Light Up Gingerbread House With Graham Crackers Instead

Introduction: Light Up Gingerbread House With Graham Crackers Instead

Making graham cracker houses was a fun family tradition for the holidays and much easier than making ginger bread. I felt it was a good idea to add lights to them for a modern take on it. Turns out using gumdrops around RGB flashy LED's looks amazing.

Supplies

graham crackers

powdered sugar

icing piping bag (or zipper storage bag, but even Ziplock brand might break)

eggs or pasteurized egg whites

bowl

mixing spoon

scissors

candies (assorted)

paper towels for cleaning up

cardboard

aluminum foil

hobby knife or box cutter

soldering iron

solder

sponge

safety glasses

RGB flashy LED's 5mm (3mm could work too, haven't tried yet)

copper tape

old USB cable to repurpose for power

holiday colored gumdrops

tape (clear or most common tapes work)

wire strippers (large and small)

wire snips

hacksaw blade (hacksaw handle not required)

Step 1: Start With Conflicting Ideas

What you need to pursue this project as outlined is a messed up desire to make an entirely edible graham cracker house and add entirely inedible electronics. It doesn't matter if you have solder with organic flux you still aren't suppose to eat it.

Also yes you can use hot glue, but as noted it is not edible. Also royal icing when it fully dries is really hard.

DO NOT EAT THIS PROJECT.

If you are doing this project with a group of kids and know they are going to disregard this advice you can get pasteurized egg whites which is somewhat safer than just using eggs.

Step 2: Start With a Good Foundation

Prep the base for your house. Decide how big a yard to have. Cut out cardboard and put a hole in the middle where the house will go. The hole will be used for wiring the LED's later. Keep in mind some USB wires have ferrite cores which require a bigger hole. Cover in foil and tape in place. Poke out the foil over the hole.

Step 3: LED Prep Step A

Strip 2 inches from a USB wire. I used ones from old broken computer mice, but anything should work. This takes 2 different size gauge wire strippers and a wire snip. Though with enough patience you could do it with just a wire snip.

Find the black wire and red wire (hopefully) some of them don't have a black wire. If it doesn't have a black wire the shielding or exposed wire might be ground. You'll have to check maybe with one of your LED's (carefully).

Step 4: Prep the LED's Step B

Cut cardboard to be 2 inches by the length your roof. Typically this will be one graham cracker which in my case is 5 inches.

Put copper along both sides near the edge of your cardboard. Place LED's gumdrop width apart (mine were about 17mm, but check yours). Be sure to put the long leads of your LED's all on the same side that is the positive side. Solder the LED's in place.

When I do this I put the copper for the negative near the edge, and the copper for the positive side at least 5mm (tape width) away from the edge. This way I know what everything is suppose to be as I do them.

Solder the wires in place. The red is positive (5 Volts) the same side as the long LED leads, black/negative being the other side with the short leads.

Test the LED's.

Push the gumdrops onto the LED's, Using a twisting motion seems to help. Make sure they are in place good.

Test the LED's yet again to make sure pushing on the LED's didn't displace anything.

Step 5: Mix Royal Icing

Using a mixer, or other food prep option would of course be much easier if doing a big batch. In our case just a hard spoon and bowl should be alright.

Mix up some royal icing. I don't know the proportions. Maybe close to 1 egg white and 2 cups powdered sugar. Keep adding powdered sugar until it is thicker than honey. The key is that it shouldn't be too runny. You want it to drizzle, but slowly. It does need to move through the piping bag. Too runny and your walls will fall down.

If you accidentally add too much powdered sugar you can add a few drops off water at a time until you get it right.

Put the icing into your piping bag. I've been taping the top of the icing bags to prevent squeezing from pushing the icing up and out of the bag. A ziplock bag can be used, but it doesn't hold up well if you are impatient and squeeze harder to make it go faster.

Step 6: Barn Raising Mistakes

There are probably many other ways to do things. Don't feel like anything has an absolute. I will say though that the photo with the red exes is because you need the A-frame to hold up the roof. If your A-frames are farther apart than a single graham cracker that just makes things harder.

Step 7: Barn Raising 2 Wall Method

Probably a lot easier to use the "work with a friend method". If don't have extra hands than put icing on the sides of your graham crackers in advance will make it so you can have 2 walls that support each other.

Pretend I took a picture of just two walls supporting each other.

Step 8: Test the Roof Angle

You are going to do some mock up roof placements and A-frame ahead of actually putting it on. I'm using card stock.

This is key because the roof needs to hang over the edge or the gumdrops won't have room. Also be thoughtful about putting decorations on the front of the house. The gumdrops hitting decorations can prevent you from getting the roof in place and that royally sucks.

Note the cardboard part stays with the lights it will just go under the eave of the roof. Use frosting to and candies to cover up things later if needed.

Do not attempt to put the gumdrops on after assembling the house. The force needed will knock over the house.

Step 9: Cut the A-Frames

OK now use that hacksaw to cut out the A-Frame for the house. You'll need 2 pretty close to the same shape and size. I've tried cutting with a plastic knife and the serrated edge did not hold up to cutting the graham cracker, but if you are just making one it might work.

Worst comes to worse I've been able to use graham crackers to cut through other graham crackers. Great way to make crumbs.

Dust away the crumbs with something. I've used small paint brushes. The crumbs will prevent the edges from adhering with the royal icing.

Step 10: Bring Your a Game for the a Frame

Using your A-Frame with a scrap piece of graham cracker you can fix it in place to the inside of the wall of your house.

Step 11: Wires Down the Hole

Put the wires from the roof down through the hole in your base. This part is important to gently maneuver. The USB cable can put pressure where you don't want it and knock over things. Make sure most of the wire is through the bottom. The next step is tricky and having lots of wire to still put through the hole will be annoying.

Step 12: Attache LED's to Roof

Here we attach the LED's including cardboard to the one graham cracker for the roof. Good luck if you are building a much bigger roof.

Step 13: Raise the Roof

Put icing along the top of the A-Frame. Then carefully move the roof with the LED's in place. If you haven't put the USB wire down the hole through the foundation do it now.

Once that is in place put the other roof in place.

Step 14: Decorate Your House!

Once you have gotten to this point you can breathe a bit easier.

I didn't spell out all the types of candies because there are so many options. I've had someone use life cereal for a thatch roof look.

The Twizzlers that you can pull apart into smaller strings is a good option as are any red or green candies. Candy canes are fun. Using an upside down ice cream cone is a cool way to get a tree started and using green candy melts makes it easy to turn that green.

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