Introduction: Turn a Clementine Into a Tiny Decorative Basket

About: I work as a musical instrument repair technician. Outside of work hours I bury myself in art projects, work out at the gym, waste time on the Internet, play French horn in a band, play trombone in another band…

Eat lots of clementines? Turn the peels into home décor or little ornaments!

Time: A little
Skill: Some
Cost: Not much

Step 1: Tools & Materials

  • clementine

Optional, But Recommended
  • fine-point marker or pen
  • bowl
  • towel
  • spoon
  • knife, maybe

Step 2: Layout

Not all clementines are created equal. Sometimes the rind peels off really easily, and sometimes it... doesn't. For this project, definitely try to get one where it is easy to remove. From personal experience I've learned that the ones with a slightly thicker, more bumpy-looking peel tend to be best, and thinner-peeled ones are useless. Of course it's impossible to know for sure until they're cut into, so get a variety and go through them until one works.

Draw out where the handle will go. I have it going over the stem nub so the finished product will rest on the flatter underside, but it can be oriented any which way. Suggest making the handle strip around 1cm wide.

Once it's outlined, it's time to peel off the sides around what will become the handle. I use my fingernails to score the lines, but others may prefer knives. Peel off the punched-out sections.

Step 3: Disembowelment

Gut it. Some come out very easily with a little wiggling, but others are more stubborn and require half shredding the pulp. I used a spork to dig underneath the wedges and help pry them out, because it was close to hand. It was messy. Would recommend a spoon in lieu of a spork so there are no tines shredding the fruit. If juice is getting everywhere, grab a bowl or work over a sink.

Chow down on its insides afterwards.

Step 4: Drying

Fill the hollowed-out rind so it will keep its shape when it dries. I used bits of paper towel, but for any future ones I plan to use fabric scraps. The juice-soaked paper towel fused to the insides and it took some work to pry off all the little bits. Once it's stuffed, put it somewhere to dry out. Just leaving it on a shelf somewhere will take a while. Heating it in an oven can speed up the process. I balanced mine on the top edge of my room's heater, and it was fully dried within a day. Store it in a sealed container and it'll even keep a hint of that citrus smell for years.

They're quite tough when dry. Likely won't survive being stepped on, but a fall to the floor will be weathered just fine. The inside can be smoothed out with sandpaper, and the whole thing varnished for extra durability, though this will destroy the citrus aroma. My family filled them with mixed nuts and dried fruits, but of course versatility is only limited by imagination.

Could probably also do this with oranges and grapefruits and so forth, with some changes to the hollowing-it-out stage.