Susan Davidson has been making candy houses since 1984, when an old family friend, Ruth Gutenkunst O'Malley, mentioned making candy houses when she was a girl and shared her frosting recipe.

Making candy houses is a Christmas tradition that Susan has shared with her family, friends and students (She's an elementary school art teacher) for 25 years. Last season, she put her cookie exchange friends to task.

She asked them to bring peppermints, gumdrops, candy canes, ribbon candy, cereal, pretzels and whatever else to add to her stash of trims.

The project is simple. You can cut the house pattern out of cardboard boxes, hot glue the pieces together and hot glue the house on an upside-down, thick paper plate. Or you can use a small milk carton as the house, like she does for my kindergarten students.

Frosting is used to cover the house and adhere the candy. Cereals, cookies and crackers become roofs, doors and windows. Small pretzel knots are used for fences, an upside-down ice cream come makes a great tree — the possibilities are endless. You really start to look at candy differently.

One thing is certain &mdash you'll have lots of fun making candy houses.

Here are some tips from Susan about making candy houses:

  • The frosting should be made the day of the "event" or can be made a day ahead if the frosting container is sealed tightly and put in the refrigerator. The frosting dries quickly so keep unused portions covered. I usually make a double batch. A single batch frosts 5 small milk carton houses and a double batch frosts 3 houses like the pattern provided.
  • I am an art teacher at Swallow Elementary School in Hartland, Wisconsin and always love to have a fun project for the holidays. The kindergarten teachers save the milk cartons. I send home a list with the students of what types of candy, cookies, cereals and crackers to bring in. I hot glue the milk cartons on an upside down thick paper plate, put names on the underside of the plates and make the frosting. Parents of my kindergarten students are invited to come help divide the candy on the tables and frost the houses. I talk about being an architect and ask my students how they would design a house made out of candy needing a door, windows, roof etc. Following the frosting of the building (milk carton), my students start to decorate the building with all of the candy and stuff that they brought. The project dries in 2 days and the parents stop by after the School Christmas program to take their children's creations home.
  • I have made the houses out of corrugated cardboard but you could also make it out of wood. What about your own house in miniature?

PDF: Candy House Pattern »