Gingerbread House Windows That Are Kid Safe!

A lot of gingerbread houses have transparent windows that are made from sugar, but that can require melting hot sugar or isomalt, and that isn’t a kid-friendly activity. Hot sugar can cause severe burns, so if you have little kids around you shouldn’t do anything with melted sugar if they’re in the kitchen!

For little kids, letting them decorate the windows the way that they want to will let them have a little more creativity, and it will also avoid any kind of burn risk.

To make transparent gingerbread house windows without using hot sugar, you can attach sheet gelatin to the back of the walls so that the windows are see-through. If the windows don’t need to be edible, you can use sheets of acetate that are cut and attached to the inside of the wall. For non-transparent windows, kids can cut pictures from Christmas cards or family photos and attach them to the inside of the houses to make it look like people are looking out of the windows.

When I was a kid we used the greeting card method, and it was fun because we could choose our own scenery for the windows. It also avoided the issue of dealing with hot sugar to make the windows, so it was way more kid-friendly.


Using greeting cards or photos for gingerbread house windows.

To use greeting cards for gingerbread house windows, choose cards that have small images on them so that you can cut out images that fit the scale of the windows. Let the kids choose their own images and attach them to the windows on the inside of the walls using royal icing. Alternately, family photos can be used to make it look like family members are peeking out of the house.

Using greeting cards won’t follow the rules of making everything in the house edible, but it will let younger children have fun and choose the design of their own houses.

Use cards that you’ve saved from previous years, or print some images out from online clipart. The photos should generally be scaled to the right size for the house, but it’s also funny to put giant photos with one eye peeking out.

Depending on what kind of things your kids like, they can also include photos of animals or other things they’re interested in. If your kids want to put pictures of dinosaurs or toy cars, let them. It only makes their house more “theirs.”


How to attach the pictures to the windows.

  1. Choose a picture that you’d like to place in your house window.
  2. Place it under the section of the wall that has the window in it and center the window over the picture.
  3. Using a pencil, trace the shape of the window on the picture so that you can see the lines for where to cut on the picture.
  4. Cut at least 1/2″ around the traced lines on the picture. a full inch is better!
  5. Put royal icing on the edge of the picture, avoiding the section inside the traced area, and keeping it closer to the edge.
  6. Press the iced picture against the back of the wall with the window, centering it in the window so that you can see the picture on the other side.
  7. If any icing oozed out on the sides of the window, remove it with the tip of a knife.
  8. Leave some icing on the outide windowsill to look like there’s snow on the sill.

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Clear acetate in the gingerbread house windows.
Clear acetate in the gingerbread house windows.

Gelatin sheets or acetate for clear windows.

If you’d like to have clear windows in your gingerbread house, you can use sheets of acetate or leaf gelatin. Both are clear, but the sheet gelatin usually has a diamond pattern on it, which can imitate a pattern of glass panes. Acetate isn’t edible, so if you want to keep everything on your gingerbread house edible, you should choose the gelatin sheets.

You can get acetate from craft stores, or look to see if you have any clear report covers or pocket inserts for three-ring binders that you can cut up to use.

Sheet gelatin can be purchased in baking supply stores, or online on Amazon (click here to check for pricesOpens in a new tab..)

Another benefit of sheet gelatin is that it can be found in different colors, so if you’d like to add some color to the windows you can choose a colored gelatin sheet.

The downside of clear windows is that you might be able to see inside the house, so you may have to add scenery inside as well! That can be fun sometimes, but younger kids might lose interest in that part, so don’t be surprised if they’re not super excited about doing that.

A benefit of clear windows is that you can put lights inside the house that will shine out and light up the windows. That adds some detail and charm to the house design.

Another advantage to this type of window is that you won’t have to worry about humidity affecting the windows. If you make sugar windows or use hard candy to make the windows, they can soften up and slump if the weather is humid.


How to attach gelatin sheets or acetate to the windows.

  1. Cut the piece of acetate or gelatin sheet to a shape that’s about 2″ larger than the window. For a 2″x3″ window, cut a piece that’s 4″x 6″.
  2. Put royal icing on the edge of the cut piece, keeping it close to the edge.
  3. Press the iced sheet against the back of the wall with the window,
  4. If any icing oozed out on the sides of the window, remove it with the tip of a knife.
  5. Leave some icing on the outside windowsill to look like there’s snow on the sill.
  6. If you feel like the gelatin or acetate isn’t going to stay stuck to the house, ice over the edges of the piece on the inside of the house to secure it.

Kara

Kara is a former wedding cake decorator who has won numerous awards for her cake designs and gingerbread houses. She currently owns a cake decorating supply business at acaketoremember.com

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