What are the must-have items in a creator’s toolkit? Here are the 8 tools for every gift basket designer, and three more are on the list, too.

Only the best for creativity

When you start a gift basket business or hobby, your thought is to grab any supply available in your home space. That’s okay at the beginning. However, if what you have isn’t sharp for clean cuts, or when family members complain that you unfairly swipe their favorite kitchen utensil, it’s time to invest in tools specifically purchased for gift basket making.

Which items are a must have in every designer’s arsenal? Let’s review.

A visual look at the tools you need to make gift baskets

8 tools for every gift basket designer


A sharp cutting instrument is first to mention for good reason. Scissors play a major part in every gift basket you design. From snipping ribbon to trimming cellophane, scissors are vital in your arsenal. Secure scissors to the workspace table with string, cord, rope, or curling ribbon so it doesn’t disappear. Choose a pair that cuts without tearing, and keep it sharpened.

Heat gun

If you plan to or are tightening shrink wrap around your designs, you must have a heat gun. There are other uses for it, too. For example, you may want to protect children’s clothes, a book, or fragrant items within a shrink bag. A heat gun comes in handy here as well. Heat guns are available through retail craft stores. You can also find them in home improvement stores labeled as paint removers. Be sure that the one you select includes a range of temperatures and settings (high and low at a minimum).

Clear tape

No designer wants opaque tape showing on or around their gift. Its cloudy appearance allows you to easily see it, but when clear tape is applied, it leaves no trace until the recipient searches for it to open the package. This tape is available at any retail office store and many discount shops. This is the only tape I purchase for attendees of my in-person gift basket classes, and I recommend my online course students to buy it, too.

Glue dots

Skewers and clear tape were the first tools I knew about that held products in place and upright in gift baskets. That was more than 30 years ago. Glue dots now replace this upright technique most times (skewers are still preferred by some designers). The good news about these round dots of glue is that it’s as easy to apply between products for a rigid hold and easy to remove by recipients. If you’re not familiar with this product, think about how hair care samples are added to magazines. That’s the same technique we use to hold items in place.

Final four on your list

Hole punch

This handheld item may not be in your toolbox, but you’ll find it to be quite useful for many purposes. A good example is the method in which you add a greeting tag (also known as a gift tag) announcing who orders the gift and who receives it. You can staple a gift tag to cellophane or to the outer packaging. However, using a hole punch to make a small hole in the top left, center, or right of a tag allows you to insert curling ribbon into the hole and tie it. This easy technique allows the tag to dangle in place. That may be more attractive than a staple.

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Hot glue gun and glue sticks featured in The Gift Basket Design Book, by Shirley George Frazier. All rights reserved.
Hot glue gun and glue sticks featured in The Gift Basket Design Book by Shirley George Frazier.

If glue dots are not available, a hot glue gun along with glue sticks will act as a temporary sealer. These guns aren’t as popular as the glue dots, but its small size makes it handy and easy to store until you need it. Hot glue guns and sticks are found in many craft stores and, of course, through online sources.

Slip joint pliers

Why apply unnecessary pressure to your hands when clipping floral picks instead of shortening it with these specialized pliers? When open, you can insert a pick’s stem into the pliers center hole. Close the pliers hole and grip the tool to easily clip the stem. This process creates a clean edge, and the cut takes less time than wiggling the stem back and forth to break it.


Want to make sure that gift basket you create is profitable? Buy a calculator if you don’t have one. In fact, buy two – one for your desk and another for the workspace table. You can certainly use the calculator in your cell phone, but if you’re speaking with a client, it may not be appropriate to put the person on speaker so you can access the calculator. In addition, having a calculator with markup and tax functions is quite handy.

8 tools for every gift basket designer, plus three more

Pens, paper, and order forms are three more tools I know you have but require mentioning. You cannot have these three items in too many locations within your studio, because your phone will ring at the precise time you’re in a section that isn’t prepared. Keep these three available at all times on your desk, in a workspace corner, and anywhere else you believe it will be handy.

I’ve hole punched order forms in the sheet’s top left edge so it hangs from corners of my studio using curling ribbon. You may not be that extreme. However, when a customer calls to order, the last thing I will ever say is, “Hold on,” or “Just a minute,” or something similar. I need to be ready at all times, and I believe you want that same readiness at your fingertips.

What did I miss?

These items, kept close and used frequently, provide quick help and the in-studio comfort zone you want every day. What tools do you count on that are not on this list?