Gift Baskets How to construct and prepare gift baskets for all occasions Written by: Holli Bowman & Dr. Frank Flanders Georgia Ag Ed Curriculum Office Updated January 2006 Objectives 1. Students will be able to name various uses and occasions for gift baskets. 2. Students will be able to prepare and assemble a gift basket with a theme. 3. Students will be able to calculate the cost of a gift basket. 4. Students will be able to describe the general design guidelines of making a gift basket. Uses of Gift Baskets • Decorations • Banquet Centerpieces • Door Prizes • Teacher Gifts • Holiday Gifts • Welcome to Our School Gifts • Theme Gifts • Gifts to supporters • and many other uses Special Uses of Gift Baskets in Ag Ed Programs Banquet Centerpieces - Baskets make beautiful table centerpieces. - The baskets can be used as door prizes at the banquet. - Baskets make a great class learning activity. - Baskets can be made in advance of the banquet if non- perishable products are used. Special Uses of Gift Baskets in Ag Ed Programs Ag Products Basket - Use products in basket to tell the story of agriculture and agricultural careers. - Include literature to explain agriculture and agricultural careers. - Use products from your state or highlight one local product. Determine a Theme Baskets can be created around any theme. Examples: – FFA – Garden – Education – State Products – Circus – Birthday – Your School – Holidays Theme Idea As a class activity, the teacher may want you to choose a theme and make a list of the items to include in your basket. Theme example: Dairy Items you might include: plush dairy cows, cheese crackers, milk chocolate candy, macaroni & cheese, dry milk, dairy drink, cow print pen, fabric swatch with cows and evaporated milk Assemble Supplies Supplies: - Basket or container - Excelsior filler or shred - Jams & Jellies - Peanuts - Flower Seeds - Magazines - Ribbon - Silk Flowers - Soil Sample Bag - Fabric Swatch - Cokes - Candy - etc . . . Assemble Tools & Materials Tools: - Wire cutters - Scissors - Florist picks - Tape - Rubber bands - Floral tape - Floral wire - Cellophane wrap Preparing Items One of the challenges beginners face is making items stay in place in the design. Here are a few techniques that can be used on a wide variety of items. To include seed packs and other small items in the basket, they may need to secured to a florist pick. In this case, tape the pick to the back of the seed pack. Preparing Items Fabric swatches add an inexpensive splash of color to your basket design. To insert a fabric swatch, attach a wooden pick. Fold the swatch around the pick and then wrap the wire on the pick around the folded swatch as shown. A steel pick machine may also be used to make the job much faster if one is available. Preparing Items A steel pick machine is a handy tool for making quick work of putting picks on items. A steel pick has been attached to this flower. Preparing Items To use a bottle of Coke in the design, secure picks to opposite sides of the bottle with rubber bands and tape. Preparing Items Here, florist tape is used to secure a pick to silk leaves. Florist picks and floral tape may be used to prepare many items. Preparing Items Ribbons add a splash of color to your basket. To include ribbon tips, they must be secured to a pick. To attach a wooden pick, fold the ribbon around the pick and wrap the wire on the pick around the folded ribbon. A steel pick machine may also be used to make the job much faster. Preparing Items To give the ribbon a nice finish, cut on an angle or in a “V” shape. To easily cut into a “V” shape, fold the ribbon in half and snip on angle. Preparing Items Stems such as wheat can be secured together using floral tape. Preparing Items Making “tubes” of magazines, handouts, newsletters, etc., facilitates placement, but items may be used un-rolled in many instances. Make tubes out of magazines by rolling the magazines and securing with curling ribbon. These make good “tall” items for your basket. If they need to be taller, just put a rubber band around one end and slip a wooden pick underneath. Designing the Basket The principles used in making gift baskets are very similar to those of floral design. You may want to review different geometric shapes used in floral design. The following shapes are most commonly used. Horizontal Inverted T Symmetrical Asymmetrical Triangle Triangle Right-Angle Circle The first step in putting the basket together is visualizing the overall shape and size in your mind. Filling the Basket Excelsior is Other fillers commonly include colored used as filler. paper shred, It is shipped in mylar shred and compacted plastic shred. bales. Begin by separating and “fluffing” the excelsior. Filling the Basket Fill the basket with the separated and “fluffed” excelsior. Remember, filler is inexpensive. Pile it high in the basket to display and showcase more expensive items such as stuffed animals. Showcase items sinking to the bottom and becoming partially hidden is a common Beginners tend to underestimate the height problem for beginning necessary to make their baskets look good – basket makers. especially after the filler settles. Start with a lot of filler to make items stand tall. Is the basket to be viewed from one side, all sides, etc.? Place the items with the “view” in mind. If the basket is to be used as a table centerpiece, start by placing tall items in the center and prepare the basket so it is attractive when viewed from all sides. Filling the Basket When filling the basket, split the excelsior into two sections to facilitate putting tall items in the basket. Beginners will have the most success if their first basket is to be viewed from one side with the tallest materials in the middle and to the back of the basket. Inserting Items First, establish the height. Begin by inserting the tallest items in the basket first. Birch or other tree branches, wheat, an ear of corn (shucks up) and rolled up magazines make good tall items. Inserting Items Second, establish the width and depth. Adding items on each side of the basket and to the front and back helps to establish the width and depth. Here, a bottle of Coke is used. Inserting Items Third, establish the shape of the design. Add items, one-by- one, to establish the shape of the design. Heavier, darker colored items should be kept in the center and lower in the basket. Smaller, lighter colored items can be placed near the edges and higher in the design if needed. Inserting Items This soil sample bag and instructions are added to this agricultural theme basket. Inserting Items Specialty jams and jellies are added to the front of the basket. These heavy items give visual stability to the design. If they were placed high or both on the same side, the basket would not be visually balanced. It would look heavy on one side. Inserting Items Play money, an apple and a boll of cotton add to the design of this basket. Filler items, mostly small, inexpensive items are put in last to fill gaps. Inserting Items Filler items include ribbon tips, play money, small silk flowers, fabric swatches, silk leaves, cotton bolls and candy. Wrapping the Basket To give the basket a “professional” look, the basket should be wrapped with cellophane. It is important to cut the cellophane large enough to fit around the basket. Be sure to measure before cutting. To measure, unroll a length of the cellophane and set the basket in the center. Before cutting, pull the corners of the cut end and the cellophane roll above the basket. Wrapping the Basket Make the cut at the point where each end extends 6” – 12” taller than the basket. Wrapping the Basket To wrap the basket, start by brining the opposite corners of the cellophane to the top of the basket. Hold in place with one hand while bringing the other two corners to the top. It may be helpful to get the assistance of a friend with this step. Wrapping the Basket Once all corners are gathered at the top, secure the cellophane with ribbon or raffia just above the tallest items in the basket. Some of the taller items may stick out above the cellophane. Wrapping the Basket If the cellophane is just a bit too short in some places, it may be necessary to use a piece of plastic tape to secure the cellophane. However, the tape should be placed so that it does not show. The mechanics of your arrangement (tape, picks, holding devices) should never show. Finishing Touches Adding silk flowers and a bow gives the basket a touch of class. Basket Cost It is important to know the cost of your baskets– either for the budget or if they are to be sold as a fundraiser. Make a list of every item in your basket and materials used. Assign a cost to each item, estimating as necessary. Be aware that a professional basket maker would determine the cost before making the basket. Basket Cost Many of the items in the basket must be purchased in multiples or in bulk to get the best possible price. The following slide gives a break- down of individual costs based on bulk purchases for this example basket. Cost of Example Basket Basket $2.25 Georgia Growing Magazine $ .00 Relish $1.65 FFA New Horizons Magazine $ .00 Blackberry Jam $1.65 Georgia FFA Today Magazine $ .00 Peanut Brittle $1.50 Fabric Swatch $ .20 Twix Fun-Size $ .15 Flower Seed $ .35 Dum-Dum Suckers $ .10 Soil Sample Bag $ .00 Salted Peanuts $ .25 Cellophane Wrapping $ .40 Microwave Popcorn $ .35 Georgia Peanuts Pecan Log Roll $2.25 $ .00 Apple $ .35 Raffia $ .25 Silk Flower $ .45 River Birch Twigs $ .15 Bottle of Coke $ .50 Dried Wheat $ .25 Yellow & Blue Ribbon $ .35 ===== Ting-ting $ .15 Total $14.45 Excelsior Filler $ .40 Collecting donated items Play Money $ .15 significantly reduces the Cereal $ .40 cost of making baskets! Additional Ideas Be creative when thinking of containers for your “basket” designs. Almost any container can be filled with items to make a unique gift. Mugs Insulated Lunch Boxes General Design Guidelines 1. A basket design should be about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 times the height or width of the basket, which ever is greater. 2. Larger, heavier items should be placed toward the bottom and center of the design for balance. 3. Smaller items should be toward the top and edges of the design. 4. Dark colors should be placed toward the bottom and center of the design. 5. Use more light, bright colored items than dark colored items. General Design Guidelines 6. Establish the height of the design first by putting in tall items. 7. Establish length and width second. 8. Put in the dominate/spotlight items third. 9. Be sure that all items can be seen. Hidden items add to the cost, but not to the display. 10. Add filler items or other materials as needed to finish the design. Making gift baskets gives students a unique chance to express their creativity and learn new skills in addition to constructing items valuable for many uses. Special thanks to Lauren Jarrett for her assistance in creating this example basket.