DIY Dried Orange, Spice, and Everything Nice Garland

by | Dec 9, 2019

Who doesn’t love a rustic, dried orange garland? While I typically make one to decorate for the holidays, who says you couldn’t make one for any season or special event? This is my twist on the ever-popular dried orange garland, and can be customized using whatever you have around your home, garden, or even your kitchen pantry (the star anise pods are an adorable addition)! My own version uses fragrant spices like cinnamon sticks and star anise!

Why Dried Oranges?

Around the holidays the internet is filled with crafts using dried oranges. If you’re not familiar with growing citrus, you might not know that wintertime is typically when citrus is ripening and in season. Especially here in Orange County (Southern California), we have limes, some oranges, yuzu, tangerine, and many different types of citrus at various stages of ripening. So, it’s kind of a seasonal thing. In reality, you can dry or dehydrate any type of citrus slices—but dried oranges have the best color for garlands and decor IMHO. In the past I’ve dried limes as well, but they come off very pale in color.

Supplies You Will Need For This Garland:


Twine or String

Dried citrus *process explained below

Natural décor of choice (cinnamon sticks, anise pods, poppy pods, dried bay leaves, etc.)

A needle, skewer, or something to poke a small hole in some of your items to string them.

♥Make sure to check out my article on Growing Everlastings if you would like to learn how to grow your own home decor in the future!

Step 1- Dry or Dehydrate Your Oranges or Citrus

There are a couple of different ways you can make your own dried orange slices—using an oven or a dehydrator. In my experience, oranges work best if you are using an oven because other citrus, like limes and lemons, can actually start turning brown in oven heat. On the other hand, that also makes them pretty in a different way. For my dried orange garland I used a mixture of oranges, limes, and variegated pink lemons from the garden.

*if using a dehydrator, see instructions after oven instructions.

Set your oven on it’s lowest setting, mine is 175 Degrees F.

Slice your citrus thinly. I find that about 1/8″ is good. Just know that, the thicker the slices, the harder it will be to dry them out properly.

Lay your orange slices on a wire rack on a baking sheet, or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. My preference is a wire rack because it allows air to circulate all the way around.

After about 1 hour, check on them. Turn over your slices. If your oven is hotter, definitely check your slices sooner and more often.

Continue to dry your citrus slices, BUT check every 15 minutes or so because the slices will burn quickly if they start browning. Keep drying the slices until your slices no longer feel tacky/sticky. They should be completely dry.

Overall, this process typically takes about 2-3 hours, but it all depends on the thickness of your citrus and the moisture level of each kind.

Dry your slices until completely dry. They will not feel tacky or sticky when they are done.

Let cool before storing.

thinly sliced citrus lined onto a wire rack to be dried in the oven

I’m going to dry these in my oven on the lowest setting. For my dried orange garland, I’m opting to do a mixture of citrus because of what I have available in the garden. There’s some variegated lemon, bearss limes, and oranges.

How to Dry Orange Slices in a Dehydrator↓

Follow the same instructions for slicing above, but place your slices on dehydrator trays.

Set your dehydrator on the “fruit” setting.

Dry your slices until completely dry. They will not feel tacky or sticky when they are done.

Dried citrus is great for decor, but you can also use it in homemade potpouri mixes, homemade tea mixes (float a slice in your cup), and as a garnish for desserts.

Other Uses for Dried Oranges

Aside from making stunning dried orange garlands, you can also use singular dried orange slices as ornaments. For example, the photo below shows a dried orange slice with an ornament hook poked through it. 

If you prefer an edible option for your dried oranges, you can store your dried orange slices (make sure they are completely dry!) in an airtight container and float a slice in your tea or cider for an added burst of flavor when serving. As a note, if you do want to use your dried oranges for something edible, it’s really important to not burn them in the oven. Burning the slices will result in an off-flavor.

Dried orange slice as a christmas ornament

Dried oranges can be used in many ways during the holidays. I actually enjoy hanging singular slices as ornaments on my tree.

Step 2~Forage & Gather Your Natural Accents

The sky’s the limit when it comes to choosing what to include on your  dried orange garland. You can probably see from my photos that I did a mix of citrus, cinnamon sticks, *dried bay leaves, *dried poppy heads, and some *star anise pods. Depending on what is growing in your garden or what you can forage, dried rosemary, pinecones, various dried leaves, and even torn strips of holiday fabric would look really pretty as well! It’s really fun to use your imagination and create something from whatever you have around the home and garden.

Some other ideas for rustic garland accents are everlasting flowers. Also known as “everlastings,” these flowers are specifically known for their ability to retain their color when dried. If you’d like to learn more about everlastings and maybe attempt to grow your own, read more about them  HERE.

*if using the dried poppy heads, make sure all the seeds have been shaken out! You don’t want them falling out all over your home.

*Make sure to remove seeds from the anise pods. One of my favorite ways to use bay leaves is to layer one between a cinnamon stick and anise pod before tying. It looks adorable!

Related Article: Our Favorite Ways to use & Preserve Citrus

Step 3~ Assemble your supplies

To create this dried orange and spice garland you will need:

Twine or string *twine doesn’t seem to knot and hold as well, but it only needs to last the holiday season and I like the rustic look.

Your dried orange slices and gathered goods


A skewer or anything to poke a small hole depending on what you are using for your garland.

assorted dried oranges and natural decor for holiday garland

Once you’ve gathered all your dried oranges and natural accents, it’s time to put together your garland! This year I used some dried poppy pods (make sure to shake out all seeds), along with dried bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise (again don’t leave anise seeds intact where they can jump out).

Step 4~ Make Your Garland

To begin, make sure you read these instructions carefully. I created this dried orange garland with a little different technique than a lot of other methods online. Specifically, instead of threading your objects onto string, we will be tying our objects to the main garland using smaller pieces of string/twine.

Measure out how long you want your garland, and cut your twine.

Tie  small loops on the ends for when you want to hang your garland.

Here’s the important part: Each object you attach to your garland will be attached by a little piece of twine that you use to tie your objects to the main string. There’s a lot of knot tying involved, but I think the finished product is very rustic and elegant.

Start tying! I started with an orange slice. Take your skewer and poke a small hole in the orange slice wherever you’d like it.

Cut a small piece of twine from the roll (about 4 inches long) and thread it through the hole.

Tie your orange slice to the garland with a tight knot. *if your twine is acting up, it might not hold the knot as well. That’s okay, it just means that your object can slide on the main string and you’ll have to re-position it when you go to decorate.

Cut off excess from your short twine knots. I like the look of smaller ends (see photos).

This is one of my cinnamon stick additions to the dried orange garland. You can see that I used a smaller piece of twine to tie my cinnamon stick (layered with a star anise pod) to the main garland string.

rustic dried orange and spice garland hanging on christmas tree

You don’t have to follow a specific pattern with your dried orange garland, but I do try and space out my oranges. Don’t you love the rustic look with the natural accents?

As you move along, any objects you don’t want to poke a hole in, you can simply tie twine around it and knot it to your garland string—there’s really no rules here! For example, my cinnamon sticks are just bundled and tied to the garland.

So, that’s the general idea. Just keep knotting!

Tie a loop at the end to complete your garland!

Last Tips for Your Dried Orange Garland

I know each household is different. Whether you have pets or little ones, here are some things to keep in mind when hanging your garland this year:

If you have animals or children, don’t hang your garland so low that they will be tempted to reach/climb and eat the objects. Keep it out of reach.

Has it been raining a lot or do you live in a humid climate? Because of the moisture in the air, my orange slices have started to feel slightly sticky again and not completely dry. While this could be a problem if I expected my garland to last a long time, it only needs to last through the New Year.

That being said, I wouldn’t save or store your garland for years to come. The orange slices would most likely become moldy or attract ants, and you are better off just making new ones each year.

Orange slices look pretty when light or sun shine through them! Hang your garland around a window.

Meet Randi

Urban gardening is my jam. I’m Randi, California girl who obsessively gardens to grow food and flowers around my urban home. Seasonal, simple living is what inspires me~ I hope it will inspire you too. Join me in crafting a life and home connected to the garden Read More>>>>

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