Okay, super quick ‘DIY’ for you here today. These guys are so easy, it’s barely a tutorial.
So last year, when Richard and I were figuring out how to do our first Christmas tree, we had only a handful of ornaments. I had bought him a couple funny ones that year, and we were given a few from family. But 10ish ornaments, do not exactly a tree make. So we had two options: 1. Buy a bunch of ornaments we would then have to store (and spend ££ on) or 2. Make ornaments we could get rid of at the end of the season! And by get rid of, I mean recycle, of course.
So last year, I made three things for the tree – little paper balls made of vintage sheet music, popcorn strands, and orange slices. You can keep orange slices (if they dry out fully), year after year, but we simply composted ours along with the popcorn. Which meant I had to make more this year!
All it took was two large navel oranges, and I had enough for our little tree. It made 18 slices, but if I had done them a bit thinner, I could have made a couple more. A large tree could use 3-4 oranges, which makes this project very economical.
To make the ornaments, simply slice your oranges thinly (if your Mandoline is sharp enough, go for it!), no more than a centimeter thick-ish. The thinner you slice, the better they will dry out. Then press the slices gently between layers of paper towels to try and absorb as much juice as you can.
Finally, place them on some parchment paper lined sheets, and pop them in the oven at around 60°C (150°F) for about 3 hours. Some ovens won’t go as low as others, so watch the times depending on your oven temperature. I flipped mine over every 30 minutes to get both sides to dry out, and let them dry for about 3.5 hours. It smells amazing by the way, every time you open the oven. 🙂
Then you simply let them cool, and use a chopstick or something similar to poke a hole, and string them with whatever you like! I used ribbon here but used some natural raffia last year. They look great with cinnamon sticks tied to them as well.
Now, if you read other recipes you may see instructions to dredge the slices in sugar or gelatin. I tried the icing sugar method but didn’t notice that they were really much “shinier” than the plain ones, and it made them a bit sticky. Some of them did look a bit ‘snowy’ afterward, but they absorbed moisture and faded after a time. So try it if you want, but I don’t recommend it.
And that’s that! I still need a few more things on the tree to call it done… and may take it all apart to do ribbon or tinsel. Buuuuut I love the way the orange slices look with twinkle lights behind them! So if you’re looking to add a vintage touch to your tree, or simply need a few more ornaments, why not try oranges?
Sorry for the blurry photo, my camera doesn’t focus very well in the dark.