Making Your Own Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are as fun to make as they are to receive. The choice of the basket or similar container can also help define the sentiment and theme. You can customize the contents for the person and the occasion. This is a guide about making your own gift baskets.

Gift basket with green ribbon.
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Filler for Gift Baskets

By anne 58 78

If you save all your gift wrap paper, here's a great use for it. Put it through a paper shredder and use it as your filler. Match the color to the theme of your basket. The paper can be older or wrinkled, but remove all the tape before you run it through the shredder. I make tons of gift baskets each year and decided to try this. Now I have a free source and great upcycle use.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Article: Making Your Own Gift Baskets

    Susan Sanders-Kinzel

    Gift baskets are a great way to make a personal gift for family or friends. This article includes many ideas of containers and themes to help you get started on a gift basket for everyone on your list. Gift baskets can be a lot of fun for you and the recipient and don't have to cost a lot of money.

    The Recipient

    The first thing to consider is who you are giving the basket to:

    • What do they like?
    • What are their hobbies?
    • What do they need?
    • What do they like to eat?


    The container or "basket" doesn't have to be expensive. Pick a theme (some are listed below) and find a container that goes with the theme that can hold some items or have items attached to it. You want the container and the items to go together and for everything to be usable and practical. (This is not to say that a few fun things can't be thrown in too.) Below are some of my ideas for containers but there certainly are many more possibilities.

    • Baskets of all shapes and sizes
    • Bowls
    • Flower pots
    • Watering can
    • Fishing creel
    • Canvas bag
    • Day pack
    • Waste basket
    • Bucket
    • ice, plastic or garden
    • Colander
    • Plastic container
    • Storage box
    • Platter
    • Tin

    Ideas for Themes

    The items that go within the gift basket should be tied together by a common theme. The themes below are gift basket recipes that can be modified to fit your needs or to get you started on developing your own themed gift basket.

    College Student Gift Basket

    Use a basket or usable container with some or all of the following:

    • Pens and Pencils
    • Printer paper and supplies
    • Mouse pad
    • Washcloth and hand towel
    • Yummy healthy snacks
    • Phone Card
    • Gift certificate for a CD
    • Nail Clippers
    • Book light

    Bath Gift Basket

    Use a nice basket with some or all of the following:

    • Gel eye-pack
    • Epsom salts or bubble bath
    • Aroma therapy oils
    • Scented candles and holders
    • Pumice stone
    • Washcloths, scrubber or loofa sponge
    • Back cleaning brush
    • Relaxing music on CD or cassette
    • Rubber ducky

    Kids Coloring Gift Basket

    Use a rubber/plastic storage box with some or all of the following:

    • Assorted papers, coloring books
    • Crayons or colored pencils
    • Nontoxic markers
    • Assorted stickers
    • Paint box and brushes
    • Safe scissors

    Photographer's Gift Basket

    Use a basket or a camera bag with some or all of the following:

    • Film
    • Coupons for picture developing
    • Camera Filters
    • Lens cleaner
    • Lens cloth
    • Photo print paper
    • Picture frame and matte
    • Picture Album

    Letter Writer's Gift Basket

    Use a square basket or plastic box with some or all of the following:

    • Note paper or cards
    • Envelopes (choose a variety of sizes)
    • Letter opener
    • Pen or pencil
    • Personalized seal
    • Sealing wax
    • Return address labels
    • Rubber stamps to decorate envelopes
    • Stamps

    Crafters Gift Basket

    Use a rubber storage container with some or all of the following:

    • Glue gun and glue sticks
    • Acrylic paints
    • Assorted brushes
    • Craft knife
    • Craft supplies (this will depend on the craft they do.)
    • Craft patterns or how-to books
    • Craft papers
    • Scissors

    Pasta Lover Gift Basket

    Use a colander or bowl with some or all of the following:

    • Package of gourmet pasta
    • Tongs or pasta grabber
    • Package of sun-dried tomatoes
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Fancy olives
    • Spices: oregano, basil, garlic powder
    • Collection of your favorite pasta recipes hand-printed on recipe cards
    • Pasta cookbook
    • Jar of gourmet sauce

    Gardener's Gift Basket

    Use a clay plant pot, bucket or watering can with some or all of the following:

    • Gardening gloves
    • Hand tools
    • Vegetable, flower seeds
    • Liquid fertilizer
    • Kneeling pad
    • Gardening book
    • Subscription for a gardening magazine
    • Plant markers
    • Heavy Duty Hand Lotion

    Cat Lover Gift Basket

    Use a cat bowl or pet bed with some or all of the following:

    • Catnip Mouse or other cat toy
    • Hair ball paste
    • Cat treats
    • Cat Brush
    • Scratching post
    • Gourmet cat food

    Dog Lover Gift Basket

    Use a dog bowl or pet bed with some or all of the following:

    • Rawhide bone
    • Dog biscuits
    • Squeaky toy
    • Dog shampoo
    • Brush
    • Collar and/or leash

    Dogs come in all sizes so make sure you are buying for the right size dog. Also if it is for a puppy, chewy stuff is the best.

    New Home Owner's Gift Basket

    Use a tool box or tool tray with some or all of the following:

    • Screw drivers - Slot and Phillips
    • Wrench, Pliers or Vice Grip Pliers
    • Hammer
    • Assorted nails, tacks, screws, washers
    • Gift certificate for the local hardware store
    • Do-it-yourself Home Repair book
    • Other assorted odds and ends like:
    • super glue
    • light switch covers
    • light bulbs
    • duct tape
    • paint brushes
    • knobs and handles

    Guitar Player's Gift Basket

    Use a basket or gig bag with some or all of the following:

    • Assorted guitar picks
    • Tuning pipe or electronic tuner
    • Sheet music
    • CDs or cassettes of great guitar players
    • Guitar strings
    • Capo
    • Polishing rag
    • Guitar polish
    • Chord or lesson books

    Skier or Snowboarder's Gift Basket

    Use a small pack or canvas bag with some or all of the following:

    • Gloves, mittens and/or warm hat
    • Hot packs
    • Sunscreen
    • Lip balm
    • Moisturizer
    • Pass to the local ski hill
    • Hot chocolate
    • Ski, snowboard or sled waxes

    Grandparent Gift Basket

    Use a basket or reusable container with some or all of the following:

    • Scrapbook
    • Children's artwork
    • Gifts made by the kids
    • Framed family pictures
    • Videos of the family
    • Long-distance calling card
    • Candy, coffee, or tea
    • Handmade Christmas ornaments
    • Polar fleece lap blanket

    Wine Lover's Basket

    Use a wine cooling bucket with some or all of the following:

    • Wine Glasses
    • Cheese and Crackers
    • Cork screw
    • Bottle of wine

    Holiday Entertainment Basket

    Use a nice holiday basket with some or all of the following:

    • Holiday Napkins
    • Holiday Plates
    • Holiday Cups
    • Whole Mixed Nuts
    • Nutcracker
    • Cookies or baked goods
    • Holiday floral picks or ornaments for decorating
    • Cheese ball or Sausage stick and crackers

    Fillers for Your Basket

    Once you have obtained your items here are some fillers to put around them.

    • Piece of fabric
    • Shredded paper, newspaper or colored paper
    • Straw
    • Easter basket grass
    • Tissue paper or newspaper comics
    • Raffia
    • Colored towels or cloth napkins
    • Cedar shavings

    Extra Items To Consider

    For Christmas Baskets add:

    • Candy canes
    • Candles
    • scented or unscented, votive, tea lights or tapers
    • Pine cones
    • Cinnamon sticks tied with red ribbon
    • Greenery
    • spruce, pine, cedar, holly
    • Christmas ornaments

    For any occasion add:

    • Potpourri
    • Hot cider, special tea bags, special coffee or cocoa mixes
    • Mandarin oranges, tangerines, oranges or apples
    • Unshelled nuts or packets of roasted nuts
    • Wrapped candy or baked goods
    • Small toys or puzzles
    • Sample hand creams
    • Lip gloss or Chap-stick

    Finishing Your Basket

    If you buy colored cellophane you can cover the entire container with it disguising what is inside. Tie a ribbon around the whole thing or paste a ribbon on top. Have fun!

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    Tip: Giving Baskets with Handmade Items

    By Marilyn Otte 2 2

    I save money on gifts by giving baskets with handmade items.

    Example: Cookie making basket, including, cookie mix, sprinkles, cutters, couple of hot pads, wooden spoon. Put all items in a mixing bowl (or just a decorated box if money is really tight). Wrap in cellophane and add a bow.

    Example 2: Pasta Dinner - put in serving bowl or pasta pot - pasta, pasta sauce, pasta serving fork, Bottle of Italian dressing, Garlic butter, Biscotti (whole box or 4-6 pieces). Wrap as above. (Nice gift for $5-$10)

    Example 3: Breakfast Basket - Pancake mix, wooden spoon, jar of jelly, bottle of maple syrup, flavored coffee, a couple of bananas or other fruit of choice. (Wrap as above).

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Blessing Bear Basket

    By Carol Young 89 39

    bear gift basketThis is an amazingly inexpensive gift, party favor, etc. You will want to make several and keep one for yourself!


    • miniature basket (party favor size) usually sold in multiples in the wedding aisle of craft store
    • miniature flower bunches, dried flowers, whatever you prefer
    • tiny jointed teddy bear
    • 1/4 inch spool ribbon - I got mine at Michaels they have adorable designs and sayings on tiny cloth ribbon in their silk flower department.
    • embellishments - I used a tiny piece of vintage embroidery and vintage cut out.
    • glue gun
    • glue


    1. Arrange flowers in basket placing dots of glue at the bottom of basket to secure.
    2. Tuck in embellishments, and add a dot of glue to hold.
    3. Wrap ribbon around basket, gluing as you go.
    4. Finally tuck in your teddy!

    These can be made for showers, weddings, and other gifts. Don't forget to check out thrift stores and the scrapbook department, button/embellishment department, and your own stash. The possibilities for what you can tuck in are endless. This craft takes just a few minutes to make :)

    By joynchocolate from Landisville, PA

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    Breakfast Gift Basket

    By mcw 80 1,752

    Filled gift basket.


    • tea for one teapot
    • Earl Grey tea bags (24)
    • passion fruit tea bags (24)
    • peppermint tea bags (24)
    • tea bag wallet with 4 tea bags
    • cappuccino mix in a bag
    • clover honey
    • Morello cherry fruit spread
    • honey in 5# jars from a local beekeeper*


    1. *I poured some honey in a clean jar which was sterilized in my dishwasher. I put some Saran Wrap over the top, screwed the lid on tightly. Finally I taped the neck of the jar closed and sewed a jar topper out of scrap fabric.
    2. Some time ago I purchased a package of new chef's aprons which I always keep on hand for whenever I'm baking or cooking. So I added one in the gift basket.
    3. I purchased a new tea for one teapot from a website and attached the following label:
      Warm your teapot:
      While the water is heating, fill your teapot with hot tap water to preheat it. This prevents cracking that can occur when boiling water is placed in a room temperature teapot, and it helps the brewed tea maintain the proper temperature. Discard the water once the pot is warm.

    My husband and I buy foods in bulk to keep on hand for emergencies, so we don't have go grocery shopping every week.

    I bought the basket from a garage sale this summer and added a ribbon. The only items that I had to buy was the teapot, and the tea bags. Total cost for making the basket was about $20.00 or less.

    By Marge W. from Sanborn, NY

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    Basket of Sunshine

    By lalala... 731 97

    This "basket of sunshine" is sure to brighten someone's day!

    arrange items

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Make Gift "Baskets" in Useful Storage Containers

    By soizic bluestone 9 30

    Reading all of these tips made me remember what I packaged up last year. Sorry, no photos, so you will have to use your imagination!

    I hate Easter basket type gifts! This might sound harsh but what I really hate is the basket that these gifts come in. What do you do with them after the gift is gone? The real answer is that unless it is not a true wicker Easter basket, one usually tosses them or donates them to get rid of them. So with this in mind, I did not want to subject others to my strong aversion to wicker Easter baskets when (as a mother of 3) I am giving out thank you/acknowledgment gifts during the holidays to: teachers, neighbors, principals, best friends and casual friends, managers and the like. I created gift baskets in storage containers with the thought in mind, who would not want a (new not used) food storage container?

    During the holidays, our local drugstore was selling food storage jars. Some had a plastic over the mouth seal as a bonus food sealer and some did not. I bought one selling for about $2 each that was a square shape and the size was about 6 inches tall, I believe it was measured in ounces. I got the 32 oz. one. Some things were bought in bulk or multi-serve packaging, keeping the cost low


    This is the list that I compiled to create a jar that cost about $10 each:

    1. small flower magnet picture frame
    2. single serve apple sauce
    3. single serve package of nuts
    4. a small box of raisins
    5. a small pack of post-its
    6. a pen
    7. single serve coffee packet
    8. single serve hot coco packet
    9. single serve tea packet
    10. single serve drink mix packet
    There might have been more things but as you can see from the list and by using your imagination, my goal was to create a small food snack jar so that the person I was giving it to would have something besides Christmas candy to snack on while sitting at their desk.


    Stuff the jar, putting a scattering of M&M's to fill in the cracks of the other items.

    Place seal over mouth of jar with the self sticking plastic seal for the mouth of the jar. A lot of the people I gave them to thought that they were bought at a store that way and some even came to me asking what store I bought them from.

    Place stickers around jar. After stuffing the jar, the next step was to get some festive Christmas stickers (not the tacky ones but the ones that looked more classy) and put a few on the lid and some around the jar.

    Wrap ribbon with name card and candy cane around jar and hand out to people for Christmas.

    I suggest keeping a list of all that was stuffed in jar because this year I did the same type of packaging but I had forgotten what I had put in the jar last year so I might have duplicated some items.

    Several of the people that I had given these type of gift baskets to were very thankful to have something other than Christmas calorie punching food to snack on and a jar to keep all the goodies in while taking the time to snack on them (Hawaii has a terrible bug problem).

    It also made me feel good not to inflict others with my aversion to wicker Easter/gift baskets.

    By Soyzick from Hawaii

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Making Basket Stuffing

    I use pinking sheers to cut up all old magazines, candy wrappers, colored paper of any kind and keep it to use as basket stuffing when giving a gift or making baskets for friends.

    By Denise from McRae, GA

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Jazzing Up A Tobacco Basket

    By Heather 2

    I have an old tobacco basket hanging on an out building and I would like to add some life to it. Any ideas on how to jazz it up? I would love to see some pics. Thanks.

    Heather Southern Ohio

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


    Most Recent Answer

    By Paula Jo C. 24 261 Flag

    April 13, 2008

    I had the same idea for the same object "an old tobacco basket"/the one I am talking about is flat.

    Depending on the size of your dining room table - I thought of shellacing one (to help perserve it) and useing it as our dining room table's Lazy Susan.

    All of the bowls would then move in unison, as the basket would be the only item moving under them.

    SO instead of having to pass the bowls of food to you, the person would "spin" the basket to the bowl they desired to get food out of.

    Good Luck and let us know what you ended up doing with it

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Shrink Wrapping Gift Baskets

    By SUE 9 1

    You can make baskets for gifts and holidays, by buying the shrink wrap paper to put over it and then blow dry it. You can use anything to load the items in you want to cover. Like a toy dump truck, there are just all kinds of ways to make things and cover and make them so pretty. You can make gifts from bowls, pretty trays. A lot cheaper too.

    By Sue from Shoals

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Making Your Own Gift Baskets

    By Cheryl 8 38

    When you have a large family, creating gift baskets is a wonderful way to give everyone a gift without breaking the bank. Making your own gift baskets is easy and economical. Each one you create can be individualized in any way you want. If you are really on a tight budget and want to present an impressive gift to someone, a homemade gift basket is the way to go. Something that is hand selected and put together by you often means more to the recipient.

    Buy numerous items on clearance racks, dollar sales, etc. Keep them stored where you can easily get to them when a gift is needed. After the holidays is a great time to find deals for items for the following year's gifts. There are several different things you can use as your "basket" to hold all the goodies, wicker baskets, large plastic bowls, large decorator platters, decorated bags, etc. I have used large plastic containers in a red or green color. After the gifts are all removed, it serves as a popcorn bowl, fruit bowl, mixing bowl, etc. I have used wicker baskets which can double as a small trash can or a planter. Plates or platters will also have another use afterwards. The list can be endless.

    Here are some ideas of items I have put in my Christmas baskets: Hot chocolate mix packets, candies, coffee mugs, embroidered fingertip towels, calendars (full size and pocket), decorative and scented candles, flavored coffees, flavored coffee creamers, ornaments for the tree, coloring books and crayons (when the family has smaller children), bubble bath, flavored crackers, mints, potpourri, decorative knick knacks, coasters, pot-holders, dishtowels, dishcloths, incense, decorative containers for cooking oil or dish-soap, decorative soaps, ink pens, pencils, gifts in a jar items, note pads, the list goes on and on. Useful everyday items can be great fillers.

    Bags to put the gift basket in are another item that you can get a good deal on after the holidays. Christmas and Easter seem to be the best after holiday sales for this item. They can also be found at some of the dollar stores. There are decorated ones and plain ones, some that shrink to fit with a little heat from a blow dryer. Simply tie them closed with a pretty ribbon (which can be found on those holiday clearance racks, too).

    Of course, gift baskets can be used for a number of events. Just adjust the items to the event. For example, you have a wedding shower to go to and the new bride is setting up housekeeping for the first time. What fun! A laundry basket filled with measuring cups, spoons, can opener, spatulas, wooden spoons, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic zipper bags, dishcloths, dishtowels, maybe a duplicate of a particular item you have found indispensable in your home, etc. And then there's the baby shower: a diaper bag filled with powder, lotions, baby wipes, disposable diapers, rattles, bottles, etc.

    When you put a gift basket together, let your imagination be your guide. Have fun doing it!

    You decide how much you want to spend on a basket. If you collect items all through the year, it is much easier on your wallet come time to make up the gift.

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    Question: Choosing the Best Glue for Craft

    What works best to hold things together, like to stick them together in gift baskets? Hot glue doesn't work.

    By Dee

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Making a Smoked Fish Gift Basket

    I need to know what do you put in a basket that will have smoked halibut in it? Please help, the person getting the basket is a 68 year young grandma.

    By Karen

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Weaving an Egg Basket

    By Page 1

    I need easy to follow directions for weaving an egg basket. I have 2 sets of instructions, but they are confusing. I am a beginner basket-weaver. Thanks.

    By PageC from Richmond, VA

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Sewing Theme Gift Basket

    My sister got a basic sewing machine for Christmas and wants to start making things. For her birthday in February I decided to make her sewing themed gift basket with some of the basic necessities.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Baskets of Presents

    Never pass up baskets which are somewhat used or being sold cheap. Save them all for Christmas gifts. Anything can be put in them, two or three items of the same theme, such as yarn, crochet, and crochet book, etc., and then wrapped with pretty cellophane paper and a ribbon. Makes a great Christmas gift.

    By Racer

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Gift Baskets

    I buy wicker baskets at yardsales and paint them white if they look slightly tawdry, and cut off the bows and ribbons. I use spray paint outside. When they are done, I put them away for Christmas or any occasion for which I need a gift.

    I buy small objects throught the year to fill these baskets. They can be anything like cups, hot chocolate, shampoo etc. I buy the clear plastic sheets to bind the baskets and top with a pretty ribbon to bring all together and attach the card. Saves a bunch and is always ready when you need one.

    By Susan from Hamilton

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Choosing Containers for Gift Baskets

    For gift baskets, find something that goes with the theme. The "basket" does not have to be an actual basket but can be anything that will hold the contents, i.e. a watering can for a gardening basket or a bowl for a kitchen basket. Be creative but also be practical. The great thing about gift baskets is that everything is practical, useful or consumable.

    Use your imagination. Tins, pretty boxes, plastic storage containers, laundry baskets, wastebaskets, buckets, anything that is reusable and will hold the items. Shop all year at garage sales for containers.

    Fillers for Gift Baskets:

    To finish your gift baskets use some of the following fillers to give it a festive look.
    • colored cellophane or waxed paper "grass"
    • crumpled tissue paper or newspaper comics
    • a piece of fabric (try something with a Christmas print)
    • shredded newspaper or colored paper
    • straw
    • raffia
    • brightly colored towels

    After carefully arranging your items stick in some other goodies

    For Christmas Baskets:

    • candy canes
    • wrapped candies
    • small pine cones
    • cinnamon sticks tied with red ribbon
    • greenery - spruce, pine, cedar, holly
    • Christmas ornaments
    • small bows
    • Mandarin oranges
    • nuts in the shell
    • scented candles
    • wrapped baked goods

    For other occasions:

    • small toys
    • wrapped candies or other treats
    • seasonal decorations
    • other useful small items i.e. lip gloss, votive candles

    The great thing about gift baskets is that they really need no wrapping. You can take colored cellophane and cover the top to disguise the contents. Just tie on some colorful ribbons.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Tip: Making Gift Baskets

    I enjoy making gifts using baskets from thrift shops and filling it with tons of the samples I order from the internet. If the items are basically shampoo, conditioners, etc. I will line the basket with a couple of hand towels and wash cloths.

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Holidays and Parties Gifts BasketsNovember 10, 2011
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