A beautiful Orange & Eucalyptus Winter Wreath adds a pop of color to those cold, wintery months when we crave a bit of warmth and sunshine.
When autumn and winter roll around, I use oranges in everything from Artichoke, Hibiscus, & Orange Bitters, to Citrus & Pine Winter Shrub. Additionally, I love to dry oranges to use in my Christmas decor in garlands as well as beautiful ornaments. Remenecient of Colonial days gone by, decorating with oranges and other fruits and vegetables, feathers, pine cones, and other natural elements is a beautiful way to bring the outdoors inside.
Orange is my favorite pop color in my decor as I weave it into every room. Whether it shows up in a throw pillow or blanket, a decorative bowl or frame, or in this case, beautiful, natural, dried citrus slices. Orange is the color of JOY to me and when the winter months strip the trees and bushes of their garments, leaving them bare and wanting for covering, I like to bring in some natural color to liven things up a bit. Preserving oranges and adding them to greens is a beautiful way to bring the sunshine in and add a little cheery color to your decor.
Preparing the Oranges
There are two ways you can prepare the oranges. After you slice them, you will want to either dry them in the oven or a dehydrator. Personally, I prefer to use my Excalibur Dehydrator to free up my oven for other things. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can set your oven to 200°F and dry them for about 2 hours, making sure to flip them every 30 minutes. The dehydrator method is a set-it-and-forget-it method you can do several days in advance while you gather your other materials. It takes a bit longer but there is no flipping needed as the sheets allow for air to flow on both sides at the same time. Mine took about 6 hours on a medium setting.
Once the oranges are dried, you can hot glue them into clusters of 5-7. Obviously, I used different varieties of oranges to add different shades of color. Blood oranges, Naval oranges, and mandarines offered beautiful hues to my project. Make sure to evenly space out the colors if you use several varieties.
I prefer to involve my children in as many projects as possible, especially those involving foraging around nature. Fresh air, dirt, and sunshine are building blocks of health for everyone, not to mention wonderful opportunities to talk and connect with those you love. We went on a beautiful family walk and collected tiny pinecones for this project…and a few extra for decorating the house. When we got home my 10-year-old son went to work stringing the pinecones with the floral wire and gluing the orange clusters. This is definitely a project you can do with your children, using caution with the hot glue gun. The pride they feel in the finished project is priceless. All they need is a little direction from mom to involve them in parts of the project at their level and they will feel like they have contributed to creating a seasonal haven in your home.
Choosing A Faux Greenery Base
I absolutely adore decorating with eucalyptus. Not only is it the most amazing shade of green with beautiful feathery leaves, but it reminds me of home. Northern California, particularly the San Francisco area, is replete with eucalyptus trees. When I was a child, we used to occasionally go to the San Francisco Zoo or Ghirardelli Square for a hot fudge sundae. As you cross the Golden Gate Bridge, you are hit with a blanket of fog, drenched with the smell of sea and eucalyptus. It reminds me of quiet strolls through the park, chasing pigeons, and of course hot fudge sundaes in tall glasses with ocean views. I am getting distracted. Back to the wreath…
You can use a faux pine wreath from the craft store as a base if you would like, or even a boxwood, but I found this 20″ Eucalyptus Wreath and knew this is what I wanted to be my base. Whichever base you choose, you will want to find a contrasting green to layer the colors. I have boxwoods growing outside that dry really well, so I slipped them in to bring the contrast. If you want to start with a pine wreath, you can usually find those pretty inexpensive at the craft store and purchase eucalyptus as your complimentary green. That would work too.
Gathering All the Materials
Once all the materials are gathered, the assembly should take less than an hour. Prepare your surface with newspaper, old wrapping paper, or parchment paper. Thread the pinecones with the floral wire. Hot glue the oranges into clusters of about five slices. Cut your ribbon to the length you want making room for a knot at the top. It is a good idea to judge where you want your wreath to fall before cutting the ribbon. Additionally, it is a good idea to have several pieces of floral wire cut with wire cutters into long strips for tying the greenery on. You can always trim the length later after securing the greens.
- Pre-made greenery wreath (pine, eucalyptus, or boxwood)
- Gathered pinecones
- Extra greenery with a contrasting color (boxwood, pine, eucalyptus)
- Dried oranges (drying instructions included)
- Floral wire
- Wire Cutter
- Hot glue gun
- Parchment paper
- Gardening shears for cutting greens or scissors for dried or silk
- Oven or dehydrator for oranges
- Line a parchment lined cookie sheet with thinly sliced oranges and bake in the oven for 2 hours (flipping every 30 minutes until dried).
- Alternatively, line your dehydrator sheets with the oranges and dehydrate on medium for 4-6 hours until dried (this is the method I used).
- Prepare your work surface with newspaper, parchment paper, or old wrapping paper and lay your faux greenery wreath down.
- Decide where you want the top of the wreath to be and secure your ribbon so you can build around it.
- Take the extra greenery such as boxwood in this case, and evenly place it around the wreath to build the contrast in greenery.
- Secure the greenery with floral wire and trim off the excess wire.
- String the pinecones with floral wire and evenly space around the wreath.
- Arrange the dried orange slices into clusters and secure with hot glue.
- Place dried orange clusters evenly spaced around the wreath using the hot glue.
- Hold up the wreath and see if there are any places that need further adjusting, filling, gluing, or spacing.
- Tie your ribbon in a knot for your desired length or use your ribbon to make a bow.
- Hang your beautiful wreath on a door using a wreath hook or on a wall to add a bit of cheer to your winter decor.