A spa gift basket is perfect for anyone who needs some pampering — and don’t we all? Photos by Jonathan Fong

Gift baskets 101: How to make your own


Gift baskets rock. Instead of receiving only one gift, you get multiple smaller ones. You can share the goodies with others. And you get to keep the basket when you’re through.

Besides receiving gift baskets, I also love giving them. But buying them pre-assembled from stores can be expensive, as the markup on the individual items is considerable. Putting together one yourself is a lot more affordable, and the bonus is you can really customize it for the recipient. They’re also much easier to assemble than you’d think, thanks to these three secret ingredients: foam, wood skewers and glue dots. n

Anchor the basket with foam

Start with a basket that’s at least 6 inches deep so there’s enough room to hide the foam inside. Line your basket with tissue paper, and place enough foam in the basket to cover as much of the bottom of the basket as you can. You can purchase various types of foam at the crafts store, including white Styrofoam and green floral foam, and they all work for this purpose. Then crumple newspaper or butcher paper around the foam so it’s nice and snug, and cover it all up with more tissue paper.

Attach skewers to gift items

There’s a simple way to display the contents of the gift basket and keep them in the right position. Using packing tape, attach wooden skewers to the back of all your elements. The skewers act like “stems” for the gift items. Then insert the skewers, pointy side down, into the foam in the basket, positioning the taller items toward the back of the basket and the smaller items in front. For heavier items, you may want to attach two skewers for extra support.

Stabilize with glue dots

Especially if the individual gift items in the basket are heavy, they will want to sway around. To keep them in place, use glue dots to stick them to wherever they’re touching an adjacent item. Glue dots are little dots of adhesive that come in a roll; they’re available at crafts stores and office supply retailers. You also can adhere glue dots to wherever gift items touch the edge of the basket. When you’re done, add tissue paper in any empty spots to keep the items snug and add a dash of festive color.

Another idea:


Get creative with what you use as a basket, like this colander for a chef’s gift basket.