Why make inexpensive gift baskets as presents? There are times that no matter how frugal, thrifty and money saving you are you know that you will have to splash out for a whole bunch of gifts.
It might be a thank you for a group of people that went above and beyond what was needed to help you out, it might be a office thing where multitude of gifts are expected, or you really want to show a set of people that you are thinking of them.
You want give everyone something really nice but the fact of the matter is that money is tight.
Your ideal solution can be to make inexpensive gift baskets. They can be customized for every person that you give them to or they can be identical. With careful planning you can make them look like a million while still keeping you finances in check. When you make inexpensive gift baskets they definitely don't have to look cheap.
This tutorial teaches you the components of making inexpensive gift baskets and everything that you need.
It doesn't matter if you are making a gift basket for one person or twenty you have to decide from the beginning what is the maximum amount of money you are planning to spend (and if you end up doing it for less that's great!).
There can be five parts on how you make inexpensive gift baskets, the basket or container, the stuffing or shred (not always needed), the transparent wrap or cellophane to wrap it, the bow/ornament and card to top it all off and of course the gifts that you are making the basket with. You might already have some of the items already on hand which will bring the cost down.
When florist and gift shops are putting together ideas to make inexpensive gift baskets that they sell at a huge mark up, they do a lot of shopping at trade shows and gift shows.
Since you don't have access to these venues you have to treat the places that you are getting your items with the same mind set as the professionals are.
The containers that they are looking for need to be unusual for the season, so they are looking for the new and interesting that hasn't been seen before. One of the reasons they are doing this is so people can't judge the cost of things if they are not familiar with them.
They are also looking for more bang for the buck. The initial impression of the gift basket is what they are selling so the fuller it looks the more they will be able to charge. (Small glass tray $1, large glass tray $2, glass bowls $2 each from Dollarama.) This is the first way they make inexpensive gift baskets look pricier than they are.
You can find containers and baskets everywhere from dollar stores, grocery stores, garage sales and thrift stores. If you are giving everyone the same gift basket then the dollar store would be a good place to look as they would have multiples of the same container or basket. But if you are making individual baskets then the containers that you use can come from a variety of different sources.
Try to plan that the basket part will cost you $2 or less for a small size gift basket, $4 or less for a medium size and under $6 for a large gift basket. (Large boxes $2, medium boxes $1.50 or $1.25, small boxes $1 from Dollarama).
Decorative tins, flower pots, flower vases, plastic containers, bowls, platters, trays, wood boxes and of course baskets all make good bases for gift baskets. (Baskets 50 cents to $3 at various garage sales).
If the container that you have chosen is very deep then you will want to put a few layers of newspaper or tissue paper on the bottom to raise all the items up so they are displayed better. Florist will often make the bottom half of a basket "fill" so that the items rise above the edge of the container and it all looks fuller and lusher than it actually is.
Shred is generally used to tuck into all those small areas where there is nothing in the container to make it all look more full and to give cushioning to the individual items so the are not bumping and rubbing against each other.
You can make your own shred easily if you have access to a paper shredder or spend a bit of time with a pair of scissors to cut out the strips. You could use old tissue paper, brown bags, newspaper, glossy paper from adverting flyers or coloured paper. Each type of paper would give a different effect.
You can curl the shred by pulling it gently over the edge of a dull pair of scissors. This might be a bit time consuming if you are doing many baskets but the effect is pretty and it is such a mindless activity you could do it while watching television. You could also use Easter grass if it is available to you or you have some left over. You don't always need shred, you have to decide whether it will make the inexpensive gift baskets look better or not. Ideally you should be paying nothing for the shred. (If you do decide to buy shred make sure you get a color that you could use for several different baskets as a little goes a long way.)
Transparent wrap (cellophane wrap) really gives a gift basket a great look and this is something you shouldn't scrimp on and try to do with plastic cling wrap or just a clear plastic bag. Those will make inexpensive gift baskets just look cheap, the exact thing you are trying to avoid.(Learn to make this basket HERE).
Cellophane type bags can be bought at party stores, dollar stores and sometimes florist will sell them. You have to make sure that you get a size that is large enough to fit your basket into without ripping the bag. Often professionals don't use bags but will use transparent wrap from a roll and tuck in the side and tape them with clear tape to give the illusion of a bag.
When you wrap the basket in the cellophane don't cut the wrap until you are sure the you have enough to make a nice gather at the top.
Place the basket in the middle of the cellophane and lift the front and the back of the cellophane, hold that with one hand and with the other hand, from the side start gathering the cellophane. When it is all gathered use a long twist tie to temporarily tie it together. When you are sure that it is gathered the way you want use a bit of curling ribbon or strong string to tie it off. Any excess can be folded under the basket and taped, you don't have to use tape on the side or you can use just one small piece. You would then put on your finishing bow, ornaments and card to hide the ribbon or string.
The bow, ornament and card should all fit the theme of the gift basket. If you are making a seasonal basket full of treats including un-shelled nuts then a Toy Soldier Nutcracker would make an nice addition with the bow.
If it is a baby shower basket then a rattle or a silver spoon would make a sweet choice. Often you can find small items at garage sales and liquidation stores for under 25 cents that would make great bow additions. A little add-on can make inexpensive gift baskets really pop and move to the next level.
A good quality satin bow can really change the look of a basket from nice to incredibly rich and sumptuous. You can buy satin type ribbon from outlet stores for about 59 cents a yard for 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon. Two yards of this would be more than enough to make inexpensive gift baskets in the largest sizes.
Don't slap on one of those horrible cheap store bought bows, it would be better to get curling ribbon and make a bow from that. Or you could use silk flowers instead of a bow. (Flowers removed from $1 bouquets from Dollarama, each flower 15 cents, ribbon from Len's Mill Store 59 cents a yard).
Read through this section and then jump back to the instructions on specific gift baskets.
There are countless items to buy on sale that you can make inexpensive gift baskets with. Decide on your theme and start looking.
The sooner that you decide on the theme of your basket the sooner you can start looking for deals on the items.
The most common types of baskets sent during the holiday season are food baskets. If you are making a fresh fruit basket make sure that not all the fruit is fully ripe, only the portion that is showing should be with the rest of the fruit at different stages of ripeness.
If all the fruit you put in is fully ripe then most of it will go bad before they have a chance to eat it. You have to be realistic on how much fresh fruit one person can eat in a day.
While it is often suggested that making your own foods, like cookies, fudge, or trail mix, when you make inexpensive gift baskets, you have to be careful and really look at the price of what you are planning to make.
Large food companies keep their cost down by buying the ingredients in bulk something that you might not be able to match. If you are getting your ingredients on sale then it probably is more cost effective and the quality could be considerably better.
If you are baking to share your world famous, mouth watering sweets then you should realize that it will cost a more because you will be using quality ingredients.
If you are making a basket where you will be including food like candy and nuts then look through the bulk food aisle at your grocery store and local bulk food store.
Items like peanuts, salted nuts, jelly beans and jujubes often go on sale and you will be able to buy the quantities that you need.
Learn how to make Inexpensive Candy Fillers.
These makes for a very smart presentation and if you can get the candy at a good sale price it can be as little as 20 cents to fill the bag.
You can use a mix of store bought and homemade items to make inexpensive gift baskets, it does not have to be one or the other. If you give them a book in the gift basket then include a bookmark that you made yourself.
If you plan well in advance you could grow items in your garden that you could then later use in gift baskets such as herbs, flowers for pot potpourri or berries that you could make into jams.
With a little bit of planning and effort you can make inexpensive gift baskets will be the talk of the town and no one will ever guess how little they cost to put together.
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