Gingerbread Hotel

Every year I say I am not building a gingerbread house and every year I lose sleep because I never start early. This year is no difference, I decided to build the hotel. The house was due Saturday, I of course started Monday. I learned so much, like isomalt is really hot and I shouldn’t start the Monday before.

My paper mock up – note this changed because I ran out of time.

I also decided to experiment with sugar glue sticks. I poured hot sugar into tinfoil tubes. I made a huge mess and it kind of worked.

Sugar in a sauce pan
Starting to melt
Ready to be poured into aluminum foil tubes
My very messy sugar tubes
Sugar glue stick. I put it into a hot temp glue gun. Several disclaimers – glue guns are not meant to do this, use at your own risk. Do not leave plugged in with sugar sticks it can start on fire. Melted sugar is hot, think of the worst hot glued burn times that by 1000. Don’t use if you are going to eat anything, the glue gun can leach dangerous chemicals.

I did not try this with isomalt only sugar. It was okay with sugar, in the south humidity is brutal so it melted. I did do some research, apparently there once was a isomalt glue gun but they had too many lawsuits and stopped production. I used to do batik dying and used an old electric roasting pan for the wax. I decided to pull that out and try it with isomalt. I also bought a silicon brush for this and to my surprise it worked amazing.

The electric roaster with isomalt.
Battle scar from the isomalt – crazy hot.

I had planned on doing a whole lot more with my gingerbread house. However, I completely under estimated the time it would take to construct it. One big panel took 7 hours, I admit I was not prepared for the time it would take. So I ended up modifying the design.

Side panel these only took 4 hours to do. Had I known I would have done all the pieces separately and “glued” them together with isomalt. They wouldn’t have warped as much.
Cutting balconies
Yep, I put everything together one by one – crazy, I know.
The front of the building complete with balconies (yes this is where they are located – I pulled the rooms).
It is up, it doesn’t look pretty – this is the alien stage. I am aware I should have done all the molding chocolate first, it would have been easier, a lot easier. I needed to see this finished like this to show I was making progress.
Since I changed the design, I needed to fill the side with something so I decided to sculpt the terra cotta pieces from the original DeSoto including this piece. He is made out of gingerclay, the gingerclay works just like real clay, so you can make slip to fill in imperfections.
The original DeSoto not too shabby if I say so myself they really added to the difficulty of the piece. Next time I would pre-dye the clay opposed to painting after.
Starting to take shape. The arched piece was rebuilt four times.
The pool deck taking shape
The Easter Egg – a drunk Alderman because why not?
I also had to make a revolving door. I completely winged this I had no plan. I got some fettuccine noodles and “glued” gelatin sheets to it. The cap was gum paste. The front entrance has to be one of the things I am most proud of.
Back of the piece – pool deck
DeSoto and the other sculptures. Also I have a great GM because he let me sculpt these at the desk.

Shortly after this photo was taken I was adding parsley to the base for grass. I set the parsley down on the ground and both dogs started attacking each other over the parsley. The parsley went everywhere and it took an hour to clean up. This happened at 1am so I could not vacuum since everyone was asleep. I also lost an hour of build time so I went to bed at 4:48am. I was up at 7am so I could get ready for work.

The transport of the piece through the extremely bumpy roads of Savannah.
It survived transport
Photo taken by the amazing Bunny Ware. It also looks like I hadn’t slept in a week (I hadn’t).

It was an amazing experience and I am glad I threw something together in five days. I will say I am already starting to plan for next year. If I can pull it off it would be really cool, I will be starting in January not five days before the event.

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