DIY Cookbook

My best friend is, as Meredith Grey would say, “my person”. Even though we live hundreds of mile apart and sometimes go months without seeing each other, she’s always been there for me and we can pick up exactly where we left off no matter how much time has passed. We have the same taste in almost everything and she’s the only person I know who loves food and cats as much I do.

A few weeks ago I was texting her about the Fast Metabolism diet and the success I had and she wanted to give it a try. I offered to share some of the good recipes I found to help me stay committed.  After that conversation, I thought what better way to share recipes with someone than giving them their own personal and customized cookbooks .

I love to scrapbook so what better project than creating a handmade cookbook? Below is a tutorial if you’re interested in making one of these for yourself or to give as a gift or to create a family cookbook you can pass down.

The easiest way to begin is to determine the recipes you want to include. I gathered all my favorite recipes and had a good mix of healthy and FMD approved recipes but also a healthy balance of easy weekend night go to’s and also indulgent but delicious favorites because no one wants their cookbook to be only food without carbs, cheese and sugar.

Then I grouped the recipes together so I knew how many categories I needed to create. I created the following categories:

  • Breakfast
  • Main Entrée’s
  • Side Dishes
  • Apps and Snacks
  • Desserts

Depending on your organization preferences and how many recipes you have for each category, you may want to include some of the below types and/or others, to best fit your style.

  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Breads
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Pies
  • Kid Approved
  • Healthy

Now that the recipes and number of categories have been determines, time to gather up all the supplies. You will need a 3 ring binder, sheet protectors, dividers, paper, scissors, tape or scrapbook glue, and pens.  You can also use stickers, glitter, stencils, wasabi tape, etc. if you want to jazz your cookbooks up.


I already had a lot of card-stock, pens and scrapbook paper so all I needed was a binder, sheet protectors and dividers. I decided that I wanted a mini binder so it wasn’t as bulky and could easily be stored on the counter or in a kitchen drawer, so I got a 8.5 x 5.5 inch 3 ring binder. Depending on the amount of recipes you want to be able to store, you may want to get a full size 11 x 8.5 sheet size binder.  Below is breakdown of  what size you should get, assuming one page fits 2 recipes (one on the front side and one on the back) and if using normal paper.

  • 8.5 x 5.5 one inch binder – 100 pages – 200 recipes
  • 1/2 inch – 75 pages – 150 recipes
  • 1 inch – 175 pages – 350 recipes
  • 1 1/2 inches – 250 pages – 500 recipes
  • 2 inches – 350 pages – 700 recipes
  • 3 inches – 570 pages – 1,140 recipes

If using card-stock you won’t be able to fit as many pages, so keep that in mind when picking out supplies and calculating your needs.

To calculate capacities with other stocks, use this binder ring chart.

Also, keep in mind that if you also choose to do the 8.5 x 5.5 binder size, it will require a little more work as you will need to cut the pages down to size.

I liked the colorful pattern and the hard cover of the binder I selected (pictured below) but you can also get one with a sleeve on the front/side and customize the cover. Here are some fun and free cover templates you can print and use 


Once you have all your supplies gathered, the fun begins!

Decide if you want to hand write or type/print all your recipes. I choose to hand write as, for me, writing is relaxing and also I like the handmade look.

If you are going for a scrapbook look, like I am, cut and format the pages to your liking. I utilized several different paper colors/patterns and page layouts so each page was unique.


If you want your cookbook to be more uniform or more published looking, you can type your recipes and use the same colors/formatting for each page. Here is a link to some great free template printables[]=cookbook%7Cautocomplete%7Cundefined&term_meta[]=template%7Cautocomplete%7Cundefined&term_meta[]=printables%7Cautocomplete%7Cundefined

Once you have your pages ready, write or print out the recipes.

If you want to, you can now add any glitter, decorations, stickers, drawings, etc to the recipes. I included a Hawaiian chicken slider recipe in my cookbook and drew Hawaiian type doodles, but you can do whatever fits your recipe or vision.


Now that all your recipe pages are created, put each page in a sheet protector. If you are anything like me, the probability of spilling or dripping something on your recipe card/cookbooks is very high. The sheet protectors allow you to wipe down the page without blurring or ruining the paper/recipe.

Add and label your dividers and add your recipes/pages. I discovered that for the smaller 8.5 x 5.5 binder, the dividers didn’t stick out past the pages (the sheet protectors added an extra 1/2 inch to the width of the pages. A very easy solution is to take a xacto  knife and cut a small slit for the tab label to poke through, then put the divider inside the sheet protector so it sticks out past the other pages. I also added a blank page to the divider page to make it more exciting. You can also use the above printable tempplates if you want to design and label these sections more so than just labeling the tab on the side.


If this is a gift for someone or even a family cookbook you intend to pass down, you can add a personal message on the inside cover. Also, if possible, it would be great to add extra blank pages and sheet protectors so they can add recipes of their own after you give this to them.

I hope you had just as much fun creating your cookbook as I did with mine! If you have any questions or if you created one yourself be sure to share them in the comments!




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