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How to Make a Gift Basket at Home with Cheap Supplies

Once you’ve decided to make your own gift baskets, it’s easy to get stuck in the trap of spending more on them than you expected to. The last thing you want is for your crafty endeavor to cost more than a store-bought gift. After all, you’re doing it to save some dough, right?

Having made more gift baskets than I can count over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about putting them together affordably, while still giving a gift with style. My main secret? Knowing where to shop for the supplies. Basic packaging and special decorative touches can really add up if you don’t know where to look.

Try out these retail sources to save some serious cash on your next gift basket venture:

Where to Shop for Gift Basket Supplies

1. Hit the Dollar Stores

Hit Dollar StoreBaskets at dollar stores are extremely affordable, as are the bags of filler material. Since these two items are the main components you need to make your own gift baskets, capping the cost at two bucks is definitely a good thing.

Go with the unbleached, crinkled paper “grass” for a more natural or spa-themed basket, or something colorful to fit a particular party theme. I like to keep a small supply on hand for hospitality emergencies such as welcoming a new neighbor, or putting together a quick sympathy gift basket.

If you don’t have time to shop for specialty gift items, toss some additional fruit into your cart while you’re grocery shopping. Combine it with your dollar store packaging and voila…an instant, budget friendly present. Fruit baskets are a classic gift that never goes out of style.

2. Find a Great Fabric Retailer

Find Great Fabric RetailerLarger chain establishments like Jo-Ann Fabrics, and smaller, independent fabric retailers are both great places to get gift basket wrapping materials for cheap. Tulle and cheesecloth are both stylish choices for wrapping your gift basket, and they can be used for other purposes later on. Fabric stores also offer loads of ribbon options, including the fabric kind with wires stitched in. These make fantastic gift bows and are available by the yard. This is good news for gift givers on a budget.

My favorite way to take advantage of this strategy is by combining a stiff, jewel-tone, translucent fabric with wired ribbon in an elegant pattern. This really adds some punch to winter holiday gift baskets, and can work well for wedding gift ideas too.

3. Shop at Craft Stores

Shop Craft StoresWhile there are a number of doodads available at craft stores to help embellish your gift basket, my main reason for recommending them is that they are the most inexpensive retail source I’ve found for cheap gift tag materials.Whether you buy the multi-packs of miniature note cards like I do, or hit the scrapbooking section for a buffet of colored card stock options, craft stores are where it’s at for whipping up fantastic, inexpensive gift tags.

4. Visit the Hardware Store

Visit Hardware StoreTook you by surprise there, didn’t I? Though it could certainly be argued that the hardware store is a well-suited location for putting together some of the greatest guy gifts ever, that’s not why it made the list. Hardware stores tend to carry cases of mason canning jars in a variety of sizes. Ace Hardware, for example, has the quart, pint, half-pint, and quarter-pint sizes suitable for jelly and higher-end fruit pastes.

Since food baskets, and homemade food items in general, are a popular choice for gift purchases, this puts hardware stores at the top of my list for affordable places to shop for gift basket supplies. I’ve used these jars for homemade apple sauce, spice blends, dog treats for Fido, and many other gift basket items over the years.

Final Word

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your own gift baskets. There are plenty of ways to control the cost and still provide a quality gift for the people you care about. From the base materials to the actual gift items, if you choose your material sources wisely, your gift baskets will be the talk of the town while still being easy on your budget.

Do you have experience making your own gift baskets? Share your best tips in the comments below!

Myscha Theriault
Myscha Theriault is a syndicated columnist with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, best-selling author and professional blogger whose work has appeared on such web sites as Forbes, MSN, the Los Angeles Times and AOL. Print interviews include Better Homes and Gardens, the New York Times, Women’s World and All You magazine. She is the founder of Trek Hound, a site for independent travelers, We Be Sharin', a home living web site, and The Lesson Machine, a site for teachers both Stateside and abroad.

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