Making Gift Baskets
Whether making occasional gift baskets for friends and family, or learning about making gift baskets for income, here’s an article on the basics for supplying and packing any type of gift basket.
Here’s your basic overview for making gift baskets of all types, including finding the containers, finding the basket items, packing the gift basket and attaching the gift label.
Be creative with the “basket.” Making gift baskets doesn’t necessarily mean packing items into a literal decorative wicker basket, although they’re a favourite for this type of gift. Options include backpacks, sports bags, garden buckets, large decorative tins, bushel baskets, picnic baskets, harvest baskets, bicycle baskets, wicker fisherman’s creels, wire egg gathering baskets, antique boxes and old-fashioned farmer’s delivery wooden crates. Fair trade native-made baskets are perfect for some people’s taste. Another favourite container option for making gift baskets is containers made for shopping that can be reused. Now that the country is caught up in reducing the use of plastic and paper shopping bags, greener options such as canvas shopping bags, fishnet shopping bags and woven baskets meant especially for the market are very popular for making gift baskets. Sources include eco-friendly wholesale canvas bag outlets and general basket companies, actual gift basket wholesalers as well as antique and second hand stores. For the last two, sterilize your water-safe containers by washing in a sink filled with mild soap and water along with a cup of distilled white vinegar and a tablespoon of grapefruit seed extract. Clean wooden containers with the same product you use to clean wooden cutting boards.
Collect packing material or liners. Your own recycled materials make good packing for making gift baskets and you may want to start saving certain materials for this purpose if you plan on making gift baskets in the future. Shredded gift wrapping leftovers, brown paper bags and cardboard can all work well. Crumpled decorative cellophane and colored tissue paper also work nicely, as does fresh greenery as seen in the Easter gift basket photo, and potpourri which was used in the opening photo above of an aromatherapy gift basket. Wholesale food packing and gift basket outlets also provide bulk packing material such as bio-degradable curled excelsior wood packing, which is very effective and attractive. If your gift items aren’t breakable at all and seem to fill the basket well without filler, simply line the basket with tissue paper, a new dish cloth, a bath hand towel, or fabric cut to size with pinking shears (available at fabric stores) so it won’t unravel quickly and you don’t have to hem it. One woman even uses vintage fabrics and embroidery to line and cushion her old fashioned sewing themed baskets.
Collect the gift items. When collecting items for making gift baskets, a rule of thumb is to get one or two larger central gifts, then find smaller complementary items to fill in around it. An example might be a central large loaf of artisan bread surrounded by various artisan cheeses, jams, jellies and gourmet pastured butter. But this rule doesn’t always have to be followed. An artisan cheese gift basket could simply be filled with cheese varieties, spiced with a cheese slicer, mini wooden cutting board, and small boxes of gourmet crackers, all similar in size.
Pack it correctly. If you have a larger central gift, put it in the center of the basket, and wrap packing material around it. Then fill in with the smaller items. If the remaining items are very small, place packing material on the bottom first, then tuck small items in one by one, and surround each with more packing material. Do the same if making gift baskets where all items are small and you don’t have a central larger item, placing the smallest and most fragile on the top. When you think you’re finished, give the basket a gentle shake. If anything still rattles or moves, put in more packing material to make it snug.
Make and attach the gift card. The simplest type of gift card to use when making gift baskets comes from cutting parchment card stock (available at paper or office supply stores) into 2”x4” pieces, punching a hole, and tying it to the gift basket with string, yarn or ribbon. You can snip two of the corners’ edges at an angle to look more like the tags in this photo.