Expert tips to engineer the perfect gingerbread house

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: DYLAN CHARETTE
"The foundation is definitely important," said civil engineering professor, Matthew Carson. "That's the first thing that we want to make sure is stable so that our house can sit up straight on its own."

In cementing, or rather icing, a delicious gingerbread house this holiday season, these tips are sure to help take down the tradition of crumbling homes. Fanshawe College civil engineer professor Matthew Carson laid down the groundwork for creating a sturdy gingerbread house.

“We want to have the different steps outlined,” he said. “Starting with the foundation, constructing the walls, and then the roof and further fixtures upon that. Through the process, you’re going to want to consider how you’re going to connect everything and with a real home, you’re going to be nailing things together. With a gingerbread house, you’re going to want to use some sort of icing to get things to stick.”

While making plans to decorate the gingerbread house, it is crucial to be aware of the foundation. Nobody wants their progress collapsing due to the weight of an extra peppermint or gumdrop loaded onto the rooftop.

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“The foundation is definitely important,” stressed Carson. “That's the first thing that we want to make sure is stable so that our house can sit up straight on its own.”

A common problem many gingerbread constructors find themselves in is using too much or too little icing. To help keep things in check, Carson advised you be mindful of your sugar intake during production. Additionally, over-icing falling pieces may add more to the stress of piecing together the perfect holiday home.

Carson highlighted the key idea to a structured house is a structured plan.

“If you can envision what you’re going to do in your mind first, it’ll alleviate that stress because you’ve sort of already done it. Maybe not physically, but you’ve already constructed it in your mind. So, having that foresight will definitely alleviate some of the stress,” said Carson.

“Building an actual house, there might be some thought about the strength of the roof and the applied loads to it,” he added. “For a gingerbread house, make sure that the walls are thick enough to withstand anything that we’re going to be putting on top of it, like the supplied icing loads, so if we can know beforehand that those things are going to be strong enough, you don’t have to worry about them falling through construction after it’s been built.”

Equipped with this advice for having fun, the tradition of watching your gingerbread house collapse in on itself amid icing chaos can finally end.