We try to marry our Christmas tree themes with the feel of our house to keep everything connected even through the holidays. Last year we did a crochet garland to add some rustic charm to our tree because we were in a tiny little 100-year-old farmhouse and it fit the house perfectly. This year we’re in 1865 Victorian and we felt we wanted our decorations to “fit in” a bit more with the age of this house and went bit more natural. We started with this super easy dried orange garland and we’re so glad we did! It turned out better than we had hoped.
Natural Christmas Decorations are Easy, Inexpensive, and Lovely
There is something about natural decorations. They are always easy to make (generally), have an old-world feel to them, and add that cozy extra feeling during the holidays. If you’re into all of that we have several holiday posts that fit nicely into that theme that you may want to check out:
- Easy & Free Holiday Pine Wreaths
- Easy Crochet Garland – 1 hour Project
- Rustic Stocking Ideas with Instructions
- 30 minute bulky knit look wreath
Materials required to make an orange garland for your tree
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We only used 3 very simple items to make our garland: twine, navel oranges, and little heart-shaped wooden button, but you can use any kind of string you want and add more or fewer embellishments you want. We added the buttons for texture and charm and think it was the perfect balance with the dried orange slices.
- Navel Oranges
- Wooden Buttons
- Dehydrator, or an oven or kitchen appliance that can go as low as 135F *
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Paper towel or clean dry dishcloth
- Small dab of glue from a hot glue gun
A Note about American Harvest Dehydrators
We recommend using seedless navel oranges specifically because they slice the best and have the best look once dehydrated, but you can try to use any citrus you want. Lemons, tangerines, even limes will dehydrate just fine.
Cut your oranges into 1/4 inch slices. Try to make the slices as uniform as you can so they dry evenly. You will want to discard any slices that are too thick or too thin. You will also discard the ends.
For this step, you will need a dehydrator or an oven or kitchen appliance that allows you to dehydrate. 135F is a very good baseline for dehydrating fruits. You can go higher (150F-170F), but you will need to keep a very close eye out to ensure that the slices do not over dry.
Pat your slices gently with a piece of paper towel or clean dishcloth to remove some of the initial moisture.
Place slices in your dehydrator in a single layer with edges not touching any other slice.
Turn on the dehydrator to 135F for 6 hours.
At the 6 hour mark, check to see if the orange slices are dried. They should not be tacky, or sticky, and should feel fairly crisp. The orange colour should still be very vibrant and the inside of the orange slice should look like beautiful orange stained glass.
Remove the slices from the dehydrator and set them aside.
Add a small dab of hot glue at the end of your twine and give it a twist to make it easier to thread through the dried orange slices and wooden heart buttons. Do not attempt this step without gloves on!
Tie a large knot at the opposite end of your twine.
Thread the twine through one of the wood beads, going through both holes. Then use a sharp tool to poke a hole in an orange slice at the edge near the rind. Thread the twine through the hole until the orange slice is 2-3 inches from the bead, and tie the twine in a knot at the top of the orange slice.
Continue alternating between wood beads and orange slices until your dried orange garland is complete! Tie another large knot at the end to keep the pieces from sliding off.
HOW LONG WILL THE DRIED orange GARLAND LAST?
I would only keep the garland for a single season. I would not risk putting the garland in with the Christmas decorations and tucking them away, they would be an enticing treat for mice or insects.
You can hang your used garland outside at the end of the holiday season for the birds and squirrels, I’ve found blue-jays in my area very keen on the dried oranges!
A Lovely Orange Garland You Can Make on the Cheap!
This is one of those projects that is fairly easy to make. The only really time consuming part of the whole thing is waiting for the orange slices to dry. The rest comes together fairly quickly and you have a very sweet looking dried orange garland for your holiday tree.
If you make an orange garland share with us your results, we would love to see them!