Updated: Dec 3, 2020
While my daughter's room is a bubble gum-pink winter wonderland this year, the motif in the rest of our house is much more traditional. After my husband trimmed up one of our evergreen trees earlier this season I was inspired to use some branches from our own yard to bring a little natural element to our holiday decor.
This DIY isn't necessarily hard, but it is more laborious than most of my others. You've got to work the trimmers, get up and down off the ground a lot, and, trust me, you want to wear gloves. I made two of these 7-8 foot garlands, but if you only made one, this could definitely be a one nap craft.
You should also know that this is the first time I've ever done anything like this so don't feel intimidated to try some new things this year!
Materials for the Greenery
Clippings from our evergreen tree and bushes
black zip ties
Organize your clippings by size. I had a large, medium, and small pile.
Lay out your largest clippings, overlapping quite a bit, making sure that they are as long as you need them. (You can add length later with the medium and small clippings if necessary.)
Use strong black zip ties to connect each branch at two points. You may need to add more if they are not as sturdy. Life up your garland to make sure they are all secure.
After connecting all your largest clippings, spread out your medium clippings along the length of the garland, filling in gaps where necessary.
Use 8 inch pieces of floral wire to attach these to the large branches in at least two places.
I chose to save my smallest clippings to add once my garlands were placed so I could fill in any gaps. I simply laid one garland on my mantle and for the arch way, I used a combination of picture hanging hooks and floral wire so that I could wrap it around the garland tightly.
You may be able to just stick your smallest clippings but you can use additional floral wire to make sure they are sturdy.
These have been hanging in my house for over two weeks and they haven't dried out a bit. I did not soak or spray them. In addition, my husband was pretty concerned about falling needles but the only time we experienced that was when we were hanging it up. No additional sweeping has been necessary!
tooth pick, skewer, or straw
I used this recipe form Completely Delicious for these ornaments. I loved it because it utilized only two ingredients and included oven directions rather than sitting out on the counter for 24-48 hours.
I used a gingerbread man and a Christmas tree cookie cutter to make my shapes. I used a tooth pick to poke a hole for hanging, and I baked them on a piece of parchment paper for easy clean up.
These ornaments aren't as delicate as you think but do be careful as I'm sure thickness, oven temp, and humidity can all affect that differently. I dropped one from on top of my ladder while hanging them on my garland and it didn't break.
Another thing I noticed is these ornaments did not change shape in the oven like a cookie would so you don't have to worry about your hole closing up while baking. I knew I wanted to use fishing line but if you plan to use something bigger like ribbon, make sure you poke a bigger hole accordingly!
Dried Orange Garland
This DIY hardly needs directions it's so simple but in case your curious, here we go!
Slice your oranges as thinly as possible. I tried using our mandolin but the orange flesh was too delicate so I used a sharp serrated knife.
Place them in a single layer on a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
Turn your oven as low as it will go (170 for me) and let them dry for several hours.
My technique was to check in on them every hour and take the ones out that were ready. Some took several hours as my slices were not as uniform as I would have liked but none of them burned. If you touch the flesh you can feel if it still has moisture in it.
I stored my oranges in a large zip lock back on the counter until I was ready to string them together and hang them up.
To make a garland, simply cut a piece of fishing line as long as you need. The fishing line easily pokes through the flesh of the orange. I stuck it in on one side and then back through the other so that they would all face forward when hung.
Depending on the thickness of your fishing line, you may choose to tie knots in between as the oranges can slide around on the line. I just used the. branches of my garland to prop them up and make sure they stayed still!
Don't forget to follow me on IG @carlyrhill and tag me if you enjoy any of these DIYS with your family this season!