Before You Make Those Pretty Orange DIY Garlands, Try This Time-Saving Tip
Growing up in a cable-free household, I watched a lot of random, pixelated television. Some of the hits: Matlock reruns from the ’80s, PBS specials, and a Canadian show I’ve never heard anyone else mention called She’s Crafty. The star of the last one was a bubbly host who would do simple, affordable DIYs. My sister and I were obsessed, and to this day, we’ll still sing the theme song (“she’s craftaaaay”) when we are gearing up to do a little craft. So when, last year, dozens of videos of pretty, homemade dried orange garlands started popping up on my feed ahead of the holidays, I knew exactly what it was time to do: Get crafty.
My sister and I bought a couple large bags of oranges, hauled them home, and got to work. But the craft was a little finickier than the 60-second TikTok montages made it look. Ideally, you have to cut all of the oranges to the same thin width, which is no easy feat with no mandoline and limited counter space (also: juice goes everywhere). Then, you have to lay them all out in a single layer on baking sheets and roast them at a low temperature for, oh, four to seven hours. I love spending a whole day at home when the weather gets cold, so that was no big deal, but for the best results, you also need to turn the slices over every half hour or so. Plus, you need to keep a close eye on them and pick out the ones that are done early one by one, as they inevitably roast at different rates.
None of that was unmanageable — in fact, it was a toasty (thanks to the oven staying on pretty much all day) and citrus-scented way to spend a chilly day. But it was messier and more-time consuming than I intended for it to be. So this year, I’ve found a better way: I’m just going to buy pre-roasted orange slices.
Is this a cop out? Maybe, I don’t care! And honestly, I don’t think so. The craft still involves using a needle and string to thread the slices together into a Little Women-worthy orange garland (or, adding little bows to each one to use as ornaments!). This time of year is filled with enough chaos without adding several hours of effort to a fun craft, if you ask me. This set of pre-dried citrus from Etsy is just under $6 for 20 slices, which isn’t much more than the cost of a bag of oranges at my local market. These have a five-star review average, and people who bought them attest to their garland perfection: “I am so glad that I ordered these! I tried making my own dried slices and failed. They got too burned. These came in looking beautiful — like fresh slices but dried!” writes one customer. “I strung them up as a garland on my hutch.”
Of course, if you want to do the whole shebang and roast the oranges yourself, roast away. I recommend turning on your favorite festive music, singing the She’s Crafty jingle, and using the extra orange ends to make a scrumptious simmer pot.