Post date: 
Tuesday, 31 October 2017
Photo of a Christmas tree with dried orange and cinnamon stick decorations

Looking for a fun activity to do with the family this Christmas? Sarah-Jane Wood, a teacher from RNIB College Loughborough, talks through how to make scented decorations.

Each year, the College’s Arts Centre and Craft Studio make Christmas decorations to decorate the campus and sell at our fair. Here I'd like to share how to make the one of the students’ favourite decorations – it’s a great activity for the whole family, whether you’re a parent with sight loss or if you have a child who is blind or partially sighted.

What you need

  • Oranges, lemons, limes and apples
  • Sharp knife and chopping board
  • Dried cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Ground cinnamon
  • A needle with a wide eye hole
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • A dehydrator if you have one (these are available on the high street or online and look a lot like a steamer, but work in the opposite way and quickly dry your fruit out within a few hours – they’re also great for making healthy snacks!). If you don't have a dehydrator, you can achieve the same affect using very low oven heat (keep reading for more information).


  1. Very carefully, slice the fruit as thinly as you can (ideally just less than quarter of an inch).
  1. Push a few cloves into each orange slice and sprinkle cinnamon onto the apples.
  1. Dry out the fruit slices using your preferred method. The smell this creates is Christmas personified! For drying in the oven, arrange the slices on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven set to about 66.5-77.5C. Bake for 3-4 hours, flipping the slices every hour until they are dried, though not completely shrivelled up. You want the slices to retain their colour and not look brown around the edges.
  1. Once the fruit slices have dried out, thread the needle with a thin piece of ribbon and pierce the fruit. Create a loop with the ribbon and tie it securely.
  1. Use more ribbon to tie small bundles of cinnamon sticks together. These add to the amazing scent and can then be hung on your tree.

I usually make lots of these dried fruits and add pine cones, cinnamon sticks and more cloves to the mix. This creates a home-made potpourri, which you can put into bowls to scent your home for the festive season.

Further information

RNIB College Loughborough offers specialist education, care and work experience for young people and adults aged 16-plus from across the UK who have vision impairment and other disabilities.