Personalizing Paperweights with Text: A Family Recipe with Grandma's Photo

Many families have recipes that have been passed down from mother to daughter (or son) for two or more generations.  They're often written on index cards with corners and edges that have been lovingly worn and tattered throughout the years.  Some have been stained by a drop or two of vanilla, or even scorched from a slight mishap.

These written family treasures are often stored in a recipe box or scribbled on the inside cover of a cookbook.  This design idea, following my series on personalizing paperweights with text, will turn  timeless recipes into beloved keepsakes.  Adding a family photo will make your paperweight even more special.

Here's how I made it...

I used the Large Rectangle Paperweight Kit for this project because it has a generous display area that measures 4 1/2" x 2 3/4".  Granted, not all recipes will fit into this space.  You can edit the text of your recipe to shorten it.  You can also experiment with fonts, font sizes, and different layouts.  Still, a recipe with many steps will be a challenge.

The layout for the design was created using a simple publishing program called Microsoft Publisher.

I started by drawing a box that was slightly larger than the measurements of the Large Rectangle's display area.  This was easy to do using the program's ruler feature as a guide.

The text of the recipe and the ingredients were typed into separate text boxes so I could position them independently.  After moving them around a little, I decided the best fit was to place the instructions on the left and the ingredients to the right.  The font (Times New Roman) was sized to 9pt which was still very easy to read.

The photograph was added to some blank space above the ingredients.  To make the title of the recipe stand out, it's in a larger, red typewriter font.  I also added a vertical, dashed line in red to separate the two columns.


I wanted to include an alternate version of the same artwork to show you how a few simple changes can dramatically transform the look of your design.

The alternate version has a blue background, white text, and white lines.  Everything else is exactly the same.


I printed my artwork on premium photo paper using my inkjet printer.  I used the best print quality setting possible.


Personalizing Paperweights with Text: Woodgrain Background with Handwritten Font

This is the second blog post in my series on designing and laying out text for your paperweights.

Today I've used a woodgrain image for my background and added some text in one of my favorite fonts, Brannboll Smal.  I also incorporated some red hearts to add some much needed balance and color.  The hearts also manage to bring the message to life.

Here's how the design came together.

As I've mentioned in the past, you don't need expensive, complex software to work on your designs.  I used Microsoft Publisher to make this point.

I started by drawing a circle 3 1/4" in diameter.  This is the size of the display area for the Large Dome Paperweight Kit.

Once the circle was on the page, I begin to add the elements of the design.  I imported a whitewashed, wood background and added the text and hearts.

I don't have authorization to distribute the woodgrain background.  However, you can find many woodgrain images through Google in a variety of colors and textures.  

The font I used is Brannboll Smal which may be downloaded from FontSpace.com.  (This is a third- party site that is not affiliated with PhotoWeights.)


If you don't have much experience laying out text, and you need a little help, do a Google search for Faith Hope Love and click on 'Images' at the top of the page.  You'll see a number of artwork examples in different fonts, colors, and styles.

Once you've worked on a few examples of your own, you'll become more and more comfortable working with different fonts, backgrounds, and colors.


Personalizing Paperweights with Text: Chalkboard Background & Fonts

Since I started PhotoWeights more than 15 years ago, I've answered thousands of questions from customers who needed a little advise to help them complete a design.  One of the most frequent dilemmas is how to lay out text when you want your paperweight to showcase quotes, names, and special sayings.

I thought I'd do a series of blog posts that show a variety of ways you can easily design and arrange text for your paperweights.  We'll start with one of the most popular styles, chalkboards.

You can find a variety of free chalkboard backgrounds and fonts online.  I'll provide you with the sources I used.  You can also search for additional resources on your own.


The foundation of this design is obviously a chalkboard background.  You can use a solid color (black, charcoal, or whichever color you prefer), or an image background like the one I used (below).  To download this background, click on it to enlarge and right click to save. (This may work differently on your computer.)


Because chalkboard art is so incredibly popular, there are scores of fonts to choose from.  These range from beautiful, handwritten fonts to more bold and boxy typeface.

FontSpace.com has a very nice selection of free chalkboard fonts.  If you'd like to view them, go to http://fontspace.com/category/chalkboard.  (This is a third-party site that is not affiliated with PhotoWeights.)


You don't need expensive, complex software to put your designs together.  I used Microsoft Publisher.

After I placed the chalkboard background onto my Publisher page, I sized it to fit the display area of the Rectangle Paperweight Kit. This is easy to do with either a scale or cropping tool

After I typed the text and placed it over the background, I played around with a few different fonts before I chose DJB Skritch Skratch for the quote and Cambria for Pearl Bailey's name.  The hearts are from the font KG Flavor and Frames Six.  (The heart outlines are the letter 'e' and the solid heart is 'z').  The hearts were sized differently and rotated slightly.

After your text and decorative elements have been positioned on the background, print a draft copy of your artwork so you can place it under your paperweight to make sure you like the way it looks.  Each time you make a noticeable adjustment, print a draft to check it again until it's just right.


I printed my artwork on a B&W laser printer using plain paper on the fine setting.  This gives it a matte look that you sometimes lose on an ink jet printer.

Need Help?

If you have any specific questions about designing text for your paperweight, leave a comment below.  You can also email me directly at susan@photoweights.com.