Build a basket with Kelly!

For our first blog I had to do a basket building post!  A fun fact:  32 years ago I got my start in the world of baskets, right from my garage in Weschester, California.  It was nearing Easter, my baby Alex had just turned one year old.  I honestly do not remember how I got the idea, but I went to a local discount place, got a bunch of Easter themed items, ordered some baskets, stuffing, cellophane, ribbon.  Then I made some baskets, opened up my garage.  Turns out a church was nearby and for the next three Sundays, church would let out and they would come and get some baskets.  A lot of times we would curate the baskets together. As a stay at home mom, it was so fun to have Alex by my side in his playpen and have a real sense of accomplishment.   By the time Easter was over I had sold well over 100 baskets from my garage.  So that was in 1989!

Shoot to 2005, I open my little retail store (first shop was 500 square feet total), and baskets have always been a part of Kingfisher Road.

So that’s the abbreviated version of the dawn of the basket as part of gift giving at Kingfisher.  Along the way, there are certain tips that I have picked up, that I wish I knew from the beginning – but happy to share with you now!  I will go step by step and provide some trade “secrets” along the way:

Step 1.  Who’s the basket for?

A baby shower basket – perfect (my personal favorite).

Step 2.  Budget

Have a rough idea of budget and what is going inside, the general theme, etc.

Step 3.  Find the basket

BTW – does not have to be a basket!  It can be a vintage drawer, vintage box, a white bin that can be repurposed for the recipient, this is my favorite time to be creative.  We don’t always have the right basket on hand – so sometimes you have to think outside of the box.  I have even used a beautiful vintage suitcase! 

Step 4. Stuff the basket with A LOT of paper

I use kraft paper that we buy in bulk.  It gets crumpled and you have to put in much more than you might think.  If there is a heavy item, it could sink – and it is important that as you build everything can be shown.  So when you think you have enough paper, add more.

Step 5.  Now the fun part – design the basket.

Start at the back part with  tallest item  first and build as you go, moving toward the front of the basket.  So a book in the back – maybe alongside of that a stuffed animal to match.  Wait!  Almost forgot – HAVE A THEME!  For the love of God, if it’s an ocean theme, do NOT put in an elephant stuffed animal.  IT’S. JUST. WRONG.  

Step 6.  As you're building step back and look at it

Are there some great variations of height – check!  Can you see everything? Check!  Where are there holes???  Add in something small – I might add a faux rose as a pop of color and interest.  Or maybe there’s a smaller book, a smaller anything, just don’t leave it empty.

Step 7.  More is always better

Sometimes at this point you might have to add even more of the paper underneath the items to give height where necessary.  

Step 8.  Add the basket filler (basically this is shredded paper)

I love a good neutral – but have fun and make it your own.  I tuck it in between all the items so that each part of the basket can stand out.  I love to have the filler falling over the sides and in the front – it really frames all the items nicely and also provides some nice cushion for the items.

Step 9.  Gather your supplies.

I have used the shrink wrap – it’s a special type of cellophane and then you use a heat gun.  Let’s just say, not my favorite – really challenging to master and for me I don’t love the style of it.  I buy the clear cellophane, you will also need transparent tape – this is IMPORTANT!  The tape must be transparent.  There’s almost nothing that this tape cannot fix.  Another trick of the trade – pipe cleaner.  More on that later…

Step 10.  Lay out your cello

Put basket in the middle and measure it out more than you need – so that when you lift up the cellophane – it goes over the middle of the basket by a good five to six inches on both sides of the basket.   You can always cut it shorter, but you can’t add – so cut more than you think!  

Step 11. Patience is key!

Okay, so here is where you need some patience, but with the pipe cleaner and the transparent tape – you’ll be good!  I hold up from the back of the basket the cello, then gather the front part of the wrap, and gather and pull as I go.  I like it as tight as possible for a clean look.  So just keep grabbing it and gathering it and you might have to arrange with your other hand some of the items in the basket.  (it’s hard to picture,  but once you start you’ll know what I mean).  Holding it at the top and having the center rest on the tallest item in the back, use your other hand to wrap the pipe cleaner where the ribbon will go.  Trim your pipe cleaner at the back.

Step 12. Now tighten up all the cellophane

Start with sides tape together the seams, I gather it near the bottom of the basket and tape.  I tape the back if it needs to be tightened some more.  It really is transparent, so okay to use it to assist you. 

Step 13. Tying the cellophane

For the tying of the cellophane - I love to think about the scale of the item.  Tulle is the friendliest and most forgiving of all the options.  Because the pipecleaner is securing the center of the basket, if you need to redo the bow, not a problem.  I also like to use raffia depending on the look of the basket, either way tie a rather large bow, at the bottom of the bow, tie some raffia to trail down the sides of the basket – it’s a really nice look.  

Step 14.  Voila!  You’ve just made your first basket.

Supplies: has cellophane, basket filler, tulle, pipe cleaners. 


Shop products used in this blog below!




  • Laura

    Love this!!! Yay mom!

  • Julie Caffey

    Oh my goodness. I so loved hearing about your journey from your garage with Alex on your hip to your beautiful business today. Very moving to contemplate how your own gift and creativity has expanded out and given so much to so many!!!

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