Check out our houses...
Now, do you want to see what made this project so easy? Check out what we used as our house forms...
I realized that every year, we enjoyed the process ~ designing, working with candy, snacking on some of the candies and seeing our finished houses ~ but we really never ended up actually EATING our finished, lopsided, drippy houses. I figured, why not make an inedible house and save ourselves some of the hassle. To add a little extra bit of fun, we scented our paint with some cinnamon so our houses actually have a slight gingerbread smell (and it really smelled awesome while we were painting them.) For the royal icing look, we made some microwave puffy paint and to attach the candies we just used hot glue.
Here's what you'll need:
- unfinished wooden birdhouses (less than $5 a piece if you use a coupon at the craft store)
- brown acrylic paint
- paint brushes
- 1 cup of flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder (not baking soda!)
- 4 tsp. salt
- squirt bottles (we used the Wilton ones, but any squirt bottles should work)
- assorted candies (we used lots of non-chocolate candies ~ chewy Sweet tarts, gumballs, candy canes, peppermints, Mike & Ikes, etc)
- hot glue gun
The first step is to paint your houses. We poured some brown paint into a small container and then added cinnamon for the fun scent. Mix it together, adding some water as necessary to get the right consistency. You'll want it a bit thicker than regular paint, but still spreadable. Once you have your scented paint mixed up, paint away.
The houses looked nice and realistic and it smelled AWESOME while we were painting!
For the next step, you'll want to mix up some microwave puffy paint. We've done this several times, but I've never posted about it. It's really simple though.
In a bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, 4 tsp of baking powder, and 4 tsp of salt (you can half or double the recipe if you need more or less ~ this was plenty for 3 gingerbread houses). Next, gradually add water and stir until you have a mixture with a consistency of a thick pancake batter. You want it squeezable but not too runny. Put the batter in a squeeze bottle and start adding the icing details. Now here's the cool part, after you add a few details (we did one side/section at a time), pop the house in the microwave for about 45 seconds. The "paint" will puff up and dry instantly. Now, you'll have a hardened icing look in just seconds.
(NOTE: when we used the puffy paint on paper, we just microwaved it for about 30 seconds, on the houses, it seemed to take a bit longer about 45-60 seconds. You'll want to start at about 30 seconds, see if your paint is setting up, then add time as needed.)
Once you have all your icing details in place, it's time to add the candies! I allowed my 10-year old to handle her own hot gluing, but I did the gluing for my 7 year old (she gave me very precise directions on which candies went where!).
That's it! We really had a fun time and the girls were so proud of their finished houses. They still have a slight gingerbread smell and they look really cute. I'm sure you could eliminate the cinnamon scent, but I figured since we had to paint them anyway, it was a fun little addition. You could also try another type of 3-dimensional white paint for the icing details, but we loved the quick drying aspect of the puffy paint (and it really does look like icing!)
Oh, and we still got the fun of eating some of the extra candies too!
Here's one last look at a finished house...