Build A Life-size Hansel & Gretel Gingerbread House

Does owning your own home seem like a distant dream? Have you got the focus and determination to build your own property? Do you like gingerbread, frosting and sweets? If you answered yes to all these questions then why not consider building your own full-size gingerbread house!

Infographic showing cost of building Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house in real life

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Build your own life-size gingerbread house

If the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel left you with less of a wariness of strangers and more of a craving to see - and taste - a house made of sweets, then here's your chance to fulfil a lifelong dream and build your very own life-size gingerbread house.

Plenty of cookery books can show you how to make a gingerbread house on a miniature scale, but where would you find an instruction manual to build a full-size one like in the story? Right here, is the answer! To help you imagine how you could build a life-size gingerbread house, we've put together this bite-size guide, covering everything from the ingredients you'll need to the overall cost.

Equipment

Please note that it is essential that all equipment is brand new, or has been previously used for edible projects only.

Ingredients

Exterior Interior décor and extras

Buying a plot of land: Lund Wood, North York Moors - £35,000

No gingerbread home would be complete without its picturesque woodland surroundings, so before you start building your property, you'll need to find an appropriate plot of land. A four-acre stretch of woodland on the edge of the North York Moors National Park costs £35,000, so bear this in mind when planning your new build.

Building the house

Walls: 1,700 packets of Betty Crocker's Gingerbread Cookie Mix - £23,341

The above quantity of gingerbread will allow you to create a rectangular structure of 8x4m (3m high) of double thickness for additional support.

Unlike other new builds, the gingerbread house is constructed from hard-baked 'boards', as even with an industrial-quality oven gingerbread bricks would be soft centred.

Using an extra-large industrial oven, bake eight boards of gingerbread (allowing for a double-layered rectangle shape) including 4 4x3m walls and 4 8x3m walls.

Mortar: 300kg buttercream - 100kg icing sugar, 200kg butter - £340

Attach the boards to each other with buttercream mixed to an extra-thick consistency for quick drying. You can also use buttercream to insulate and support the gaps between the double-layered walls of the building.

Roof beams: 800 sticks of rock - £504

Before constructing the roof of the building, you will need to create roof beams to support the laying of the tiles. For this you will need 800 sticks of rock, attached end to end to create 8m long beams.

To fit the beams into the building, drill 30 holes of 2.5cm diameter along the peaked edges of the walls (see fig.1). You will then be able to slide the roof beams through these holes and secure with buttercream.

Roof tiles: 2,356 giant cookies (24cm diameter) - £944

Once the beams are in place, you can start attaching the cookie roof tiles. Lay the first row of cookies in a level line with sides touching but not overlapping. Nail to the roof beams.

The next row of cookies should overlap to the centre point of the first row, creating a fish-scale pattern. Repeat this process, ensuring that no gaps are left between cookies.

Waterproof glazing: Caramel - 400kg brown sugar, 100kg corn syrup, 200 litres water - £1177

Caramel is the ideal material for glazing and waterproofing, as it allows you to maintain the sweet taste that is expected of any gingerbread home.

Boil together 400kg of brown sugar, 100kg of corn syrup and 200 litres of water to create your glaze.

Use a paint roller to apply a thick coating of the glaze over all external surfaces of the house.

Front door: 1,995 chocolate fingers - £80

To make a door of 200 x 76cm, lay 26 rows of 76 chocolate fingers on a flat surface. Heat the fingers slightly with a blowtorch to melt the chocolate and bond the fingers to each other.

You can also secure the door by coating it with layers of melted chocolate. Repeat until you are confident that your door is stable.

Window x 6: 2,752 boiled sweets - £60

Use a spirit level to mark six 45x64 cm windows on your house (two on each long side and one on each short side) then cut the holes out with a chainsaw.

Melt together 2,752 boiled sweets in your industrial oven to create a large sheet of stained glass. Cut to fit the window spaces and secure.

Interior décor and extras

You now have the basic structure of your building, but as it's a full-size gingerbread house, you might want to consider adding some scrumptious design features to the interior to make it feel more homely. The following items are not essential, but are ideal if you're looking to create a truly impressive gingerbread home.

Wallpaper: 1,429 sheets of sugar paper - £297.50

Paper your walls using 1,429 sheets of sugar paper, patterned if possible. Attach to the walls using melted chocolate caramel glazing.

You could also create your own unique patterned walls using different cakes. Why not try using Battenberg cake for classic checked walls, or bring back the psychedelic feel of the 60s with sliced Swiss rolls?

Pebble driveway: 80kg Skittles and 80kg chocolate - £1345

Whilst not essential, a driveway will add a touch of class to your gingerbread home and make it easier for guests to park outside the house.

To create a colourful, hard-wearing driveway, we recommend using Skittles. To do this you will need approximately 80kg of Skittles (more if you want a long drive) as well as 80kg of melted chocolate to fix the Skittles pebbles in place.

Indoor tiling: 26,667 custard creams - £433.55

Custard creams are perfect for tiling as their thickness allows for a good level of support underfoot.

Sofa and mattress: 50,300 marshmallows - £2,515

Bring a feeling of comfort to your gingerbread house with some marshmallow furnishings.

To create one marshmallow mattress you will need 6,900 marshmallows, while for a sofa you will need to use around 43,400 marshmallows.

Total cost: £66,037.05 *


* Prices correct as of