Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Turning A Friend's Home Into A Giant Gingerbread House, Part 2

Our last-minute gingerbread house project got a little out of hand; now I want to make ALL the cute giant sweets!

We're nearly done, though, so let me show you some fun DIYs:

1) Giant Wrapped Candies:

These are cheap and easy to make, but pack a HUGE punch. I love them so much.

Everything you need is at Dollar Tree: foil wrapping paper (1 roll = 2 candies), small zip ties, and these plastic containers:

Put the lids aside, you won't need them.

Wrap your container lengthwise with the foil...

...then gather up each end and zip-tie them tightly for that wrapped candy look.

I also wrapped two Dollar Tree plastic punch bowls:

The foil won't reach all the way around, but that's ok; just tape it inside the bowl in back:

Then gather the ends and zip-tie.

 Each candy only costs about $2 each, so like I said, HUGE bang for your buck with this one.

Plus so fun! Dangerously so. I want to make moooore.

I used more zip-ties to hang our big candies in this tree:

The branches are rather bendy, but still, turned out pretty cute! These would also look great on exterior walls, trimming a doorway, in a giant garland, or even dangling down from taller trees.


2) Giant Gingerbread Man Cookie:

This sweetie is made with our trusty favorite, pink insulation foam. I found a cookie I liked online to project and trace, but really this is a simple enough shape that you could freehand it.

John cut out the cookie by hand with a craft blade, then routed the edges to round them. While the router is faster, you can easily sand pink foam to round the edges that way.

Pink foam has seams in it, so I like to fill those with spackle before painting. And if you want your cookie to last I recommend an exterior latex paint from the hardware store over craft paint; it's more durable.

The eyes and buttons are both Dollar Tree plastic ornaments, cut in half. (The buttons ornament is bigger.) If you need to paint your ornaments be sure to sand them first, then use a plastic primer spray:

Hot-glue a scrap of pink foam inside each ornament half so you have a way to attach them to the body:

You can also use white caulking around the edges to look like icing.

Now the tricky part: that big 3D icing! You might remember my frustration trying to find giant icing for our Hogwarts Mascot cookies; eventually I gave up and used flat craft foam. (Bah.)

This time John brought me a new option, though:

This "backer rod" is like pipe insulation, only smaller. You can find it at hardware stores like Home Depot or Lowe's. It's a perfectly round foam that cuts easily with a blade, so all you have to do is split the round in half:

... then paint strips of it with two coats of an exterior white latex, so it will still flex:

Once the paint is dry you can hot-glue the strips to your giant cookie:

IMPORTANT TIP:  Score your cookie with a blade or rough it up with sandpaper before gluing on the icing strips, eyes, and buttons. I didn't do this at first, so my hot glue started to pop off after a few days. It was a real pain going back and fixing that, so learn from my experience!

Your icing may chip a little as you're stretching it into shape, so touch that up after.

Here's where I decided I like my men more colorful:

I also decided the vacant white eyes were kinda creepy, so I added vinyl pupils:


We attached a wooded stake down his whole body in back - again, had to score the foam before hot-gluing so it would hold - then drove the stake into the ground.

3) Giant Peppermints & Lollipop

We wanted some giant peppermint accents on the house, so...

You didn't think we were done with pink foam yet, did you? ;)

John cut and routed these 20 inch rounds, then painted them with a white exterior latex for durability:

Next John made a template for the interior swirl shape:

... which I used to cut Dollar Tree red vinyl:

Vinyl is easier and much prettier than paint:


Before I realized vinyl was easier (and prettier) I actually did hand-paint one mint:

So we added green stripes on this one and turned it into a lollipop:

We duct-taped a PVC pole to the back, but you could also use a Dollar Tree broom handle.

Then we used a roll of Dollar Tree clear cellophane to make a bag for the lollipop. One roll was exactly enough to double over the pop and gather underneath with a zip tie:

Last thing, I added a Dollar Tree bow:

We used a longer PVC pipe so there was enough to stick in to the ground:

Oh hey, here's a handy tip: John used a giant concrete bit on his drill to literally drill into the lawn to place the pop and the gingerbread man. This causes the least amount of damage and mess to the lawn, and works like a charm for extra thick grass.

4) Peppermint Stick Columns

Can you really have a gingerbread house without peppermint stick columns? I THINK NOT.

So here's how to make some:

Grab a couple of these 4-foot concrete tubes from your local hardware store. They're essentially heavy cardboard, and ours cost $11 each. Each 4-foot tube will make one 8-foot column.

Cut the tubes in half (which requires either power tools or a LOT of patience), then attach the two pieces end-to-end:

The interiors are heavily waxed, so don't bother attempting any kind of glue; your best bet are heavy duty construction staples through two paint-sticks, like we did here. (You could also use nails or screws, but be sure you don't have any sharp ends sticking out.)

Now you have an 8 foot half-column:

Lay your column over two chair backs to paint it, securing with a little museum putty or tape so it won't rock:

Again, I recommend painting with an exterior latex. Two coats'll do it.

Finally, apply strips of red duct tape at an angle:

And boom bada boom!

A peppermint stick column!

I'm saving the whole house reveal for next time, but here's a peek at what we did with two of our columns:

By placing them under the garage lights, they ended up looking like lamp posts! EEEEEEEEE.


The greenery swags are made from $6 Walmart garlands, since the Dollar Tree dollar trees have taken a real nose dive in quality this year, woof. Do *not* recommend. That's a Dollar Tree red bow, though.

If I have time I'd like to add some of my special sauce "snow" to the swags to brighten the green, since they're a little dark at the moment.

This is all on our friends' Ken & Sue's house, btw, and they are BESIDE themselves with glee. They work from home on a busy street, and every day I'm getting reports of how many cars slowed down to take photos and all the neighbors who came by to chat. It's honestly the best gift we could have given, since these are two of the most generous & loving people we know. Sue says she gets to give the gift of smiles with this house, and is even talking about setting up free cookies at the end of the drive, ha.

I have at least 3 more giant sweets projects I'd love to tackle for this project, plus our new-and-improved icing border on the roofline to show y'all - which you eagle-eyed readers may have already spotted in the background of some of these photos. ::eyebrow waggle::

Stay tuned for all that, plus Festival of Trees coverage, coming up soon!


P.S. In case you haven't been reading Epbot for ten years, here's an old post about Ken, Sue, and John that will brighten your day. (And remind you long-timers why those names are familiar; remember the "manliest thing" John's ever done?)


If you like the silly stuff I do and feature here on Epbot, and want to help fund the fun, you can support me through Paypal! Whether it's a one time tip or a monthly donation, every little bit helps me and John keep pouring our time and hearts into this little corner of the internet - so THANK YOU.


  1. This is looking SO CUTE! I love the giant wrapped candies, what a genius idea!

  2. Oh, my! I've been reading Epbot for ten years!! I remembered the old post about Ken, Sue, & John. It is one of my favorites as it demonstrates true friendship.<3

  3. This is so much fun to watch!

  4. I made peppermint sticks using the inner roll from carpet. I went to our local Home Depot and asked if I could have one that was empty and if they could cut it for me. They very generously did! Spray paint and red streamers and some spray glitter finished it off! It’s a narrower column than your sticks but gets the point across. Ours were for indoor use. It all looks amazing!

  5. Ahhhhhh.... No one warned me that Onion Ninjas were lurking on the other page!! John wins the Most Manly Award!!( for Life!) Although what you are doing for their house is up there!!!
    Pink Foam... It's not just for Insulation!! That is so Amazing!! I Love all your creativity. I may just have to try a few of your ideas out myself!

  6. How do these survive outdoors? I would assume the foil wrapping paper would get destroyed in the rain.

  7. Those giant candies on the couch almost look like they're normal candies on a tiny couch! I love it!

  8. Amazing! Your creativity and generosity are always so inspiring!

  9. You make everything look so easy! You guys are just so talented. These are some of my favorite decorations you've done!

  10. I LOVE the peppermint columns, especially the lamppost ones. Might need to work on that myself...

  11. I didn't want to buy plastic containers for the giant candies, but I realized I buy a plastic container of greens every week, sometimes two. I was able to salvage two from the recycle bin right away and I'll have a couple more before I make these. The great thing is that #1 PET plastic they're made of is easy to recycle and is one of two types of plastic that usually DO get recycled (which is where they were going anyway) so when the season is over, the candies can be dismantled, wrapping saved, and not take up much space. The giant candies are going to be a great addition to my existing topsy-turvy stack of gifts (empty boxes wrapped with leftover paper)

  12. I love this so much, and I think I will be using a lot of this as inspiration to build on the theme I started with my candy-themed wreath.

  13. Love this! I remember my mom making similar candy decor in the early 90s. Iirc she used colored cellophane and strung the containers together over string lights before wrapping so the candies glowed.

  14. I LOVE the pillars and I'm so going to have to do that! I have pillars lining the porch of my house! How do the insulation guys stand up to the weather? Love it in theory, but I'm a set it and forget it gal, and I worry about it degrading quickly outside.


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