Day #2: decorating gingerbread houses. The main activity at a gingerbread house decorating party is decorating houses! Here are a few of our tips and tricks to help you out. Gingerbread would of course be ideal for this activity. But if you need a quick and easy solution that will go a long way for a crowd of party goers, then you can’t beat graham crackers.

Cutting the crackers: Cut a pattern for the house peak from a 3 x 5 index card or other sturdy paper. To cut the graham cracker into a peak without breaking it, get a paper towel damp through (but not soaking), wrap it around the graham cracker, and microwave for 15 seconds. This will soften the cracker enough to cut it. Using a serrated knife, cut the cracker into a point following the pattern on the card. Don’t worry, the graham crackers will re-harden.

Base: Mounting your house onto a piece of cardboard makes it easy for guests to transport their creations home and it also adds an extra bit of cuteness. These houses are on a 6″ cardboard cake round (found in the wedding cake supplies aisle) with scrapbooking paper glued to the top. Using spray adhesive, spray the glue on the cardboard cake round, then stick the cardboard to your paper. Trim the paper around the circle. We used the Martha Stewart Christmas scrapbook paper.

Royal Icing: Ingredients– 3 Tablespoons meringue powder, 1 pound powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 1/4 cup warm water. With a hand mixer beat all ingredients together until the icing holds a stiff peak, about 5 minutes. Add a tiny bit more water if too firm and more powdered sugar if too runny. Keep icing covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.

House frames: If you’ve made gingerbread houses before, you know that it can be difficult to keep the house together with only frosting. This quick fix is the most amazing trick brought to our attention by one of our readers. Thank you Addie! Over low heat, melt brown sugar in a sauce pan until it liquifies. This makes the perfect edible glue! *Warning: the melted sugar is very hot, so we advise you do this part ahead of time. This way, your guests can get to work decorating as soon as they arrive and no one will have the bother of their house falling over.

Woodland House: Cinnamon Toast Crunch roof; mini red M&M’s for Christmas lights; mini Kit Kats for the logs; plastic deer; powdered sugar sprinkled on top for the snow; Wreath: We used a mint Lifesaver for the wreath. Break a green circle sprinkle in half. Using frosting as glue, attach sprinkles and a nonpareil for the holly berry.

Traditional House: mini green M&M’s on the roof line; red, green, and white sprinkles for the roof; white nonpareils for lights; Candy Cane Door: The door is made from two mini candy canes. Break the cane part off of one candy cane. Match up the straight part with the other whole mini candy cane. Attach the two ends with frosting and cover the seam with a red hot or mini M&M. Trees: Using an unwrapped round peppermint candy as the base, attach a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cup wrapped in green and a Hershey’s Kiss wrapped in green with frosting.

Cottage: roof covered in frosting and then sprinkled with crushed peppermint; half a peppermint round for chimney; Cadbury chocolate candy for snowballs; Neccos for pathway; sprinkles for lights and window accents; plastic tree.

Houses and photos by Sara Westbrook.


  1. Adorable houses to match the adorable invitations!

    Do from Piggy Bank Parties    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  2. Soo sweet! reminds me of a Martha Stewart Creation! :)


    Bird    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  3. What a great idea! About 5 or 6 years ago, I did a gingerbread decorating party for my youngest who has a December birthday. I was over ambitious and made and constructed the 15 houses myself – never again!! This is certainly an easier and fun project – these houses are completely adorable – I especially love the lifesaver wreath!

    quintessence    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  4. too cute! i’m so excited to make gingerbread houses without having to buy those awful kits now

    Gloria    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  5. So cute! Instead of hot glueing the houses together have you ever tried brown sugar? You melt it in a saucepan until it turns into a liquid and it works better than hot glue. Just be careful not to burn yourself, it gets quite hot!

    Addie    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  6. adorable! thanks for the motivation and creativity! We never buy the kits but never know exactly what we want to make. So nice to see a non-kit display of cute!

    Wisteria    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  7. Love all these houses, great idea to use graham crackers!

    Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy.    Sunday, December 5, 2010
  8. WHere ws this idea when my children were smaller. I still think that having a gingerbread party for adults would be great. I will have to place that on my next year list to do. Thanks so much for your blog.

    Sherree    Monday, December 6, 2010
  9. I struggled big time with melting the brown sugar down. Do you have any tips? Does it go completely to a liquid or just a paste? And it seemed to harden so fast I could only get one house glued together before I had to start melting it down again… Help!

    Margaret    Friday, December 17, 2010
  10. Hi Margaret–The brown sugar is thick like a paste and it worked great for me. Do not remove the pan from the stove. Keep it over a low flame the entire time. If it’s too difficult I would recommend using hot glue instead. -Sara

    Brittany    Friday, December 17, 2010
  11. This is darling! My grandmother used to make these with us and I’d forgotten how.

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I shared this on my blog and linked back to you.

    Thank you!

    Amy    Thursday, December 23, 2010
  12. This is a great post! Love the invitations using real candy – what a super idea! Shared on our Facebook wall today. :)

    Sally    Sunday, December 4, 2011
  13. you can see “old” pictures and read about our tradition of making the houses. My mum made several huses with kids for years!

    mette    Friday, December 9, 2011
  14. Hi mette–Those house are adorable. Thank you so much for sharing the link to those fabulous pictures. And you used real gingerbread! xo

    Brittany    Friday, December 9, 2011
  15. Love the new format. Much easier viewing :)

    Brooke    Thursday, December 15, 2011

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