays in place.
- Lastly, line the 4 sides of the underneath of the house with icing and then stick it onto the base. Also, run a line of icing on the outside of the house at the bottom. Keep the house untouched overnight. This completely hardens later on, and the house stays in place.
Make up a bunch of these plain houses and then have a gingerbread house making party.
To decorate the house, use the royal icing to stick on mini candy canes, jellies, gummy drops, peppermints, and m&m’s.
Have an amazing time with this fun pre-Christmas family activity!