It’s been several years since I made my last gingerbreadhouse and after finishing this one, I remembered why. With a full-time job and other activities, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to work on the house and it took me much longer than I anticipated to finish it. At times, it was frustrating and exhausting. Not every decoration or wall turned out as I had hoped, palm trees broke along the way, the details on the doors and windows kept peeling off, and I spent sleepness nights thinking about how to make tile roofs and fencing. All in all, it was a lot of fun allowed me to be creative, and when decorations came out perfect, it was gratifying.
I began last July with nothing more than graph paper, a pencil, a ruler, and a few ideas. Rather than create a traditional white snowy Victorian era gingerbread house, I decided to make mine a colorful, warm Mexican hacienda.
Hours were spent on the computer researching images of Mexican buildings, colors and landscaping before I actually sat down and drew up the blueprint on graph paper with a pencil and ruler.
Widths and lengths had to be carefully considered as pieces must fit together in sync. Details such as where the balconies, windows, doors, and side porches are to be placed were drawn out on the graph paper. Every single piece, even the 1 inch panels under the balcony had to be graphed.
The next step was to make the stencils. I copied every design (including the tiny pieces) onto manila file folders, but any hard paper stock will do. Once that is complete, it was time to make a cardboard house.
Plans tend to look better on paper than they do once materialized and I didn’t want to go through the laborous work of mixing, baking, and constructing the house only to find some of the pieces should have been larger or smaller. With poster board (foam board can be used also but it’s much more expensive) I built the house using the stencils.
Sure enough, I had to re-graph and re-stencil some of the pieces because they just didn’t look or fit right. I also realized the side tiled roofs would need support so I had to make a long narrow piece to fit underneath so the weight of the decorations wouldn’t make it crash down. So it was back to the drawing board, literally, for some of the pieces.
Part 2: Mexican Gingerbread House – Baking is here