DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

How to Make a Fabric Party Favor Basket

comments (1) January 17th, 2017     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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With two pretty fabrics and some fabric stiffener, you can mold cute favor baskets with ease.
You can even turn your party favors into place cards by adding these cute picks.
Depending on the fabrics you choose and the size and shape of your basket, you can make these to match all kinds of celebrations.
With two pretty fabrics and some fabric stiffener, you can mold cute favor baskets with ease.

With two pretty fabrics and some fabric stiffener, you can mold cute favor baskets with ease.

Photo: Diane Gilleland
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If you're setting a fancy table for a party, these little baskets make adorable party favors and place cards. Your guests can take them home and use them to hold paper clips and such.

What you'll need:

  • Two pieces of coordinating woven fabric
  • Glass votive candle holder
  • Fabric stiffener (see note below)
  • Scissors
  • Scrap of white cardboard
  • Thin cotton string
  • Plastic containers
  • Ribbon
  • Scrapbook paper (optional)
  • Bamboo skewer (optional)
  • Craft glue (optional)
  • Small piece of styrofoam (optional)

A note on fabric stiffener: I'm using a product here called Stiffy. You can also use liquid starch to stiffen your fabric, but the Stiffy has a stickier, gluelike consistency, which is very helpful in forming the basket shape, as you'll see in a moment.

A note on votive holders: You can find glass votive candle holders at most variety stores or dollar stores. They come in lots of shapes and sizes, which will dictate the shape and size of your basket. Choose one you like that has straight or flared sides. It should be wider at the top than at the bottom.

This project needs about 18 hours of drying time, so if you need to make lots of baskets, you might want to start with a number of votive holders.

Assemble these supplies before you begin.

First, cover your work surface with some paper-things are going to get a bit messy! I prefer using paper grocery sacks that I've cut apart and flattened. Newspaper is not a good choice for this project-it tends to leave dirty marks on your fabric.

For each basket, you'll need two circles of fabric, cut to the same size. The size will depend on the type of votive holder you're using and how deep you want your baskets to be. Gather some fabric around the votive holder with your hands to gauge the diameter you'll need. (To mark my circles, I traced a small plate onto the wrong side of the fabric with a pencil.)

You'll also need a small circle of white cardboard. Trace the bottom of the votive holder with a pencil and cut it out. And finally, cut a 24-inch length of cotton string. (Your hands are about to get messy, so make sure you have all these materials ready before you open that Stiffy!)

Saturate both fabric circles in the stiffener.

Pour a small amount of stiffener into a plastic container. Wet both fabric circles thoroughly, and lightly press out any excess. You want the fabric to be quite saturated.

Place the first circle right side down. This will form the outside of the basket.

Lay the fabric that you want on the outside of your basket on your work surface, right side down. Lightly smooth out any wrinkles, but don't press the fabric into your work surface.

Place the other fabric circle on top, right side up.

Place the other fabric circle on top, with its right side up. Match the edges of the two circles as closely as you can, but don't worry about this too much-the charm of these baskets comes from their small irregularities. Lightly smooth out any wrinkles.

Place a cardboard circle in the center, then place a votive holder on top of the cardboard.

Next, place the cardboard circle in the center of the fabric. The cardboard should be dry-especially the surface that will come in contact with the votive holder. (The purpose of this cardboard is to keep the bottom of the votive holder dry-this makes it much easier to separate it from the finished basket later.)

Place the votive holder on top of the cardboard.

Pull the four points of the fabric up to the sides of the votive holder.

Carefully pick the edges of the fabric at four points of the circle, and bring them against the walls of the votive holder, as shown. The fabric will stick lightly to the glass, but you'll likely need your hands to hold it in place at this stage.

Press the fabric between each of those four points to the glass.

This leaves four spaces where the fabric is not touching the glass. Here's what you'll do at each of those spaces:

First, bring the fabric up to meet the wall of the votive holder, as shown.

Smooth the two resulting folds in the same direction.

This creates two small folds of fabric. Smooth these folds gently down so they're facing the same direction. The fabric will stick to itself nicely at this point, so these flaps should lie flat without you needing to hold them.

Repeat this process at the other three points.

Here's how the fabric should lie at the end of the process.

When you're done, you'll have a series of small flaps around the edge of the basket, all folded in the same direction.


This fabric-molding process may feel a little awkward the first time, but it soon gets easier. Keep in mind that if you don't like how your basket looks, you can flatten the fabric back out and try again.

If you don't want to be this exacting, of course, you can also just gather the fabric up around the votive holder. And by the way, if your fabric frays a little at the edges during this process, don't worry-we'll fix it later.

Tie the basket firmly with cotton string.

Tie the string tightly around the basket, about 1 inch from the rim.

Gently flare out the top edge of the basket.

Gently spread out the folds above the string to give your basket a flared top. (Or, if you like the look of a deeper basket, skip this step.)

Move the finished basket to a nonporous surface to dry.

I recommend moving your basket to a nonporous surface to dry. If you leave it on the paper, it can easily stick there. I use inverted plastic containers, which work well. The stiffener will wash off the plastic completely after it dries.

After a few hours of drying, invert the basket.

After several hours, the rim of your basket should feel dry to the touch and fairly stiff. At this point, invert the basket as shown-this allows the bottom to dry.

Leave the basket overnight to dry thoroughly. When it's fully dry, it will be rigid and sturdy.

Use a butter knife to gently separate the dried basket from the votive holder.

Once the basket is dry, you should be able to pop the votive holder out easily. If you find yours is sticking, try gently loosening it by inserting a butter knife as shown.

If you need to, you can trim away any frayed edges of the fabric now with scissors.

Trim the ends of the string and tie a ribbon bow.

Trim the ends of the string away, and then tie a ribbon bow over the string. (We used string first and then ribbon because the stiffener will slightly darken some ribbons and could cause a dyed ribbon to bleed color onto the basket. We get a much prettier result with this two-step process.)

If you're having trouble keeping the ribbon in place over the string, you can glue it down with a little craft glue.

You can make simple place card picks with circle punches and glue.

A couple of fun variations: If you'd like your basket to double as a place card, you can use circle punches and coordinating paper to make a topper, and then glue it to a thin bamboo skewer, as shown. Place a small piece of styrofoam (saved from a shipping package, perhaps?) in the bottom of the basket, and poke the skewer into it. Fill the basket with candy around the skewer.

Create a rounded bottom for your basket by wrapping plastic wrap around the votive holder.

If you'd like your basket to have a rounded bottom, you can crinkle some plastic wrap into a loose rope, and then wrap this around the base of your votive holder. You'll be able to pull the wrap out easily when the basket has dried.

And just a quick housekeeping note: The stiffener should wash right off your votive holders, so you can also use them to decorate your party table! (I wouldn't recommend putting lit candles inside the baskets, however.)



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posted in: fabric, keepsake, party, favor, place card

Comments (1)

RobberStokery writes: Absolutely beautiful work! my congratulation to you :)

Posted: 1:18 am on August 24th
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