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How To Make Dried Orange Christmas Decorations

What is Christmas without decorations?! Dressing up your home is possibly the best part of the holiday season, giving that warm and joyous feeling synonymous with Christmas. This year, I am going for a rustic feel with home-dried orange slices adorning corners of my home. In this post, I will show you how to make dried orange decorations, from ornaments to gift wrapping.

Like so many other celebrations this year, planning the festive period requires a lot more creativity. With lockdowns, shop closures, restrictions, and being more consciously aware of environmental impacts, there is no time better than now to get creative and make your own Christmas decorations at home. This year, more than ever before, cherishing each joyful moment with loved ones is so important. And a great way to do that is through a group DIY project!

How To Dry Orange Slices

What you need:-

  • oranges

  • sharp knife

  • parchment paper

  • oven

Drying oranges is really simple. It's a 'set it and forget it' kind of deal. All you really need is a bag of oranges and time. Simply slice your oranges with a sharp knife, around 8mm thick, and lay them in a single layer on parchment paper, or directly on a wire rack. Place into the oven for around four hours at 95C, flipping them half way. Every oven is different so it's important to keep checking on them hourly. How will you know when the oranges are ready? If they feel wet or sticky, they need more time to dehydrate. When they are slightly bendy and dry, they are ready. Leave them out to sit overnight to dry completely, and they should feel hard by the next day. It's important they are completely dehydrated so they don't rot or attract bugs. (Although they will dry on the tree and over time as well.) Prepare your oranges a day or so before you plan to use them. I used a mixture of blood oranges and regular oranges. You can also use other citrus fruits like limes and lemons as well.

Once your dried oranges are ready, there are so many ways you can use them. Below are some ideas.

Dried Orange Garland

With some dried orange slices and string, you can create a Christmas garland that will not only look beautiful but will smell so good! Garlands are my absolute favorite decoration to make at Christmas. They are fun, festive and add so much color to any space. Every year I make a garland to display on my street-facing huge kitchen window, and this year it is with oranges.

You can get really creative here and make different kinds of garlands. I have created two kinds. One displays the orange slices in their full glory and is really simple, and the other is with layered sliced oranges. You will need more oranges for the layered look, but for a simple garland, you can use only a few oranges.

Simple Orange Garland

What you need:-

To make this simple garland, cut the string longer than you wish to make the garland by 30cm. Make a looped double knot at one end, then add a few beads. Tuck the loose end of the knot under the beads so it does not show. I used a pattern of three beads - one slice - three beads. To thread the dried oranges through, make a hole in one side of the orange with the needle. Thread the string through, then loop it back through again so the orange slice sits next to the beads and not on top of it. Then pull the thread through and make another hole on the orange and double loop it through again on that side. Add more beads and repeat the process. Make a double looped knot at the top and you are done. This can be made without the beads as well.

Layered Orange Slice Garland

What you need:-

Cut the cotton thread 50cm over the desired size of garland. Thread the tassel through and a tie a double knot so its secure. Add a couple of beads. Tuck the hanging string into the tassel head or under the beads so it is not visible. Using the needle, pierce a hole in the centre of the orange slice and pull the thread through. You may need to make the hole bigger than the needle so the string will fit through. To do this, move the needle round in a circle when piercing and push outwards. Repeat for six slices. Then pierce a few leaves and pull the string through. Add a bead, then repeat the process again. After every second bead, make a double knot on top of the beat so the weight of the garland can be distributed evenly without crushing the bottom layers. Once you reach the top, string through a few beads then tie a double knot to create a loop. Cut some velvet ribbon and make a bow on top of the beads.

Gift Wrapping Ideas Using Dried Orange

A really stunning, creative and sustainable way to decorate gifts is by incorporating layers of natural elements. Dried oranges, flowers, spices, pieces you will find in the garden, and brown paper are some ways to create this rustic look. These elements all elevate the look of a wrapped gift, and are so fun to make.

What you need:-

  • velvet ribbon or jute (if the gifts are opened in your own home, keep the velvet ribbon or jute and reuse!)

  • dried orange slices

  • cutting of dried flowers (I used flowers from an old bouquet)

  • pine tree or green clippings from garden or park

  • brown paper

  • embroidery needle

  • waxed cotton string

  • star anise

  • cinnamon sticks

Wrap the gift in brown paper as you normally would. If you need help with this, Youtube has great tutorials, like this one. Once wrapped, cut a piece of ribbon or jute long enough to go over and all around the gift from top to bottom. Tie a bow in the bunny ears fashion so the velvet side is on the outside. Cut the ends at a diagonal angle. Then place a piece of dried sliced orange underneath the bow. You do not need to glue this if the ribbon is tied tightly. Now, layer the rest of the elements. I like to place greenery behind the orange slice. Then place the dried flower stems on top of the orange, under the ribbon.

To layer two orange slices, use jute or waxed cotton thread, and pierce through the sliced oranges by making a hole in both slices. To measure where to make the holes, layer them as you wish them to sit on the gift, then at the point they intersect, pierce the hole through both slices with a needle. Pull through one side of the string from underneath one slice, and the other side of the string from back to front through the second, and tie a knot. Then place some greenery behind the slices with some dried flowers on top. To dry your flowers, leave them sitting out of water and they should dry themselves within a day. Hydrangea and baby's breath dry the fastest.

Dried oranges can be incorporated in gift wrapping in a much simpler manner as well. To do this, use cotton thread, string or jute and tied it around the gift several times. Then, using the loose end of the string, make a hole in the orange and pull the string through. You can use the steps below to add a centre piece to the middle of the slice.

Dried Orange Slice Christmas Tree Ornaments

Crafting Christmas tree ornaments with dried oranges is a great weekend activity that's easy, and gives a Christmas tree a lovely natural feel. It is also a fun way to create craft activities for kids in December.

What you need:-

To make simple ornaments, pierce a hole using the needle at the top of the orange slice. Pull the thread through and tie a knot at the top. The same technique can be used on two slices layered one on top of the other - pierce the hole through both and loop the thread through then tie a knot.

To make an ornament with a centre piece in the middle of the orange, make a hole in the middle and pull through both sides of the thread, leaving a loop in the middle to hold the centre piece. Then place some dried flowers or greenery inside the loop and pull the thread so the loop is closed and the flowers are sitting against the orange. Then, pierce a hole at the very top of the fleshy part of the orange slice, and pull through one side of the thread making a knot at the top with the other side. Creating the hole at the top allows the ornament to dangle correctly on the tree.

Instead of flowers, you can use spices such as star anise or cinnamon sticks, using the same technique.

Dried Orange Slice Napkin Ring

Dried orange slices make beautiful napkin rings during the holiday season. This is a quick and easy project that will tie in the rustic citrus look on the dinner table.

What you need:-

These napkin rings can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Similar to the ornaments, pierce a hole in the middle of the orange slice and thread through both sides of the string or jute. In the middle of the loop place your centre piece and pull both sides of the thread through and tie around the napkin. You can also scatter some slices across the table, or use them in cocktails!

Drying oranges will not only fill your home with the sweet smell of festive cheer, but is an easy DIY Christmas craft activity fun for adults and kids, especially with everyone spending more time indoors right now. There are so many ways you can use the dried oranges and each slice's imperfections make for the perfect Christmas accents.

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Lucy Ransone
Lucy Ransone
Jan 10

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Antonio Ricca
Antonio Ricca
Jan 10

Thanks a lot!

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