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Upcycled Wooden Gingerbread Row Houses

November 25, 2023

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Decorative gingerbread houses are all the rage this Christmas season. However they can be pricey.

Here's a fun and easy DIY way to create your own wooden village using thrift store finds.

DIY Gingerbread House

Every year there seems to be one giant, overriding social media theme for Christmas.

And this year, it's gingerbread.

Yes, yes, gingerbread is a classic Christmas staple. We actually make gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve, it's a family tradition. One year, we even made gingerbread men ornaments.

However, this season, it's been all about decorative, decor houses.

Now, I'm not usually a trend kind of girl, but for some reason, this one made me smile, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon, with a little Christmas thrift store makeover of my own.

Although, when I bought my houses, last summer, gingerbread was the farthest thing from my mind.

Granted, it was Christmas in July, when I spotted a sweet set of wooden houses online for an obscene price and thought, hmmm...I could make those. They were also sold out, so it wasn't like I had a choice.

Either way, they were basically unfinished primitive, wooden shapes, with cut out windows and lights shining through them from behind.

I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to put it all together, but then a few days later in one of my favorite thrift stores, I found this wall sign from the 80's

For a dollar.

1980s Wooden Row House Sign

And I knew right away it'd be perfect. 

Until I realized that cutting through the particle board was going to be impossible. That was kind of a bummer, but I knew I'd find another way to use them.

Then right before Halloween, I spotted a hand painted wooden gingerbread house in a catalog. and that's all it took.

I grabbed my old thrift store row houses and started painting.

The Holiday How To:


There are tons of wooden houses in second hand shops. You don't need a row of houses for your village. You can start with one house and build on your collection over time. 

Creating Wooden Gingerbread Houses Tutorial with paint

It took about 4 coats to cover up the old design with my terracotta colored acrylic paint, but when I was done it really did look like a warm gingerbread cookie that just came out of the oven.

Of course, it was an undecorated one. So I got busy frosting it.

Wooden Gingerbread House

To start, I used a pencil and a few rulers. First, I put lines in between each of the houses to create some definition.


Then it was time for the fun part.

Freehand swirls, curl, hearts and dots.

No rules or patterns to follow, just some relaxed drawing to turn those old houses into holiday decor.

Decorating Wooden Gingerbread Houses

Now, I have to be honest, I love crafting, it's my passion and my meditation...but...this was one of the most relaxing projects I've ever done. I highly recommend it.

There was just something very enjoyable about the process, listening to Christmas carols and singing along. Joyful.

And slightly addictive.

The merriment continued as I drew over my pencil lines with a white paint marker to mimic the frosting.

Using Paint Markers On Wooden Gingerbread House DIY

I went over each part of my handmade pattern slowly and carefully.

Then I used the eraser to remove any of the pencil marks that were peeking through the paint.

Row Of Wooden Gingerbread Houses DIY

When I was done, I had a brand new set of gingerbread row houses that I absolutely adored.

DIY Wooden Gingerbread Houses

I also had an hour of creative memories behind me.

And a desire to make more of these deliciously trendy cottages. Unfortunately, I was fresh out of houses.

Instead, I picked up my paintbrush and added some snow on top of the roofs.

Hand painted Gingerbread Houses DIY on display

A few days later, answering the call of the craft, I covered the entire row of tiny homes with a sprinkling of sugar. I mean glitter.

Glitter Gingerbread Houses DIY

For an extra bit of sweetness.

To satisfy my Christmas crafting sweet tooth.

DIY Gingerbread House on  shelf next to Santa figurine

Besides, I figure if I ever want an unsugared gingerbread cookie row of houses...

...there's always the backside of this one to paint and decorate.

Although, I should probably wait until the glitter glue dries.

That should be any minute now, right?

😉

Have you hopped on the gingerbread trend?

Hey, don't go away! It's time for another hop from the Do It Over Designers hosted by Ann of The Apple Street Cottage. Aren't you excited?

Do It Over Designers Blog Hop Graphic

Remember that poll I took a few weeks ago about blog hops? 70% of you said you love them. 

So today is your lucky day! Let's hop!


















Kim Signature


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  1. I love how it looks all sugared up; the 'sweeter', the better! I once made a gingerbread 'mall' to auction for charity and it sure wasn't as relaxing as this. I have to try this one; it's such a lovely shelf sitter.

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    1. Thanks Sara! I was a little disappointed that my original idea wasn't going to work, but this turned out so much better. Meant to be...

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    2. Yes, definitely meant to be and who knows? Maybe you can circle back to your original idea again next year!

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  2. What vision you had for this old village!! This is so adorable and you made it look so easy by using a paint pen!

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    1. Thank you, Patti! I really enjoyed making this one and yes, so easy. Even the kiddies could do this one with success.

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  3. I absolutely love this!

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    1. Thank you! It was super fun to do! If you have a chance, give it a try. ☺️

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  4. That's adorable! The rest of the peeps have finally caught up with me. I have had a gingerbread kitchen Christmas tree for years and I have a few wonderful gingerbread houses. I have finally quit collecting but I love them and the sweet sense of nostalgia they add to my house. However, even though I have quit ADDING TO---if I find one of those signs from the 80s/90s I might be tempted to follow in your footsteps. xo xo xo Diana

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    1. Diana, I'm honored that you consider my idea worthy of your collection! I think one of the first Christmas gingerbread ideas I ever saved, was your gingerbread cookie garland. Now that is a cute, crafty and creative idea. You were so ahead of the pack!! As always...😉 Wishing you a lovely weekend and hoping your Thanksgiving was fabulous and filled with family...and a Scruffy little pup. xo

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  5. Oh, Kim, what a transformation! I just love your gingerbread houses and how you created them. Precious!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ann! I enjoyed this one, a lot. I guess coloring is my strong suit. 😉 Happy hopping and thanks for hosting!

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  6. I am soooooo into the Gingerbread trend and must have saved a 100 inspiration pictures (okay make that 101, coz I'm adding yours). They turned out perfectly. This one's a keeper. Sending love from South Africa

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    1. I have to admit I'm smitten, too, Michelle! I just bought some cute gift tags and have a few ideas to make. I think it's going to be a gingerbread Christmas around here for sure!! Thanks for the visit, my far away friend!!

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  7. This turned out wonderful Kim. So much better than the original. I love upcycling things for christmas.

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    1. Thanks Mary! I love Christmas upcyling, too!!

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  8. Your gingerbread row houses upcycle is definitely an over the top, super cool creation, Kim! It certainly is a wonderful way to build memories and create holiday traditions! I am truly blown away with all the amazing projects in this blog hop!

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    1. Thanks so much, Gail! I really did have fun making this one. I'm also happy it only cost me a buck to do, too, since I had all the supplies on hand. I agree with you about the hop, everyone is so creative! Love your basket tree...what a fun find!! Happy Holidays!

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  9. I have Ben “into” Gingerbread houses for years! There are ways to save your crafted house for years!! By using a white colored glue stick in your glue gun instead of icing! The sticks are available on Amazon. I put my house together with it, attach candy & mints, add snow dripping off rooftops… and after season is over, carefully wrap first in plastic wrap, then in bubble wrap. Box & store on a high garage shelf! The heat of summer ‘bakes’ out any moisture & helps preserve for years to come!!

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    1. What a great tip!! I love it, thanks so much for sharing. We make houses every year and then toss them, because of all the frosting, etc. This year, we might have to give your glue trick a try so we can keep our treasures for more that just one season!! Thanks!!

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  10. This is the most adorable gingerbread vision I've seen so far this year Kim, I love it and now I've got to find something I can make my own gingerbread house with!

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    1. Aw, thanks so much, Tania!! I really enjoyed myself with this one. I almost forgot to take pictures I was having so much fun. I hope you find a few houses of your own. Happy hopping!

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  11. Look at your crafty girl. This is just adorable. Gingerbread is all the rage too. I love your vision when you can re love something into something better. Hugs. Kris

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    1. Thanks so much, Kris! Re-loving things is one of my all time favorite pastimes. These houses were so much fun to make. I hope you have a lovely week!

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  12. This may be my favorite thing ever. Very adorable and the paint pen is genius! I will definitely keep my eyes open for a similar house I can upcycle to gingerbread!

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    1. Gina, your comment made me smile from one ear to another. I'm so glad you like this one. I hope you find a few houses and have a great time creating some gingerbread of your own!!

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  13. I have always been fond of gingerbread accents in the kitchen during the holidays so I love your thrifty upcycle, and your icing details are perfect!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cecilia! I'm glad you like my icing job. ☺️

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  14. This gingerbread terrace is totally adorable, such a great makeover. Do you call a row of joined houses like this a terrace or is that just a UK thing? Funnily enough I had a ceramic tealight house in my hand in a charity shop just yesterday and though it might make a good gingerbread house but I put it back on the shelf. I think I might regret that now as this is so cute!

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    1. Oh gosh been there too many times! I've also given things away and then days later saw something cute to make and thought, oops. Oh well! Thanks for sweet comment. I really like this makeover, too...and languages are so funny aren't they? Words can mean one thing here and another thing there and vice versa. So here a terrace is a balcony and joined houses are called row houses.

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  15. Way to take an 80's piece and make it new again. Adorable.

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    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! Upcycled and on trend for a buck!

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  16. Your gingerbread row houses are so lovely! They really do look like gingerbread. I love to craft with paint pens too, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for some wooden houses at the thrift stores. I'd love to give this a try.

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    1. Thank you! I have to admit that paint pens weren't my first idea for the icing. I was going to use fluffy snow and a brush, but then, as luck would have it, I saw a paint pen in my craft drawer and knew it'd be much easier to control. Phew!

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  17. Love this project! I have been seeing these wood block houses in the thrift stores for weeks and it never crossed my mind that they could be remade into gingerbread houses! Now I am kicking myself for not buying them anyway. I will be making a trip back to find them. Thanks for sharing an inspiring project.

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    1. So funny, Donna, I've seen them all over for years and never thought about making gingerbread houses until now. Of course, moving forward I'm going to be collecting them and "icing" them all year long!! 😉

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  18. This is fantastic! What a clever use for that piece. I LOVE gingerbread--decorating, eating, all of it. We do gingerbread houses every year also (and I sometimes also make gingerbread men ornaments), so I have a little "gingerbread village" display and your row houses would be perfect there. So cute. Visiting from Love Your Creativity linkup.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Jennifer and for leaving such a sweet (no pun intended) comment! I've always been a gingerbread fan, but now I'm obsessed!! Happy Holidays!!

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  19. Oh Kim! This is one of my favorite things you've done! I love it!

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    1. Thanks Deanna!! I have to say, I'm usually all about the product, but with this one, I didn't want the process to end. So fun!!

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  20. This is so sweet and cozy, I LOVE IT!!! I am going to pin this idea.
    Carla

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    1. Thanks Carla!! I love this one, too. I'm itching to hit the thrift stores to find more houses and start "icing" again!! xo

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  21. This adorable!!!
    It might be fun to do the other side in a more colorful "candied" style! Painted on ,of course. Gumdrops, peppermint canes and confetti sprinkles!!

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  22. This is adorable Kim! Your artistry talents are shining in this craft! It is so fun to craft, and enjoy the Christmas season :)

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