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10 Gingerbread Houses That'll Put Your Shack to Shame

Here at This Old House, we're big fans of DIY builders. But little did we know that the tools of the trade—band saws, wood rasps, belt sanders, Dremels—could be used to build dessert. See the full Top 25 TOH Gingerbread Contest Houses

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  • 1. Grand Prize Winner: Victorian Christmas

    "This gingerbread house stands four feet tall. 40 pounds of gingerbread and 30 pounds of royal icing are used. I guess you could call it a labor of love." Eduardo M. Omaha, NE

  • 2. 1st Runner Up: Victorian Row Houses

    "This made entirely from gingerbread. It weighs about 80 pounds and measures 28 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches. It took a little more than two months to build. The houses feature shiplap and individual pastillage shingles. The windows are gelatin sheets, and the inside figures are made of marzipan. The trees are fondant rolled in granola, then covered in royal icing." Russ R. Orinda, CA

  • 3. 2nd Runner Up: Unreal Replica

    "My gingerbread house is a creative replica of my own home; it's something I've always dreamed of doing! The house took about two weeks and 80 hours to create. It measures approximately 30 inches long and is 12 inches wide. It's entirely edible, including the sugar-pane windows. You can spy Santa's hat on the top of one of the chimneys! The local lumber yard cut a piece of plywood as the house's platform and the tools I used include an X-Acto knife, interior lighting, and protractors. Each of the rooms of the house has a decorated Christmas tree to add to the holiday glow. Happy holidays!" Kerry H. Madison, CT

  • 4. Finalist: Gingerbread Castle

    "Completely edible, this stands over three feet tall with candy mosaics and handmade candy fairies. It's made from 11 batches of gingerbread, 20 batches of icing and pounds of candy and cookies." Sharon F. Toomsboro, GA

  • 5. Finalist: GR Chapel

    "This gingerbread house was built for a retirement facility and is a model of their building's front entrance. The landscaping was done mainly in crushed and powdered gingerbread and fondant. The windows panes are linguine." Annie B. Raleigh, NC

  • 6. Finalist: Hotel Harrington

    "This house is the re-creation of a riverside hotel that was torn down in the 1950s to make room for a gas station. I wish I could have seen it, so I tried to recreate its splendor with lots of detail. I used a band saw, Dremel, X-Acto, and I strained my pastry arm on all those windows—but I had a great time!" Rebecca W. Potsdam, NY

  • 7. Finalist: Mr. Twinkles Toy Shop

    "I remember as a child shopping with my mother and peeking into the store windows at all the toys. I used fondant, gum paste and marzipan to create the toys and characters. Everything else is in gingerbread." Annie B. Raleigh, NC

  • 8. Finalist: Colonial Hall

    "I wanted to fashion something with a colonial theme reminiscent of Williamsburg or Independence Hall. Cutting the gingerbread to size before baking, I simply used some sandpaper to ensure a good fit. The house is lit from within with a string of 50 lights and is topped with a few hundred cinnamon cereal shingles." Christopher C. Cedar Park, TX

  • 9. Finalist: Tiki Hut

    "My Tiki Hut is completely edible, except for the paper umbrella. It is made out of gingerbread that was baked weeks ago, and left out to dry and harden. It is assembled using royal icing that hardens fairly quickly. The decorations are made of various candies, and molded gingerbread. There's even a gingerbread bartender holding a gummy soda!" Dana V. Lanoka Harbor, NJ

  • 10. Finalist: Peace

    "I wanted to make a cozy peaceful cottage for Christmas. This is made from gingerbread, icing, candy rocks, and ice cream cone pine trees. I used a knife, ruler, and paint brushes. Thank you!" Mary E. Timonium, MD