Photographer: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Here's what you'll need:
1. Print out templates. Transfer to your thin cardboard and cut them out. (Using cardboard makes it easier to trim the excess dough from around the edges and will hold up if you need to make multiples.)
2. Prepare gingerbread dough recipe according to directions. You will need to prepare the recipe twice for this project.
3. Prepare Royal Icing; cover with plastic wrap or damp towel to prevent drying out.
4. Cut a base out of wood, heavy cardboard, or Styrofoam at least 16 by 18 inches.
5. Cover base with parchment paper or foil, or a layer of Royal Icing, if desired.
6. Fill a piping pastry bag or plastic zip-top bag with a small hole cut in tip halfway with Royal Icing (roll down the top tightly so icing shoots out of the tip, not the top.)
7. For the main column of the lightouse: Pipe icing along the edges of the lighthouse walls and place walls together in a pentagon shape on prepared base. Hold or prop walls in place with your cans or jars until lightly set. Allow lighthouse to dry completely before proceeding. If desired, use hot glue to attach pieces together, then pipe with icing.
8. For the walkway and top: Hold or prop walls in place with your cans or jars until lightly set. Allow lighthouse walls to dry completely before proceeding. If desired, use hot glue to attach pieces together, then pipe with icing.
9. Set large round walkway piece on a flat surface. Pipe icing on edges of lighthouse window pieces and place together to form a circular or pentagon shape in the middle of the gingerbread circle. Pipe icing along tops of window pieces and place the largest circle piece on top with small window circle. Pace roof piece on top. Let harden until completely dry.
10. For the roof: Stack descending sizes of gingerbread circles on lighthouse roof, with Royal Icing between each layer. Top with lemon drop. Let harden until completely dry.
11. For the cottage: Pipe icing along edges of cottage walls and position together next to lighthouse; hold in place until lightly set. Let icing harden until completely dry. Pipe icing along one long edge of roof pieces and along top edge of house walls; position roof on house and hold until lightly set. Let harden until completely dry before decorating.