salt dough gingerbread houses | Christmas crafts

by | Dec 14, 2021 | crafts, Holiday, Tutorials, Winter | 12 comments

This is the Christmas craft that sent me down the salt dough rabbit trail this year.  (You can read about my salt dough ornaments HERE and HERE.)  Instead of making my little Christmas houses out of gingerbread this year, I wanted to try making salt dough “gingerbread” houses to see how they compared and if they would last a few seasons or longer.  It took me a couple of tries to figure out what I liked and how to best assemble and decorate these salt dough houses…

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

The printable recipe for these salt dough gingerbread houses is at the bottom of the post if you’d like to try making them.  You can find house templates HERE.

salt dough gingerbread houses | tips

The learning curve for me came in how to best assemble the houses.  I actually bought what I thought was white sealing wax made for a hot glue gun, but it ended up being clear sparkly glue, which wasn’t what I wanted!  So I used clear hot glue to assemble the test house.  I was really missing the white icing that peeks through the cracks, which I think really adds to the charm.  I mean, it looked like a glued house.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

Above is an example of a house assembled with clear glue.  It just looks a little flat to me so I ended up adding white puffy paint where icing would be to give it the look I like.  I also ordered some matte white sealing wax for glue guns to use to assemble the rest of the houses.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

And that was much better!  It’s a bit hard to control, but I love how it actually looks like drippy icing, making these salt dough houses look more like real gingerbread.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

Another tip about the salt dough is that the salt will rise to the top as they bake and dry out, so the side that is face-down on the cookie sheet will end up being the side that is visible.  In my first batch, the look was too dark.  I sort of like a dusty look on my gingerbread, so I dusted the pieces with a little bit of powdered sugar.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

Don’t they look like real gingerbread assembled with royal icing?

For decorating, I used this Tulip dimensional paint.  The nice thing about this paint is it’s easy to control and apply.  It’s very comparable to decorating with royal icing except it’s not quite as stiff.  Since it’s “puffy paint”, it also sits up off of the salt dough instead of laying flat like paint, making it look more convincing.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

The downside is that it takes a while to dry.  It takes about an hour to set and four hours to completely dry.  When adding thicker details, they will flatten out if they are drying vertically.  So, I would decorate one side and allow that side to sit face-up for about an hour, and then I would decorate another side and repeat.  It’s definitely more tedious and I can see this being better for adults than kids, who might get impatient with the process.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

I would just decorate one side of several houses and bounce to another project while they dried.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

When I rushed things, I inevitably put my palm or finger or something into wet paint!  I would just fix it and not worry about the smudge.  It sort of looked like messy icing.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

So, if you want to be able to decorate them all in one sitting, I would just suggest using royal icing.  If you don’t mind decorating them in stages, then the paint is perfect.

salt dough gingerbread houses vs. real gingerbread

Working with salt dough vs. gingerbread was very similar when it came to rolling and cutting the shapes.  The differences really showed in the baking and assembly.  Gingerbread has a little more give which makes trimming easier.  Since the salt dough is very dry (and gets drier in the oven), it is a bit harder to trim.  I also noticed that some of the pieces curled a little bit, resulting in some wonky houses.  None of this would deter me from making salt dough gingerbread houses again, but it’s just something to note.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

(I accidentally put the “salt” side out on the little house above, so you can see the color difference.)

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

All in all, I am very happy with how the houses turned out and I think they really look like gingerbread and royal icing.  They don’t look like wax, paint, and inedible dough!

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

The little dusting of powdered sugar at the end adds to the trickery in my opinion.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

I plan to put these in an airtight container after the holidays and see how they keep for next year.  I will store them inside (as opposed to garage or attic space) so they stay in a stable climate.  And I’ll let you know next year how they do.  I think my mom still has salt dough ornaments that my brother and I made as kids, so I’m pretty sure these will last a good long while.

salt dough gingerbread houses | christmas crafts | miss mustard seed

salt dough gingerbread houses | video tutorial

For those who like to watch the process, here is a video showing how I assemble and decorate the houses…

 

salt dough gingerbread houses | printable recipe

Salt Dough Gingerbread Houses

5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup table salt
  • 3/4 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 200°. Mix all of the dry ingredients together with a whisk.
  • Slowly add water and stir. Knead dough together by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook attachment until the dough has come together.
  • Roll out to ⅛ to ¼" thick on a surface lightly dusted with flour and make gingerbread house shapes using a template or cutters.
  • Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for about 30 minutes or until dough feels dry.
  • Assemble houses using white wax sticks. Decorate with white dimensional paint.

And, if you’re feeling in a crafty mood, here are some more tutorials for salt dough, cinnamon, and gingerbread ornaments and houses…

Molded Salt Dough Ornaments

Molded Salt Dough “Gingerbread” Ornaments

Tips for Gingerbread House Success

Gingerbread House Recipe & Templates 

Cinnamon Ornaments 

12 Comments

  1. Kim

    I’m heading out this afternoon to find myself some puffy white paint to try this!

    I always decorate the sides and roof of my real gingerbread houses BEFORE assembling them, which I think you could do here too, which might alleviate some of those problems. It is always a multi-day process.

    Reply
  2. Kris

    These look adorable! I would love an update next year about how well they hold up when you store them.

    Reply
  3. Cheryl

    5 stars
    Those are stinkin’ adorable!

    Reply
  4. Beverlee Lyons

    They are just beautiful! Puffy paint! a gillion or two years ago I painted sweatshirts….and used that, so it’s been around a long time. Thank you for sharing these….very clever ideas.

    Reply
  5. Ashley Walter

    These are so cute! I am going to have to add these to my list of things to make this holiday season.

    Reply
  6. Linda

    In order to keep your salt dough houses ‘dry’ when stored, just put in some of those absorbent packets that come with new running shoes, clothing and all sorts of products now to keep those things from absorbing dampness.
    I keep a few of those in with my salt dough ornaments and have had good results.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      That’s a great idea!

      Reply
  7. Bettsi

    One difference that strikes me is the hardness of the edges. With your gingerbread houses there is a softness that comes from the rising. I think it would be interesting to try a cookie house mold to create the pieces. The puffy paint is genius! Such a pretty little village.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, that’s a good point! That’s an advantage when making molded ornaments, but you do lose that softness when making houses.

      Reply
  8. Gloria

    Itooka gingerbread class many years ago and she had us decorate before assembling. Then add “icicles” and corner decor

    Reply
  9. Tracee Pulsipher

    I have done a few things with salt dough before. One was making large Hershey Kisses and wrapping them in aluminum foil with a paper tag coming out of the top. The salt dough was hard and dried before I wrapped them tightly in the aluminum foil. I found that after a few days, the salt dough became soft again. I am wondering if it would be better to store your houses in something that is not airtight. They are so cute! Thanks for all the inspiration and fun you provide to me and your other readers!

    Reply
  10. Ingrid McConnell

    This year we used caulk! Happy little accident! Still have lots of littles in the house. Used glue gun in the past. Lose patience quickly. Couldn’t find the glue gun, but had a large bag of caulk (house projects!). It worked great!!!! Some learning curve…has a wierd chemical reaction with peppermint candy! Won’t stick. Must glue with glue gun. Some candy coatings can smudge a bit if moved frequently by little hands. Worked great for snow landscaping! Info late for this year, but hopefully help for next year!

    Blessings!!!!!

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Fairly Gingerbread Home Inspiration (and Household Exercise!) | Think a better life - […] Tales – click on right here for gluten-free gingerbread home recipe The First Yr Weblog Salt Dough Gingerbread Homes…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Hello!

Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

Let's Connect

WATCH ON YOUTUBE

Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for winter

  • parker house rolls
    Have you tried the “Parker House Rolls” recipe by Half Baked Harvest?  You can find the printable recipe and all of the details HERE.  I made them last year for […]
  • mini advent stocking tutorial | Christmas crafts
    Disclosure: This mini advent stocking tutorial is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions shared are honest and my own. When I shared my mini advent stockings just […]
  • polymer clay ornaments & tags | christmas crafts
    Are you ready for another Christmas craft?  I have just a couple more to share this week leading up to Christmas.  I have been wanting to play with polymer clay […]
  • custom cut gift tags | Christmas crafts
    Disclosure: This post on custom cut gift tags is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions are honest and my own. I’m squeezing in as much Christmas crafting […]

Categories

Articles by Date

 

our sponsors


Bliss and Tell Branding Company

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This