DIY Gift Baskets for College Students That Anyone Can Make

How to Wrap a Gift Basket

If you’re looking for great gifts for college students, consider making college gift baskets.  They are not as hard as you might think, and making gift baskets for college students can actually be pretty fun to do too.

Follow this list of how-tos and what-to-dos, and you’ll find yourself assembling just the right group of items that any undergraduate would like and enjoy.

Gift Baskets for College Students

We love our college kids, and they will love some DIY gifts baskets if you include great items that are just right for them.
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How to Make a College Gift Basket

Themed gift baskets are the easiest way to go.

Picking a theme for your basket keeps you focused and provides ways to bring a gift basket together.

If it’s winter and cold weather is creeping in, you could choose to put several cold weather health items together in a box or basket.  Popular items a college student might get lots of use out of in a basket such as this would be cough drops, a box of soft tissues, a bottle of cold medicine, and sore throat spray.

However, to make this gift box a little more special while still relating to the theme, add non food items that go with these health-related items like warm slippers, a box of hot chocolate mix, and a big handled, personalized coffee mug.

Reliable office supplies are great to coordinate for a desktop or study-theme basket, or small bedding accessories like pillowcases, eye masks, bedside organizers, and linen spray can be combined for a great dorm room bedding basket .

Themed baskets can also focus around chocolate (chocolate kisses, ice cream syrup, hot cocoa, flavored coffee, and chocolate cake), sports or hobbies, your child’s specific college paraphernalia, your student’s college major, photography needs, or personal grooming items, to name a few.

When you consider the individual you are buying for and determine what their life incorporates, you’ll soon discover what theme can give you the foundational start of a perfect gift basket.

Gift baskets based on important days or college events can work too.

Parting slightly from the idea of a themed gift basket based on likes, needs, or hobbies, special days can provide a variety of theme basket ideas to use as a focal point.  While still keeping centered on one specific idea, the idea here would be to focus on a specific time period such as mid-terms, finals, Halloween, or Christmas.

Birthday gift baskets for college students might include some items that focus on recreational pursuits like gaming, hot computer accessories not needed for school work but wanted never the less, concert or event tickets, and restaurant gift cards.

Christmas gift baskets for college students can be any of the personal interest theme packages but decorated with traditional red and green bows and ribbons.

Final exam gift baskets might include items such as instant hot drinks, peanut butter cracker snacks, fruit roll ups, or cheese filled pretzels.  When it comes to a final exam gift basket, make sure you include something that will get the student away from their desk if only for a few minutes like a gift certificate to a local coffee shop near the student’s school or electronic sudoku games.

Whatever you choose to focus on, focusing on one day or one area of the student’s life will help you choose creatively while helping you to build on a subject that, when put together, makes for a nice, larger gift.

Filling the basket isn’t so hard if you start with filler and build up and out.

When you have determined a personal interest or special day theme you would like to focus on, you’ll want to find and fill a basket in such a way that it looks tasteful and appealing to the recipient.  This isn’t hard if you follow some basic steps.

Choose a basket, or any container actually, it doesn’t matter, to hold the items you want to purchase.

Then fill the bottom of the container with packing peanuts and top those off with crunched up colored tissue paper, shiny shreds, or shredded gift paper.  If your basket is a little smaller, you can omit the packing peanuts and just place crinkled tissue paper in the bottom of the basket.  You are going to want to arrange all the items in the basket so that each item can be viewed, and you will want to pack the items for an overall attractive appearance as well.

Now, there is something missing here you might want to know, and that’s how to wrap a gift basket!

How to Wrap a Gift Basket

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How to Wrap a Gift Basket for a College Student

Begin by placing the largest items either in the back or middle, and then branch outward or forward from your starting point, largest to smallest.  You want to give a full look to the basket, but it is perfectly ok and even recommended that you leave a little of the crinkled tissue paper or shredded wrapping paper that you used for filling in view from the top.

If you want to gently place a few very small items in those areas, like pine cones, fake diamonds, Christmas ornaments from the dollar store, candy pieces, or small flowers, you could do that, but keep the additional adornment to a minimum.  Even just adding two or three of these kinds of items can be a fanciful addition to the basket items, but really, most of the time, you don’t even need that extra decoration at all.

Yes, you can beautifully cover your box, container, or basket of gifts for college student family members and friends by using a cellophane bag!

Cellophane bags are available at most craft stores and even some general retail or dollar stores near the wrapping paper, and using these bags make it a cinch to close up and protect your student’s gift items.

With a cellophane bag, all you would need to do is to find one that is large enough pull over your basket or box; pull the bag up from the bottom to the top of the basket, and then tighten and tie a ribbon at the top of the bag.  If the bag is a little too large, that’s OK.  You don’t want a tight fit anyway when “wrapping” a gift basket.

Always leave some space when attaching a bow or ribbon at the top.  Even if it is a little too large near the bottom, a few pieces of clear tape will do just the trick for pulling the cellophane in just a bit around the bottom, and no one will ever know.

As an added note…

While you can cover a gift basket with cellophane bags as described above, don’t feel you HAVE to cover your basket at all if you are giving it to its recipient in person.

Open baskets can be beautiful as well and, if packed in such a way as the objects do not juggle around, you could opt to go without a covering.

If the student for whom you are assembling the gift basket is far away or will not be home for the holiday or event, putting your gift items in a mailing box such as one of the flat rate boxes you can get at the post office is fine.

Your choices, when mailing a gift basket like this could be to either find a basket without a handle, one that will fit into a mailing box, or simply pack the mailing box as you would the basket, filling the bottom with peanuts and crumbled tissue paper or shredded gift wrapping paper, strategically placing the largest item in first, either laying it down in the back or in the middle, and then building out from there.

When an undergrad is far from home and missing loved ones, they won’t care if the basket has a basket or not.  They would really most enjoy knowing you cared enough to send your love.

Making gift baskets for college students is an innovative way to personalize a present to your undergrad while creating an opportunity to add elements that will help the student through their dorm life and college years.

Whether you’re creating a helpful care package basket, Christmas gift basket, congratulations or thinking-of-you basket, or memorable present, making your own gift basket for your college student can be something beautifully arranged and packaged with just a little thought and ingenuity.

Chris Stevens writes for smart moms and dads who want to make their homes happy and their family time fun. Click the first link to see how black and white toile bedding can be a great bedroom decor gift for someone in college or this link to see a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, a great addition to any gift basket!

Still looking for more gift ideas for college kids?  You might want to check out some of our great ideas for thrifty gifts that will keep them feeling all warm, cozy and comfortable while away at school.  See our article on inexpensive bedding gifts for college students (and everyone else in your family too) here:

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