3 DIY College Gift Baskets for Boys (Free Gift Tags Included!)

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Going to College Gift Basket Ideas

group of boys in funny poses at high school graduation

Graduation is coming up soon, and that typically entails graduation celebrations.

Furthermore, those celebrations often include gift giving.

But what do you even give a boy who’s graduating from high school?

Gifts that take the practical route are a good choice. Because they’re always a safe bet.

When a boy goes off to college:

He’s going out into the world for the first time all on his own. So, any basic essentials he doesn’t have to pay for are more than appreciated.


It can be hard to think up a gift that’s helpful, yet doesn’t cost hundreds.

That’s why:

I think going away to college gift baskets are a perfect idea for freshly graduated guys. They’re useful, practical, and affordable – all the hallmarks of a great gift.

To give you somewhere to start:

In this post I’m sharing 3 DIY college gift basket ideas + 2 DIY gift arrangements. They’re all super easy to make. No special Martha Stewart skills needed!

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DIY College Gift Baskets

1. Laundry/Household Basics Basket

Unfortunately, laundry and cleaning just can’t be avoided in life.


No one likes paying for those items. Especially when you’re a freshman at college on a limited budget.

From what I can tell, boys also tend to prioritize buying basic cleaning supplies less than girls.

And a study by CollegeStats confirms my suspicions. The study found that guys’ dorm rooms contained more bacteria overall.

With this in mind:

It’s easy to see why a basket of regular household items is a nice gift idea for a boy.

The giftee won’t have to worry about buying these essential items for his first month of college (if not longer). That’ll be a big relief for him.

Even the basket itself is useful for organization.

off to college gift basket example with laundry and household necessities

Stick to the theme of this off to college gift basket idea by simply:

Including anything that you think would be useful for someone who’s starting out with nothing.

Keep in mind:

Anything you give him will have to be packed and transported to college.

So try not to overload the basket. Trial-size or travel-size items, like laundry detergent, go a long ways for one person.

Here’s what I included in this gift basket:

  • Persil Pro Clean Detergent (1 load sample pack)
  • Air Wick Spray
  • Downy Deodorizing Spray
  • Gain Liquid Laundry Detergent, 5 loads
  • Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent, 5 loads
  • Scrubbing sponges, 2 pk
  • Small Garbage bags, 25 ct
  • Gain Dryer Sheets, 15 ct
  • Bag Clips, 3 pk
  • Scented Crystal Beads
  • Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Packs, 4 ct
  • Lint Roller, 45 sheets
  • Basket/Plastic Container

TIP: You can find almost all of these items at The Dollar Store!

I picked up everything here for only $13. The Persil was a free sample I got in the mail.


2. Shower Kit College Gift Basket

gift basket with an assortment of shower and self-care items

Showering is another task that must done at some point (hopefully regularly). That’s what makes a shower themed basket SO useful.

Even with a packing list, it’s not uncommon for a freshman to forget a couple of things.

So you might want to save this gift basket idea for later.

Because it’s the kind of thing that a broke college student would love to get in a care package!

Most of the items pictured below:

I was able to pick up for very cheap. I accomplished this just by using coupons and watching sales.

flatlay of the items included in the college student gift basket

Here’s what I included in this shower kit:

  • Flip Flops (shower flip flops are a must in communal showers)
  • Nivea Men’s Shower Gel
  • Shower Pouf
  • Edge Shaving Cream
  • Gillette Fusion Razor
  • Right Guard Deodorant
  • Trial-Size Pantene Shampoo & Dove Conditioner
  • Colgate Toothpaste
  • Colgate Toothbrush
  • Listerine Mouthwash
  • Glide Floss
  • Plastic Waterproof Basket

TIP: A portable shower caddy would be even better than a regular plastic basket.

I was a little short on time when I made mine and used a basket I had on hand. Otherwise, I would’ve gone with a shower caddy.

I think that kind of little extra touch really elevates the gift. I say the more usefulness you can pack in, the better!


Related Video: How to Make a Sunshine Box (A College Care Package Guys Love to Get!)


3. Car Care Gift Basket

gift basket filled with car care items

This next gift basket idea for boys is particularly great for those who take pride in their car.


It works for more than just car fanatics.

Most kids are driving by the time graduation rolls around. He’ll need car care items to maintain his ride so it stays nice. Or at least so it doesn’t turn into a complete garbage pit.

Besides the gift card:

I bought everything for this gift basket at The Dollar Store.

flatlay showing all the items included in the DIY gift basket

Here’s what I included in this gift basket for a college student:

  • $50 Jiffy Lube Gift Card
  • Armor All Wheel & Tire Shine
  • Glass Wipes, 40 ct
  • Microfiber Cleaning Towels, 2 ct
  • Microfiber Drying Cloth, 1 ct
  • Carpet & Upholstery Wipes, 20 ct
  • Washing Sponge
  • Car Air Fresheners, 3 pk
  • Latex Textured Grip Gloves



Easy DIY Gift Arrangements

1. Gift Card Bouquet

example of a gift basket for a new college student made with gift cards


If you’re not sure what type of gift your grad would like best, gift cards are always appreciated. Plus, they won’t take up any extra room when he’s packing.

You can make it more interesting by creating a gift card bouquet. It’s quick and easy to do!

Here’s how to make one:

  1. Start by getting a vase. Then put rocks or marbles in the bottom.
  2. Next, buy your gift cards and tape them to BBQ Skewers ($1 for a pack at The Dollar Store).
  3. Arrange the gift cards in the vase.
  4. Add some confetti or ribbon. I used ribbon that matched the high school colors of the giftee.

And that’s it! It’s simple to make, but it provides a ton of value.

Of course:

You can put as many or as little gift cards as you like. Throwing a bunch of $5 gift cards from food places like Burger King, Subway, McDonalds, DQ or KFC would be a nice treat.

You can also mix it up by:

Putting in other cards, such as Jiffy Lube for oil changes.

Or you can stick with the tried and true favorites – like Target, Walmart, and Amazon gift cards.


2. Money Bouquet

bouquet of money gift idea for new college students

If all else fails:

A new graduate can always use money.

You can make it more thoughtful than sticking it in an envelope by creating a bouquet.

The creation process is also identical to the gift card bouquet:

  1. Layer decorative rocks ($1 at Dollar Store) in a glass vase. I alternated school colors.
  2. Roll the bills and tape them onto BBQ skewers.
  3. Arrange the money skewers in the vase.
  4. Finish by tying some ribbon around the vase.

It’s another easy to make, yet awesome graduation gift idea for guys.


You can put in any amount and in any denomination you want. I put (5) $5 bills and (5) $1 bills for a total of $30.

A money bouquet looks nice and boys heading off to college can always use cash!


FREE Printable Gift Tags for Your College Student Basket

free printable gift tags to go with the college gift basket ideas

I’ve got a little something extra for you:

Free printable gift tags to use on your DIY going away to college gift basket!

college gift basket tags with puns involving take 5 and mounds candy bars

I suggest using one that corresponds to the gift type. Or the candy ones can work with any theme.

Be warned:

These gift tags are awfully corny!

⟶ Click here to download the printable gift tags


boy getting ready to go off to college with his acceptance letter

Final thoughts on college going away basket ideas

I hope these future college student gift basket ideas helped you out!

Let me know what you think about them or share your own ideas by leaving a comment below.


More gift ideas for students:


3 DIY going away to college gift baskets + free printable gift tags - Pinterest

College Gift Baskets: 3 DIY Ideas

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