Save yourself long hours in the kitchen spent mixing, rolling, cutting and baking gingerbread dough – use cardboard instead.
This fantastic upcycled material is abundant and easy to use. Plus, you can avoid a sugar melt-down by skipping the temptation (and expense) of supplying bags of candy, sprinkles and royal icing – and sculpt your own candy cane columns and gumdrop windows using modeling dough.
printable download on handmakery.com/blog
pencil + eraser
white school glue
hot glue (adult use)
Crayola Model Magic Dough
tempera paint + brush
glitter (fine white)
chalk markers (optional)
white pom-poms, red & white paper straws, striped cupcake papers, wire stars, & white string.
ONE: Download a printable template on handmakery.com/blog. Prepare a cardboard cottage cut-out ahead of time by cutting out two shapes: one will be the cottage, the other will be the roof. Using white glue, attach the cardboard cottage to the cardboard roof by overlapping just a bit and gluing in place. Dry.
TWO: Have a mixture of smaller pieces of cardboard scraps available that can be cut and used for pop out details. Lighter weight cardboard is ideal as it’s easier to cut. Corrugated cardboard adds a wonderful texture and is also easy to cut.
THREE: Cover completed cardboard cottage with clear wrap and use masking tape on the back of the cottage to temporarily secure. This protected surface will allow clay pieces to be placed on the house to dry without attaching to the cardboard cottage and will keep the cardboard protected from paint.
FOUR: Keep cottage covered with clear wrap. Move into making clay accents using Crayola Model Magic which is a fantastic product for use, flexibility, and simple air drying. Start by rolling clay coils to imply snow and icicles. These pieces will take on the look of white icing. These snowy details can run along the edges of the roof, cottage, above the door + windows, and atop the chimney. Use clay to also make candies such as gumdrops, mints, candy canes, and other savory + sugary treats. Wreaths, snowballs, and snow piles can also be fun additions. Allow clay pieces to air dry in place on top of the clear wrapped house.
FIVE: Paint dry clay candies using paint and a small brush. Allow painted clay pieces to dry on top of the clear wrapped cottage. Clay pieces that are to remain white are beautifully painted with white glue and sprinkled with fine white glitter for added sparkle. Dry.
SIX: Carefully set all clay piece aside and remove the clear wrap. Arrange clay pieces in place for gluing down onto cardboard. Most clay pieces can be glued with white glue. It can be helpful for an adult to hot glue fragile icing pieces for strength and a quicker dry time. Use a chalk marker to add small details of color on the cardboard cottage. White chalk marker can imply small areas of icing and colored chalk can add vivid details to the cardboard pieces. Now, you can add your embellishments, including: white pom-poms, red & white paper straws and striped cupcake papers, wire stars, and white string for lights. Most embellishments can simply be glued in place onto the cardboard.
The possibilities are endless!
A work of heART!
This open-ended, creative process is fun for ages 5-12 (or, say, age 35+, if Mama is so inclined). These cottages can be used as holiday ornaments, wall hangings, or added as a 3D element to a canvas painting, as shown here.