How to Make Gift Baskets to Sell

There are many ways you can assemble a basket. This is our technique.
Experiment & do what’s easiest & most comfortable to you.


  1. Container–This could be almost anything. The most common is baskets that come in all shapes & sizes. Other ideas are glass bowls, pails, flower pots, cookie jars, wooden boats, colanders, stock pots, decorative pots, vases, etc. Use your imagination! Keep in mind that your container needs to be stable enough to handle the weight of the products you’ll be putting inside.
  2. Fill & Backing–Fill is what will be going in the bottom of your container to raise you up to the lip of your container. This could be newspaper, tissue paper, scrap packing paper, or anything else inexpensive. You might try your local newspaper for “butt rolls”. These are blank rolls of newspaper that’s at the end of a roll. Top fill/shred: (crinkly cut paper, shredded parchment paper, or shredded wood . . . all of which comes in a variety of colors.) Backing is cardboard cut to fit down in your container & is covered in tissue paper. This provides stability & height to your basket.
  3. Wrap–Most common wrap used is cellophane. This comes in a wide variety of designs & colors. Tulle or fancy doily-like fabric could also be used. However, cellophane is usually the least expensive.
  4. Finishing Touches & Bows–Don’t forget to add flowers, fresh or silk, and other enhancements to your baskets. This adds some color & fills in gaps between products. If you are hand making your bows, the ribbon used for this comes in an endless array of sizes, designs, and colors. You can also get it wired or unwired. Handmade bows look very elegant, so it would be a good idea to learn how to make them. They are very simple to make, it just takes practice. You probably will not make a decent bow on the first try, but don’t give up. Practice does make perfect!!! (Watch for classes at your local craft store.) If you are unable to make your own bows, pull-bows are available. These come in many different colors, but usually only one kind of material. Other ideas for bows are tulle, jute fabric, & kraft paper ribbon. You will also need curling ribbon to tie off your bows & to attach them to your baskets.

How to Assemble a Gift Basket

To start, take your container & put your inexpensive fill in the bottom. Make sure to pack it in tightly. This will give more strength for holding the weight of the products.

If you don’t do this you might notice later that your product has sunk down in the container. Next, take a piece of cardboard & cut to fit inside container. You want it to be tall, but make sure you have enough product to hide most of it.

Once, you have your cardboard cut, cover it with a sheet of tissue paper that will match your color scheme. Pull your fill towards the front of the container a little bit and put the cardboard down inside the container & attach with clear tape.

Make sure you have enough of the cardboard down inside the container so that it won’t want to slip out. The next step is adding your decorative fill/shred.

Wood excelsior is a great fill to work with because you can shape it to fit your products. You can even mold it up the cardboard backing so you can make a nice “nest” for your products. Make sure you put enough down so the inexpensive fill doesn’t show. |

Also, keep in mind if you are using clear containers to cover the inexpensive fill with a sheet of tissue paper. You don’t want newspaper, etc. showing through your container.

Now you can start adding your product. Use the taller items for the background & keep the heavier items to the center, unless you have two heavy items that will balance each other out. Think tall when constructing!!! Height will definitely add more perceived value to your basket.

You can make things taller by adding more decorative fill/shred underneath them. Attach items to the cardboard backing with clear tape, glue dots or you can use double-sided sticky squares. |

Be careful when using the double-sided squares because they are usually very sticky & hard to remove once in place. Also, when taping items, try to tape in hidden places but where products will be the most secure.

If possible, tape the glass or plastic part of an item before taping the paper label.

Clear tape will almost always rip the paper label when you are taking the basket apart. Tape wisely. Use a good cellophane tape from an office supply store.

Try to position your products wisely and nest them in fill/shred when possible to avoid too much taping.

Once you have all of your items in place, look for “holes”. You may need to add more decorative fill between items or to cover some of the cardboard backing. This is where you can add special enhancements like flowers.

Use single flowers or buy in a bunch and just snip off the size flower you need. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of small wire cutters on hand for this. Don’t forget to look behind the cardboard backing. You may need to add some decorative fill/shred to cover the space between the cardboard & your container.

As soon as everything is perfect, you can wrap in cellophane. This can be a little tricky, especially if the basket is an odd shape or size. To start, you’ll need a large enough space to unroll at least 4′ of cellophane, depending on your container size. Unroll cellophane & place your basket in the middle, facing towards one of the corners of the wrap. Your basket will be at an angle.

To judge if you have enough, take the corner that the front of the basket is facing & hold up to the height of the basket. The cellophane needs to be at least 6″ taller than the basket.

The sides of the basket will also need to be covered, or at least have enough cellophane to fold in to the back & be taped to your cardboard backing. Once you’ve determined the amount in the front, you’ll need to have the same amount or more to cover the back of the basket.

Bring your two opposite corners up together in the center above your basket. Cellophane can tear easily so using a very sharp pair of scissors, cut the cellophane from the roll.

Move the roll off to the side. Now, starting with the front corner of cellophane, pull up to the top of your basket. Start gathering the cellophane from the sides and alternate sides as you go, until you eventually work your way to the back of the basket.

You may need to tape the cellophane here and there to your cardboard backing to get it to gather right. Once you have all of the cellophane in one hand, start pulling up on the cello & straightening out the wrinkles & crowded areas.

You want the cello to look as smooth as you can in the front & also as taut as possible. As soon as you have that, take a twist tie (like a garbage sack tie) & tie off the cellophane as close to the basket top as possible. This may seem difficult at first but after a while you’ll be able to judge the amount of cellophane you will need and come up with your own little tricks to gather it.

Now it is time to attach your beautifully, handmade bow! You can pre-make these or make them at this time. Either way, use the curling ribbon that you tied your bow off with to attach it where you tied the cellowrap with the twist tie. Secure the bow as tight as you can & then curl the ribbon with scissors.

You can also attach your business card, enclosure card or hang tag at this time. Congratulations!!! You have completed your perfect gift basket!!!

Important Notes

Be careful when putting chocolate with scented items (sachets, potpourri, candles, etc.) The chocolate will absorb the scent. Wrap chocolates or scented items separately in shrink wrap or other air tight wrap. Just be careful not to melt the chocolate if you use a heat gun for shrink wrapping!

Do not get discouraged!! It took me almost a whole day to put my first gift basket together. It is a trial an error process. You may find a better/easier way to put your baskets together. Experiment & have fun creating your own special techniques!

Tips on bowmaking—Some craft shops or floral books have steps to making bows. These may be helpful or what’s even better is finding someone who knows how to make bows & have them walk you through it. Some craft stores also hold occasional bowmaking classes. It may be frustrating at first, but once you have the hang of it, you’ll be glad you learned how. There is a big difference between handmade bows & pull-bows! Beautiful bows can make you stand apart from the competition, too!

Gift baskets are great gifts. The possibilities are truly endless. Whatever idea or theme you can think of can usually become a perfect, one-of-a-kind gift basket that no one will ever forget receiving. Creativity is the key, so let your imagination run wild!!!

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