Materials and Techniques:
To make the gingerbread house, you will need:
- Size 10 Delicas
- Seed beads – size 8
- Size 15 seed beads
- 4mm round beads or pearls
You will be working in Peyote stitch and basic netting. This project is suitable for intermediate to advanced beaders.
I sell all the materials for this in the Beading Supplies department on this website. Or, you can buy a complete kit here>>
Origins of the Pattern
I won third prize in the British Bead Awards in 2012 for the first gingerbread house that I made. I then featured it as a photo in my book, Sweet Treats. After seeing it, a lot of people asked me for a pattern for the project. That original gingerbread house took me about two months to make. I used a few hundred grams of seed beads in various sizes and colours. So, I hope you might understand why I felt it was rather impractical to write up the tutorial. The original Gingerbread House is also close to my heart. Sometimes it is nice to feel I have beaded something that is just for me and will remain unique.
Gingerbread House Beaded Box
However, I really love gingerbread houses. Since there is an obvious demand for a pattern, I decided I should do something. While contemplating this idea, I came up with the idea of creating something practical as well as ornamental. Then I had that light-bulb moment – the house shape really lends itself to a box.
I have loved the idea of beaded boxes ever since I was given a copy of Julia Pretl’s book, ‘Little Bead Boxes’. I haven’t looked back to the book as I created this pattern. However, I do owe a huge debt of gratitude to Julia. Her instructions taught me about creating geometric shapes in Peyote stitch.
My little gingerbread house box measures about 1.5″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″. It is useful for storing small reels of thread or packs of beads. I made this from size 10 delicas. This is a project that you can realistically expect to complete in a matter of days or weeks, rather than months. …Although that will depend on how often you bead and for how long!
So, I achieved my aim of creating a design that is far more practical to make! This pattern gives you 17 pages of instructions. These assume that you already have a good working knowledge of Peyote stitch. They are illustrated in detail with photos and diagrams. I won’t lie: there are a few parts that you may find a little fiddly. So, I would definitely not recommend this project to a complete beginner. Having said that, there is no reason why a determined improver would not be able to give this a try.
More about the materials
The majority of the decoration is made with size 15 seed beads. In addition, you will need a handful of 4mm round beads. (I used pearls). I also used size 8 seed beads for the roof decor. You can use up some beads from the leftovers in your stash for this part though. The more colour in the decoration, the better! I worked the roof tiles in netting and used Peyote stitch for the mints. I have used a simple freeform idea for the remaining decoration.
Beading thread is a very personal preference. Personally, I find that Fireline helps me to get a really good tension. This project needs a good tension. The box is self-supporting – as you can see from the photos. So, choose whichever thread will best allow you to achieve this.
If you are interested in whimsical food related projects, you will find plenty on here! So, I hope you enjoy making this little gingerbread house. Hopefully, you also agree with me that it makes a lovely, practical ornament.