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How to make an orange and star garland

I've always loved creating my own Christmas decorations, and this year I had a lot of fun putting together this garland of little cinnamon stars and dried orange slices. It looks really pretty and it smells just like Christmas! Here's how I made it:

You will need:

  • One orange

  • A set of Callisto Design Co. cinnamon star decorations - grab those here! You can get a 5-pack or a 10-pack depending on how long you want your garland to be. (Alternatively you could cut stars out of cardboard or thick paper.)

  • String or twine - I used red and white striped baker's twine

  • Scissors

  • An embroidery needle (or a skewer)

1. First you need to dry your orange slices. These make lovely decorations to use in all kinds of crafts or just to string and hang on your tree, so make plenty while you're at it! Preheat your oven to a low temperature - about 100C. Then start by cutting your orange into thin slices - aim for about 5mm thick.

2. Lay out your orange slices onto a metal cooling rack so that air can circulate around them, and then put this on a baking tray and pop them in the oven for 3-4 hours, turning them over at least every hour. The thinner you sliced them, the quicker they'll dry out. When they feel brittle rather than soft or sticky, then they're ready!

3. Now gather together everything you need to make your garland - the string, stars and orange slices, along with your embroidery needle (or skewer). Decide how long you want your garland to be and cut a length of string - don't forget to leave a bit extra on the ends to help fasten it up, especially if you're going to be tying it onto anything!

4. The easiest method to thread on your decorations is to use the embroidery needle to thread the string straight through the orange slices and stars, but if you don't have one you could use a skewer, toothpick or the sharp end of a small pair of scissors to pierce two small holes in each orange slice, and then thread the string through them with your fingers, using the skewer to help push the string through the holes.

Start by threading on a star then knot it into place to keep it from moving. Tying the star in place will also help it to hang facing forward when you put your garland up, rather than hanging side on.

4. Next add an orange slice to your garland - you want to 'stitch' the orange slice on through two holes rather than just threading the string through one hole, as once again this will make the orange slice hang facing forwards and not sideways.

5. Slide your orange slice along the string until it's next to the star. It's up to you how close they are together - I went for about 8cm between each decoration. You can measure it carefully, or just eyeball!

6. Continue alternating between threading on oranges and stars until you run out of either decorations or space on the string, knotting each star in place as you go - this is a little fiddly but be patient and you'll get the hang of it!

7. Your garland is finished! It's time to find the perfect spot to hang it up. Provided you store it carefully, these garlands can last for years but please note that the orange slices will darken as they age.

Are you going to have a go at this craft? Tag @callisto.designco on Instagram if you post any photos!

Don't forget you can grab the gold-flecked cinnamon stars right here - they also make perfect decorations for a small tree, or as reusable gift tags for your Christmas presents.

Happy crafting!

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