There is one absolutely crucial fact you need to know to prevent structural collapse in your gingerbread home.
It is all about the icing.
If you want your walls and roof to stay where you want them, you MUST get the consistency of the icing right.
Sometimes the directions on the kit will tell you the icing should have the consistency of toothpaste.
Please note: Either they are deliberately lying to you, or else they are brushing with some seriously thick toothpaste! Don’t listen to them.
First of all, don’t even think of it as icing. Think of it as mortar. This will give you a more accurate idea of how thick it should be.
Be very stingy with your water. Make the icing so thick it will bend a spoon. Make it so thick it is like dough, and almost rolls into a ball. Use plenty of it. If you get it thick enough, there is virtually no “drying time”. This best if you have children. Kids like gingerbread houses but they do not like waiting. Waiting is boring. Ask any kid.
Remember that the roof sections of the house will need to fight gravity, unlike the walls. You may need to hold the roof for a few moments, until it sets, to prevent sliding.
When your house is firmly together, you can add very miniscule amounts of water to the remaining icing until it is thickly spreadable, but not at all drippy. Decorate the sides of the house before icing the roof, because it adds weight. The softened icing will allow you to do a little piping (with the bag and nozzle) and ice the roof.
A few other tips:
If your roof has a gap at the top, use more thick frosting and then cover with large gumdrops. No problem.
If you are piping (squeezing with the bag and nozzle) and your icing gets too soft from the warmth of your hands, pop the piping bag into the freezer for a few moments and it will harden up. Just don’t forget it is in there.
To make your house stick to the base, add icing to the undersides of the walls or just add some icing along the bottom edge after it is assembled to prevent slipping. If it looks messy, just slap some candy over it.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun. If it were a job, someone would be paying you. Don’t get upset. It is only gingerbread, not your actual home. If all else fails, just break it apart, frost it, and call it cookies!