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How to Make Dried Citrus Christmas Ornaments

December 5, 2018 (Last Updated: December 9, 2019)

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!

All you need is 5 oranges, star anise, a needle and thread and a few hours of your time.

A dried orange slice with star anise in the center hanging on a christmas tree.

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).

A colorful Christmas tree decorated with flowers and dry orange ornaments.

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!

dry orange slices and star anise piled on a white marble table.

1. How do you dry the oranges?

You’ll simply pop them in the oven at 180 F (82 C) for about 4-6 hours. It all depends on the thickness of your oranges, so after 4 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 weeks 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 really makes sure they’re nice and completely dry, but depending on how thinly you sliced your oranges, they might be ready to go right out of the oven.

2. What kind of oranges should I use?

You can use just about any kind of orange – Valencia, blood orange, tangerine, clementine… you can even 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.

3. Will they go bad?

Nope! Once they’re dry, they’re dry and won’t mold. However, like all organic material, 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!

4. To create these sweet, little citrus ornaments, you’ll need:

  • 5 oranges
  • Star anise (enough for all your slices)
  • A sharp knife
  • A needle and brown (or dark) thread

2 dry orange slices on a white marble table next to a needle and thread.

How to Make Dried Citrus Christmas Ornaments – Step by Step

1. Slice your oranges with a sharp knife about a half-centimeter to a centimeter thick. The thinner they are, the more transparent they’ll be, but make sure not to cut them too thinly. They’ll warp and curl if they’re thinner than a half-centimeter.

2. Place them on a baking pan on top of a grate so the heat can circulate around them, and place them in the oven. Bake them at 180 F. degrees (82 C.) for 4-6 hours.

3. Once dry, let them sit for about a half hour to cool. Place star anise in the center of the oranges and use a brown or dark thread to attach them. You only need about 2 stitches to secure them.

4. I find it’s best to thread through the orange, leaving a bit long so you can easily tie the thread in a knot once it’s secure.

Simply sew through the top of each orange to create a string to hang it with, and place it on your tree.

A step by step process showing how to dry orange slices for christmas ornaments.

A dried orange slice with star anise in the center hanging on a christmas tree.

Enjoy your gorgeous, little citrus ornaments and Merry Christmas!

For more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

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  • Reply
    Lauren Poor
    December 11, 2019 at 1:54 am

    I’m in love with this tree!! Did you make the dried flowers or buy them? Please give details if you made them. Also, does the baby’s breath not go bad after being on the tree for a couple weeks?

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      December 11, 2019 at 2:24 am

      Thank you very much, Lauren! I bought the flowers and dried them myself. There was a sale of roses so I bought about 6 dozen. The baby’s breath looks prettiest when it’s fresh on the tree, but it actually dries quite nicely. It just shrinks a bit, but it still stays white for at least 3 months. If you want to see how I made the flower ornaments, take a look at this post, and thank you again!

  • Reply
    Shari Green
    December 10, 2019 at 1:44 am

    I have to agree not much fragrance to them when they are done is there any thing that can be added to them other than anise star or can we put cinnamon on them for added smell or anything of Christmas smell?

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      December 10, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      I’ve seen people attach cinnamon sticks, and that looks really pretty. You can also get a little fancy and add some dry lavender or other floral accents. Another thing to try would be to pierce the orange rind with a few cloves before you put the oranges in the oven! That would really give them a Christmas smell 🙂

  • Reply
    Christine Semanson
    December 9, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    I’ve put my tree in the kitchen this year, and this would be a great decoration to add. Are you tying the star anis on with the string and knotting it on the back?

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      December 9, 2019 at 8:49 pm

      Yup! I basically use a needle and thread to sew through, then I hold the star anise to the orange slice, then I sew across it, pulled the thread tight, and tie the thread in the back 🙂

  • Reply
    December 7, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Once they are dry, is there much fragrance from the oranges?

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      December 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm

      Not really. They’ll have a very faint smell, but will smell more like star anise if you’re adding it to the ornaments.

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