Gift Idea: How To Make a Family Cookbook for Under $5

Homemade cookbooks filled with cherished family recipes make great gifts, but the process of collecting the recipes and putting together a book can be daunting. Instead of aiming for a comprehensive tome, why not put together a smaller book of the very best recipes? At less than $5 each, these books look great and are affordable enough to give to everyone on your holiday list.
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Pictured above is a 24-page book of family recipes I made to give out as favors at my wedding, using the publishing website Blurb. I collected one favorite recipe from each of the women in both my and my husband's families and assembled them using Blurb's software, which I found simple and intuitive.

Since I needed over 100 copies of the books, I went with the least expensive option — a 5"x8" softcover book with a glossy color cover and black-and-white text inside — but I was still impressed with the quality of the finished books. (Pricing for this size book starts at $3.95, with bulk discounts available if you order more than seven copies.)

A few tips to save time and make your best book:

Start with clean copy. Although I generally found the software easy to use, it is not the best choice for copy-editing. Use a document-editing software like Word to make any corrections to your recipes before pasting them into Blurb's software.

Figure out the page layout before you get started. Play around with the placement of the recipe text, the font size of the title, and other layout details until you get it right. Then input the rest of the recipes. This will save you the headache of changing your layout halfway through, and having to manually fix each recipe.

If you have time, order a proof book. Before placing a big order, get a single copy of the book so you can see exactly what the finished cookbook will look like. I didn't have enough time to do this, and ended up with an error in photo resolution that hadn't been visible on a computer screen. It didn't ruin the book, but I kicked myself for not getting a proof copy.

These books are so slim and affordable, I love the idea of making them an annual tradition. You could break your grandmother's best recipes into volumes (cakes, casseroles, vegetables, etc.) and give out one each year, or collect your favorite new recipes of the last year and give them out annually to friends and family who like to cook.

Check it out: Blurb

Have you ever made a family cookbook? How did you do it?

Related: Gift Idea to Start Now: DIY Family Cookbooks

(Images: Christina Richards Weddings)

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