Decorating for the holidays is a traditional way of celebrating Christmas. The tradition of building gingerbread houses may have originated from the German fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. Although traditional gingerbread houses were handmade, many modern edible versions come pre-baked and decorated. Create a permanent monument to the gingerbread house by decorating the outside of your home as one. While this project will require some special materials and a weekend or two of work, it will be worth it when you see passing children's eyes light up.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Thin plywood
- Brown spray paint
- Hooks, nails or screws
- Painter's cloth
- Painter's tape
- Fake spray snow
- Artificial oversized candy garlands
- Holiday lights
- Green- and red-striped dinner paper plates
- Glue gun
- Dowels 1/2-inch diameter, 36 to 48 inches long
- Artificial candy canes, 24 to 36 inches tall
- Foam board
- Craft knife
- Light brown spray paint
- Craft paints
- White holiday lights
Measure the facade of the house and note down its measurements.
Cut plywood to fit the facade, including openings for the house's windows and doors. The plywood doesn't have to be in one piece for the front of the house. Use however many pieces you need and can comfortably manage.
Spray-paint the plywood a rich gingerbread brown. If you want to kick it up a notch, glue urethane foam onto the plywood and then spray paint the foam brown. The foam will reflect a texture similar to gingerbread. Alternatively, you could attach brown burlap to the underside of the home's eaves with nails and then weigh the burlap down with rocks. However, this effect won't last but one season.
Attach the plywood to the house using hooks, nails or screws; select whichever method you feel will cause the least damage to the house while still holding up the plywood.
Cover the windows and doors with painter's paper or cloth.
Spray the plywood or foam around each window and along the edges of the home with fake snow to create "icing." Use more than one coat if necessary. If you don't want to use fake snow spray, attach cotton batting instead. Cut the batting to size and use white glue to secure it to the plywood around the windows and doors.
Outline the windows and doors with garlands of giant faux candies. Intertwine holiday lights in the garland and then hook the garland and lights to the plywood.
Make giant "lollipops" to decorate the outside of your gingerbread home. Glue a red- and green-striped dinner-sized paper plate to either side of a dowel. Wrap the plates with clear cellophane and tie ribbons below them. Repeat to create as many lollipops as you prefer. Place both the lollipops and large artificial candy canes into the ground around the front of the house.
Create child-sized gingerbread boys and girls from foam board. If you have a small child, have her lay down on the foam board and draw an outline around her. Cut the outline from the foam and spray-paint the "cookies" a lighter colour of brown than the facade to ensure they stand out from the house. Decorate the "cookies" with craft paints. Attach a dowel to the back of each and insert them into the ground in the front of the house.
"Frost" the roof of the house with white holiday lights placed closely together. To create different effects, string the lights in parallel rows or crisscross them.
Tips and warnings
- If your house is already a brown colour, you do not need to perform the first four steps.
- Always wear goggles when using power tools.
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