Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Art Adventure: Gingerbread Houses

One thing that is so much fun to make with kids around the holidays is a gingerbread house because they just love the piles of candy to choose from. But who has the time and patience to make an actual gingerbread structure that will hold up to young kids' hands? So I cheat. And I'll teach you how too.
Art Adventure: Gingerbread Houses
  • milk cartons
  • graham crackers
  • hot glue
  • candy
  • coconut
  • any other goodies to decorate with
  • frosting (recipe follows)

I had Gabe bring home four milk cartons from school. Milk cartons are harder to come by now-a-days, but a school will give them to you if you go in and ask at lunchtime, as long as you are prepared to dig them out of the trash yourself. Me, I let my kid do the dirty work. Crafty, I know.

After washing them and letting them dry. I hot glued them shut and then glued two together so I had one long ridge line on the roof.

Then I hot glued graham crackers to the milk cartons. You heard me, hot glue them. For mine I used half a graham cracker that I had to trim a bit with a knife to make it fit on the short end. I glued those on first.

Then one full size graham across the long side. There was a bit of a gap from the edge of the graham to the top edge of the wall, but this will be covered by the roof, so don't sweat it.

Next, the ends need triangles. This is a little trickier, but not hard. I took half a graham, laid it on my cutting board, and used the house itself as my template. I laid it on top and used a knife to cut it to size, and then hot glued it in place.

Last, the roof, each side needs a full size graham. The cracker is slightly larger than the roof itself, allowing for a little overhang like a real roof. When you glue them on, make them meet on the ridge line.

Now you need glue. Here's a good stiff frosting recipe that makes great glue:
Cast of Characters:

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. water
Beat until frothy.

Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition until you achieve something inbetween soft and stiff peaks. It will be thick and pasty. Perfect for strong glue.

Now the fun part. Use whatever candies you desire. Or cereal. We had some coconut which made great snow.

Just plan on extra for eating. For the boys, especially Chi, it was easier to just cover a side at a time with frosting and let him go nuts adding whatever he wanted. 

If you wanted to be more sophisticated about it, you could just put the frosting where you wanted glue something on. But that's all there is to it. 
Fun and simple.

(Obviously, don't eat the graham crackers now that they have glue, but you can pick at the rest.)
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  1. I can't wait til my little guy is old enough to do this! I am now following you and I hope you will follow me back. Would you link up with my Handmade on Humpday link party going on now? You can find it at www.createdbycori.blogspot.com I look forward to more of your cute ideas!

  2. Great idea, because I've made these before (just kit from WM) and though the kids loved doing it, it was hard if they were pushing the candies on too hard. Great tip!

    Thanks for sharing :D

    Visiting from Wicked Awesome Wednesday Linky party at Handy Man, Crafty Woman today,
    Suzanne in NW Illinois

  3. Very cute! Egg nog cartons I have, tho not milk.


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