The Ultimate List of Perfect DIY Gift Basket Ideas

DIY gift basket ideas

Themed gift baskets make amazing, affordable, memorable gifts. The key is to pick the items carefully and to pay attention to the presentation. Here is a complete list of our very favorite gift basket ideas for the upcoming holiday season!   


Who likes getting gift baskets during the holidays? The better question is: who doesn't? But only if they're filled with stuff we love. The problem with giving gift baskets, of course, is the expense. Costs can rack up quickly when you fill a big, beautiful basket with a little of this and a little of that. When all is said and done, that stuffed basket might blow your Christmas gift-giving budget to the moon. There are, however, some Christmas and holiday gift basket ideas that are actually budget-friendly, thanks to our DIY natures and some really great tutes floating around on the intertubes. 

How to Choose a Basket

Before we get started, let's talk about the baskets. The single most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a basket is size. Remember a big basket is going to cost more to fill, and if you choose not to fill it, then it looks sad and you look cheap. (Seriously. It does. You do.) No, a better rule to live by is 'smaller basket filled large.' 

When choosing a basket, always opt for smaller rather than larger. Why? Because they're less expensive to fill, and a big basket scantily-filled looks sad. The better option is to go with a small basket and fill it to the gills. 

Okay, we we've decided to go smaller with our basket choice, but even those can be expensive, so the trick is to find good--and cheap--alternatives. Here are some that come to mind:


  • Wrap the bottom and inside sides of a sturdy cardboard box with pretty wrapping paper and use that as your 'basket'. I'd opt for square boxes, like the ones in which flowers are delivered, as the shape feels more suited to the task. But that's me.
  • Re-gift from past gift baskets. Don't worry; nobody is going to know. Unless you re-gift to the giver, and that's just tacky.
  • Check thrift shops for acceptable, structurally sound baskets that can be given new life with a shot of spray paint. 

Be sure to use the basket best suited for the occasion. If you're making a Christmas gift basket, for example, use an appropriate material for the holiday. We mentioned using cardboard boxes wrapped with pretty paper for a basket to keep costs down, as well as re-using gift baskets and thrift store baskets that can be given new life with a shot of spray paint. All still great ideas, but it started us thinking about more utilitarian objects we could use for baskets. You know, baskets that have further purpose:



Which Filler to Use in a Gift Basket

As for filler, we still really like the idea of used paper straight out of the shredder. (To make it more interesting, run a couple of colorful sheets from an old magazine through the shredder to mix in with the mundane stuff.) 


christmas gift basket ideas

Here's What to Put in Your Gift Basket

Check the vast majority of pre-packaged gift baskets out there and you'll see they have something in common. A lot of the stuff in them was made in some other far-flung land. (My apologies to all those in far-flung lands.) Nope, for OUR budget-friendly baskets, we will be including things made with our own hands. Not only will this save us heaps of dough, it will also increase the points on the thoughtful scale as registered by the receiver.

(BTW: I decided to break these homemade gift ideas into a few sub-categories. Stuff for her, stuff for him, stuff for anybody, and last-minute gift basket ideas)


Gift Guide: 15 Perfect DIY Gift Basket Ideas


Let's get started!


Gift Basket Ideas for Anybody

1. Spa Basket - This gift basket idea is perfect for that friend who needs a good excuse to relax. Fill it with loofahs, body washes, bath gels, candles, and a succulent for a pretty finishing touch. Head over to Style Me Pretty for more ideas. 

spa gift basket idea



kitchen tools basket gift idea

2. Color-Themed Kitchen Basket - Stick with two or three colors and make sure to add a personalized piece like the gorgeous monogrammed dish towel in this basket. Read more over here. 





pancake gift basket

3. Pancake Gift Basket - This might be my favorite... it contains a jar of pancake mix with the thoughtful (and delicious) addition of chocolate chips. Also included are maple syrup, coffee beans and handmade zucchini bread. Check out the details here. 


candy basket gift idea - movie gifts

4. DIY Movie Night Basket - DVDs, popcorn and candy... what could be better?! Wrap it in cellophane and add a big red bow to make it extra pretty. Here are the details.


girl's night - magazine and nails

5. Girls' Night In A Basket - This is a fun one... fill a basket with magazines, nail polish, bath gel, lotion and other relaxing goodies for the girlie girl on your list. Check out the original post here.


pasta dinner gift basket

6. Pasta Dinner Basket - Buy a good bottle of marinara, some high quality spaghetti and a nice bottle of olive oil... and don't forget the red wine! Read more about this gift basket idea here. 


7. Margarita Basket - Pair a bottle of tequila with a good margarita mix, and add a couple of limes and a yellow citrus juicer. Beautiful! More info can be found here. 

margarita gift basket


hot chocolate gift basket

8. Hot Chocolate Gift Basket - This is the perfect gift to keep your friends warm on those chilly winter nights. Check out the full tutorial here. 


barbeque gift diy

9. BBQ Basket - Here's a unique one... fill a basket with handmade BBQ sauce and a delicious rub mix. Here are the recipes.


gift basket idea for gardeners

10. Gardener's Gift Basket - For the friend in your life with a green thumb... new gardening gloves, a watering can and a pretty plant to tide them over until spring. Read more here. 


wine, bread and cheese

11. Happy Hour Basket - A bottle of wine, unique glasses, a pretty tea towel, a baguette, grapes and other snacks are perfect for this one. Read more here. 


12. Beer Lover's Basket - Assemble this one according to the recipient's taste; stick with domestic beer if that's what they usually drink, or go with a mix of unusual craft beers if they like to try new things. Check out more good ideas here.

craft brew gift basket




soup can

13. Soup Basket - You've probably seen the soup-in-a-jar idea, but why not take it a step further and include ingredients for a recipe like tortilla soup above? Here are the instructions. 


14. Breakfast For Two - This one has to be made right before, but it will be worth it... the recipient is sure to love it! Check out the details here. 

breakfast in bed gift basket


coffee gift

15. Coffee Lover's Basket - This gift basket idea is super fun ... combine K-cups, vanilla syrup and delicious biscotti for a coffee lover's dream gift. Check out the instructions (and free printable tags) here.






Gift Basket Ideas for Women


DIY Lavender and Coconut Oil Bath Bonbons
Photo: Sow and Dipity


DIY Hand Cream
Photo: The Prairie Homestead

Bay Rum Aftershave by MaggieMason.


Gift Basket Ideas for Men

Gunline Coffee

Glass Bath & Body Bottles



10 Brilliant Last Minute DIY Gift Basket Ideas

DIY gift basket ideas

Gift baskets make great presents for coworkers. Or friends. Or those impossible-to-buy-for people on your list. Okay, they're great for pretty much everyone. Here are ten beautiful, easy and affordable DIY gift baskets with clever themes that are sure to impress their recipients.   

colander gift basket, with wine and pasta

1. This pasta gift basket is housed right inside a metal colander... very clever! Find tips on how to assemble your own here. [Photo: 3 City Girls NYC]

2. A spa-inspired stress reliever basket is another great idea. Click here for instructions on how to put one together. [Photo: Sunset]

popcorn gift basket idea diy

3. Click here to find out how to make a vintage-inspired cheese basket. [Photo: DIY Network]

4. Use popcorn boxes as the "basket" for this fun little gift. Find details here. [Photo: Country Living]

5. Okay, you caught me - this is a pre-made basket. But you could make your own using pancake mix, maple syrup, jam and any other breakfast goodies that you enjoy. [Photo: Browzer]

skillet themed gift basket

6. Here's another breakfast themed basket with a skillet and jar that can be reused once everything has been eaten up. Find recipes and information here. [Photo: Country Living]

7. Make a wintry weekend escape basket filled with a deck of cards, a cozy blanket, and hot cocoa. Check out the tutorial here. [Photo: Sunset]

coffee basket filled with ground coffee, mug and reading materials

8. Make a "Your Perfect Morning" basket filled with ground coffee, a mug, reading materials, breakfast snacks, etc. Read more about it here. [Photo: Ruffled Blog]

9. A decadent hot chocolate basket is easy to make... just follow these instructions. [Photo: Henry Happened]

10. And last but not least - a cocktail kit! Find all the information you need here. [Photo: Savvy Eats



Some Random Ideas for Gift Baskets:


  • Old jars. Bath salts, after shaves and the like are going to need containers. The vinegar bottles pictured below were featured in Country Living back in '09, but my Spidey sense tells me that we probably have something very similar in our recycling bin right now. For the scrubs, I'd suggest salsa jars and the like as they're easier for fingers in which to dip.
  • New jars. If you'd rather use 'fresh' jars, two great sites to visit are SKS and The Jar Store. Both sell jars perfect for some of the projects mentioned in this post, but they're sold in cases of twelve. However, at a dollar or so a pop, that's a lot of gift basket gifts for not a lot of cash. Of course, many big grocery stores do carry small canning jars, which would be a good choice too.
  • Bags. For the spoons and biscotti, bags are the way to go. A good resource is Creative Gift Packaging. Again, quantities are large, but the cost is still very low. For small quantities at a higher price, your local craft store is always a possibility too. Martha, for example, has several cello treat bags available at JoAnn's. And, of course, in a pinch there's always Ziploc.
  • Jars and pots and mint tins. For the personal items in this roundup, check the recycling bin first. Squatty, wide-mouth jars are great for bath salts and the like. Altoids tins work for solid perfumes and lotion. A great on-line resource for cosmetic containers is SKS and the Jar Store. 
  • Bags. For food items, the best way to package them is in bags. Creative Gift Packaging is a great resource. Quantities are large, but the price is still very reasonable. Local party supply stores and craft stores are other options for cellophane gift bags too. 
  • Wrapping. Any DIY gift basket looks lux with a proper wrapping. Shrink wrap is a great option, but buying it on a roll is the most cost effective. Another option is to use inexpensive tulle to wrap the baskets. Tulle is inexpensive (as inexpensive as $.74 a yard), and it comes in a variety of colors.
Cream Cheese Mints
Photo: Cream Cheese Mints from Hoosier Homemade



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