Courtney Allison is a stylist, photographer, and author of the popular blog French Country Cottage. A tastemaker of French Country style in America, she has authored two previous books, French Country Cottage and French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings.
In her newest book, French Country Cottage Christmas (Gibbs Smith 2023), Courtney Allison helps the reader celebrate the season in cozy French Country Cottage style with luscious photography and a plethora of inspiration and ideas for trees in themes from baubles to flowers; décor indoors and outdoors; flowers, garlands, and wreaths; tables, dining, and entertaining; entryways, stairways, and every room of the house; outbuildings; pretty packages; and twinkle lights galore. Plus, she includes a little bit of Christmas magic from a snowy mountain cabin, a vintage travel trailer at the lake, and a Paris apartment with a balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
In the following excerpt from her book, Courtney shares a step-by-step process for making a dried citrus wreath. Oranges are a Christmas classic and make for wonderful and fragrant decorations. Her instructions include drying the oranges and assembling the wreath for a festive door ornament. Drying the oranges helps prevent pests and keeps the decoration lasting longer.
How to Make a Dried Citrus Wreath
Dried orange slices and whole oranges are beautiful for enjoying during the holidays. I use them to accent side tables and garlands and even for creating beautiful custom wreaths.
Drying Whole Oranges and Slices
For whole oranges, work evenly around each orange, making 4 cuts from top to bottom about 1/4 inch deep. Do not fully cut through the oranges. Then make 4 more cuts between the first ones, so there are 8 sections.
For thin slices, cut through the fruit crosswise, about 1/4 inch widths.
Drying Whole Oranges and Slices
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice oranges thinly and lay them on the parchment paper in a single layer. Dehydrate in a 200 ° F oven for 3 to 4 hours, turning with a spatula every 30 to 45 minutes to prevent burning. Turn off the oven and let cool completely before removing.
For Orange Pomanders with Cloves
Using a zester or knife, slice any pattern or design you like on the peel of the fresh oranges. Insert whole cloves in the sliced areas and leave to air-dry or dry them in a food dehydrator. Set out in bowls or hang on the tree to scent your room.
Step-by-Step Dried Citrus Wreath
Dried whole oranges and orange slices
Fresh-clipped Christmas greens, e.g., cedar or pine
Dried bay leaves
Hot glue gun and sticks
1. Start by adding the fresh greens to the vine wreath. Tuck in and then wire the pieces to the wreaths, or add with hot glue.
2. Next, loop a piece of wire around each pine cone, allowing enough wire to tie it firmly to the wreath. Repeat all around the wreath, filling in areas with pine cones.
3. Wire dried whole oranges to the wreath in the same way as the pine cones. The number of oranges is up to you, depending on the size of your wreath.
4. Hot glue the slices to the wreath, filling in the areas around the pine cones and whole oranges. Then hot glue dried bay leaves or similar, tucking them into the spaces between that need filling in.
Keep adding until you are happy with the look of the wreath. It can be decorated simply or fully, depending on what you prefer.
5. Tie a velvet ribbon bow and leave the ends long. Place it wherever you’d like and wire or hot glue it to the wreath.