I love homemade Christmas decorations, especially ones that are friendly to the environment. Today, as part of the the 12 Days of Handmade Christmas series, I'm sharing how to make a traditional dried citrus garland and ornaments. The garlands are perfect for stringing on the tree and around your home, and the ornaments make a sweet handmade gift. With four little ones and a bounty of teachers, caretakers, and friends who are all an important part of our lives, handmade ornaments are an affordable way we can share a thoughtful gift with them all!
The most important item for your garland and ornaments is your citrus, of course. Oranges are a classic for making dried fruit, but living in South Texas, I thought I'd add in some extra color with grapefruit, too.
Cut your citrus in thin slices leaving enough of the peel to hold each slice together. The knife you use will make all the difference in slicing your fruit. I originally cut mine with our dull old butcher knife and it made a big juicy mess as I sawed through the citrus. I went and bought a new J.A. Henckels knife from Target and I wanted to slice through 100 oranges, it was so much easier.
Preheat your oven to 250 and gently pat your slices dry between two towels (the more moisture you can soak up, the faster they'll dry). Place your slices on a cookie rack and place the rack on a baking sheet--this will help more air circulate around the slices, again helping with drying.
I baked my slices for about 12 hours, flipping them over half way through. I probably could have taken them out sooner, but they wouldn't have been completely dry. If you're short on time you could do 6 instead; they'll dry more as they're hanging.
Once you have all of your slices, gather some string and a needle (I used some paper cord I found in the jewelry section of the craft store).
For the garland, cut a long piece of string and use your needle to poke through each slice, tying them at the top so they'll lay flat.
Use smaller pieces of string for the ornaments, tying it at both the top of the slice and again to make a loop.
I hung my garland above the window in my kitchen as a little eye candy for myself. I probably spend the most time in the kitchen each day, and love how the orange and grapefruit glows in the light. And I'm eager to make more ornaments to hang on our tree, too!
Looking for more handmade holiday ideas? Stop by my tutorial page for all of my how-to's!