Gingerbread Houses #4: Almost Final Construction

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Blog entry by cheller posted 12-10-2007 04:32 AM 1887 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Decorations and an Oops Part 4 of Gingerbread Houses series no next part

Last weekend I made my trek to New Jersey. Friday night was spent enjoying magic tricks, games, and conversation, and a nice long sanding session in my hotel room. Saturday morning was wrestling practice – think room full of testosterone. Saturday afternoon was project time. Our construction team was my nephew, his friend, also 6, and me.

First step was gluing up the walls of the house. The boys each took responsibility for an end wall. While making lunch earlier we had been talking about my mother’s ability to stretch a jar of peanut butter. The bread would be coated but with no extra volume. When it came to applying glue my nephew, D, asked if he should apply it like Grammy (his name for my mom) used to spread peanut butter. This proved to be the perfect description for him. His pal, G, having not been part of the earlier conversation was a little more liberal with the glue. But since the point was for the boys to have fun putting the house together we didn’t stress out about this.

The boys were fascinated by the clamps (Irwin quick grips). After a quick explanation about how to operate them the boys secured the walls. After fitting the wall structure into the base we set it aside to set and we turned our attention to painting the decorations.

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D is on the left.

During the course of the painting D commented on the roughness of some of the decoration parts (guess I hadn’t done a thorough enough job sanding Friday night) and asked for some sand paper to fix them. Soon both boys were hard at work sanding.
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Here’s the output of the painting session.

After the painting it was time to glue up the roof. In order to get the angles glued up correctly it needed to glued together while in place over the walls, but we wanted it removable so a layer of plastic wrap was added to the walls before the roof pieces were added. To make it easier for the boys to add the glue to the correct edge without adult intervention I placed a small bit of blue tape on either side of the edge to be glued.
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The boys adding the glue.

Here’s the roof all clamped up. I’d made a set of clamp blocks for this step. Held together by C clamps. D announced that this was awesome.
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Energy was flagging at this point – we’d been working on this for most of 3 hours. D announced that he’d like to put on the decorations with his parents – as a “family project”. So the house was unveiled without the decorations applied (hence the almost final of the title).

Here’s the house and it’s decorations.
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The proud assistant builder.
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Me, D and the creation.
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A couple of recommendations for working with kids. – It’s not about perfection. The point should be spending time together and sharing your love of woodworking. – Be flexible. If the child in question has had enough stop, or at the very least let them stop. – Enjoy it. The most fun part of this was watching D explain to G how the clamps worked. – Share your knowledge in language the child can understand. We had a great conversation about sand paper grits, but mostly we talked about how bumpy the sand paper was. In the course of the conversation I mentioned that woodworkers called how bumpy the sand paper was the grit. I still smile when I think about D telling me that the piece he was sanding was pretty uneven and “I think I need the 100” (he was sanding with 220).

I’ll post pictures of the finished project once I get them.

-- Chelle

7 comments so far

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 4397 days

#1 posted 12-10-2007 04:58 AM

Looks like fun was had by all. Some future LumberJocks in the making there?
Great project for the kids (and adults).

-- Still learning everything

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4642 days

#2 posted 12-10-2007 06:35 AM

Looks like a lot of fun.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4857 days

#3 posted 12-10-2007 07:05 AM

Great Blog! Glad to see the homebuilders at work.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4703 days

#4 posted 12-10-2007 02:11 PM

that’s awesome.
My favourite part was the “this needs sanding” ..
You are amazing: all the preparation and the time,, and the rewards: priceless

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 4652 days

#5 posted 12-10-2007 04:35 PM

Thanks all. This was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.

I thought of another recommendation after I posted this. – Let the child do as much of the work as possible. As long as a step isn’t dangerous explain what should be done then step back. This will take planning but lets the child really get the sense that they did it themselves.

-- Chelle

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4231 days

#6 posted 09-20-2009 09:29 PM

Excellent job : ) Reminds me of some Bird feeders that I made with my sons many , many moons ago !
Kids are great and the little imperfections that are in the projects today will bring back fond memories in the future : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View PurpLev's profile


8552 posts in 4191 days

#7 posted 09-21-2009 03:00 PM

this one looks really cool, and having the kids decorate is just a cherry on top (does gingerbread houses work well with cherries?)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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