What to do with a gingerbread house kit leftover from Christmas that we forgot or never got around to using? I decided not to let it go to waste, so my husband and I helped our daughter make a “Valentine House” instead. Making a Valentine House is a fun craft that is especially cheap if you’ve already got the gingerbread house kit to use up anyway. We simply shopped for a few cute Valentine’s Day candies at the dollar store and got to work.
Well, that was the plan, anyway. What I didn’t realize is that the Valentine House may need a little extra help, being that four of the six panels of the gingerbread house kit happened to be broken. We did not discover this until opening the package RIGHT as we were planning to build it. My poor husband spent easily a half hour gluing all the broken pieces together with the included icing from the kit. Of course, the icing was a bit old, so some of them stuck and some of them needed more icing. Once he had all the pieces “glued” together, we began to assemble the house so Natalie could decorate it as a “Valentine House” for Valentine’s Day.
Things were going swimmingly until I told her to “press harder, but not too hard” as some of the candies refused to stick in the hardening icing. These instructions may be suitable for a five year old, but surely not for our two-and-a-half-year-old. She pressed her finger right through the side wall, splitting it in half where the original crack was glued together with icing. Try as we might, my husband and I attempted to get the wall back in place. He walked away in exasperation and I continued to futz with the walls until I myself caved in the whole Valentine house. Whoops.
How to Fix Broken Gingerbread House Walls and Roof Panels
I decided to start over from scratch. If you ever find yourself wondering how to save or still use a gingerbread house when a lot of the pieces are broken, or even just one wall or roof panel, I’ll share this easy and foolproof trick with you. I decided to “sister” the broken panels with some white (cream cheese) frosting and regular old graham crackers. I broke them to fit the sizing I needed and slapped on some cream cheese frosting and we were back in business. Granted it would have been a heck of a lot better if our house hadn’t caved in, and if the pieces weren’t broken to begin with, but sometimes life gives you broken gingerbread houses and you just have to find a way to rebuild them.
Decorating a Valentine House
Once I got the Valentine house standing again, Natalie could finally continue decorating it with all her cute conversation hearts and pink, red, and white candy decorations. We had picked out heart shaped “Spree” type candy, Valentine’s Day Sixlets, and Conversation Hearts to make the Valentine house as pretty and festive as possible. Her attention span held beautifully and we managed to finish it. All things considered, I think it turned out pretty cute!
In fact, I wouldn’t mind trying to make a Halloween House come October. Stay tuned for that…
Has anyone else created a similarly fun and innovative craft like our Valentine House with leftover holiday swag? If you’ve done your own of any theme or style – please feel free to post your own idea in our comments below! We’d be glad to share your story and ideas, too.