How to Make Gingerbread Fretwork for House Trim, Easy Woodworking

5 Materials
$40
20 Hours
Medium

Our DIY gingerbread project wasn't very difficult or expensive. We used 29 spindles from Lowes which were on sale for just 49¢ each! The materials were about $30. There are affordable spindles in the materials list too, available from Amazon … and they are the right size for this project. To see more of our Victorian house renovation and DIY crafts, check out our archives here.

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Here's how we made this Victorian-style gingerbread fretwork, step-by-step.

This 60-year old porch addition didn't match our Victorian house very well … until now! But this type of DIY gingerbread would look great on newer construction too. Start with measurements and calculate how much wood and spindles you will need.

Here's our old, ugly porch before.

This is progress! We've done a lot of sprucing and the new DIY gingerbread will be painted this summer along with the fiberglass facade and additional pieces of trim (coming soon!)

We cut our spindles at 7.5 inches. Be sure to use a guide to make your cutting is consistent. It doesn't matter where you cut your spindles or how long. What's more important is that you make each one exactly the same length.

We cut our spindles from the bottom first, and then the top, assembly-line style.

The 1" X 2" boards were cut to fit between our porch posts. We used a ruler and a pencil to mark where each spindle would be attached. Some of our segments had 6" spacing, and others had more or less, BUT, we made sure to space them as evenly as possible before gluing them into place. From a distance the segments all match very well.

When the glue was dry, we nailed through the edge board into each spindle.

A coat of white primer came next.

Now comes the fun part … attaching the gingerbread to the porch. We nailed the segments into place without the bottom edges to make sure our nail gun would fit between the spindles.

We put a dab of glue on the bottom of each spindle and nailed the bottom edge last. We nailed through the edge board into each spindle.

Finished! Except for the caulk, paint, and some matching trim around the door. But now the porch looks so much better, we are really inspired! For more inspiration, see our printables and free artwork for you home, here.

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Stephie McCarthy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • LA
    on May 2, 2020

    Can we see a biigger after photo? I love this.

  • Laura C. Fergie
    on May 2, 2020

    I bet it would look really cool with spindles of different styles and widths as long as they were all cut the same length!! Kind of an eclectic spin to it?

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on May 2, 2020

      Yes, I saw some really cool ones on Amazon. Listed some in the materials sections. Mixing them would look great as long as you were consistent, I agree! -- Stephie

  • Mary McDonald
    on May 3, 2020

    We had spindles like that in an old home we once owned. I hated them as they were so dated. Now I see you’ve brought them back into the 21 st century looking really really great!!

    Excellent job!

    My question is that I was wondering how you decided which side the base of each pedestal would go on the top or bottom? Usually there would be a so called base on each end. Just curious-perhaps just personal choice?

    • Stephie McCarthy
      on May 3, 2020

      Do you mean which way I turned the spindles, Mary? I tried them both ways, but I liked the icicle effect with the heavy end of the spindle at the top the best. I think you are right that these look more updated since they are not symmetrical … I guess symmetry can look a bit more dated. -- Stephie.

Join the conversation

3 of 36 comments
  • Olga Kosynska
    on May 4, 2020

    Looks really cool! I've been thinking about using old spindles to make a blanket ladder... Now i have an idea how to build it :) Thank you for the inspiration and step-by-step info!

  • Tonya
    on May 11, 2020

    Very nice!!!

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