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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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.