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HELP PLS? Calculating price for Gingerbread House!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm hoping someone out there has experience in designing and creating gingerbread houses, and can give some insight as to just what it takes to calculate pricing for one. A caterer has asked me to provide her client with a quote for a GH. I'm a caker, and have never created GH's to sell...only to eat with my kids!

I'm concerned that I won't calculate it properly and end up spending more time on it than I thought...thus undercharging. Not a good thing, considering my holiday scheduled is filling fast with other orders.

The client is looking to spend $150-$200 for a GH between 12-18" tall, something that looks different than the ones in the grocery. It's for a give-away at her table at a show. Oh, and they would like a quote by noon today!

Any advice would sure be appreciate! Thanks in advance!!
If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. ~Author Unknown
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If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. ~Author Unknown
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post #2 of 18
An 18 inch tall sculpture for two hundred dollars?
In cake years that's at least four tiers. phffft.

However that's a low threshold--better than the grocery store ones.

10-12 inches tall--an easy one that seems really detailed--you could put a chiminy chimny chimenny chim i knee (howdoyouspellthat) to get the height up there more--and add a puff of smoke too.

I'd maybe do it but it needs to be small with a grander board and easy details.

Brainstorm ideas:

Use mostly honey instead of molasses--it does not respond to humidity like molasses does. (learned that from Franky)

I'd use thick foam core and make maybe a 7x9 inch 'floor' or whatever size--to attach onto the bottom board. I'd place the gingerbread walls around the floor so it is nice & stable. I'd place four pieces of foam board cut to fit the outside of each corner and attached to the bottom board--this anchors the walls inside & out--so the whole thing is uber secure--no messing around. Cover the foamcore with bushes and 'snow'.

I use my zester to sand my gingerbread so things join and fit really well.

--I always overbake my gingerbread

--a super medium to use for piped pieces like scroll work and fences etc. I like to use pate choux, cream puff dough--it is very stable--it does not break like royal. Making tons of extra pieces is as easy as piping. You gotta bake it but it's not as fussy & unpredictable as royal to me.

--add gum arabic to your royal to strengthen it

I think it was called Franky's Attic something like that--was a fabulous incredible wonderful all things gingerbread website--I hope someone will know where to find her now. I think she was hounded by spammers & had to move. She is the g-bread guru. She had patterns & stuff--wonderful!
anytime you judge somebody and
you judge something that makes them happy 
that's your weakness speaking ~~ hilaria baldwin
Reply
anytime you judge somebody and
you judge something that makes them happy 
that's your weakness speaking ~~ hilaria baldwin
Reply
post #3 of 18
Consider impressing your outside walls & roof so you don't have to add more nit picky decor later--just a little snow & some window treatments, flower boxes. You gotta have a roof & walls anyway so make those easy.

$200 is not much for a custom job like this so try & save yourself from endless hand work. Add some cool details like trees, snowman and holiday stuff. Frozen stream, snow ball fort, etc.

Like save your handwork time for some real impact like a scroll accented porch or something like that. If the scroll work breaks--oops snow drift & icicles!!! icon_biggrin.gif Make a mail box, bird feeder or bird bath all snowed over. For only $200 I'd skimp on house details and major on the details in the yard.

Swingset, pool, picnic table, barbeque, snow shovel

Just some brainstorming

I'll come help you!
anytime you judge somebody and
you judge something that makes them happy 
that's your weakness speaking ~~ hilaria baldwin
Reply
anytime you judge somebody and
you judge something that makes them happy 
that's your weakness speaking ~~ hilaria baldwin
Reply
post #4 of 18
This site may give you some ideas.
http://www.sosornaments.com/gingerbread_houses.htm

I recently made my first all scratch gingerbread house. It was more work than I ever imagined, but that is because it is two story and has gumpaste furnishings inside. It is in my photos. I will not be selling it, but donating it for silent auction. A lot of the competitors did very elaborate houses that looked like a Barbie penthouse complete with bay windows and an outdoor scene. From what I am told, they go at auction for $150-$250. I know that's a wide price range, but it's in line with the $249 pricing on the above link.

HTH
post #5 of 18
!!!!Gingerbread Gingerbread Gingerbread!!!!

http://ultimategingerbread.com
anytime you judge somebody and
you judge something that makes them happy 
that's your weakness speaking ~~ hilaria baldwin
Reply
anytime you judge somebody and
you judge something that makes them happy 
that's your weakness speaking ~~ hilaria baldwin
Reply
post #6 of 18
I only made a gingerbread floor for the second level. I built the 4 walls of the house without the bottom floor. I put the house on 2" thick styrofoam to raise the base then put that on on plywood. I secured the house to the board with royal icing. I rolled tinted, textured gumpaste/fondant and layed that inside like tile on the floor.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
You guys are awesome!!! K8, come help me!!! How fast can you get to NH?? icon_smile.gif

So for about $150, sounds like I can do a cute 8x10-ish cottage and amp up the accents. Love those ideas of the birdbath, mailbox, etc. My gosh you guys are smart!!

I have to answer her now, but don't have time to sketch out a couple of choices (just got back from morning dlvries). Wish me luck!
If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. ~Author Unknown
Reply
If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. ~Author Unknown
Reply
post #8 of 18
K8,
Your tip to use cream puff dough for scrollwork, etc., is brilliant. Royal icing is so fragile and temperamental.
Thanks for all the other great ideas, everyone!

And Swede-cakes, charge the full $200 that is budgeted!
post #9 of 18
post #10 of 18
This link, posted above, is POLYMER CLAY!
What exquisite work.
http://www.sosornaments.com/storybook.htm

K8,
How small a tip can you squeeze pate choux through? When you pipe and bake it, how much does it puff up?
And now I want a cream puff.
I don't like to eat Royal Icing (or gingerbread for that matter), but with cream puff dough, I can see me doing the Hansel & Gretel thing: "Nibble, nibble like a mouse, who is nibblling at my house?"
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

You can write entire sonnets with it and the letters will stand up handily, fearlessly.



Thank ya kindly thumbs_up.gif
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

You can write entire sonnets with it and the letters will stand up handily, fearlessly.



Thank ya kindly thumbs_up.gif
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

You can write entire sonnets with it and the letters will stand up handily, fearlessly.



Thank ya kindly thumbs_up.gif
post #14 of 18
K8,
Awesome! Thanks for all the tips.

Do you have any pictures of gingerbread houses with pate a choux decorations? Thanks.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
WE GOT THE CLIENT! Gingerbread house budget came down to $150 though, even though I quoted $200. But that's alright...I'll adjust accordingly. CC'ers, I really appreciate your helpful tips and advice. Looking forward to getting started on this.

I guess that leads me to one more question. If the GH is due morning of 12/8, should I start it this week and so that if I finish early, I can bag it to keep it clean? Thx!
If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. ~Author Unknown
Reply
If not for chocolate, there would be no need for control top pantyhose. An entire garment industry would be devastated. ~Author Unknown
Reply
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