Since there are two basic kinds of fruit baskets---edible and inedible---learning how to decorate them requires two different approaches. Whether you just finished assembling a homemade basket or decided on a store-bought model, homemade decorative touches can lend it a distinct touch that will not go unnoticed by the recipient.
Edible Fruit Basket
Paint the exterior of the basket with edible paint. The simplest edible paint is melted chocolate that hardens during refrigeration. Dip a new paintbrush into the melted chocolate and design geometrical patterns, whimsical scenery or even just bold strokes on the basket's outside. Place the basket into the refrigerator until ready to present. Depending on the size of the canvas, this is also a great means of offering congratulatory wishes with multi-colored or metallic edible paints; look for them at cake decoration suppliers.
Augment the basket's interior with edible play dough decorations. Consider a theme, such as play dough grape leaves around grape clusters or white ice spots on top of blueberry mounds. Edible play dough can also be made into eyes and other facial features to make melon balls into little characters.
Thread cranberries and blueberries onto trussing string. Depending on the size of the fruit basket, loop this string of fruit pearls loosely around the interior and let it spill over one side for a festive look. Alternatively, plan ahead and drill evenly spaced holes in the basket portion and then loop the loaded string through the holes. This is a good choice for very large edible fruit baskets, as the strings visually break up the exterior and add interesting details to an otherwise potentially unexciting presentation.
Organic Fruit Basket
Suspend homemade dried citrus fruit ornaments from the basket's handle. Make these from thickly sliced lemons, oranges or grapefruits. Scent the slice ornaments prior to baking with cinnamon. After their time in the oven, the citrus slices darken slightly; suspend them from twine decorated with fabric bows. The recipient may use the ornaments for home use; at the same time, the scent is sure to permeate the basket's interior, adding a season appropriate smell to the offering.
Attach small oval sacks to the sides of the basket with wire. A larger basket can accommodate various sizes, which adds an interesting look to the presentation. For a smaller basket, keep the sacks as small as possible but still large enough to accommodate treats. Fill them with raw sugar cane, organic honey and chocolate from various countries. Let the recipient experiment with the fruit and food pairings and discover new tastes from around the globe.
Place clear, biodegradable cellophane wrap around the basket and tie it all together with a season or occasion inspired ribbon. Choose Christmas prints, Hanukkah colors or a baby motif---depending on the occasion for the fruit basket---but be sure to make it a ribbon that is wide and wire supported. The wire inside the fabric lets you create fanciful designs and shapes, which adds height to the basket.
About this Author
Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.