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Tips to Building Gingerbread Creations

In celebration of our Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza, we want to help you make the best creation you can possible. With YouTube instructional videos and detailed builder information sites at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to discover the secret to building an awesome gingerbread creation to participate in the Extravaganza event or to make for your home.  We’ve provided a few time-tested tips we want to share with you below:

First, begin with a good foundation. We recommend a piece of plywood covered with aluminum foil. A foundation like this will allow you to move your house without risking it falling apart.

After preparing the dough, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until it is no longer sticky. Then with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 3/16” or 1/8” thickness. To cut the dough, it is best to use templates made of heavy cardboard and a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Make sure you cut all the details into the pieces of dough now as this will be difficult after baking.

Once the pieces have baked, let them cool completely before assembling your house. Apply a generous amount of glue icing using a pastry bag to one of the edges of the joints and let sit for 30 minutes. After the icing has set, press one of the un‐iced pieces to the iced edge. They will need to be held together until the icing sets completely. A good way to hold them in place is to stack canned goods around the pieces. A good order to work is to first glue your walls to each other and then onto the base, then add the roof after the walls have completely set.

The decoration of your house is limited only by your imagination and how much candy you have. Here are some decorating ideas:

  • Shingle roof with cereal wheat squares, wafer cookies, sliced almonds or small pieces of chewing gum.
  • Use colored candies to make a cobblestone walkway.
  • Make shutters with sections of graham crackers.
  • Sprinkle shredded coconut around house to create snow.
  • Mirrors and aluminum foil make excellent streams and skating ponds.
  • Fashion chocolate licorice into fences.
  • Stack large marshmallows to make snowmen.
  • Top a candy cane with a gumdrop to make a street lamp.
  • Melt crushed candy for windows.

View our Previous Extravaganza Winners:

We were thrilled and amazed by the unique creations that are produced each year. Not only are the creations judged but we ask visitors to select their favorite gingerbread creation so that we can present a special People’s Choice winner at the end of the show.

2017 Gingerbread Extravaganza Winners Coming Soon!
2016 Gingerbread Extravaganza Winnershere.
2015 Gingerbread Extravaganza Winnershere.
2014 Gingerbread Extravaganza Winnershere.

Additional Construction and Decorating Tips:


Get Inspired by the Nation Competition


Hopefully now you have been inspired to build a special gingerbread creation of your own. If you would like to participate in this years Gingerbread Extravaganza, here is what you should do:

  1. Fill out our Gingerbread “Builder’s Permit.”
    Complete 2018 Gingerbread Builder’s Permit Online, or download the 2018 Gingerbread Builder’s Permit and email it to gingerbread@jaxhistory.org.
  2. Download our time-tested Gingerbread Long-Lasting House Recipe and Icing (pdf format).
  3. Begin with a firm plan for what you want to build, but be open to where your imagination takes you!
  4. To learn more about the Gingerbread Extravaganza please check out our Gingerbread Extravaganza page

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