Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!)

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics!You may not know this about me, but I am a champion gingerbread house maker. No really, when I was growing up I won the gingerbread house contest at the library three straight years in a row. Impressed? You probably should be. The ones I can remember were a Hansel and Gretel type cottage with a thatched (shredded wheat) roof, and a two-story English Tudor style mansion. I really owe it all to my art teacher mom who taught us all the cool tricks to making unique gingerbread houses. When Emma suggested we make a house for the blog this year, I almost leapt out of my seat. I had Palm Springs on my mind at the time, and it seemed like the perfect style of house to “candify” for this project. Houses like this one are pretty involved, so instead of an exact DIY, I’ll share my top tips for making a gingerbread house so you can make your own idea! 

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! 1. Think outside the box. Listen, any gingerbread house is cute, but to take it to the next level, try to think of an idea that’s different from the standard house. Put your house in a tropical location, make a French country cottage, or maybe a Swiss ski chalet for a winter house twist. The more unique the location, the better!

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! 2. Royal icing is your friend. If you’ve made a gingerbread house before, you can probably sing your own praises about royal icing. It’s great because you can make big batches of it, tint it as needed, and use it in lots of different ways. You can spread it with a spatula for larger areas of color (like I did on the sides of my house), or you can put it into a baggie, cut off the corner tip, and use it as decorative piping or to glue something in place. I used this recipe this year.

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! 3. Cheat! It’s not the SAT/ACTs, people. You are free to cheat in any way you can think of when it comes to gingerbread houses. Since I was planning on covering all angles of my house with either graham crackers or icing, I didn’t choose gingerbread as the base of the house and used a foam core structure instead. Another cheat is to use hot glue as needed. Even though the royal icing is what’s holding almost everything in place, there were a few times I needed a little bit of hot glue to really secure the item. Ain’t no shame in my hot glue game. Also, those palm trees weren’t going to stand up that tall without a little help. I glued wire structures to the base so I could slide the cookie tubes down onto the wire. The palm tree leaves got some help from a thin wire as well.

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! 4. First search for the candy versions of items you need (even if they are weird). Spending some time doing an Internet search or scouring your local candy stores before you try and make it yourself can really pay off (and you may be surprised at what you find)! I couldn’t believe it when I found a chocolate mold for a prickly pear cactus, but it was exactly what I needed for my landscape. And since it was a mold that I could do myself, I was able to mix my own colors. Who would have thought that existed?!

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! 5. Think about levels. Adding some levels to your gingerbread landscape can really give your house some depth and make it feel more realistic and interesting. Even though my house is a one story ranch-style house, the towering palm trees add a lot of height to the scene. I even made the base of the house two layers thick with foam core so I could cut out the pool in the top layer. That way it would actually sink into the ground. 

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! 6. Don’t forget the details! I think gingerbread houses are really made in the details. It’s the little things like mixing different colors of cacti and shrubs, adding little stone retainer walls around all the plants, placing an inner tube in the pool, or making two tiny pool loungers with a beach towel on the chair. And I know it’s not edible, but isn’t that vintage pink bug just to die for?? These are the things that really make the house come to life, so don’t get so caught up in the big things that you miss adding some small touches too. 

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! In case you’re wondering what all the items are, here are a few charts to identify all the materials I used. With the exception of the cactus molds, the pink car, and the bulk order of green sprinkles, all the materials were found locally either at a candy store or just at the grocery store.

Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! Palm Springs Gingerbread House (OMG!!) Click through for more pics! This is probably one of my favorite projects that I’ve done this year. It was just too much fun! I can’t wait to start thinking of ideas for next year. What kinds of unique gingerbread house would you like to see? xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Project Assistant: Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

  • I’m going to recreate this house for a contest and was wondering where you found the non colored nerds? Where I live all we have are crazy colored ones so I was curious what they are called where you live and where you found them??

  • I love this! But is this the way they make ‘gingerbread houses’ without using gingerbread at all? I love each and every detail, especially the icee gel pool!?!? I didn’t even know they made ice gel! Now I want to learn more about gingerbread house making. Also did you make the entire base out of foam core and then painted it green and gray? I would like a tutorial on how the base /stand was created!

    • I love how creative this is – amazing! Do you have a pattern for the base you’d be willing to share?

  • This is the cutest Gingerbread house ever! It looks like a vacation beach house that I would love to go to.


  • Best thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, hands down. You win at life girlfriend.

    The pebbles. The sprinkly grass. That pool and diving board. You took it above and beyond!

  • OBSESSED. i studied model making in school, and this just makes me so. freaking. giddy.

  • this is adorable and hilarious all at the same time! awesome work!

  • Why do I love this soooo much? It must be the attention to detail. No, maybe its the creativity. This deserves first price in any gingerbread house contest on earth. Congrats!!!

  • Oh my goodness, this is just about the cutest thing ever!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Well, there isn’t really a phrase for a gingerbread house without gingerbread (maybe a “candy house”?) so that’s just what we always call it at my house and people seem to get the idea 🙂


  • It shouldn’t mold or look weird for a while (most of that stuff has a ton of preservatives and royal icing can last for weeks) so it should be fine until after Christmas. And I think just me and E +E have art teacher moms!

    Laura 🙂

  • Well, there isn’t really a phrase for a gingerbread house without gingerbread (maybe a “candy house”?) so that’s just what we always call it 🙂


  • It’s more of a “candy house” but that’s not really a phrase, so it’s a gingerbread house sans the gingerbread 🙂


  • is it bad that I just wan’t to lick off all the grass? That would be like mowing the lawn but tasty-style ^_^

  • this is so great Laura!
    not sure if you’ve heard of it, but there’s floating around lately. they made some super cute houses. next year you should try to partner with them 🙂

  • Nice! I just saw the hundreds of entries for the gingerbread championship in North Carolina at the Pine Grove Inn and they were georgeous. The winner was a full chess table with characters. Your work is lovely.

  • GUYSSSSSS!!!!! This is mental. I can’t even believe it. Laura you crazy gingerbread house cat woman!!! Love it.

  • Love thata conqrete counter top!
    Have you eaten this wonderful house??? i couldn´t

  • Oh my gosh this is amazing! I have never done a gingerbread house ever and I think I’m up to the challenge this year. We’ll see. Nonetheless, this is amazing and beyond beautiful. There is so much creativity here it rocks!

  • I love how you guys are really creative and I really do love your blog! 🙂

    Would you mind checking mine out too? I would really appreciate it. 😀

  • WOW!! You are so creative!! That house is just the best gingerbread house ever!!!

  • And I used to think i am a pretty good baker… this is totally next level and absolutely awesome!!!

    No wonder you won the contest several times:)

    Great job!!!! and i am really looking forward to the next one! maybe you can do one per holiday? would be interesting to see an Easter themed one next 🙂

  • OMG! This is incredible! Best gingerbread house I have ever seen! So creative!

  • This looks amazing and so original! How long did it take for you to make this? (Just to get an idea what I would be getting myself into 😉


  • I don’t want to be picky, this house is really amazing, but how could you call it a gingerbread house if you don’t use gingerbread? Coming from Sweden I guess I’m used to the old fashioned way….

  • Wow this could easily be DIY project of the year Laura! This is so incredible and inspiring. What a lovely dreamy house..You are so talented.. <3

  • So cute! I live in Rancho Mirage, and your holiday house suits the Palm Springs vibe to a “T”! Love it!

  • Good gawd that is awesome! Wondering two things:
    1) Do you preserve that? And if so, how? All over shellac?
    2) How many of ABM crews’ mothers are art teachers? That explains the level of artsy and inspiration ABM always puts forth!!

  • WAAAY too awesome. I love it so much. I’m just wondering what you guys plan to do with it after?! Haha 🙂

    Happy holidays to you all!!! <3

  • This is amazingly impressive, Laura!!
    You should post some pictures of your winning gingerbread houses on instagram or here, I would love to see them!

  • THIS IS SO AMAZING!!! The grass sprinkles is so creative! I would have never thought of that..I would have probably used green jelly beans haha 🙂

  • This is just adorable! I love how creative you guys are … it’s so very inspiring : )

  • This is incredible! I’d love to be so creative. Well done 🙂 xx

  • Wow, I’m almost speechless. But not completely. This gingerbread mansion is a complete delight. I love that you created an unconventional design & really went for it. Also, who knew about the chocolate cactus mold?? :] // ▲

  • This is just the cutest thing! The passion that went into it really shines through. Every bit of it just screams FUN!

  • This is definitely a REALLY cool food art project but… is it really fair to call it a gingerbread house when there is no gingerbread involved?

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! The pink door, the cute car, the amazing pool, just amazing…


  • This house is so amazing! Seriously, this one would definitely win a competition. As far as ideas, I would like to make a beach hut one…since I live on Long Island. 🙂
    Xx, Marketa

  • Oh my gosh that is amazing! So creative! I want to make a billion versions ASAP! So cool I can’t even…

  • I must confess; never made a gingerbread house. Around here (The Netherlands) they are not that popular. But after I saw this one I really, really want to make one. You are so creative! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • So beautiful, Laura! Really amazing! I am a little confused – where is the gingerbread?

  • This blows everything I ever thought about gingerbread houses out of the water! AMAZINGGGG!!!

  • OMG! This is amazing! Exactly why I love this blog!
    I’ve never made a gingerbread house myself, but this tempts me to do it!

  • Hey there i’m a blogger, read my blog
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  • I’m really confused by this more than anything! It looks delicious but only the accessories are edible??

  • Loving this sooo much! This is making me sad I didn’t think to make a gingerbread house this year. I know there are still a few weeks left, but I’ll be away as of this Friday, so it’s probably not worth it. 🙁

  • The is the best gingerbread house I’ve ever seen! Great job, Laura! You’ve had some AMAZING projects this year, you’re such an asset to the ABM team! 😉

  • HAHAHA this is SO awesome!! Total inspiration here, I want to try and do a Treehouse or a Yurt! Edible yurt anyone?
    Champagne for Everyday – A San Francisco Based Lifestyle and Fashion Blog

  • Seriously?!? This is REMARKABLE! I’m so inspired to try these techniques. My sis and I tried making a gingerbread house a few years back and it collapsed. I didn’t even know that you could “cheat”. I learned so much from this. I completely agree with another commenter about recreating the ABM house next year! Maybe for some of the details you could have one of your cats in a tree and some of the ABM pups in the yard. I love when your furry companions make an appearance on the blog <3
    xx Jay

  • I second Kristina’s motion to do an ABM Studio House gingerbread! That would be SO cute!

  • HOLY COW. (Or I guess, holy candy?) I can’t even believe how amazing this came out. In full disclosure, I tried to make a gingerbread house with my friend last week and the whole thing just totally fell apart and collapsed on itself within about 5 minutes. I think it was probably that the icing we were using was not the best, but still. So maybe for next year I’ll focus a bit more on getting the basics down before attempting something this amazing.

    xx Kathryn

  • Holy cow, I can’t even believe how professional this looks! It’s the sort of thing you’d see up in a holiday art gallery of fancy gingerbread houses or something. My favorite details are the Airheads as the palm tree leaves and the grass as sprinkles. Absolutely stunning work, Laura.


  • Amazeballs- that is awesome. Next year try making your royal icing with meringue powder, you can get it very stiff and total glue like. It’s awesome.

  • Who said gingerbread was limited to winter? This is awesome! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Oh my goodness this is the cutest thing ever, all the way down the the beatle and the palm trees!

  • My fiancé and I have “gingerbread house wars” every year on Christmas eve and I can’t wait to use all of these tips!! (hehe)

    Next year you should re-create the ABM studio house 😉 thanks Laura!!

  • Submit to the national competition! They are always on display at Grove Park Inn in Asheville NC and it is so fun to visit!

  • Looks so so good Laura! I can tell you had fun with it by how amazing the details are. I live in Florida and the feel is just spot on.
    We must be kindred spirits, I made a little house (waaaay simpler) for my kids out of craft supplies and puzzle pieces last week. I had so much fun that they left to watch a movie and I finished it by myself.
    Loved this post!

  • Wow! This is the most amazing Gingerbread House I think I have ever seen. So impressive! Great job

  • This is adorable! So many details but it looks so simple and true!! (especially this time of year, I’m surrounded by wintery things on the Internet and I’m from Chile, it’s super hot in here!)

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