When it comes to holiday decorating, I like to start early, and I like it to last as long as possible. Both in terms of staying power and in terms of appropriateness (i.e. works for both Thanksgiving and Christmas!).
One of my favorite classic ways to decorate is with dried orange slices. You’ve seen those right? They work for boho, rustic, natural, scandi, midcentury, farmhouse, and traditional decorating styles.
In this post, I’ll teach you how to dry orange slices using only your oven, and explain three ways to use them for Christmas decorating. These projects are quick, easy, and budget-friendly.
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How to Make Dried Orange Slices
To make dried orange slices, you’ll basically bake them at a very low temperature for 4 – 6 hours, flipping them every 30 minutes to prevent burning. The projects I’ll show you here take 5 minutes or less and require the most basic of craft supplies.
Step 1: Slice oranges thinly
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and cut your oranges into 1/4″ slices or thinner. I started with a chef’s knife and that was a big mistake. Don’t do what I did — use a serrated knife. A bread knife is perfect for this, but a steak knife will do in a pinch. Want super thin slices? Use a mandoline.
Slice up as many oranges as you’d like, just keep in mind that these will need to bake in a single layer. Be sure you have enough pans, wire racks, and room in your oven to accommodate all of your orange slices.
Step 2: Dab oranges to remove excess moisture
Using a paper towel, blot up all the extra juice and moisture from your orange slices. You want them as dry as possible before placing them in the oven.
Then, place the oranges in a single layer on top of a wire rack placed on a cookie sheet. You need your oranges to get air circulating all around them to dry properly in the oven, so the wire rack is a must. Do not place them directly onto a cookie sheet or they will stick and become gummy.
Alternatively, you can place the slices directly onto the oven rack. This allows you to dry FAR more slices at once, but… how clean are your racks? Mine are pretty gross and I didn’t want any of the gunk transferring to my slices. If you’re an adult who actually cleans your oven from time to time, you can run with this method
Step 3: Bake oranges
Finally, you will bake your oranges for 4 – 6 hours, flipping them every 30 minutes. This project is mostly hands-off, except for the fact that you need to be available to flip the oranges. If you don’t flip them periodically, they won’t dry evenly and could potentially burn.
The total time all depends on how thick your slices are and how hot your oven runs. I sliced mine a little on the thick side, so they took a solid 6 hours. If you use a mandoline, your orange slices could need as little as 2 hours to dry.
Just check every time you flip to see if they are becoming slightly glassy like a stained window. Once they are, they’re done! Your dried oranges will continue to dry out over the next month or so.
HOW LONG DO DRIED ORANGE SLICES LAST?
If you’ve dehydrated them properly, your orange slices will last approximately two years. If you didn’t remove enough moisture during the baking process, they may develop mold while in storage. When properly dried, mold will not develop, but they won’t look as good past the two-year mark.
Luckily, dried orange slices are cheap and easy to make year after year!
The projects I’m about to show you make very affordable gifts! For more gift ideas, check out this post.
3 Simple Christmas Decorations With Dried Orange Slices
How to Make Dried Orange Ornaments
To make dried orange ornaments, you need dried orange slices, jute twine, and a glue gun. Simply cut 4″ – 6″ lengths of twine (longer for ornaments that hang lower, shorter to hang higher), and glue the ends to make a loop. Then, glue the loop to the back of the orange slice. Easy peasy! Watch the video below for a demonstration:
How to Make a Dried Orange Swag
To make a dried orange swag, you need dried orange slices, jute twine, a glue gun, and some pine clippings. Gather your pine clippings (I used three in lengths varying from 12″ – 18″) and hold the branch ends together. This will be the top of your swag. Wrap in jute twine and glue to secure. Glue three orange slices to the top in an arrangement that looks good to you. Watch the video below for a demonstration:
How to Make a Dried Orange Wreath
To make a dried orange wreath, you need dried orange slices, a grapevine wreath form, and a glue gun. For my wreath, I used a 6-inch grapevine form but you can go as large as you’d like. Squirt a dab of hot glue to the white pith edge or skin of the orange slice and press to wreath to adhere.
It’s important to apply the glue to the skin because it’s the highest point of the slice. If you add glue to the orange flesh you might not catch the wreath with the glue.
Continue gluing slices in overlapping layers until you’re happy with the look. You might choose to embellish your wreath with bay leaves and nutmeg as I did in the video below:
Now you’re all set for Christmas!
Dried oranges slices are a beautiful and inexpensive way to decorate for Christmas, and with this tutorial, are incredibly easy to make! I hope you found these three orange slice holiday crafts inspirational and learned something useful in the process.
Want more? Here’s the full collection of Bloom in the Black DIYs.