The recent excitement over the open house of the new Provo City Center Temple has inspired some creative model renditions of the 85,084 square-foot structure. BYU student Jacob Willmore, along with his siblings Nathan and Elise Willmore, constructed a gingerbread replica of the new temple over Christmas break.
Their creation consisted of a dozen batches of gingerbread, 124 stained glass windows, waffle cones, Wheat Chex, candy and plenty of fondant icing. The construction took four days of hard work and attention to details.
“We started the day after Christmas and probably put at least a good eight hours or so into it a day,” Jacob said. “Honestly we didn’t track hours, but it’s gotta be well over a hundred.”
He said the first few hours were used to create templates to use as stencils. The Willmore family made sure to measure the dimensions of each piece to ensure a good fit. The building took form with homemade gingerbread, some cardboard for structural support and a lot of hot glue, according to Jacob.
They used different candy for the decorations. The replica has over 120 “stained glass windows” made from melted Jolly Ranchers. Waffle cones make up the spires and powdered sugar gives the roof its snowy effect.
Nathan said he and Jacob focused the majority of their time on detail.
“One detail most people don’t notice is the turrets on each corner of the temple,” Nathan said. “This was one of the hardest parts because we had to make sure that all of the pieces were at the right angle so that they all fit.”
Building gingerbread replicas is a common tradition for the Willmore family according to Michelle Willmore, Jacob’s mother.
“The tradition started in my family when I was a teenager,” Michelle said. “I remember my brothers building cathedrals and experimenting with different candies to melt as stained glass.”
The tradition picked up again a few years ago when Jacob and his brothers decided that they wanted to build something cool. Past structures include a cathedral, the Empire State Building, the London Tower Bridge and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Michelle said along with building and continuing a tradition, experiences are shared and time is well spent bonding among the family members.
“We love working together and chatting about memories of previous structures,” Michelle said. “Like remembering when the Empire State Building collapsed on Christmas Eve. We gain a solid two weeks of brainstorming, creativity, interaction, cooperation, engineering, building and a very messy kitchen.”
The Willmore family also enjoys disposing of the gingerbread replicas with a bang. They usually “blow them up” with fireworks for the New Year’s Holiday. The Provo City Temple replica will receive a different treatment they have not yet decided what they should do with it. Michelle teased that she will save it for when Jacob gets married in that temple.
Jacob said he plans on attending the open house of the real Provo City Center Temple, now open for visitors until March 5, 2016.