The next time you consider gift basket delivery for a loved one, keep this DIY tutorial handy and make it yourself instead!
We all want to give great gifts, but it’s not always easy to find just the right thing that also happens to be affordable and conveniently arranged. Gift cards and money are awesome and much appreciated, and definitely super easy to find and give, but aren’t really personal. Finding just the right personal gift isn’t always easy or cheap.
Gift baskets are a thoughtful, memorable and useful gift that don’t take a lot of time or money to prepare. Think giving homemade means you have to be super crafty? Luckily, it doesn’t! It just takes some savvy shopping and a few easy minutes.
Gift basket delivery is a huge business and it’s easy to see why– who doesn’t love being on the recieving end of some thoughtfully chosen goodies? But if you’re on the paying end it can add up quickly, and unless the delivery company fully customizes each basket (many of the options come from a catalogue and are made with stock items), you might end up with a package that has things in it your loved one doesn’t like, or can’t use.
As a side note, I highly recommend NOT sending food to someone if you are unsure whether or not that person (or people) has food allergies or food sensitivities. What you intended as a thoughtful gesture could end up being garbage if it can’t be eaten, or worse yet it could make someone very ill.
So, when you want to save money, and you want your gift basket (or gift hamper as some call it) to be completely customized, here’s how you do it, step-by-step.
Gift Basket Checklist
- A basket, tub, box or other container – Get creative! Yes, it’s referred to as a “basket” but the container your goodies will go into can be anything, as long as it’s a suitable size for what you want to put into it. Think outside the box, or in this case the basket- what else could you use? (psst- some suggestions are shown at the bottom of this article).
- Filler (optional) – By filler, I mean some kind of material to line the base of your container with. In the basket below, I chose no filler, but if you want to use some, here are some ideas:
- – shredded paper (you can buy it or easily make it yourself with scissors or of course- a shredder!
- – gift tissue paper
- – cotton batting (this looks cute as a “snow” substitute for holiday baskets) – fabric or burlap
- – diapers, for a baby basket
- – a pretty towel (or several rolled-up towels) if it’s a housewarming or wedding shower basket
- – any other item that suits the theme of your gift basket
- Goodies! – The item (or items) you want to put into the basket. If you don’t already know, find out from some mutual friends what the person recieving the gift really likes– what is his / her favourite colour, place, style, music, restaurant, etc? Use that info to customize the basket. Again, if you don’t know the person really well, it’s best to stay away from items that are common allergens, like food items or smelly candles, potpourri, etc. If those are irritants, they will go straight in the garbage and your time, money and intentions will be for naught.
- Assembly items – Scissors and tape are usually a must, but what else will you need? Do you want to use plastic wrap for your basket? Ribbon? Wrapping paper? Consider how you want to present the gift and grab the items you need to do the job. I have a gift bag / basket / tissue and ribbon collection at home from birthdays and holidays past, and that is always my first stop before buying. (And yes, that collection includes packaging items both new and used. Re-gifting gift wrapping materials isn’t something to be ashamed of- it’s eco friendly, wallet friendly and time friendy, too). If you don’t already save these things, try it- you’ll be amazed at how fast your stash grows after just a couple of family parties! For the basket below, I already had the actual basket!
Assembling your basket
The basket I made below was a gift for my son’s teacher. She is getting married this summer and I found out through a mutual friend that she likes shades of aqua and beachy-themes. She and her fiance have just bought a house and our friend mentioned to me that their patio is looking pretty bare. Here’s what I put together:
Top left – This is a set of 6 flower shaped metallic turquoise-y green chargers (plastic) which I found at a big box craft store on sale for $2.50 each.
Top middle– two sets of bling-y clothespins! Not sure if she’ll use these for actual laundry, but why not? They could also be used as cute placecard holders, table cloth anchors, teacher’s desk paperclip alternatives… the crafty possibilities are endless. These were $3.50 each at the same craft store.
Top right– two sets of plastic tumblers, perfect for the patio – each set on sale for $4.99. The colour scheme of these reminded me so much of beach glass, I thought it was perfect for her!
The bottom image shows how I arranged them in the basket prior to wrapping. The yellow flower also came from the craft store ($1.99) and the silver starfish are actually a super simple DIY project, made by spray painting a chrome-look paint onto store bought starfish. I’m counting these as freebies, as I made them ages ago and found them in storage while I was searching my gift wrap stash!
It’s a wrap!
If you choose to use plastic wrap for a more professional look, here’s what to do. I bought this roll of plastic wrap for $1 at the dollar store. To get the look you see in the images below, you’ll need: plastic wrap, scissors, tape, an elastic band, ribbon and /or decoration and (obviously!) your gift basket.
Before you begin, roll out a generous length of the plastic wrap and place your basket in the centre as shown above. You want the edges of the wrap to not only reach the top of your basket / container, but also to go at least 3-5 inches above it. Test out the reach by grabbing an end (the ends shown at left and right of the image above) of the plastic wrap and pulling it up over the basket to see how high it reaches. Keep in mind it will be cinched where your bow will go, so reserve an extra couple of inches in the height for that. You might have to slide your basket around until you find where the centre should be. Once you’re happy with the length of the sides of the plastic wrap, measure the identical length on the other side of the basket (to be honest though, I just eyeball it) and cut it from the roll.
Step 1. Pull both sides of the plastic wrap up and over the basket so they meet in the centre above it.
Step 2. Grab your elastic and tie a “ponytail” to secure the two ends until you’re ready to tie your bow.
Step 3. If you have some loose ends like I did here, just get your tape and secure them discreetly underneath- nobody will know or care that the ends didn’t meet perfectly- they’ll be too busy admiring your amazing basket! I try to taper these loose ends into a triangle shape if possible (see image) before taping so it’s more secure.
Adding the bow and other decorations
Now it’s time for the fun part! Grab the ribbon you chose for a bow and cut a generous length from the roll. I tend to cut more than I think I need- if it’s too long, you can always cut some off after the bow is finished, but if it’s too short, you’ll be stuck making a smaller bow than you might have intended.
Step 1: Simply tie the ribbon tightly around the elastic, knotting it as you would a shoelace.
Step 2: Again like a shoelace, proceed to make a bow. Tug slowly and gently on the loops of the bow until each of them is long and they are evenly sized. A word of caution though- make sure you don’t make them so long that there isn’t enough ribbon left hanging down for the “tails” (the two pieces of ribbon hanging down in the centre) of the bow.
Step 3: Make a double loop- repeat step 2 using the long loops you just made to create second bow.
Step 4: You will now have a bow with 4, rather than 2 loops. Don’t worry if they’re misshapen or uneven- that’s where the beauty of wired ribbon comes in! You can fix and fuss with it until you get it just the way you want it to look.
Step 5: Here is a look at my bow after spending just a few extra seconds playing with the ribbon. I like the loops big and rounded so I just work all of the bumpy sections out of the wired part. I also curl the tails under, rather than just cutting them- I find this gives it a fuller, more 3D kind of look. Of course, if you’re already happy with it the way it ended up after step 4, leaving it like that will still look great!
Step 6: Now for the fun part! If you’ve chosen to embellish your bow with some kind of extra decoration like I have here, now is the time to add it on. I love how the flower clip adds pop and a fun flair to the finished look. Plus, it’s pretty and useful, so the person who recieves your basket is likely to want to hang on to it. This one is actually a hair clip!
Now your gift basket is all done and ready to enjoy! When it looks this good, it’s just as much of a pleasure to give it as it is for the person who gets to be on the recieving end.
Not into baskets? Consider some other types of containers you could use instead, all of which lend their own vibe to the overall look of the package.
1. Use a pretty platter! – A platter like this is begging to be piled high with cupcakes, brownies or fresh homemade cookies. If you know the favorite treat of the person the platter is for, what a thoughtful addition that would be on top, as opposed to just giving the platter alone. If you need to wrap a food gift, make sure the material you use isfood safe. You can use food safe plastic cling wrap in the same way I used the regular plastic wrap above. Use coloured or patterned cling wrap to make it more festive.
2. Dramatic candle holder, or vase – one like this lends itself to a big, beautiful candle, but don’t stop there. Put some other (non-flammable) items in surrounding it, such as decorative stones or glass beads. For an elegant look, choose a wide, shimmery organza ribbon in a colour that matches the glass. For a more rustic feel, make a bow using raffia instead.
3. Hat box – This “hat box” is large and could hold a lot of great gifts. Rather than just adding the gift(s) and sticking the lid on, put the lid on the bottom instead and fill the box to overflowing before wrapping with plastic wrap and a big beautiful bow. A box this size is great for clothing or decor items and makes a huge statement when you present it to the lucky recipient.
4. Planter pot or small bucket – This cottage chic pressed tin bucket would be a great housewarming gift filled with nicely arranged kitchen utensils and rolled up dish cloths. The bucket could later serve as a planter or decorative piece in the reciever’s home.
These are just a few of the endless options you could use to create your amazing gift basket. Have fun with your creations and add your own personal flair!
Have you ever been the recipient of a gift basket? What did you love about it? Was there anything about it you didn’t like? We welcome your comments below!