How to Print & Bind Your Own Cookbook

A great way to keep recipes in the family, create a frugal gift, or hold a fundraiser is through printing and binding your own cookbook. Cookbooks are great fundraisers because they are useful, simple to create, and many people will want to see their recipes in print. Churches and schools often assemble cookbooks for their fundraisers. Find out how to pass the recipes you and your family have loved to others in this handy how-to guide.

There are two options for binding: you can print, hole-punch and bind the book yourself, or you can have a copy service center bind the book for you. This article discusses the second option: hole-punching and binding the book yourself.

Preparing the Recipes

Choose a theme for your cookbook. Will there be family recipes? Will all the recipes be Italian?

Gather the recipes. You may have them written on index cards, in various files, in a notebook. You may even need to call grandma to get the recipe.

Sort your recipes in categories like: "Appetizers," "Sandwiches," "Soups," "Beef," "Pork," "Poultry," etc. Come up with categories that make sense to you and your theme.

Type your recipes into a document like Microsoft Word.

Decide on design elements. Will you have photos of some of the recipes? One recipe per page? Format your recipe book to your satisfaction.

Create a cover for your book. You can do this in Word, or you can use free shareware like Paint.Net. Be creative but keep with the theme of the book.

Convert the book to a PDF from Word by clicking on "Save as PDF" to ensure the book will look the same on any computer. By converting to PDF format, you can print from a copy shop instead of your home paper. You can also upload the book to or another self-publishing company. When you sign up for the self-publishing website, it walks you through the uploading steps. Each company has a different protocol.

Creating the Recipe Book

Print a copy of your book. Make the number of copies you will require.

Punch the book for binding. You can either use a standard binder to create your recipe book, or you can use binding combs. To use a standard binder, use a high-quality three-hole punch. Make sure all the holes line up.

If you are using a standard binder, place the hole-punched paper in the binder and you can either slide your cover page in the clear plastic slot on the front if you are using a binder allowing that, or you can paste the cover to the binder.

You could also use a comb binding machine. This machine makes the plastic bindings you see on some reports. Some copy centers have these available for use. To use the binding machine, assemble the book, including the cover sheet and back cover.

Punch the paper to be comb bound. Use stacks that are about 80 percent of the maximum size the comb binding punch will allow. Make sure that you are putting the punched documents in proper order.

Place the binding comb into the machine's comb holder, open the comb, and thread the comb through the punched holes.

Close the plastic comb, remove it from the machine. Your cookbook is now complete! Repeat the steps for additional copies.

Design an attractive cover and give your cookbook a snappy title.

Use self-publishing as a way to help get your cookbook out there.

If you are planning to sell your cookbook, be aware of any copyright issues associated with your project.

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