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The Family Cookbook Project - Part Two

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Family Cookbook Project | Recipe Book | Recipe Collection |

Today I will be sharing with you my process of designing my page layouts for my recipes in part two of the family cookbook project. You can read part one where I explain more about the project and what I hope to achieve.

Creating my own recipe book is one of my life goals, along with learning to cook the recipes of course.

Every time I sit down to work on this project I am inspired to find new recipes to try. I have to keep reminding myself, one project at a time!

Once I have my pages worked out and have made the book cover I think my next project will be to find and try new recipes to help grow my collection.

Creating Page Designs

The first thing I did was research some recipe page layouts from around the web for ideas of what others have done. After the research stage I got out pen and paper to sketch out some ideas of what I wanted. 

I wanted a number of page layout options so that I wasn't restricted to one recipe on one page etc. I wanted to design for short, medium and long recipes, with photos or without photos.

I really wanted the flexibility that I couldn't get from other recipe collection systems. This meant a lot more work in the designing stage than I first realised.

Recipe Planner Dividers | Text Editable | Customisable Dividers | Personalised Dividers | Recipe Organisers | Planners Repurposed

Creating The Trial Pages

I started off creating the first page designs in Photoshop using guides and the marquee tool and while they looked really good it was time consuming, and the still needed editing and adjusting.

Photoshop is my favourite program for photo editing and creating images but I have found that Illustrator was the better option for this project. Illustrator is much easier and faster to create the layout, copy/flip, colour alter and align the pages.

After creating all the different colour variations and two page layout styles I printed them out, trimmed and bound them with my comb binder to see how they would look together. 

Next came the fine tuning and troubleshooting. When printing I discovered that although I had selected "actual size" and used borderless printing my prints were still coming out slightly larger than I wanted.

After looking deep into the printer settings I found a borderless printing option that "extends" your print which was causing the headaches.

I also didn't allow enough binding and trim space with my layout so minor adjustments were needed. But since I did the layouts in photoshop and the sheer amount of time it would take to make those minor details was daunting.

Argh I came so close. And of course the project got put on hold until I had more time to dedicate to it . { eye roll to self | You know you are only procrastinating right? So. No one even cares if you finish it or not... }

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The Family Cookbook Project - Part One 

Learning Illustrator and Adobe Acrobat Pro

Well you know the only solution to " But it's too hard, I give up" is to procrastinate and start something new right?

Thankfully by learning to create planner dividers in Illustrator and then working out how to make them customisable to anyone, actually inspired me to get back to the family cookbook project.

So I opened up a new file in Illustrator and go to work starting again with the page layout designs with the adjustments from the trial pages.

Page Layouts and Colour Options 

I went ahead and made even more layout designs to match the first since I had learnt new skills and tricks I was eager to make some more options for my recipe book.

I will probably keep fine tuning these design layouts and may even come up with new ones but I have enough to get me started.

I also made each layout in the colour for each recipe category, such as green for side dishes or purple for desserts etc. I think it is the planner addict in me that wants to colour code everything.

Not everyone will want to use so much colour ink for their recipe pages so I have made "blank" colour options as well.

Recipe Planner Dividers | Text Editable | Customisable Dividers | Personalised Dividers | Recipe Organisers | Planners Repurposed

Making The Pages Editable

I wanted to create editable pdfs of my page layouts so that I could just open a pdf and insert new recipe text and photo's easily.

I have always wanted to create these pages for anyone to use, with or without Photoshop / Illustrator, but I didn't know how to keep the customisability once they were pdfs. I knew that there would be a way I just hadn't figured it out yet.

I finally put my mind to it and realised that I could add editable text fields and editable photo fields with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. Then anyone with Adobe Acrobat Reader (the free version) could open the files and add their recipes and photos directly into them and print them all in one. No scissors and glue required.

Watch My Process

Cover Design & Assemble

The next step would be to create the book cover design and assemble all the elements together. 

To do list 


  • Design cover layout
  • Print Design
  • Assemble, Glue and sew into a book cover


  • Design Dividers + Colour Variations | Done
  • Edit Tabs for customisable options | Done
  • Print & Cut | Done


  • Design Various Layouts Options | Done
  • Create Colour Alternatives | Done
  • Create Text + Photo Editable Files | Done
  • Fill Out Pages With Recipes | Done
  • Print & Cut | Done

Read More 


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Would you like to see more screen capture videos? Leave me a comment  below.

Family Cookbook Project | Recipe Book | Recipe Collection |
Family Cookbook Project | Recipe Book | Recipe Collection |
Family Cookbook Project | Recipe Book | Recipe Collection |
Family Cookbook Project | Recipe Book | Recipe Collection |
Family Cookbook Project | Recipe Book | Recipe Collection |

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