14 November, 2014

Clay gingerbread house

Growing up, one of my favourite family traditions was making gingerbread houses for Christmas. We baked the gingerbread and glued them together with candy glue, and then decorated them with as much icing and candies as we could fit in. When I moved down here I tried making them but the summer humidity made the gingerbread go soft and the candy colours ran into the icing and it was just horrible and depressing. I still long for them though!

In an attempt to ignore the fact it's the wrong season for Xmas here (apologies to native Antipodeans but it's true) I have recreated a scaled-down version in air dry clay. My first attempt can be seen here, this is my second.

Air dry clay gingerbread house

It's not perfect - the clay still bowed a bit despite my best efforts* so there are lots of gaps and the eaves overhang the sides too much to see the windows well but it's cute! I like the back window best

Air dry clay gingerbread house

I have to use an LED tealight in it as it gets too hot with a real flame. The flickering of the LEDs isn't quite right though, a steady light would be nicer. I'm now wondering about trying the Sculpey clay that you bake, maybe that would be better... The mental image still hasn't quite gone so I might need to play around a bit more and if I can get closer to it then it might go away.

I came across a great quote from Neil Gaiman on GoodReads yesterday that really described this process well
Normally, in anything I do, I'm fairly miserable. I do it, and I get grumpy because there is a huge, vast gulf, this aching disparity, between the platonic ideal of the project that was living in my head, and the small, sad, wizened, shaking, squeaking thing that I actually produce.
 I can't say I agree with him about what he produces, although it makes me wonder what even more amazing books live in his head :)

*Best efforts included keeping it in a cool spot, out of a breeze, turning the pieces often and pressing them down and putting a heavy cutting board on top of them overnight.


  1. It looks downright fantastic. Would a little chimney hole help? You could even press embossed buttons or doilies in the flat pieces .. the ideas are just bubbling now.

  2. Naw it's awesome! and my little one just wandered by and said "Oh! I like it!" - well done for giving it a go - I like how it looks modern and traditional all at the same time.

  3. That little house is so sweet! I hope you keep experimenting, so that we get to see a little village. --Mariko



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