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


How to preserve handwritten recipes and letters for framing


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


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

  2. 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

  3. 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. 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.