Gingerbread cuckoo clock with gingerbread gears

Instructables virtuosa Mezcraft made a (sadly non-working) geared gingerbread cuckoo clock with internal gingerbread gearing. She kind of beats herself up for the mechanical unsoundness of gingerbread, but that's hardly her fault!

Well - this is a bit of a fail so this is where it gets sad. After all my research and all of my effort my gears have stuck to the axle and will not turn. Two of them have some movement but the other two are stuck. If anybody out there has tips on how to avoid getting icing down onto your axle I am all ears! I still haven't given up on this idea. I might try it again another time..I think also the weight of my top gear pieces limited the ability for the gear to turn. Ah well.. It was really fun to try and do. Plus my clock feels slightly more authentic, like it has a gingerbread gear heart on the inside. No Hollow Gingerbread house for me, that's right, I got a Gingerbread house with soul...

I spent a good deal of time "cleaning up" the edges of the gears with an exacto blade attempting to give them smooth surfaces in which to turn well. I then added wax paper "washers" as I was worried that icing might stick ( this was not an unfounded worry), and that the gingerbread might rub weirdly on all other gingerbread. My initial test before icing of the gears worked well. It turned and it had promise. I then assembled the whole gear section together with icing and crossed my fingers that it would not stick together...

So all that work on my gears that didn't work and got stuck AND you cannot even see them through my clock face! Not enough light I suppose...Pretty funny though. At least I know that they are there. I think next time I should set up some major lighting if I want to put something on the inside of a gingerbread house. LESSON LEARNED.

Edible Gingerbread Cuckoo Clock with Internal gears (via Craft)



  1. I am repairing a pocket watch at the moment, and next time I sit down at my desk to work on it I am going to have a hard time avoiding trying to design a gingerbread escapement in my head.

    Some early American clocks were made with wooden gears and escapements so, maybe with advances in gingerbread’s strength and brittleness a working clock could be made. 

    Although, gingerbread might expand and contract a lot due to heat/humidity changes, which would be a major problem.

    How would you house a main spring in gingerbread? Maybe a new high strength gingerbread alloy is needed. Hands would need to be very light too, gingerbread technology has a long way to go.

    How would gears run freely? I suppose a gear could be mounted on a rod with wax paper at both ends, then that would be held between two plates with wax paper dimples. The space between them could be lubricated with clock oil (actually clock oil would be too fine, maybe just some kind of silicone gel, idk). I can’t imagine that working very well, however. A needle (or something a wee bit thicker than a needle) could be pushed through the ends of the rod, maybe something could be built around that.

    I don’t think I can stop thinking about this.

  2. Such intricate projects confuse me.  Yes, the creative process poses an interesting challenge, but afterwards, how does one reconcile the principle purpose of gingerbread as an edible foodstuff with a product that is supposed to be useful, durable, and aesthetically pleasing?  Or, in other words, how can you bear to dismantle and eat something that is so darn cool?

    1. Or, in other words, how can you bear to dismantle and eat something that is so darn cool?

      Gingerbread houses are generally only eaten when you’re too drunk to taste the dust.

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