Each year a friend and I submit an entry to our local gingerbread contest at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY (check it out; some amazing creations). This year, I really wanted to use the laser to help step up our game! And it worked very well.
Our theme was the Maine coast with a lighthouse. I found a lighthouse file and a cabin file on Etsy, and made mock-ups in cardboard. Used Inkscape to remove the tabs that we wouldn’t need.
The gingerbread recipe I used is:
Mix together in large bowl:
4 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp ground ginger
Melt together 2 sticks of butter (one cup)
1 cup brown sugar
7 Tbsp golden syrup (maybe could substitute Karo syrup?)
Pour the melted ingredients into the flour mixture and mix to make a stiff dough.
Roll out the gingerbread VERY thin (1/8 inch at most); I used bamboo shish kebab skewers on the edges of the dough to use as a guide for the rolling pin. Bake 15min at 350 degrees. (note; the dough dries out very quickly, so make sure to keep the extra dough wrapped until it is needed).
Once the gingerbread is dry and cool, you can laser it! I used settings of
cut 125/full, engrave 300/70, score 300/100, but you’ll want to adjust your settings to your machine if you try it.
We used royal icing to “glue” the pieces together, first painting some black with food dye, and putting thick royal icing on the lighthouse to make it look like white stucco.
For the steps, I just eyeballed the shapes and sizes, made a cardboard mock-up, then when happy with that, cut out the gingerbread.
I did a deep clean of the machine afterward, but there was very little that needed cleaning; less than with MDF.
Thanks @evansd2 ! Please let us know how the contest turns out. I never enter them, I can’t get done by the deadlines and I’d rather have them on display in my house once I’m done so I can enjoy the fruits of all the hard work. Plus, what I do absolutely pales in comparison with what is entered in the National GB competition at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, and they are not allowed to use a laser for more than something like 25% of it
I don’t know, exactly! The engrave came up white, to my surprise, too.
Seems like “recipe” matters? This gingerbread was too thick, too moist, imo. At 5/16 to 7/16" thick I did 4 passes at 100% and could not cut all the way through. I’ll have to check with my wife on the recipe, but I know it was started from a GF graham cracker box-mix, so I’m sure it’s not ideal for “Cost”.
That light engrave is really intriguing. I can’t for the life of me figure out how that could be, unless the dough is light in color and a bit underdone maybe? So you would be just engraving off the browned outer part, but still, I can see your dough is dark all the way through. Very interesting, if you figure out what did it, I would love to know, that is a really cool effect!