Hey folks, welcome back for day three of our Handmade Christmas, if you missed the first two projects, have a peek at our last couple of posts to check out what we’ve been up to. We’ve been pretty darned busy mixing, cutting gluing and baking all sorts of Christmas fun over the last few days, and are super excited to share them with you all as we get them finished. Also before we begin, a big shout out to all our new readers who found us on Craftgawker! We’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the amount of traffic our little Christmas projects have been getting but appreciate all the kind comments.
Now for today’s project! We have some non-tree related ornament crafts in the pipeline, but we’re back to decorating the tree today. As we chatted about a few days ago, we don’t really own any tree decorations of our own (we haven’t even had a Christmas tree at our apartment before!) so needed to get cracking with ornaments first to make our little tree look more festive. Those of you looking very closely will see that from blog post to blog post the tree is slowly being adorned with more and more pretty things as we finish each project.
Today’s additions (dried orange slice ornaments) are one of those things which is so simple you wonder why everybody in the world is currently forking out their hard earned cash on mass produced decorations. All in, these can’t cost more than about £3 ($5 according to google) for about 20 ornaments!
Once dried, the orange slices not only make the room smell great (like natures own little air fresheners) but look like mini stained glass windows with the fairy lights shining through.
Dried Orange Slice Ornaments
All you will need is:
1 or 2 large oranges
1/4 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
Some festive ribbon
A sharp knife (to slice the oranges)
A sieve (for the powdered sugar)
1) Slice the oranges into 1/8 inch slices, or as thin as you can manage without endangering your fingers (this part is not so kid-friendly). Make sure to cut across the segments, so that each slice matches.
2) One you have a set of orange slices you are happy with (a couple of oranges should be more than enough to decorate even a huge tree), pat each slice dry on some kitchen towel and then place in a baking sheet on some parchment or grease proof paper. The parchment is super important to make sure the acid in the oranges doesn’t react oddly with the metal pan and discolour our cute little slices..
2) Once all of your orange slices are arranged on baking sheets, use the sieve to dust them lightly with the powdered sugar. Once all the slices are covered, flip them over and sugar the other side. The sugar lets the center of each slice become slightly candied as they dry, turning them into little mini orange stained glass windows on your tree.
3) Place the baking sheets in the oven at 100ºC (or around 200ºF) for 2 to 3 hours. Rather than trying to cook the slices, we’re really just trying to dehydrate them and dry them out, so this is a bit of a slow process. About half way through (or more often if you find yourself getting a little restless while you wait) turn each slice over. This will help the slices to dry out evenly.
4) Once fully dried and cooled the slices will have shrunken slightly, and be quite brittle. When they are done, take them out of the oven and leave for half an hour, then take each slice in turn and with a sharp knife make a small slot between the peel and the center, for the ribbon to slip through. Next take a short length of your ribbon, about 6 inches long, and string it through the hole you made. Finally, knot it to make a loop for it to hang from.
There you have it really simple, looks great and smells delicious!