Are you familiar with Putz houses? I’m not entirely knowledgable about how or why they came to be, I just happen to be obsessed with them. If you don’t know the name, you might recognize one if you saw one. They’re tiny cardboard houses typically decorated in pastel and holiday colors, then completely coated in a layer of sparkles. That last part is most likely why I’m enamored with them. I doubt there’s anything I wouldn’t fall in love with coated in a layer of sparkles. (This site has some good info on the history of Putz houses if you want to check it out.)
You might also recognize them from the wreath on the cover of the 2014 December issue of Martha Stewart Living. I need a stronger word than obsessed to describe how I feel about that wreath. Infatuated? Fixated? I’m honestly a little embarrassed after having to look up the date that wreath was on the cover. I’ve been fixated on it for 3 years now?! Holy moly. I’ve also spent those three years painstakingly collecting tiny houses, trees, and deer (Oh yes, there will be deer.) to recreate my own version of that wreath. Ok, I’m officially stalking that wreath. This is getting weird, so I’ll move on from the wreath and talk about my gingerbread house!
The amazing folks at Wilton recently sent me the most amazing gingerbread house kit gift box. If you follow me on Instagram then you watched me go through the box in my stories. They seriously have thought of everything when it comes to decking out your gingerbread house in style – pre-made icings, perfect tiny candies, sanding sugar, edible glitter, shimmer spray, and teeny little garlands. Seriously everything.
I thought why not take this opportunity to further my Putz infatuation and create a gingerbread house to match that wreath I’m going to finish any day now. Maybe this is the little push I needed to finally get that done.
How to Make a Gingerbread Putz House Using a Wilton Pre-Made Gingerbread House Kit
- Wilton pre-made gingerbread house kit
- Pink and turquoise gel food coloring
- Wilton Food Writers (edible food coloring pens)
- Paint brush
- Offset icing spatula
- 2 cups of plain sanding sugar
- 2 cups pale green sanding sugar
- Gold sanding sugar
- Clear rock sugar
- Pink sugar pearls
- Wilton wreath and garland set
- Green Candy Melts
- White Candy Melts
- Cone mold, paper cones, or extra piping bags
- Edible white flake glitter
- Pink and white round mints
Patch Your Walls (If needed.)
If you’ve purchased a pre-made gingerbread kit, odds are you’re short on space, time, ability, or baking desire. Loosing a precious piece to breakage is not an option. Keep the broken pieces and stick them back together with some white Decorator Icing, royal icing, or even candy melts. Wipe the excess icing away with a paint brush or paper towel and set the panels on a lined cookie sheet to set up. Make sure the sheet is lined, otherwise you could end up having to break your panels again when they dry stuck to the cookie sheet.
This whole Putz technique is ideal if you end up having to patch your panels, because the seams will be covered up anyway. If you aren’t planning on coating your panels, then congratulations! You’ve found where the candy goes.
Make the House Spahhhhhhkle
This style of house is so much easier to assemble if you ice the panels before building the house. It means a little more patience at the start, but once you assemble, you’re practically done!
Snip off the corner of the icing packet included in the gingerbread house kit and divide the icing between three bowls. Tint one of the bowls of icing pale green using the gel food coloring and another bowl light pink. Leave one bowl white.
Use one of the food coloring pens to sketch out where you’d like your windows and doors to be on the front and side panels of the gingerbread house. Spread the pale green icing on the front and side panels, attempting to avoid the window and door areas. Wipe any excess icing out of those areas using a clean paint brush. While the icing is still wet, dust the entire surface of the panel with pale green sanding sugar. Thoroughly coat the panels, then lift them up to shake off the excess. Wipe away sugar that sticks in the window and door areas with the paintbrush.
Spread the pink icing on the roof panels and dust the panels with sanding sugar while they’re still wet, same as you did for the side panels. I used clear sanding sugar on the pink icing, because I thought it would have given the panels a pretty icy pastel finish. It didn’t. They totally look white now. In hindsight, I wish I would have used a pale pink sanding sugar. Oh well, still cute!
Fill in the door areas on the front and back panels with the pink icing, dust with sanding sugar, then shake off the excess. Fill in the windows with white icing and sanding sugar in the same way.
Fit the piping bag that comes with the kit with the round piping tip that also comes in the kit. (Hello, convenient!) Fill the bag with the remaining white icing. Pipe a thick bead of icing around the doors on the front and back panels. Sprinkle the icing with a combination of gold sanding sugar, clear sanding sugar, and clear rock sugar to create a garland effect. Outline the windows and add the panes with the same icing, then dust with clear sanding sugar and shake off like you’ve done every other time.
Pipe a small dot on each door and top the dots with pink sugar pearls as door handles.
Now the absolute most difficult part of the project – allow the panels to dry completely before assembling your house. Ugh, I know! But you’ll be so much happier with yourself if you exercise a little patience. I did not and I made myself very unhappy. So unhappy, that I did not document most of the house assembly. Trust me, just let them dry, a few hours up to overnight.
Assemble Your House
To assemble your house follow the directions for house assembly included in the kit. (Lolz, my in-depth assembly advice.)
I prefer my gingerbread sides hidden, so I first attached the walls to the back of one of the end panels and then attached the other end panel to the other side of the walls. Add the roof pieces last. Use cans, jars, anything handy in your kitchen to help prop up your walls and roof until they’re confidently in place. Just like the Wilton directions say. 😉
Make Your Trees
Melt about a cup of dark green candy melts with a handful of white candy melts in a small heatproof bowl. Fill silicone cone molds with the melted candy. Fill some of the cavities all the way and some partially full to create trees of varying heights. Leave a little melted candy behind for frosting the trees later. This mold was not in my kit, but it’s also from Wilton. I have only owned it for a few weeks now, but it’s already making its way into my core group of baking molds. Every time I play with it I come up with another idea for how to use it. Allow the candy to harden completely, about 10-15 minutes, before popping the trees out of the mold.
Coat the hardened trees with a thin layer of melted candy melts. Roll the trees in clear sanding sugar. Set the trees aside, just a minute or two. The thin layer of candy melts seemed to set up quickly. If yours hardens too quickly, just go back over any hardened spots with more candy melts and sanding sugar until the tree is completely covered.
Frost Your Accessories
This next part just may be my best tip when making a gingerbread house, or really anything, using pre-made decorations. Give your ready-made decor a custom look by encrusting the pieces with sanding sugar. Paint a thin layer of icing on the garland or wreath, then press it into the sanding sugar. It’s that easy. I frosted a wreath for the front, garlands for the windows, and a swirled candy piece for the back door – all with clear sanding sugar. The small garlands were actually larger pieces of swagged garland that I snapped in half.
Set the pieces aside to dry a little before applying them to the house, about 20 minutes.
All Together Now
Pipe icing along the peak of the roof and dust it with white edible glitter. Finish the edges of the roof by piping tiny icicles. Pipe a dot of icing and as you’re releasing pressure pull the tip down and away, leaving a little icicle tail behind. Sprinkle edible glitter on the icing while it’s still soft.
Attach the wreath, garland, and candy to the house with dabs of icing. Fill in around the house with an embarrassing amount of sanding sugar or regular granulated sugar. Snuggle the trees in around the house and add a tiny pink and white mint path to the front door. Finish the scene with a final dusting of edible glitter.
This little cutie will be hanging out on my counter until Christmas. Got any pre-made gingerbread tips? Comment below and let me know! Watch the whole process unfold on my You Tube channel. Don’t subscribe?!? You totally should…
Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Gift the gift of cake! Erin Bakes Cake has tons recipes and design inspiration to last all through the new year!