How to Make One of the Best Gifts You’ll Ever Give

This is the gift I made this holiday season that I wanted to keep for myself. But that wouldn’t be fair for the originally intended recipient, now would it?


So I may be making a second one someday. Until then, I will share with you.

Because you can’t go wrong with this gift to your favorite blogger or cook. It is useful and practical while still being personal and hand-crafted.


How-To Make a Personalized Recipe Book



To start, collect your favorite recipes. I chose to primarily use recipes from my own blog and some of my other favorite food blogs, with a few select cookbook recipes thrown in. You’ll want to either stick to a theme or collect a good variety of recipes so that you don’t get to the end only to realize that you have all appetizer and dessert recipes and no entrees.


I wrote out some of the recipes by hand, and printed the rest. The printed recipes were backed by patterned paper, since the printer paper is so thin.

Next, get some coordinated paper. Ideally, you should have some solid pieces (on which to write recipes directly) and some patterned pieces (for backing your printed recipes, quotes and divider pages). Double-sided paper is best. Almost all of the paper I used was from Basic Grey’s Nook & Pantry collection. The food and kitchen themed package seemed appropriate, no?

Finally, you’ll need a photo album with plastic protective sleeves. I used a 3-ring photo album that holds two 4″x6″ pictures per page.

Oh, and one more optional addition: favorite quotes and personal messages for the recipient. Since I was giving this book to Heather, I chose some of my favorite comments on my blog and titled each one “Then Heather Said…”



To make the recipe cards, cut paper to fit your protective sleeves. If you don’t have enough recipe to fill all the sleeves, put the extra page protectors in the back so that the recipient can add their own recipes over time!


Add some fun and personality with your quotes and messages, along with sketches and special instructions as you see fit. Some examples:


To make the divider pages, cut out a rectangle that is about 1″ wider and 1″ taller than one of the protective sleeves. Leave a tab on the outer edge upon which to write the recipe category.


If you don’t like the look of the outside of your photo album, cover with decorative paper.


Assemble and gift. Be prepared for excitement when the gift is opened!

BlogCookbook6.jpg   BlogCookbook13.jpg BlogCookbook18.jpg

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

All photos courtesy of Heather

Update!  I’ve created printable recipe cards to save you some time in your cookbook creation.  Click here to find them!


  1. says

    Such an incredible gift idea! I would be ecstatic to receive one and would feel very proud to give one as a gift to someone else. Those types of gifts are treasured.

  2. says

    Love it!!! I truly love this idea. And I was eyeing some of those recipe titles and now have to search your site for the actual recipes!!

  3. says

    oh my gosh, this looks amazing! the best gift i ever gave was to my sister when she graduated from high school. i made her a scrapbook. it took FOREVER to make, but it was so worth it! 🙂

  4. says

    SUCH a cute idea!! I am definitely doing this for someone. this is such a great idea id love to receive this as a present!

  5. says

    That is such a great gift!
    Last year I gave my niece every picture of her kids that I had taken (on my phone – the iPhone takes some pretty decent pics) developed and put them in a cute little album well she freaked about it so I did it again this year. She asked if it could become her tradition gift… So I guess that’s a good one (I also did the same thing for my friend with pics of her dog)

  6. says

    I adore this idea! I’ve put together cookbooks for people before, but now I’ll definitely include the added personalization. Hmm… a benefit of blog-land – all these quotes are written down 🙂
    Wonderful present idea.

  7. Beth says

    This is such a cute idea! I’ll have to save this and give it a try for Christmas and birthdays this year!

  8. Eileen says

    Cute idea. I have been wanting to do something with favorite recipes for my 3 adult kids. At least once a week I get a call on “how do you make?” from one of them.

  9. Karlee says

    This is an awesome idea! I always receive or purchase cook books that I only find a few recipes I like. This would be great because it’s what us “normal” people use and such. I think I might try this!

  10. Linda says

    Very nifty idea there! After you’ve done such a good thing such as that, do you think now what. You probably always come up with good ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Debbie says

    I love giving and getting home made gifts…They are the best.. wish more people were into these kinds of things. thanks so much for the great idea!

  12. Diane says

    My friend suggested I do this for my kids for when they get married. After having seen yours, I think I’m going to do it. Thanks

  13. says

    Omg.. It’s so beautiful! After reading this post, I’m left wondering when will I ever receive such a thoughtful gift.. :(( kudos to you for coming up with such a beautiful idea!!

  14. Melissa says

    Any ideas on where I can get some of these sleeves from? I’m looking online and finding it difficult to find some the same?


    • Julie says

      Hmm, I recovered a photo album that had two spots for 4×6″ photos on each page. I would look for a photo album, or photo album refills. Hope that helps!

    • Julie says

      I just used double-sided tape (and a lot of it)! But I think ModPodge would help the edges hold down even better!

  15. Verna White says

    I have been putting this project off for nearly 20 years now. I have a variety of recipes that I have bee collecting for YEARS! We moved 1,000 from our family and this year I don’t think we will be there for the holidays. With some of your ideas, I WILL be sending home several of these to be opened up at Christmas. Thanks for the ideas and suggestions.

  16. Verna White says

    I have been putting this project off for nearly 20 years now. I have a variety of recipes that I have been collecting for YEARS! We moved 1,000 from our family and this year I don’t think we will be there for the holidays. With some of your ideas, I WILL be sending home several of these to be opened up at Christmas. Thanks for the ideas and suggestions.

  17. Kate says

    LOVE THIS!! I’m looking into do this for my mom right now. Been trying to gather materials. What size/kind of binder did you use? Did you find the 4×6 size to be big enough/roomy enough? How did the decorated paper on the cover hold up?

    Thanks in advance!!! 🙂

    • Julie says

      I used a photo album that held 2 4×6″ images/cards per page. I have small handwriting, so the 4×6″ worked well for me. BUT you could just as easily use a larger photo album and larger recipe cards if you’d prefer!

      The decorated paper on the cover did okay, though I haven’t seen the book in the past 2 years or so (the recipient lives far away). I think Mod Podge over the whole thing, or possibly clear contact paper, would help protect it though!

  18. Chris Bitner says

    This is an awesome idea. I want to make a Mom’s Recipes for my two sons. They both love to cook. They are constantly asking how to do certain things. So I am going to do this for Christmas this year for them. They each have recipes of mine that are their favorites so I can’t wait to get started. Thank you for your great tutorial.