Now that Thanksgiving is officially over (I hope you all had a great – if somewhat smaller – celebration, by the way) it’s on to my absolute favorite time of the year – Christmas. I will fully admit that my entire house is already decorated and the holiday crafting and cooking is already reaching a fever pitch. With the boys home a lot more than they traditionally are this time of year and sports not happening to keep them busy, mama has been tasked with coming up with some fun family ideas that fit right in with the festive feel of the season. Traditionally, I order ginger bread houses for the guys to assemble but this year, I opted for a simpler option by making my very own DIY Miniature Graham Cracker Houses. There is no baking required for this fun holiday craft and literally all you need to bring it to life is graham crackers, a few simple pantry ingredients and any candy you happen to have in your home (including those Halloween leftovers!). Even better, it’s 100% edible which the kids love. Here how to assemble and decorate your very own DIY Miniature Graham Cracker houses with your family.
This smaller version of traditional gingerbread houses is perfect for little hands and the best part is, there’s no cooking and very little assembly required. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- 5 full graham crackers (per house)
- 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- 2-3 teaspoons of milk (plus more if needed)
- 2-3 teaspoons of light Caro syrup
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Variety of candy
- Piping bag and tip
Since these houses are super small, you only need five graham crackers and some “glue” to put it together. You can build them on a paper plate or, if you want to follow my lead, simply cover a small piece of cardboard (you know you’ve got plenty from online shopping!) with parchment paper and secure it on the bottom with tape. Once you’ve got a platform ready, it’s time to cut the graham crackers. Using a serrated knife, cut one of the graham crackers in half. Then cut off one fourth of two of the other graham crackers. Finally, for your last two graham crackers, angle your knife diagonally on the second half and cut both sides to create a peak.
Once your miniature graham cracker houses are ready to be assembled, you need to whip up something to stick them together. To do this, you want a thick (and I do mean thick) royal icing. Make it by adding one cup confectioner’s sugar, 2-3 teaspoons of milk, 2-3 teaspoons of light Caro syrup and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to a bowl. Stir the mixture well until it forms a thick paste. If it’s too loose, add more confectioner’s sugar and if it’s too stiff, add a little more milk. You should end up with an almost glue-like consistency.
Once you’ve got the icing made, dip the bottom of each of the two end pieces into it and stick them on your plate or board. Then dip the small pieces on THREE sides and stick them to the plate of board and to the sides of the pointed pieces. Your structure will look like this:
Finally, spread some of the royal icing on the two pieces that are 3/4 of a graham cracker and place them on top, adding royal icing to the top seam and holding them in place for about one minute until the icing sets and your structure is secure. You’ll likely have icing spilling out at the seams but it won’t matter one bit once you start to decorate your DIY Miniature Graham Cracker houses.
Once the house is totally assembled, let it dry. Please listen to me here – you want the icing to really harden and the structure of your Miniature Graham Cracker Houses to be secure. Letting it set for about 30 minutes will do:-) When the icing is hardened and you can gently shake the graham cracker house without it sliding, you’re ready to start decorating! You don’t have to go stock up on anything special to make the decorations divine. Simple check your pantry for easy ideas like:
- Hershey Bars
- Hershey Kisses
- And more!
Once you’ve got plenty of candy on hand to make your decorations amazing, add a small amount of the left over royal icing (heat it for about 15 seconds in the microwave if it’s hardened) to a piping bag with a tip and add the rest to a bowl. Then allow your kids to pipe, dip and stick their way to a creation that will delight them.
No matter what they end up creating, you’re guaranteed an afternoon of fun that they will never forget! And the best part is, if they work up an appetite, they can have a small sweet snack by pulling off pieces of their creation.
While gingerbread houses have been our holiday tradition in the past, we will be making these DIY Miniature Graham Cracker Houses every year going forward and I think once you give them a try, this is a tradition you will love as well! Enjoy!