You've saved hundreds of recipes cut from magazines or collected from friends or relatives, all different shapes and sizes that won't fit in a recipe file. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, you can find a variety of sites and products that will make it easy to create recipe cards you can either print out or collect into a digital file. Or you can make a card template yourself in a word processing or publishing program.
Decide if you're going to type up your recipes on card templates and print them out, or if you're going to collect them into a digital file instead. That will tell you how to proceed.
Choose the type of card you want to use, if you're going with the printed-card option. Many websites offer free recipe card templates, usually in PDF or Microsoft Word formats. Try Alenka's Printables at alenkasprintables.com/recipe_card_templates.shtml.
Try a fee-based site for more elaborate card templates you can use, such as American Greetings. Note that these are often detailed and multicolor, so you'll need a color printer and lots of ink before you print these.
Check online stores like DVO at www.dvo.com/decorative.html, and brick-and-mortar stores like Staples and Office Max for preprinted templates you can feed through your printer. These usually have instructions on how to create the recipe cards first on your computer.
Consider software geared especially for recipe cards, if you intend to create a large quantity or want them to be particularly detailed to give away as gifts. Software review sites like Wareseeker.com and Cnet can give you names and comparisons between the versions available.
Try your hand at creating recipe cards from scratch. If you have Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, or Microsoft Publisher, you can play around with the templates or just start a new document and change the page size (select index card), orientation (choose landscape instead of portrait) and margins (make sure you don't make these too narrow or text may be left off the page in printing). You will need to check your printer's manual for the proper way to feed through card stock (and the maximum paper weight your printer can handle), and you'll probably want to do some test runs on regular paper first to make sure everything prints out as you wish.
Create a digital file of all your recipes, even if you're going to print them. That way, you can print out additional copies later and organize them easily. Software packages will do this for you, but if you create your own using downloaded templates, you can simply save them into a separate folder.
If you are going to create a large number of these to print, you'll need to take into consideration the cost of the card stock and ink beforehand, especially with color or detailed cards. If you decide to go with software, read the system requirements on the box label to make sure it's compatible with your computer.
Bonnie Singleton has been writing professionally since 1996. She has written for various newspapers and magazines including "The Washington Times" and "Woman's World." She also wrote for the BBC-TV news magazine "From Washington" and worked for Discovery Channel online for more than a decade. Singleton holds a master's degree in musicology from Florida State University and is a member of the American Independent Writers.