If you’ve learned how to dehydrate citrus for either food or decoration, you can easily learn to make a citrus garland from the various pieces. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit all make lovely additions to this classic, eco-friendly, non-plastic holiday and seasonal decoration. Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to make your own citrus garland this year.
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We get a lot of questions about using dried citrus to make garlands and other decorations, so we’ve set up an FAQ section below to answer some of those. If you want the tutorial, just scroll down; but if you have a few questions about longevity and use when crafting with dried citrus, keep reading.
How Long Does Citrus Garland Last?
If you’ve prepared your citrus garland to be used as decoration (as opposed to food), it can last indefinitely. However, this is organic material that needs to be handled a little differently than plastic decorations. To prolong the life of your citrus garland be sure to:
- Thoroughly dry the citrus garland initially to prevent mold.
- Store it in a cool, dark place.
- Keep the storage area dry and free of humidity.
- Store the citrus garland in a sealed container where rodents can’t access it.
Does Citrus Garland Attract Bugs?
No, in fact while the garland retains essential oils, it will actually repel most flying insects. To prevent any other kind of bug infestation:
- Be sure to dry the citrus garland completely.
- Store well in an air-tight container.
Does Citrus Garland Smell Good?
Smell, like taste, can be pretty relative but I will say that yes, citrus garlands smell good for a time. The fragrance usually only lingers after the first week after making the garland. Citrus oils, which give off that delicious citrusy aroma, are highly volatile. This means that the smell dissipates quickly.
Most of the smell will volatize during the drying process – your house will smell amazing! After that, you’ll have a good week of scent, with it tapering off after that.
When I want to re-activate the smell, I’ll often string one near the wood stove in winter. Shaking them slightly as you walk by will also stir the scent of your garlands.
With some varieties, though, you might open the citrus garland box the next year and still be able to detect its scent.
If you include cinnamon sticks or cloves, you will certainly have a delightful fragrance that lingers. You may also add citrus essential oils to the rinds of your citrus garland each time you hang it over the years.
Does Citrus Garland Mold?
When citrus garland is prepared correctly by completely dehydrating the citrus slices, it will not mold. Also, if you continue to store it properly (as described above), you will not get mold.
If you live in a humid climate, you may experience mold if the citrus garland is exposed to the elements. If this is a concern, spray your citrus garland with artist’s fixative – a shellac that forms a protective coating. You may also paint your garland with acrylic sealant. This will eliminate the citrusy smell, but it will protect the garland from ambient moisture.
I don’t prefer to do that even though I live in a humid climate, however! I keep my citrus garland natural for however long it will last in my area and enjoy it. Since making a citrus garland is really very simple, I can always make another one, if I need to.
How Do You Make Dried Citrus Garland?
The first step to making a citrus garland is to dehydrate a variety of citrus. You can do this for either crafting, or for food.
—>>>Click to Learn to Dehydrate Citrus for Food or Crafts—<<<
Once you’ve done this, the next steps for assembly are pretty straight forward. The following instructions can be used to make a horizontally oriented hanging garland or a vertical one.
How to Make a Dried Citrus Garland
This is a very basic tutorial, so please don’t hesitate to add your own embellishments.
- Dried Citrus Slices
- Cinnamon Sticks, optional
- Star Anise, optional
- Whole Cloves, optional
- Whole Nutmeg, optional
- Large Needle, as for leather working
- Heavy Twine
- Drill with small bit, optional
- Cut a length of twine - for this tutorial, I used about 4" (or about 1 meter).
- Tie a simple loop at one end. You will hang the garland from this loop.
- Thread a heavy duty needle (like a leather stitching needle) with the open end of the twine.
- Using thoroughly dried citrus slices, poke a hole at the top center of each citrus wheel with the needle.
- Pick a location several inches away from the end loop where you'd like to hang your first citrus slice. To help the citrus hang straighter, tie a knot in this place.
- Then, thread the first citrus slice through the twine until you hit the knot.
- Stop and tie another knot. This will place a small knot on each side of the citrus to help stabilize it.
- Repeat the process by tying another knot in front of where you would like to place the next citrus slice. Thread the slice, and stop and tie another knot.
- You may also add bunches of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, or whole star anise to the garland at various intervals. Each whole spice will combine with the citrus smell to produce a heavenly scented garland to be used straight through the winter.
Prepare the Twine
Assemble the Garland
If you have a drill with a very small bit, you may drill a hole at the top of whole nutmeg and string the twine through to include it on the garland.
These garlands will last for many years if kept away from mice and extreme heat.
When I want to re-activate the smell, I’ll often string one near the wood stove in winter.
Shaking them slightly as you walk by will also stir the scent of your garlands.
Variations on the Garland
I actually prefer to orient my garland vertically, instead of horizontally. Whichever way you chose, hang it somewhere prominent this holiday season. At the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, citrus is thought to ward off bad luck!
You may use any use dried citrus to craft or adorn a holiday wreath. The slices can be set close together to entirely cover a wreath base frame, or you can simply add dried citrus to a wreath you already have decorated.
—>>>Read our article on Herbal Wreath Ideas <<<—
More Natural Holiday Decoration Ideas
If you’d like to try some holiday decorating ideas that use natural materials, the following might be helpful.