The humble recipe card has been around for centuries, and it is much more than the sum of its parts (paper and ink). In addition to being useful for cooking purposes, recipe cards present a way to preserve memories and keep meaningful dishes on the dinner table.
If you don’t have a recipe box or a cookbook binder, I would encourage you to purchase or make one! I have a little binder that I keep recipes in, and I enjoy the nostalgia that flipping through it evokes. I love asking friends to write down the recipes behind yummy foods they have made for me at one time or another, or I’ll write down recipes myself. Then, I put the recipe in my book!
Today’s tutorial doesn’t present you with anything earth-shatteringly innovative, but I do hope the simple steps below will encourage you to write out a few of your own favorite recipes! Whether you plan on sending a recipe card to a friend or you wish to keep it for yourself, the information in this post should get you started on producing some lovely, useful pieces.
You’ll begin by procuring a high-quality piece of paper to write your recipe on; the paper shouldn’t be flimsy. I like to use 80 lb. drawing paper (pictured below) or watercolor paper.
Cut the paper to the size that will best work for your recipe box or recipe book. Standard recipe card sizes are 3.5″ x 5″ (89 mm x 127 mm) and 4″ x 6″ (102 mm x 152 mm); I chose to make a 4″ x 6″ card for this tutorial.
Next, line up the piece of paper you just cut out over a lined notebook. Use the lines of the notebook plus a ruler and a pencil to draw horizontal guidelines on the card.
Once you’re finished with the horizontal guidelines, draw two vertical guidelines. The first vertical guideline should be drawn about 1/4″ (6.5 mm) from the left edge of the paper, and the second vertical guideline should run through the center.
After you make the vertical guidelines, you’re ready to write down the recipe! Begin by calligraphing the recipe’s title at the top; in the photo below, I am using Kaitlin Style calligraphy, Buffalo Brown Ziller ink, and a Brause EF66 nib to write “Gazpacho Dip”. The title doesn’t need to be centered; its positioning doesn’t really matter as long as the lettering is pretty!
To write out the ingredients and instructions on the recipe card, you can use a crow quill pen and simple Sans Serif lettering. I like to add a bullet point by each ingredient to keep the list clear and easily readable! If you’d like, you can divide the ingredients from the instructions with a little line and/or a design. If the ingredients won’t fit on the front of the card, you can always flip the card around, use your pencil and notebook paper to draw more guidelines, and continue writing the recipe on the back!
Once all the ink is dry, use an eraser to get rid of your pencil guidelines. Be careful, especially around the edges of the recipe card! You don’t want the paper to crinkle after all your hard work writing everything down.
When all the pencil lines are gone, you can either leave the recipe card as-is or add a little drawing that corresponds with the ingredients. I decided to add a tomato and swirls to the negative space on the card! The illustration helps to pull everything together and adds some visual interest.
Once you are happy with how the recipe card looks, you’re finished!
If you’re interested in making copies of your recipe card, you can always scan it, digitize the calligraphy (and illustrations, if applicable), and create a printable PDF! I used the steps detailed in Lesson 4 of the Digitizing Artwork and Calligraphy eCourse to make the PDF pictured below.
Before you get started on making your own recipe cards, you are welcome to download and print the Gazpacho Dip recipe card PDF for free by clicking here. Gazpacho Dip is a recipe that I make often, especially in the summer when tomatoes are ripe … maybe you’ll enjoy it, too!
Even if you’re not an avid chef, a handwritten recipe card can go a long way in adding a personal touch to a letter or mail art. Food is such a personal and enjoyable thing that brings people together, so it’s fun to share your favorites!
I hope that this tutorial inspires you to write out a couple of your most loved dishes! Recipe cards are fun and relaxing to create, and they last forever. Decades from now, you’ll be using your recipe card to create delicious food, and you’ll also look back on the good memories associated with it. Bon appétit!
Enjoy the rest of your day, and thanks so much for reading TPK. 🙂