Oktoberfest Kids' Craft: Make Mini Gingerbread Heart Necklaces
A popular sight at Bavaria's official Oktoberfest, gingerbread hearts or lebkuchen are both a treasured souvenir and a tasty treat. Gather your favorite kinder and basic craft supplies to whip up a non-edible, crafty batch for your Oktoberfest celebration.
- 3" wooden hearts
- wood stain
- chip brush
- rickrack in assorted colors
- hot glue gun and glue sticks
- drill with drill bit
- spare bit of wood to drill into
- thin ribbon
Why Are Gingerbread Hearts Associated With Oktoberfest?
Known in Germany as lebkuchenherz or just lebkuchen, these sweet treats consist of a dense, hard gingerbread cookie that can be as large as a dinner plate and is covered with sweet or funny sayings in colorful icing. Tightly wrapped in protective plastic and strung through with ribbon, the lebkuchen are a favorite of young and old Oktoberfest revelers, alike, who wear them as a necklace or simply take home as an Oktoberfest souvenir.
Although beautifully decorated gingerbread cookies are also popular in Germany during Christmas, legend has it that these colorful hearts became associated with Oktoberfest when a sweets seller switched over to the cookies because the chocolate hearts he was selling melted too quickly. The lebkuchen have grown in popularity over the decades and they're now one of the most popular Oktoberfest souvenirs with shop windows and stalls filled with row upon row of cookies in assorted sizes.
Our non-edible, craft lebkuchen are a simplified version of the Oktoberfest fave that you can make with your littlest crafters; just follow the steps below:
Using a chip brush and wood stain in your chosen shade, brush a consistent coat of stain onto both the heart's front and back, allowing the stain to fully dry before moving on to the next step.
Add Rickrack Border
Select the color of rickrack you'll use to create the look of the lebkuchen's outer frosting (Image 1). Starting at the top of the heart, add a line of hot glue (Image 2) and top with rickrack. Continue adding hot glue and topping with rickrack till you overlap the ends, then cut off excess (Image 3).
Drill Holes for Ribbon
Using a spare bit of wood to drill into (to prevent splitting), drill 2 small holes, under the rickrack frosting, at the top of the heart.
Add Rickrack Initial
While authentic German gingerbread hearts can be quite large (up to 11" across) and include lots of space for funny sayings, our wee version is best suited to adding just an initial. Use more rickrack to add the letter of each kinder guest's name.
Add Ribbon for Wearing
Insert ribbon through the drilled holes on the heart's front (Image 1), knotting the ends in the back, leaving enough ribbon for a child to slip the heart over their head (Image 2).
Share With Your Favorite Kinder
Kids will love helping to craft one of these sweet necklaces (Image 1) almost as much as they'll enjoy wearing them. If you're gifting them as a party favor, add them to a party table so little guests can put them on as they arrive (Image 2).
Get ready to get your Oktoberfest on! From inexpensively decking out a table in the classic blue and white colors of the Bavarian flag to stocking the bar with Germany's world-famous lagers, best-loved wines and even non-alcoholic sips for the kinder, we'll help you be the Prost! host with the most.