Gluing a Gingersnap Cottage (like a Nerd)




Just in time for X-mas I offer you a safe and effective way of gluing a gingersnap cottage, without pouring molten sugar all over you. Molten sugar is, of course, the proper glue for the task, even though many people use inferiour substitutes.

The stuff you need is shown in the picture.

Note that the melt glue gun should be dedicated to this task. It should be brand new, or possibly only loaded with sugar before. Do not count on being able to clean it, neither before or after this exercise.

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Step 1: Make Glue Stick Moulds

The moulds for our sugar melt glue sticks are rolled from some aluminium foil.

The foil is folded once to make the tube opening stiffer, then rolled over one of the original melt glue stics.

Twist the bottom shut, tape the top, carefully withdraw the melt glue stick. If the tube collapses since the air did not have time to come in and replace the stick, gently push the sides to shape between your fingers.

Make a number of tubes. You will not be able to re-use them, and they have to hold all of the sugar that you melt.

Step 2: Set Up Four Moulding, Then Pour the Molten Sugar.

You definitely do not want to hold the tubes when the molten sugar is poured, so the tubes are taped somewhere were some slob with molten sugar does not matter. The kitchen sink edge is a hot candidate.

The picture shows only one tube, but there should be a as many as you can fit, or as many as you need for your batch of sugar.

The sugar is molten slowly and carefully in the pot. It turns brown real quick, so take it easy. (This part, your granny can show you.)

Pour it into all the tubes. Thanks to the high viscosity, this is easier than one might expect.

Step 3: Unpack One Sugar Glue Stick

Let the sticks cool off, then unwrap one of them. If pieces of aluminium are stuck inside the sugar, something that usually happens at the twisted end, break off that part.

Step 4: Load the Glue Gun

Load the gun just as you would have with an ordinary melt glue stick. Be gentle. Sugar glue sticks are much more brittle than the normal ones.

Plug the cord, wait a few moments, and...

Step 5: Start Glueing!

I am sorry if I am disappointing parts of the audience, but I did not have any unfinished gingersnap house at hand when I made this Instructable. Here, two swedish "skorpa" have been joined.

Use a lot of sugar glue. Sugar is good for you, at least around X-mas.

Don't expect the same gluing experience as with normal melt glue. Sugar has not been tailored to for melt gluing and the melt glue gun has not been designed to melt sugar. I was lucky it worked ok.

One thing I haven't tried that maybe should be avoided, is what happens if the melt gun is left turned on for, say, 20 minutes without any glue, eh, sugar, consumtion. Ordinary melt glue most probably just continues to be melt glue, whereas sugar caramellises, perhaps turning into something we do not want inside the melt glue gun. Or worse yet, something that catches fire.

Step 6: Storage of Unused Glue Sticks

Sugar pulls moisture from the surrounding air like crazy. If left to their own devices, your glue sticks will soon end up in a sticky mess. This process can be slowed down considerably if you leave the sticks in their foil wrap moulds, and if you store them together with some rice (or salt?) in a tin can that has been taped shut.

Step 7: Final Demonstration

As a final demonstration of the incredible holding power of sugar glue, I have glued Lenin to a submarine.



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    66 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Just bought a cheap $3 mini-glue gun that uses 0.275 inch diameter glue sticks. This gun is labeled "High Temperature", 10 Watts. Then I bought a box of 12 small candy canes for $1 that are about the same diameter and sawed off the curved parts with a hacksaw blade. The temperature of about 280 to 320 degrees F. is just about right for melting sugar. It works! I can assemble pieces and they are glued in 10 seconds! Thanks for the concept.


    4 years ago on Step 7

    This is my favourite sentence of the day by far.

    In more serious news, if you are really keen to use this sort of tech for decorating purposes, there are isomalt guns and sticks. But that's taking out your cool maker angle...just saying as an FYI in case you weren't aware. :)


    4 years ago on Step 7

    Do you think it would be possible to skip the casting step and directly load candy canes into the glue gun? The sugar should be identical and melt the same. Non-exact diameter would mean that the feed wouldn't work, but you mentioned that it breaks quickly anyway.

    1 reply

    12 years ago on Step 7

    Well, yes, I just happen to have a Matryoshka doll at home (see ) with well known Soviet leaders as its theme. They are popular souvenirs. Mine is a couple of years old, so it does not start with Putin as the outermost doll, it consists of Lenin, Stalin, Breschnev, Gorbachov, and Jeltsin from inside out.

    I would say that the sub is more interesting. It is designed to capsize, take in water, and then almost sink. It will stop sinking with just a few qubic cm margin, floating with merely its periscope above water.

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi stas,

    Sorry for the delay. I am not 100% sure, but I think it was the Swedish water toy manufacturer AquaPlay ( who produced it. I cannot find the sub at their home page, but I have sent them an e-mail just to make sure.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Quick addendum

    I loaded my favourite search engine with "aquaplay submarine", searched for pictures, and ta-daa:

    Eh Lie Us!

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Lenin on a sub...I laughed out loud. that one 'takes the cake" ! thank you.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't visited this page for a while. I must say I am flattered by all the feedback. I never thought this particular instructable of mine would take off like that.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Hehe I will! Unfortunately, 3/3 of the concept designs failed in test, but due only to one component - the sugar melter. Research is being conducted on better ways to raise the temperature to a point where sugar will remain in its liquid form, but as of now it's pretty much caramelizing and burning the sugar instantaneously. In other news, I've finally got my heating coil for my next cotton candy-related project - CCM MARK III. Coming soon (appx 2-3 months) to an Instructable near you....