It is that time of year and with every Christmas season comes a new trend that you will see in stores when you are shopping. This year you cannot help but see the cute ceramic gingerbread houses everywhere. There are gingerbread house doormats, gingerbread house ornaments, and even gingerbread house plates and serving dishes. You name it there is a gingerbread house in some shape or form this year. My all-time favorite form of this trend is the Pottery Barn gingerbread houses so I decided to make my own gingerbread house diy. Click here if you want to see what they look like.
At first, I thought of making them with balsa wood and then I thought I could just buy some pre-made house forms at the dollar store, but then I had an ingenious idea. What about taking some of the Christmas houses that I have collected over the years and turn them in look-alikes for the Pottery Barn gingerbread houses?
Come let me show you just how easy it is!
- ceramic Christmas house
- ceramic Christmas house accessories such as trees, bridges, signs, etc.
- wood trees
- DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic paint in Tan
- white acrylic paint
- white sharpie marker or Trimbrite Tire Lettermate pen in white
- Air-Dry Clay in white
- flat paint brushes – 1 inch wide and 1/4″ inch wide
You can do this project with all the different sizes of Christmas houses or even the larger ones. So get digging into all your old boxes of Christmas decor and see what you can find.
I found a cute little bridge.
Along with these trees.
Step 1: Clean
Clean all items to be painted. If they have a glossy surface, give them a light sanding and then wipe with a damp cloth until fully clean.
If you use wood trees like I did, make sure there are no loose pieces. If there are, remove and sand that area until it is smooth.
Step 2: Basecoat
Apply an even coat of tan acrylic paint to all of the pieces. Leave to dry.
Apply a second coat if there are still original colors showing through. Let dry.
With the trees, also completely cover the tree portion and whatever the base is in full coverage tan acrylic paint. Let dry and set aside.
Also paint any accessories tan.
Step 3: Apply clay as snow to houses
My Christmas houses only had patches of snow on them and I wanted it to look like a heavy snowfall had just occurred so I applied a thick layer of Air-Dry Clay.
To apply the clay, break off pieces and push them into the roof and any areas where snow would naturally fall.
You can have some snow hanging over the edges or if your Christmas house has details on the fascia (ie the wooden trim that is located just under the roof line) then have the snow end where the roof ends. I looked at photos and snow on rooftops can droop over or be upright.
Dip your fingers in water often to make the clay easier to work with and to mold the pieces together for a smooth finish.
Follow the instructions for drying time on your particular clay. Mine said 2 to 3 days. Due to the thickness of most of my clay it took 3 days.
Step 4: Paint snow
My clay when dry was not a pure white, so I painted it with pure white acrylic paint. There were some cracks in my clay, so I put the paint on very thickly.
You could also add white sparkles to the paint while it is still wet. I wanted to follow the Pottery Barn style, so I did not add sprinkles.
Also paint any other areas where snow would sit such as the ground around the house, on top of any wreaths or other adornments on the outside of the house.
My Christmas house and church had some very small rooftops. I did not cover these in clay because it would have been over powering. In these areas, just paint a few coats of white paint to look like freshly landed snow.
Step 5: Add gingerbread details
As you will see on the Pottery Barn gingerbread houses, they have lots of white details such as dots, swirls, etc. My Christmas house and church had a lot of embossed details, so I followed those details and highlighted them with a white Tire Lettermate pen.
The areas I added the white detailing to were:
- door and window frames
- door knobs
- roof details
- edging on signs
My pen did not give thick enough coverage on the first round so I let it dry for a day and then came back and added another layer to make it a crispy white.
If you use a lettermate pen like I did, remember to shake often and depress the tip on a separate piece of paper. If the ink flows out quickly, make sure to wipe with a paper towel.
There are so many different options in how to finish them so take some time to think about what would work the best in your home and add all the intricate detail you love.
Step 6: Re-touch tan areas
If you got clay, white paint or white ink on any of the tan areas, be sure to go back and re-apply tan paint to cover the white so it does not look messy. Also make sure that you apply the tan in a smooth fashion so that it is not lumpy.
Step 7: Turning the wood trees into gingerbread trees
My trees had a thick bark base, so I felt that snow would naturally gather on top of the base. Once again we will be using the quick dry clay in the same manner above, however, I did allow the snow to cascade over the edges to add some interest. Let dry thoroughly.
Paint the snow and fill in any cracks with white paint. Let dry.
Now it is time to add the white details to the trees. Of course this will depend on style of tree you have. Mine are thick but flat so I am just adding simple details. If yours are more 3D you can simply add white paint to where the snow would land and stick to branches. This would be the ends and the more level areas or the very top of the tree.
For trees such as my flat one dimensional kind, start by painting the edges in a bright white acrylic paint. Let fully dry.
Next outline the front face of the tree with white paint and swoop inward and upwards at the end of each branch.
Step 8: Accessories
My accessory is the cutest stone bridge and I simply painted the areas that would get snow such as the ground and top railing in white. I glopped the paint on so that it had texture.
Step 9: Style
Now for the fun part – styling. Find a fun spot to display your beautiful creations such as a bookshelf, china cabinet, entrance or coffee table, etc.
My trees were quite large, so I set them in the background. Set the houses up in a pleasing manner in the foreground. Add in your accessories. I made a little frozen creek out of tinfoil.
Sprinkle all items with faux snow.
These Pottery Barn dupes are going to be one of your favorite transformations. How wonderful to pull something out of a box that you once loved and transform it into the similar look of something from a high-end store at a fraction of the price! Simply the cost of the paint and clay and now you have the most lovely new holiday decor.
Not everyone can chase every trend and always have the latest Christmas decor – I know I sure can’t! When I can save money that makes me and my husband very, very happy. In fact, these little houses are now making my whole family happy not just because they are saving us money but because we have always loved these houses. Unfortunately, they were looking a little old and out of style but with this paint technique they are right back in style.
If you are short on money, but blessed with many houses that are sitting in boxes, consider giving the updated houses as gifts. You are bound to make a friend or family member very, very happy!
These Pottery Barn gingerbread houses are my absolute favorite diy dupe to date! I hope they will be yours too!
Thank you for staying until the end. I appreciate your support and hope you enjoyed the project.
Looking for more inspo?
This Christmas I changed up my decor and embraced gold. It turned out better than I could have imagined. Click here for the post.
If you are looking for something unique to hang on the back of your chairs, this easy project is fun and inexpensive. Click here for the project.
Looking for something sweet and beautiful? These Christmas cookies fulfil both requirements. Just click here.