I have finished making 25 boxes and have put them together to build a gingerbread house. Now it's all about the decorations.
How to make a gingerbread advent calendar from matchboxes
Instructions for making the boxes were in the previous post. You should start there!
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Some general notes on assembling the houses
When adhering boxes together, be sure you are adhering wrapper to wrapper. You should never be gluing or taping one box to the moving part (the drawer) of another box . Why? Because then the box will be glued shut!
The square boxes on the 4 corners of each layer can be turned to open either to the front or the side. I will show it one way, but feel free to turn the box 90° if you prefer. This may depend upon your decorations, taking into account that anything on the front of a drawer has to be affixed in a way that still allows the drawer to function.
Scroll to the bottom for the 24 box gingerbread house option, and the 24 box farmhouse option.
Assembling the gingerbread (chalet) style house
Use 7 small boxes and 2 large boxes.
Adhere 4 small boxes, side by side. Notice you are gluing the wrappers to each other and the drawers still open and close freely.
Adhere each large box to a small box, mirror image of each other.
Arrange the boxes, adding the last small box. It's at the top center of the photo.
You will not glue any of these pieces together. Every place with a red X is a place where one box wrapper meets the drawer of the adjacent box. If you were to glue these, the drawers would not open.
Instead, tape across the top of every place that is loose. The tape does not impede the function of the drawers as it is adhered only to the wrappers. Flip the boxes over and tape the bottom in the same way.
Cut a square of mat board or cardboard, 7.5" square. This is the bottom of the house. Use a generous amount of adhesive to stick the board to the bottom of this layer of boxes. I prefer tape runner rather than liquid glue.
Use 4 large boxes and 4 small boxes.
I used a lot of tape on this layer. The glue runner wasn't holding the boxes together as well as I would have liked. Flip over and tape the boxes on the other side.
Cut a 7.5" square of card stock and adhere to the bottom of this layer.
Make another layer the same as the middle layer, using the remaining 8 boxes.
Cut three (you may need more) 8" squares from very thick cardboard.
Cut one square on the diagonals to make four triangles. You only need two of them. These are the roof gables.
The two (or more) remaining squares will be the floor of the roof. The floor needs to be about 1/2" thick to keep the roof overhang from getting in the way of the top row of drawers. Since my cardboard was about 1/4" thick, I only needed two squares stacked on top of each other.
Back when you were cutting out your boxes you had some leftover strips that I told you to save. Dig those up!
Glue the two 8" squares together, with a paper strip sandwiched between. You need at least an inch sticking out from the sandwich.
Glue a piece of paper strip on each triangle (roof gable) to make a hinge.
Glue the gables to the roof using the hinges (on the inside) and the paper strips (on the outside) to help hold them in place.
Prop them up with whatever you have, for the moment.
Cut a ridge pole (center beam) for you roof. The exact length will depend upon the thickness of the cardboard you are using. Start with a piece that is too long, and snip it off until it fits between the gable ends. Tape to the peak of the gables.
Use a couple more paper strips to cover the bottom edges of the roof.
Stack them up!
Stack your layers and adhere. Word of warning: check that you have all the layers turned the right direction before you adhere them. (I turned my top layer 90° by mistake. It's not a tragedy, but I have to adjust the decorations for the front of the house.)
24 box gingerbread house
Skip the bottom layer described above. Instead, make a third layer like the middle and top layers, using 4 large boxes and 4 small boxes.
24 box farmhouse
Make three identical layers, 4 small boxes and 4 large boxes, arranged as shown below (top view of the layer). Glue the boxes where they meet wrapper-to-wrapper, and tape where they meet wrapper to drawer. Cut the cardboard base and layer bases 5.5" x 9.5".
Next post, finishing and decorating!