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How to Preserve and Frame Letters and Handwritten Recipes

A quick and easy tip for preserving ink on handwritten recipes and frame letters as sentimental art in your home.

It’s not every day that you can frame letters and decorate with something that turns you into a blubbering sob fest. I mean I’m certainly one to boohoo over those P&G Olympic mom commercials or the Subaru commercials that show the kids growing up too fast and driving off into the sunset to college.

But home decor? Not so much… until yesterday.

Thanks to my mom pulling out these tear-jerker handwritten recipes that she collected over the years…

How to preserve handwritten recipes and letters for framing

Do you see that Betty Crocker cookbook? That’s seen some love, y’all. You know a recipe is good when it’s smeared and wrinkled and splattered all over.

When my mom handed me this giant stack of recipes written by my grandmothers (and herself), I knew they were destined for a frame. But I knew I also wanted to preserve them because these precious gems need to last forever.

How to Preserve Handwritten Recipes and Frame Letters

Supplies

How to preserve handwritten recipes and letters for framing

Steps

I could have just stuck these sheets in frames, hung them up, and called it a day, but since it’s entirely possible the ink would fade over time from the sunlight and light bulbs, I used this UV laminating film to preserve the ink’s integrity. (You can use it for preserving your kids’ art as they grow up too.)

UPDATE: Once you put laminating film on a letter or handwritten recipe, there’s no going back, so as an alternative, you can instead lightly spray the paper with Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Gloss. Be sure to follow the directions on the back of the can. 

1. The instructions say to use them in a laminator, but I found that a hot iron worked just fine.

How to preserve handwritten recipes and letters for framing

2. Just separate the laminating sheets, slide the recipe paper between them, and press with a hot iron on the ironing board. I would use a piece of cardboard underneath the sheets on the ironing board for a harder surface to help smooth out any bubbles.

3. Then cut them out and frame!

preserved and framed handwritten recipe art

See those smudges? That’s the good stuff. My mom, Elaine, wrote that one using my great-grandmother Gussy’s chicken and dressing recipe she handed down before I was even born.

I love that I stuck with floating frames for these. There’s just an extra element of charm to see the rough edges of old paper.

preserved and framed handwritten recipe art

This one was written by my maternal grandmother, Janice, for a recipe that was handed down to her by her mom, MeeMaMa Winnie, who passed away just 8 weeks after Olivia was born at the age of 96. Thanksgiving was never complete without her pecan pie (and it’s Robert’s favorite).

preserved and framed handwritten recipe art

And my paternal grandmother, Kitty, wrote this one and even signed her name. She could cook like nobody’s business but passed away when I was 12. Even though I couldn’t find her famous Swedish pancake recipe, her Swedish meatballs will do. (Pretty sure the pancakes were made from memory every time anyway.)

I hung them up right beside our stove where I try my best to keep up with their legacies in the kitchen.

framed handwritten recipe art for the kitchen

I finally decorated the shelves beside them too with a few pretty things, like this landscape art I printed for $3.00 and put in a thrifted frame.

American landscape art - $3 printable to place in any frame

Joanna Gaines’s “people” sent this Magnolia crate to me a couple of years ago (because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Joanna herself), and it’s been perfect for sticking our mail in when we come home every day before sorting it.

decorated kitchen shelves vignette

And you might recognize that thrifted scale that I painted to look like a rusty antique.

It’s all just a little corner of happiness.

Now that I’ve framed the recipes, I’m thinking I need to dig up old love letters Robert and I have written to each other… even thought I might have to turn this house upside-down to find them.

Kitchen shelves with dark green cabinets and framed handwritten recipes for art

This little project is definitely proof to me that I need to spend more time handwriting things like notes to loved ones and recipes to hand down to Olivia. There are so many little things that end up being the big things one day.

Now that this spot is all decorated, the kitchen refresh is finished! I’ll be sharing the full reveal of this space next week (hopefully).

UPDATE: See our budget kitchen refresh here!

Until then though, you can see all of our kitchen updates here:

Are there any sweet handwritten momentos that you’ve used as art before? I’ve heard you can turn recipes into kitchen towels too. Hmm….

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

How to preserve handwritten recipes and frame letters

signoff

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some gift ideas for preserving handwriting?

I love these small shops that offer preserved handwriting gifts in the form of cutting boards, jewelry, plates, or dish towels.

How do you turn handwriting into font?

Here is a great tutorial that can help!

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47 Comments

  1. I have been wanting to do something like this but I want to do as a back splash in kitchen I though would be great idea.

    1. That’d be so sweet! You definitely wouldn’t be able to take them with you if you ever move if they’re permanent in the backsplash with epoxy or something, but that would be so unique.

  2. I did this with many of our family’s recipes but I scanned them in color and trimmed them to look like The Originals and framed them. This way they could be shared by several family members. The Originals are kept in a hope chest in archive sleeves.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I am going to go out today and purchase the items to do this with the letters my husband sent me from Afghanistan TEN years ago. So happy to get them out of a box and on display.

    1. What a special preservation. I am so glad you were able to keep them and find a way to display them now. 🙂

  4. From February to the end of April this year I stayed with my daughter and helped her redecorate/refresh some parts oh her home (that we lived in before). Apart from prepping and painting kitchen cupboards, fitting open shelves and many other details, I also brought with me one of my aunt’s old recipes as well of my mom’s with intention of framing them as kitchen décor. It happened that in the pile of new, unused frames that I left with her, there were also 4 black floating frames – so I used them. She insisted that I write down my recipe for semolina soup dumplings and frame it as well ‘cos she wants it to be always handy. I didn’t know about UV protective sheets – so this step we’ll have to do next time I go to visit (those frames open easily). I did think about UV damaging them – so I hang them by the kitchen entrance, where dresser shades them from sunlight… I do have lot of decorative things on my kitchen walls and really enjoy them – even if it means more cleaning. I love to cook & preserve food, have breakfast nook for my friends or hubby to join me, have my pc here – I pretty much spend the greatest part of my day here – so it should be the beautiful place!! I don’t have my blog or anything similar – and I would love to share some of my decoration /display idea with you, so that, if you find them good enough, you can test them and share them with others – I believe that sharing is good thing always.. You just need to tell me how to do it.. Love your blog, I wish you carry on with it for as long as possible..

    1. This is so special!! You two tackled a pretty hefty project with success. It does sound like you have a lot of really good ideas. Please join the Facebook group “Bless’er House Budget Decorating Community”. You will be able to share all your ideas and receive a lot of feed back. Also, others share ideas that you can pick and use as well. Always feel free to shoot me an email or comment here. I will share with you any pointers or tips that I might have.

  5. Thank you so much for this wonderful way of preserving these treasured memories from great-grandmothers to our daughters, daughters. I am a retired pastry chef with many recipes that my grandmother shared with me and my granddaughters are asking for. Now that I am no longer busy with catering I can do this project of love to pass on to them.

    Thank you Lauren

    1. So glad to hear that, Gloria! Maybe you could scan them and have a copy for everyone or make a book of the copies.

  6. Great idea, but you can use UV glass instead of lamination, and just place between two sheets. Lamination is not easily reversible and is not considered archival. Or you can scan and keep the originals in a safe place. Also would hang in an area well clear of any moisture.

  7. Totally wonderful project, made me tear up thinking about all of my family’s “use forever” recipes; might be nice to make a framed collage also for the recipes I use all the time. Also made me think about Christmas cards I have kept that are absolutely to the heart beautiful. Do you think it would be needed on card stock?
    Thank you so much for such a wonderful project.

    1. That’s a great idea! Yes, I would still laminate them with the UV film. I had a note from my favorite teacher written to me on cardstock that I framed and kept on my classroom desk when I became a teacher myself. Within 3 years, the ink had completely faded to just barely visible. It’s worth the UV laminating step, speaking from experience.

  8. What a lovely idea to display them in the kitchen where you can see them every day! There’s just something so personal about familiar handwriting, isn’t there?

    I would like to suggest that before you laminate an irreplaceable item, consider scanning it so you’ll have a permanent copy in case something should go wrong. And then you’ll also have a back up in case of a disaster such as a house fire (which I hate to mention, but if the worst happens you won’t lose the record of Grammy’s recipe in her handwriting).

    1. That is an EXCELLENT point! I’m going to go back and add that into the post. Thank you, Beth! I think I might scan the rest to put them into a book and give copies to family.

  9. Love this ideal! Very clever! Enjoy your blog so much! Love that it’s practical and “real life”! Keep it coming!

  10. These are wonderful, Lauren. What a great idea to save memories. But, you’ve tempted us with only half the recipes!

      1. I think for the rest, I might scan them and make them into a book to give copies to family members. <3

  11. Hey Lauren–
    I so appreciate all the work that you put into your blog. You present everything in a way that makes it as much fun to read as it is to look at the pictures. This recipe display is a really wonderful idea. I’ve put aside old pictures of my mom in kitchens from years gone by, and thought it would be great to mount and hang them in my kitchen. Looking at my mom when she was in her prime, in her day-to-day, evokes peaceful thoughts in my mind. Mounted handwritten recipes would be a perfect compliment to these pics! In life, it’s the little things…isn’t it?! Thanks for showing how precious it all is.
    Kathy Quaile

    1. What a sweet comment, Kathy! Thank you! That is a great idea. You’re so lucky to have those precious pictures of your mom! There never seem to be enough pictures of mothers. They’re usually the ones behind the camera. 😉

  12. Reading this post just brought on buckets of tears! What a touching way to preserve such wonderful memories. I have recipes from many of the important women in my life. Can’t wait to try this.

  13. I’ve had a recipe , for Bran Scones, written by my Irish grandmother , who passed away almost twenty years ago and I’ve wanted to frame it for awhile….thank you so much for showing me how to do it properly!

  14. That is very sweet! I have been meaning to do something similar… I married at 19 and was given at a shower a Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe. At every Tilson family gathering, I have been requested to bring it. One year I didn’t and made homemade Mac and Cheese (after 30+ years of marriage, I was bored with making it) during dinner I was given a petition with signatures requesting no substitutes for the Broccoli and Rice! Lol. Makes me smile every time I see it and gave me a new perspective too.

  15. So I’m totally bawling now! It’s been 2 years since I lost my mom suddenly. I JUST ran across her recipe book and teared up seeing her handwriting. This is the perfect way to display her recipes and see her handwriting everyday. Thank you for sharing! ❤️

    1. I am SO sorry for your loss, Shirlee! I certainly teared up creating this too. Whether it’s 2 years or 20, your heart never forgets the people who meant the most.

  16. Oh my goodness, these turned out to be so sweet. All the heart-eyes for these! I have some recipes from grandparents and great grandparents that I’m going to frame now too, thank you for the inspiration! And I like the idea of love letters. That would be some good bedroom decor. My husband and I wrote to each other many times because we lived 4 hrs apart from each other while we were dating. Thanks again for sharing your pretty home and wonderful ideas to make it yours!

    1. So sweet! I hope you do it! I will too if I can ever remember where I put all of our little love notes. Ack!

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