The Art of Packaging Baked Goods

They say that you taste with your eyes, so it stands to figure that the prettier an item is, the better it will sell at a bake sale. Packaging your goodies in an attractive way not only helps get them off the table as quickly as possible, it helps generate larger donations from bake sale patrons.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Large fragile treats, like frosted cupcakes or whole pies should be boxed up. Looks for bakers’ boxes at your local bake supply shop. Boxes with clear windows are perfect for bake sales because they let buyers get a sneak peek at your beautiful baked goods.

Small items do best when sold in batches. Try packing up cookies, cake balls, or granola bars by the half-dozen or bakers’ dozen. Plain looking items, like loaves of banana bread or batches of granola can be dolled up by colorful wrappings and bags. Try embellishing your goodies with pretty tags, labels, ribbons and bakers’ twine.

Gateway Nut Free Granola- The Kid Can Cook

Photo by M. Fandrich

Labeling your goodies properly is really important for a few reasons. First off, people want to know what they are buying, so adding a descriptive title to your treats can help entice sales. Food allergies and special diets are also an important thing to consider. If your recipe includes a common allergen, like peanuts, consider adding a note on your label letting folks know.

If you’ve made a recipe that friendly to a certain diet or allergy, that’s a great selling point. Be sure to mention if your donation is gluten-free, dairy free, nut-free, low-sugar, vegan, paleo, etc.

Need some packaging inspiration for the big sale? We’ve collected some tutorial and printable links to help.

Downloads & Printables

Packaging Tips and Tutorials

Check out even more fun packaging ideas on the Austin Bakes: Packaging Ideas Pinterest Board!

And don’t forget, if you purchase your packaging materials at Make It Sweet at 9070 Research Blvd., Set 203, Austin, TX 78758 and mention “Austin Bakes as you check out, they’ll donate 25% of the sale to Austin Bakes for Nepal! The offer is good through Friday, May 22.


This post was originally published by Mary Helen Leonard on November 2013 for the Austin Bakes for Austin fund raiser.

Helping You Help Us Spread the Word


What would a good, old-fashioned bake sale be without the internet?

We live in a time when connecting to others is easy, making our potential reach for this fundraiser even greater. We want to help you help us (help Nepal) by giving you some ready-made graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your blog, or on your office’s lunchroom bulletin board.

Just download any of the graphics below and start sharing!

Printable Flyers

After clicking the link for these, hover over the bottom center of the screen to activate the download button.

Austin Bakes for Nepal Color Flyer  |  Austin Bakes for Nepal B&W Flyer

Square Graphic for Instagram


Sidebar Ads

160x600BerryBlue 160x600BerryPink

120X240BerryPink 120X240BerryBlue

Bloggers, your help is invaluable. In addition to using these sidebar ads, please consider writing a post to inform people of the sale and how they can participate. Some links that you may find helpful are:

Don’t forget to send us a link to your post so we can share it and thank you on our website!

Follow, Share, Tweet, Link

Let’s make this thing go viral, and a huge thank you for all of your help!

Shout out to blogger and author Mary Helen Leonard for creating these wonderful graphics!

A Brief History of Austin Bakes

Austin Bakes for Japan, the first Austin Bakes fundraiser

Austin Bakes for Japan, the first Austin Bakes fundraiser

The idea for Austin Bakes came about on Twitter in 2011, shortly after the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. News was spreading of a national bake sale movement to benefit Japan, and a group of Austin food bloggers agreed to work together to host a bake sale for Japan here in Austin.

Hundreds of home cooks, food bloggers, and local businesses came together for that first bake sale, and since 2011, the all-volunteer effort has raised over $50,000 for natural disaster relief at four citywide bake sales. Participation in Austin Bakes is open to all, and many volunteers and bake sale site leaders have helped with all four sales.

Previous dates and fundraising totals for sales:

There will be vegan baked goods like these red velvet cupcakes at every bake sale location! The most vegan items are South and Central.

Austin Bakes for Japan

April 2, 2011

Benefiting AmeriCares

Total donated: $11,809.06

Volunteers at our seven bake sale sites raised over $10,000 for the Central Texas Wildfire Fund during Austin Bakes for Bastrop.

Austin Bakes for Bastrop

October 1, 2011

Benefiting Austin Community Foundation for the Capital Area

Total donated: $13,993.51


Melissa by Melissa Skorpil

Austin Bakes for West

May 4, 2013

Benefiting AmeriCares

Total donated: $19,416.92

Austin Bakes for Austin 

November 30, 2013

Benefiting Austin Disaster Relief Network

Total donated: $5,412.95

The grand total for all Austin Bakes fundraisers is: $50,634.44!

We need your help to make the fundraiser for Nepal a huge success:

  • Volunteer  Sign-up to work on the day of the sale at any of the bake sale locations.
  • Lend or Donate Supplies We need folding tables, table cloths, display items, and other odds and ends. See the complete list on our online sign-up sheets.
  • Bake  A bakes sale needs baked goods. Bake any amount of your favorite treats and drop them off at any of the participating locations. Sign-up online today.
  • Donate  Our FirstGiving page makes donating as easy as a few clicks of a button. Online donations are open through May 31.
  • Spread the Word  Share on Facebook, Tweet, Instagram, RSVP on our Facebook event page and invite all your friends, and tell everyone you know!

Online Donations are Now Open

As with previous Austin Bakes fundraisers, there is an option to make a monetary donation using a credit or debit card through our Austin Bakes For Nepal FirstGiving page. Online donations will go directly into the fund set aside for Nepal through AmeriCares.

Those who are unable to visit one of the bake sale locations can still participate and help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 for relief efforts in Nepal through this option. For anyone whose employer has a matching gift program, this is an excellent way to maximize donations. FirstGiving makes that as easy as clicking a button.

Please visit our FirstGiving page and consider making an online donation to help jumpstart this fundraiser before we even get to the day of the sale: Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And, as always, help get the word out by sharing:

  • Use the hashtag #AustinBakes.
  • Follow and share our Facebook account.
  • Follow and share our Twitter account.
  • Follow and tag our Instagram account.

Curious about where the money is going? Check out this post; it has all the answers.

Austin Bakes for Nepal: Where The Money Goes

Photo courtesy Nathan Russell Photography

Austin Bakes is excited to announce that we will be renewing our partnership with AmeriCares for Austin Bakes for Nepal. For previous bakes sales in which we’ve partnered with AmeriCares, we have donated $11,809 after the 2001 tsunami in Japan and $19,417 following the 2013 chemical plant explosion in nearby West, Texas.

Our goal this time is to raise $20,000 for Nepal at Saturday’s bake sales or through online giving by the end of May. That number may seem high for a bake sale, but we are determined to break our record for the good of Nepal. We’re confident that Central Texans and our friends elsewhere will all come together to reach that goal!

Why AmeriCares?

AmeriCares has a proven track record of success supporting disaster relief and is consistently ranked highly for their transparency and accountability, with 97% of all expenses going directly to support relief programs. For every $1 donated to AmeriCares, $20 worth of aid can be delivered, including medicines, medical supplies, and support for international medical teams on the ground throughout the hardest hit areas of Nepal (read more about their work in Nepal on their site). That means if we’re successful in reaching our $20,000 fundraising goal, Austin Bakes for Nepal will be helping to send over $400,000 in emergency relief to the people of Nepal. AmeriCares has been working on the ground in the United States since the 1980s, providing medical aid, relief supplies and health care in crisis situations and where there are long term needs for support. Their operational model is time-tested, and the organization has won national recognition for its efficient use of funds and successful humanitarian work. AmeriCares has the infrastructure in place to accept a large gift from Austin Bakes for Nepal and to use the funds efficiently where they’re needed most. The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so gifts towards their efforts in Nepal are tax-deductible. (More about that in a moment.) They have an extensive, transparent record of their financial information, including annual audits published online.

How to Give

Businesses and individuals supporting Austin Bakes for Nepal can give to the AmeriCares via cash, check and our online giving page. Each bake sale location has committed lead volunteers who will be responsible for managing individual gifts and ensuring that they are accounted for at the end of the fundraiser. We have a game plan in place to track donations, report them transparently, and to make sure every penny ends up safely in AmeriCares’ hands.Austin Bakes for Nepal is a donation-based bake sale. That means instead of listing prices on each item, we’ll look to customers to decide the value of their purchase and support relief efforts in Nepal accordingly. We’ll accept cash and checks made out to AmeriCares at the various bake sale locations in and around Austin. Supporters who wish to make a gift by credit card may do so at the Austin Bakes for Nepal FirstGiving page. We’ll be able to make change and break some large bills at the bake sale next Saturday, but we are asking customers who are able to please bring exact change or a check made out to the AmeriCares. Here is detailed information about our handling procedures for gifts:

  • Cash: all cash collected before and during the bake sale will be combined into a money order, payable to AmeriCares, after the bake sale on Saturday,  May 23rd. We will give the money order, along with all checks, to AmeriCares that day. Donors who give cash will not receive a receipt for their personal gift, but they will be able to see how much cash we raised collectively when we report the amount on here our blog and on our FirstGiving online giving page.
  • Checks: should be made to “AmeriCares” with Nepal written in the memo line. We will keep a log on our FirstGiving page of all checks that we receive. That way, donors can be sure that we have received their gift and see how their contribution has increased our total fundraising. We will give all checks to AmeriCares on Tuesday, May 26th. AmeriCares will deposit the checks and mail each donor a gift receipt for tax purposes.
  • Online: gifts in any amount can be made securely online at our FirstGiving page using a credit or debit card. Donors will receive two emails confirming their gift to AmeriCares: one immediately after their information has been received, and a second email confirming that their card was successfully charged for the gift. Donors can see their contribution on the Austin Bakes for Nepal FirstGiving page, and their support will count towards our overall goal to raise 20,000 for the Nepal earthquake relief efforts. If your employer has a matching funds program, you’ll have to option to include that information when you donate.

Calling All Bakers!

Photo by Melissa Skorpil

Photo courtesy of  Melissa Skorpil

Nepal needs your help!

And a city-wide bake sale needs city-wide support. Anyone and everyone is welcome and encouraged to donate baked items for the sale, which will take place on Saturday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sign-up to bake for any of the Austin Bakes for Nepal sale locations using the links below:

Make It Sweet Makes It Even Sweeter


Austin bake shop Make It Sweet has been a supporter of previous Austin Bakes fundraisers, and this time they will once again donate 25% of all ingredients and packaging supplies purchased for Austin Bakes for Nepal. Visiting their store at 9070 Research Blvd., Set 203, Austin, TX 78758 for all your baking needs is a great way to make your contribution go even farther. Simply mention “Austin Bakes” as you are checking out, through Friday May 22, and 25% of your purchase will be donated to the fundraiser.

What to Bake

What do you like to bake? What do you like to eat? The field is fairly wide open here, but there are some health code rules that need to be followed, as well as few best practices. Please follow these guidelines when determining what items you will donate:

  • All items should be prepared in a clean, sanitary kitchen.
  • No perishable items that require refrigeration are permitted at bake sales (for example: cheesecake, chocolate-dipped fresh fruit, cream or merengue pies).
  • Homemade preserves such as jams, jellies, and pickles are allowed. However, avoid canned tomato items such as salsa as well as pumpkin and pear butters.
  • All items must be individually wrapped. Large items such as cakes and pies can be sold as a whole or sliced into smaller pieces, provided each serving is in its own wrapper or container.
  • All items should be labeled with the following information: what it is, whether it meets any special diet requirements (i.e. vegan, nut-free, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free), who made it, a link to your website or blog of you have one.

For more information about what items are and are not allowed at bake sales, please refer to the Texas Cottage Food Law FAQ.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Skorpil

Photo courtesy of Melissa Skorpil

We need your help to reach our goal of raising $20,000 for AmeriCares to apply to disaster relief in Nepal. So let’s get baking Austin!

Coming soon: inspiration for recipes and packaging ideas!

Spread the Word!

Help us harness the power of the internet by sharing information about this bake sale and the various ways people can help:

Save the Date for Austin Bakes for Nepal!

Austin Bakes for Nepal (photo by Melissa Skorpill)

May the Fourth cookies from the Austin Bakes for West fundraiser; photo courtesy of Skorpil Photography

Austin will be baking for Nepal on Saturday, May 23!

Stay tuned for further details, and in the meantime, tell your family, tell your friends, tell your coworkers… shout it from the rooftops! Let’s all pitch in to make this fundraiser a huge success for the people of Nepal.

Here are some ways to keep up with the latest information and to help promote the sale.

It truly does take a village, a worldwide village.