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Easy to make Gift Baskets

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satin_ribboncellowrap2jpga082_flowerSimply defined, a gift basket is a collection of foods and/or gift items arranged in a basket or other container, then wrapped in cellophane and topped with a bow.

I am sure you have seen lots of extraordinary baskets at various stores – but the bad thing about them is that they usually have the extraordinary price tag to go along with them! This article should help you with creating your own gift baskets for just a fraction of the cost! You can make a nice gift basket for as little as $10… or you can get as creative and extravagant as your budget will allow. Plus, when you make your own gift basket, it’s a much more personal gift….and you always know the recipient will be happy with it because you only fill it with things they are known to like and enjoy!

A gift basket van be created for any occasion imaginable – birthdays, holidays, anniversaries or just because”. You can create a basket to express appreciation for someones thoughtfulness or to cheer someone during an illness. There are so many possibilities! I am including a relatively short list of the many different ideas that are possible, And as you get into putting baskets together, I guarantee you will get more and more idea with each one! And remember – you don’t need to follow my instructions to the letter, just use them as a guideline and customize your gift basket according to the likes of the person you are giving it to.

Use your imagination…. and have fun!!! 🙂

1. Choosing your basket: The first thing you will need to do is to find a suitable basket. You may even have one lying around your house that you can use! Or you can buy baskets in lots of different stores – from Pier1 to Walmart. Personally – I look for baskets in thrift stores and definitely at garage sales.Choose a medium to large-sized basket, either with or without a handle. Just make sure it will be big enough to hold all items you are planning to put in it, but not so large that you will be left with a lot of empty spaces in it once all items are put in. You also need to make sure that it is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the items you will be putting into it. Or…. consider other possibilities, because who says that it has to be a basket? You could also use any of the following items instead of a basket. These ideas could also go with the theme of your gift basket:

  • A large sturdy shoebox decorated with fabric inside and out
  • An antique lunch box made of tin or a plastic lunch box
  • A gallon ice cream bucket decorated with fabric, ribbons or lace
  • A serving tray that you buy and decorate yourself
  • A terra cotta pot
  • A large pasta bowl or colander
  • A crock pot
  • A large picnic basket
  • A large salad bowl or casserole dish
  • A cowboy hat
  • A laundry basket
  • A tackle box
  • A large wok
  • A cookie jar

or dab blotches of different coloured acrylic paints on the basket with a sponge. You can also paint designs, pictures or words on the basket with a paintbrush. Or you can glue silk flowers, small figures or pieces of fabric to the sides… Be creative!

2. Adding the filler: Fill the basket with wadded packing paper (that’s the thick white or tan coloured paper that mail order firms use to fill spaces between your merchandise and the box. Press the paper down firmly to fill three-quarters of the basket, leaving one-quarter from the top empty for your filler and gift items. Add your filler inside the basket on top of the paper. Here are a few ideas you can use for filler:

  • Coloured cellophane grass
  • Crumpled tissue paper
  • Shredded coloured paper
  • Tinsel or garland
  • Straw
  • Raffia – (straw-like twine)
  • Spanish moss
  • Pieces of plain or printed fabric
  • Towels, placemats or napkins

There are also all kinds of any types of filler and shred that you can buy at craft stores. Choose the type of filler that enhances the colours and theme of your basket the best. If you will be adding a piece of fabric, a placemat, napkin or a towel as one of the gifts, consider draping one of the pointed ends over the rim, down the basket’s front in a triangular shape, and then folding the rest on the basket’s bottom before you insert the paper. This styling creates an attractive display in front of the basket.

3. Adding the gifts: Now it’s time to add gifts to your basket. Taller gifts should be placed in the back, with shorter items up front. This allows the recipient to easily see everything in the basket. Starting from the back, decide where the first item will be placed. Use your fingertips to make an opening in the filler large enough for the item to be inserted. Your fingers should expose the packing paper below, because the item will sit on top of the filler. Put the item in place, slightly lifting the filler around the item, so that it resets about one inch around the bottom of each gift. The filler acts as support to hold each items upright. Repeat this technique until everything is in place.

4. Enhancements: After you have placed your filler in teh basket and added all the items to it, you may still have some small empty spaces that look like they need something. Here are a few ideas of small items you can use as enhancements to fill any empty spaces in your basket.

  • Silk flowers
  • small jars of jelly, jams or preserves
  • Fruit – apples, oranges, tangerines, etc.
  • Small bottles of cologne or perfume
  • Small decorative soaps in various shapes
  • Small toys or figurines (for kid’s baskets)
  • small wrapped candies

5. Wrapping your basket: Once you have decorated and filled your basket, then it is time to wrap it in cellophane. An easy way to do this is to use a basket bag,which can be purchased from a craft or a discount store. These bags are made of clear plastic and some are decorated with various designs. The two rectangular panels which create the bag are fused together on three sides, leaving the top open for easy basket insertion. Bring the basket down into the bag and close it at the top with a bow. The two ribbons attached to the bow should be tied snugly above  the basket handle or tallest item. If the bag is wider that the basket, fold each side lengthwise in half-inch folds until the bag is flush with the basket, then tape in place. You can also wrap your basket using a piece of regular clear or coloured cellophane or homemade wrapping paper. Cut a large piece of your wrapping materials, put your basket in the middle and pull the sides up. Tie the top with festive ribbons or raffia. Be sure to add a pretty bow to top it off. Of course, you don’t have to wrap your basket if you don’t want to…that is your choice! Many baskets, decorative boxes and tins can usually stand alone without wrapping. Some :baskets"- like tote bags, backpacks, shopping bags. etc. are actually best left unwrapped. Instead, finish them with a colourful bows and ribbons. You can also attach any of the following items as extra decorations for the outside of your wrapped ot unwrapped gift basket:

  • Small holiday ornaments
  • Small toys
  • Silk or dried flowers
  • Candy canes
  • Small pinecones
  • Springs of holly, mistletoe or other greenery
  • Small items or figurines that go with the theme of your basket
  • A homemade gift tag

That’s it! Your basket is now complete and ready to give to someone very special!

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About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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