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Let's play a word association game. What is the first thing you think of when I say "Dehydrator"?
Long-term food storage? Överlevnadsmat? Fruit Leather? Dried meat? Crafts Project?
Wait - "Craft project?" From a food dehydrator? What type of craft project could possibly use a carpet drying?
Quite a few, actually. Here are 10 ideas * to get you started.
- Dried apples are not just for eating. Slice apples into rings, dust with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired and dry out. String them on a length of jute cord, alternating with other dehydrated fruits, nuts, cinnamon sticks and colorful strips of fabric tied in bows. Tie a knot at each end of the cord or tie the ends together. Hang it on a wall, above a door or window, over a curtain rod. Drap it on a mantle or shelf.
- Fill a large decorative jar with dried fruit, nuts, berries, flowers and corn bowls. Seal it with a tight fitting lid. Place it on a mantle, hutch or table for a rustic look.
- Don't throw out your flower bouquets! Dry them out while they are still in color, then use them in arrangements, wreaths or potpourri. You can dry the entire flower or just the petals.
- Dress up your farm, bazaar or craft items. Tie dried flowers with a little ribbon or yarn, then put them in a vase, jug or larch. Mason jars can contain such treasures as homemade track mix, dried fruit slices and yogurt taffy. A beautiful bowl can contain potpourri.
- Glue dehydrated flowers, nuts, fruits and pods on wooden letters, then paint if desired. Attach the letters to a wooden base for stability. Spell your name for a unique desktop plaque. Use thicker pieces of wood for individual, free-standing letters.
- Use your dehydrator as a quick way to dry paper machine, clay figures or plaster-of-paris. Tip: You may want to erase the bottom of your dehydrator with parchment paper sheets or a tray for easy cleaning.
- Dough art is a fun way to get the whole family to work! With a basic recipe and a little imagination you can get dozens of dough ornaments, plaques and figures - perfect for any occasion! Using your dehydrator prevents cracking, baking, breaking and browning that can happen in the oven. When your work is dry, it is ready to paint and seal.
- Make your own edible cake decorations in advance. Stir anti-freeze on solid board lining or plastic sheeting, and then dehydrate. Have flowers, swirls, ropes and dots ready when you need them!
- An ordinary wooden frame becomes a work of art when you attach dried objects to it. Customize the frame to complement the image it will hold.
- Dehydrated citrus fruits - oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit - make interesting decorations. Thin boards tied with gold or silver bands can be hung on a Christmas tree or in a window. Use whole fruits as candlesticks, paint or carve whimsical faces on them or set them out as air fresheners. You can even use the scales to make small dolls and animals.
With the garden sales and summer fairs, the autumn bazaar and crafts sales and the winter holidays, now is a good time to create. What will be your next project?
* Some of these items may be large and require removable washers and doors for maximum drying space. Be sure of your dehydrator capacity and capacity before you begin your project.