Kids love to decorate gingerbread houses as a holiday season tradition -- but what I don't love are the expensive, wasteful gingerbread house kits! I can never get them to assemble correctly without the walls falling down, and the icing is a mess. I definitely do not have the time to hand roll gingerbread and score it into walls, etc., so here is a very simple, eco-friendly way to make an adorable gingerbread house out of a milk or juice carton using graham crackers for the walls!
Materials You Will Need:
- Empty milk or juice carton, washed and left to air dry. You can also use small whipping cream cartons to make miniature houses too.
- Hot glue and regular glue. Sometimes the hot glue can melt the candies, but it works well for the graham crackers.
- Graham crackers
- Various candies and cookies of your choice: gumdrops, licorice, M&Ms, candy canes, you can even use cereal!
- Royal icing: for a simple recipe click here, and a bag for piping the icing onto your house.
Covering the Carton with Graham Cracker Walls:
If you have a milk carton that doesn't have a screw lid and opens from the top, simply glue the opening closed. Next, glue your graham crackers to the carton, covering all 4 sides. Use a knife to cut your graham crackers to fit each side -- be careful because they break if you press too hard. Don't worry about the top of the carton... this is the roof of your 'house' which may be covered with mini Oreos, Nilla wafers, or candy. You also don't need to cover the bottom of the carton, because it won't stand if you do!
Once you have covered the carton with graham crackers, use your glue (hot glue is best) to install your cookie and candy coated roof. Don't worry about any gaps where you can see the carton underneath, the icing and candy can cover them. Now you can begin decorating your house!
Decorate Your House:
Use your regular glue to affix the candy, the icing is meant purely for looks and to fill in nooks and crannies. You can make windows, doors... anything you want! This simple gingerbread house is a wonderful green activity for kids and it would be a real hit as entertainment at a holiday party. When you are finished decorating your house, glue your carton to a piece of cardboard and decorate that as well with trees, candy lanes, more houses -- the possibilities are endless!