These dried orange slices with star anise make the prettiest, natural, and fragrant DIY Christmas ornaments for your tree! They’re so simple to make and look like glowing, stained-glass windows!
With a few citrus fruits, parchment paper, star anise, a hot glue gun, and fragrant citrus oils, you’ll create ornaments that look and smell beautiful!
This year, I wanted my Christmas tree to be entirely decorated with natural ornaments. No plastic, no tinsel, just guilt-free, elegant, all-natural prettiness (except for the lights, of course).
I used roses and lavender bunches, baby’s breath “snow” and these pretty little oranges, and it turned out to be the most colorful Christmas tree I’ve ever seen!
I also love combining different citrus fruits to make the ornaments different colors! Blood oranges have a gorgeous red color and tiny limes add some fun texture!
What You’ll Need to Make the Ornaments
This is what I used to make multi-color citrus ornaments, but you can use nothing but simple oranges, and they’ll be just as pretty!
parchment paper – I find parchment paper is the best lining for your baking sheets when dehydrating the citrus. Foil can sometimes leave seared marks on the citrus, and using nothing at all can make the citrus stick to the pan.
glue gun – I’ve used thread to attach star anise to my citrus ornaments in the past, but it’s a bit time-consuming. I went for a hot glue gun this year to speed the process, but if you’d rather use a needle and thread, take a look at my post on how to make simple citrus ornaments.
orange & cinnamon oils – When people see photos of my Christmas trees, they always say “That must smell amazing!” But the citrus ornaments actually lose their aroma once dry, unless you add a little essential oil secret ingredient. See the section below to find out exactly what I use.
toothpick – You’ll use a toothpick to pierce the sliced, dried citrus to make a hole for string.
string – You’ll use about 7 inches of string to make the hangers for the ornaments, so make sure to find string or twine that is thin enough to go through the little hole.
dry baby’s breath – this is optional, it makes the ornaments very delicate, but I just love the way it looks on a few of them.
star anise – I love how the little stars look in the centers of the citrus. They also add a lovely aroma too.
citrus – I used 2 oranges, 2 blood oranges, 2 lemons, and 5 makrut limes. I started seeing these tiny, little limes in my food store in late September. They have such a strong, bright aroma, that you can smell it through their skin!
How to Keep Them Smelling “Citrusy”
After the citrus is dried, it loses its bright scent, so I make them smell delicious again with natural oils!
I also like to add some of the ginger oil, bergamot, and clove in the spice collection to give the ornaments a bit more of a zing.
I also add just a few drops (I mean like 1 drop to only 4 ornaments) of Eternal Essence “Cinnamon Orange Clove” oil. It doesn’t really smell like cinnamon or clove, but it does smell like a warm, sweet orange. Different than the Laguna Moon orange, which is brighter.
The citrus smell of your tree will likely be quite strong after you first decorate it with oil-sprinkled ornaments, but the smell will fade within 24 hours to an elegant citrus-spice whisper.
Something to keep in mind, especially if you’re having guests over. Best to sprinkle the oils the day BEFORE a party so they’re not too strong.
The aroma will continue to fade over 5 days or so, so simply refresh some ornaments with oils as often as you wish.
How to Make Dried Citrus Christmas Ornaments – Step by Step
1. Thinly slice citrus into quarter-inch thick slices.
2. Place the slices on parchment paper (or Silpat), and dehydrate them in the oven at 200 F. for 2-4 hours. The smaller, thinner fruits may take only 2 hours, but the larger oranges may take up to 4 hours. Be sure to check on them every hour to be sure.
3. Remove them from the oven, and be sure to place them on a flat surface to cool. If they’re warm, they may bend if placed in a bowl or on top of each other. Don’t worry if they’re not entirely dry. They’ll continue to dry while hanging on your Christmas tree throughout the month.
4. I use a hot glue gun to attach the star anise and smaller citrus to the centers of the larger ones, but you can also use a needle and thread to thread them together. I also glued a little bit of dried baby’s breath flowers to some.
5. Use a toothpick to pierce a hole through the tops of the larger citrus for the hanging string. To make your ornaments smell like Christmas magic, liberally sprinkle a 100% natural orange and cinnamon oil onto them in equal parts.
6. If you want to store them for later, place them in a container, but don’t cover them with a lid. They may still have some moisture in them, and covering them with a lid can trap that moisture, and they can potentially mold. You want them to air-dry completely.
You’ll simply pop them in the oven at 200 F. (93 C.) for about 2-4 hours. Their dry time all depends on how thick you sliced them, so after 2 hours, see if they’re still a bit wet.
You’ll know they’re done when they’re only slightly bendable. If they’re not completely dry, don’t worry, they’ll continue to dry over the next few days on your tree.
The best time to make them into ornaments is actually a day or 2 after drying in the oven because the centers might still be a bit wet after they come out.
Giving them a day or 2 to further dry out on a countertop or in an un-sealed container really makes them nice and dry, but again, depending on how thinly you sliced your oranges, they might be ready right out of the oven.
You can use just about any kind of orange including tangerines, mandarines, and clementines. You can also use other citrus like limes, lemons or grapefruits! The main thing you’ll want to look for is the thickness of skin.
You don’t want to use citrus that has very thick skin, so go for the thinner-skinned varieties.
Nope! Once they’re dry, they’re dry and won’t mold. However, like all organic materials, they’ll age and may not look as pretty next Christmas, so don’t bother packing them up with the rest of the ornaments. Make more next year!
Here Are a Few More Christmas Crafts and Cocktails!
- How to Make Natural Cotton Christmas Garland
- How to Make DIY Christmas Tree Decorations
- The Godiva Chocolate Candy Cane Cocktail
- How to Make Homemade Flower Ornaments
- A RumChata Coconut Snowflake Cocktail
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How to Make Dried Citrus Christmas Ornaments
- sharp knife
- baking pan with grate
- thred or string
- parchment paper
- glue gun
- tooth picks
- citrus oils – see notes for what I use
- 5 oranges or assorted citrus – thinly sliced
- 25 star anise
- Thinly slice citrus into quarter-inch thick slices. Place the slices on parchment paper (or Silpat), and dehydrate them in the oven at 200 F. for 2-4 hours. Smaller, thinner fruits may take only 2 hours, but larger oranges may take up to 4 hours. Be sure to check on them every hour to be sure.
- Remove them from the oven, and be sure to place them on a flat surface to cool. If they’re warm, they may bend if placed in a bowl or on top of each other. Don’t worry if they’re not entirely dry. They’ll continue to dry while hanging on your Christmas tree throughout the month.
- You can use a hot glue gun to attach star anise and smaller citrus to the centers of larger ones, but you can also use a needle and thread to thread them together.
- Use a toothpick to pierce a hole through the tops of the citrus for the hanging string. To make your ornaments smell like Christmas magic, liberally sprinkle a 100% natural orange and/or cinnamon oil onto them in equal parts.