I made The Gingerbread Hotel for a fundraiser for the Richmond Children’s Museum years ago.
It was designed to be a riot of color and things going on, and the idea behind it was that it’s where the gingerbread men live and hang out when they’re not on duty.
It ended up winning second prize (I was robbed) but it sold for the highest amount during the live auction, so it earned a lot for the museum.
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The concept for the house.
I made the hotel with the idea of having each room be different with different activities going on in each area.
Since my kids were younger then, we did spend a lot of time at the Children’s Museum, and I got them involved in thinking of puns to put in the hotel rooms.
The Gingerbread Hotel Exterior.
The exterior of the hotel was made as a cutout so that you could see inside some of the rooms, and I made it to be a cutout so that there was a solid piece of gingerbread on the back for stability.
That gave me a place to put the front door and some brickwork and colors, plus some gingerbread men hanging around.
The other side was a set of rooms and a rooftop cafe and garden where I could add a lot of details and little things to look at.
I built it this way so that I could offset the interior walls so that they supported the large piece that I used for the middle floor.
That way, there are multiple points of support for the largest horizontal piece of gingerbread, and it’s less likely to have a single point of failure as far as breaking or having the floor sag.
There were multiple hollow areas inside the first floor of the house, but it was designed that way for the purpose of distributing the pressure on the large middle floor section.
The front door and some of the brickwork. I did the color by painting the gingerbread with food coloring, and made the bricks on the right by baking little pieces of gingerbread and attaching them with royal icing mortar.
The cutout section of the hotel where you can see inside some of the rooms.
This is also a view of the rooftop cafe and garden, and shows some of the piped vines and candy flowers growing on the sides of the building.
The front door of the hotel has a mom and her two kids playing near the steps, and a decorated door with marshmallow and candy cane decorations on either side of the door.
To make the gingerbread men in sitting positions, I baked them propped up on bent aluminum foil so that they baked into the positions I wanted them in.
I did the same thing for the ones who are holding things, I just used some foil to hold the arms and legs in place so that they would bake in the right position.
This view of the back shows some of the royal icing mortar and bricks, plus the painted wall and front door of the hotel, with patterned fondant paving stones on the sidewalk part that covered the board.
The board for this gingerbread house was a regular 1/2″ thick board from the hardware store that I covered with the candy sidewalk and a ribbon around the edge of the board.
One of my favorite things in this house was the gingerbread gang called the Tuff Cookies.
They were wearing black leather jackets with their gang name on the back, and they were doing graffiti on the walls with a piping bag and icing while one of them watched out for the police.
The rooftop cafe and garden.
The rooftop cafe and garden included a chef making candy, which was the only thing on the menu, and customers sitting in the cafe.
All of the writing in this gingerbread house was done by writing on hardened gumpaste with extra-fine sharpies.
In the garden, which can be reached by a ladder made from candy canes, the gardener is growing candy corn, marshmallows, candy pumpkins, and peppermint puffs.
There was also a beehive and baskets where the harvested candy was being gathered.
Most of the things in the garden were made from candy and royal icing, and I crushed graham crackers to make the dirt on the ground.
The customers in the cafe area were sitting on seats made from cookies and icing, and they had treats from the menu in the kitchen area on their tables. One was reading a cake decorating magazine.
The rooms in the house.
I made the rooms in the house in different styles to show the kinds of activities that the gingerbread men did while they weren’t working.
These guys were playing a video game in the tv room. There were a lot of puns in this room, like a poster for Citizen Cane, and a TV Guide magazine that had “Crumb Scene Investigation” on the cover.
You can also see the Tuff Cookies doing their graffiti in this photo.
On one side of the tv room was a bedroom where the gingerbread man was taking a nap.
The curtains were peppermint striped fondant, and some of the furniture was made with cinnamon sticks.
More puns in this room include books called The Count of Monte Crisco, Fahrenheit 351, and The Dough Also Rises.
On the other side of the tv room was the art room, where the gingerbread man was doing a self-portrait.
I made a lot of gumpaste accessories for this room, and there were more puns including a painting of a peppermint with “This is not a candy” written in French.
The signup for art classes had the names “Cookie Baker” and “Ginger Snap” on it.
The room on the top floor was the Tae Kwon Dough room where the gingerbread kids were taking a class.
At the time, my kids were taking Tae Kwon Do lessons, so we used a lot of puns based on the decorations in their actual class, with a twist.
Instead of “Grandmaster’s motto” we had “Gingermaster’s motto,” and the kids were breaking pieces of gingerbread cookies instead of boards.
This gingerbread house was a lot of fun to make, especially coming up with all of the gingerbread puns.
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