Let’s play a word association game. What is the first thing you think of when I say, “Dehydrator”?
Long-term food storage? Survival food? Fruit leather? Beef jerky? Craft projects?
Wait – “Craft projects?” From a food dehydrator? What kind of craft projects can possibly use a food dehydrator?
Quite a few, actually. Here are 10 ideas* to get you started.
1. Dried apples aren’t just for eating. Slice apples into rings, dust with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired, and dehydrate. String them onto a length of jute cord, alternating with other dehydrated fruits, nuts, cinnamon sticks, and colorful strips of cloth tied in bows. Tie a knot in each end of the cord or tie ends together. Hang it on a wall, above a door or window, over a curtain rod. Drape it on a mantel or shelf.
2. Fill a large decorative jar with dehydrated fruits, nuts, berries, flowers, and cornhusks. Seal it with a tight-fitting lid. Set it on a mantel, hutch, or table for a rustic look.
3. Don’t throw out your flower bouquets! Dehydrate them while they still have color, then use them in arrangements, wreaths, or potpourri. You can dry the whole flower or just the petals.
4. Dress up your yard sale, bazaar, or craft sale items. Tie dried flowers with a bit of ribbon or twine, then set them in a vase, pitcher, or crock. Mason jars could hold such treasures as home-made trail mix, dried fruit slices, and yogurt taffy. A pretty bowl might hold potpourri.
5. Glue dehydrated flowers, nuts, fruit, and seed pods onto wood letters, then paint if desired. Attach the letters to a wood base for stability. Spell out your name for a unique desk plaque. Use thicker pieces of wood for individual, stand-alone letters.
6. Use your dehydrator as a quick way to dry papier mache, clay figures, or plaster-of-paris. Tip: You may want to line the bottom of your dehydrator with parchment paper sheets or a tray liner for easy clean-up.
7. Dough art is a fun way to get the whole family into crafting! With a basic recipe and a little imagination, you can turn out dozens of dough ornaments, plaques, and figures – perfect for any occasion! Using your dehydrator prevents the cracking, baking, breaking, and browning that can happen in the oven. When your work is dry, it’s ready to be painted and sealed.
8. Make your own edible cake decorations in advance. Pipe frosting onto solid tray liners or plastic wrap sheets, then dehydrate. Have flowers, swirls, ropes, and dots ready when you need them!
9. A plain wood frame becomes a work of art when you attach dehydrated items to it. Customize the frame to complement the picture it will hold.
10. Dehydrated citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit – make interesting decorations. Thin slices tied with gold or silver cord can be hung on a Christmas tree or in a window. Use whole fruits as candle holders, paint or carve whimsical faces on them, or set them out as air fresheners. You can even use the rinds to make small dolls and animals.
With the yard sales and fairs of summer, the bazaars and craft sales of autumn, and the holidays of winter, now is a great time to be crafting. What will be your next project?
*Some of these items may be large, requiring removeable trays and door for maximum drying space. Be sure of your dehydrator’s capacity and capabilities before beginning your project.
S Poehlein is an avid crafter and dehydration enthusiast who enjoys combining the two. Her high-quality hand-made items have sold at festivals and craft sales, and soon may be offered on-line. You can find your perfect crafting dehydrator, accessories, and books at http://www.dryitall.com.