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.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

Materials Needed

  • 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.

Munich Germany

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Munich Germany

Photo by: Brigitte Sporrer

Brigitte Sporrer

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.

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Photo by: Kathrin Ziegler

Kathrin Ziegler

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:

Stain Hearts

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.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

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.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

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.

Photo by: Sarah Busby

Sarah Busby

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).

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