Create It!

Getting started

First, mix the icing with the cream of tartar- use about a cup and a half of vanilla (or whatever flavor you prefer) frosting and mix it with a teaspoon of cream of tartar, which hardens the icing so things will stick better.

ingredients

Next, lay out a flat piece of cardboard for the base. Using a knife, begin covering the sides of the graham crackers with the frosting. Cover all four sides- the crackers will need to stick to the board, to keep up the walls surrounding it, and support a roof. You will need to use two graham crackers for each "wall."

house

Now it's time to construct the roof. Place two horizontal graham crackers making a triangular formation. Then cut small triangles that fit in the gap that the two roof crackers will create.

roof

Decoration!

Here comes the fun part! Now that you have the basic shape of the gingerbread house, you can begin decorating it with candy. Feel free to be very creative with your decoration. I placed M&M's across the roof and also made "grass" out of them. There is no limit to how to decorate your house. You can also use the leftover graham crackers to add different dimensions to your house, such as a door or windows.

candy

Here is my final product. I ended up using candy canes for the "chimney" and a "tree" in the front yard. Again, don't limit yourself with all that you can add to the house.

final

If you're a perfectionist, here's some tips from Susan Matheson's "The Gingerbread Architect" (1) to make your house look gorgeous:

1. Choose a dominant color. If you are a fan of green, choose this as your dominant color and use lighter greens to really play it up.

2. Play with contrasts. Putting colors opposite of each other on the color wheel, such as purple and yellow, really makes decorations pop.

3. Don't forget to landscape. Adding a pretzel fence, marshmellow shrubbery, trees made with upside-down ice cream cones and fake leaves can add depth and realism to your gingerbread house.

4. Take inspiration from a favorite candy. If there's one feature of the house you use a certain candy for, such as Twizzlers on the roof, use other forms of licorice in other places to make the whole house cohesive.

Again, this is a fairly basic blueprint for a gingerbread house- very simple, anyone could do it! For those who are craving a challenge, look at some examples of different designs. (2) You can make a house that is not even necessarily holiday-themed, or make it resemble a real house!

Some really nice gingerbread houses...work hard and maybe yours could look like this!