Five Ways to Make May Day Baskets

It’s almost the first of May, which means I’ll be sneaking around the neighborhood delivering fresh flowers to my sweet friends pretty soon.

If you’re not familiar with May Day, it’s totally okay. I grew up in Arkansas and didn’t hear about it until I went to college in Nebraska. I think it’s a midwestern thing?! Anyway, it’s such a fun way to welcome spring and share a simple treat with others.

It’s been said that the tradition started when people would take all of the flowers that grew at the end of April’s showers, arrange them in pretty paper, and hang them on the doors of neighbors as a way of welcoming warmer weather.

Sadly, I think it’s becoming a lost tradition, but I’m not afraid to be a little old fashioned. I’m sticking with it and hope you’ll join me.

A few tips if you’re new to May Day basket deliveries.

  1. It’s supposed to be a secret. You deliver the basket, ring the doorbell, and run. My kids call it “ding-dong-ditching” which sounds very impolite. But the fact that we’re leaving goodies somehow makes it seem better to me.
  2. The baskets should be super simple. A few stems of flowers or a couple of pieces of candy is perfectly acceptable.
  3. Make each basket with grace and gratitude for your friends. Even though they won’t know it’s from you, they’ll feel your love the moment they open the door.

Here are five baskets to get your creative wheels spinning.

{ONE} Mason Jar Revival

I love Mason jars. They’re multi-tasking rock stars. Among many other uses, they’re the perfect, inexpensive vessel for May Day. Here are all of the supplies you’ll need for this first “basket”. >>

In addition to the Mason jar (with the lid) and some ribbon, you’ll see I raided the garden. This is a smart place to start this whole process so you don’t end up spending tons of money on flowers.

I snipped a mix of hostas, lilacs and some pink flowers that were growing in my hanging basket from Lowes. Lol! I ended up buying tulips from the store since mine have already come and gone. Tulips = spring to me.

To create the “handle,” you’ll want to slide the ribbon under the Mason jar lid. Notice I don’t have the top, just the outside ring. Next you just screw it on to secure the ribbon in place.

Fill the jar with fresh water, arrange your flowers, and then hang this lovely bouquet from your neighbor’s door. Ding-dong!

{TWO} Perfectly Sweet Planter

This might be the simplest idea in the batch. Here are the supplies, which I mostly got from the garden store. >>

I chose a pot of colorful zinnias for the focal point. For the basket I’m using Jiffy-Pots, which are biodegradable. You can literally plant the entire container in the ground. They’re basically thick paper cups, so it’s easy to punch holes in the sides.

And that’s the first step…punch holes on each side of your Jiffy-Pot.

Then you plant your flower of choice right into this earth-friendly little pot.

Lastly, thread the ribbon through the holes and tie knots on each side.

That’s it! You’re ready to spread May Day cheer.

{THREE} Aluminum Can-Do 

This sweet little number didn’t even require a trip to the store. Here are the only supplies you’ll need. >>

I used a can of corn in a recipe last night, so I upcycled an aluminum can. Then I “shopped” around my craft area for a pretty piece of paper and ribbon. The flowers were plucked from outside..white hydrangea and soft lambs ear.

First I covered the can with pretty paper.

Then I arranged my flowers. I kept this one pretty simple…tucking lambs ear down into the giant hydrangea blossom.

Here’s the back side where you can see the final step.

I tied ribbon around the top so I could create a loop to hang from the front door.

Note: An alternative idea would be to drill a small hole on each side of the can so you can create a more balanced arrangement.

{FOUR} Paper Plates & Goodies

For the candy lovers in your life, this would make a fun May Day surprise. Here are the supplies needed for this bright and sunny basket. >>

You’ll need a small paper plate (cut in half), a piece of pretty paper cut to the size of one of the halves, flowers, candies and ribbon.

I went with a “sunny” theme and gathered all kinds of yellow treats. The yellow pansies are from my front garden and the M&Ms were a special purchase. I had the paper and ribbon in my craft area.

To get the basket started, put the two paper plate halves facing each other. Staple the bottom to secure and punch holes on the sides for your ribbon.

I wanted to give the plate a facelift, so I glued a piece of decorative paper to the front.

The plate dips down on the edges, but I like having the paper cover the entire surface.

Here’s a better look. You can see how the paper is flat across the entire plate. It also leaves room for you to thread your ribbon.

This is a view of the finished basket with the ribbon tied to each side.

Now for the really fun part…filling the basket.

I used floral water tubes for the pansies to help keep them fresh and hydrated. You can get these at any floral shop. They also help bundle the pansies together, making it easier to tuck into the basket.

This is the final product with the candies and flowers ready to rock.

{FIVE} Triple Scoop Flower Cone

This is the most traditional style of all of the May Day baskets – with a paper cone. I also used tissue paper flowers so the entire thing is waterless. Here are the supplies. >>

In the upper left I have a stack of tissue paper to make the flowers. I also have floral picks with wire to help secure the paper flowers and give them “stems.”

The upper right is a piece of decorative paper for the cone. And in the lower right you can see I tossed in some greenery. It was actually left over from my front door wreath project. (More on that next week!)

I started by making the paper cone. I just rolled the the paper into the shape of a cone and secured the seam with clear tape.

As a tip, use double-sided paper so there’s a fun design peeking through the back.

Okay, now for the flowers. You’ve probably made tissue paper flowers before, but here’s a quick primer.

Fold a small stack of tissue paper back and forth (like a fan) until the entire thing is folded. Pinch it in the middle and secure with your wire floral pick.

Here’s what it looks like attached to the pick.

Working slowly so you don’t tear the tissue, gently pull and separate each of the layers. I like to work one side at a time.

Then work the other side until it looks like a full bloom! Repeat the process so you have several flowers for your basket.

Once you have all of your goodies ready, tuck everything into your paper cone. Finally, punch a hole in the back of the cone and thread your ribbon so you have a way to hang your beautiful bouquet.

That’s a wrap, my friends. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and give one of these baskets a try. Let me know how it goes.

Blessings,

Kate

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