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How to Convert Handwritten Recipes to a PNG or SVG – and How to Make Money Doing it!

Converting handwritten recipes is a labor of love. I find it extremely therapeutic! Did you know you can get paid for rewriting these handwritten recipes in Procreate and turning them into PNGs or SVGs?

I was shocked to find this out, but it makes sense: not everyone has Procreate, or the time or desire to convert their old handwritten recipes.

How to convert handwritten recipes to SVGs

In this post, I'm going to walk you through the exact steps needed to convert your handwritten recipes into SVGs. This is a service you can offer to make some extra money! I'm all about side hustles (check out my full list of side hustles for 2021 here).

convert handwritten recipe to SVG

Why convert handwritten recipes?

The main reason to convert recipes to PNGs is to engrave them onto cutting boards. We have a Glowforge (which I absolutely looovvvve), and people like to give engraved handwritten recipes on cutting boards as gifts.

There are probably other uses for handwritten recipes – you could take them, turn them into PNGs, and put them on dish towels, aprons, or anything at all related to cooking!

How to convert handwritten recipes in Procreate

If you have an iPad with Procreate, you can do this SO EASILY. I watched a few video tutorials but they used a pencil in Procreate. The key for me has been to use the technical pen, with the streamline turned all the way up.

convert recipes to svgs
  1. Start with the canvas size of your choice. I do 4″x6″ or 8″x12″ depending on the board I'll be engraving onto. Offering one standard size for your customers is fine, just make sure it's a size most will use so you can get the most sales. You can also offer custom sizing!
  2. Click the wrench tool, and click “add a photo”. Add your recipe photo to your canva. Then, add another layer so you can write over it (and remove the original recipe layer later).
  3. Choose the technical pen and adjust the brush size according to the recipe you are rewriting. Match it as best you can. You don't want it to be too thin, or it won't engrave well. Click on the technical pen again and adjust the streamline up to 100%. This is optional but I learned this tip from someone who sells a LOT of these, so I use it!
  4. Start writing over the recipe, one letter at a time. Instead of trying to copy the penmanship exactly, treat this more like an image. Small, short strokes to match the writing.

    Once you get in a flow, it's easier to write more like their handwriting. There are so many nuances from person to person (like where the letter begins and ends, how much pressure is applied, etc) that I've found it's best to do just a few letters at a time for accuracy.

    Sometimes you'll get a recipe that you can just flow with, but because many of these are decades old, the writing styles are much different than ours are today.
  5. Once you've finished writing over every part of the recipe, remove the original recipe layer and see how it looks. Touch up if needed, but if you've followed the original to a T, you won't need to do much – if any – touching up.
  6. Save as a PNG. You can use a free online converter to convert your recipe PNG into an SVG if that is what you are selling. I save mine with a transparent background, because that's what is easiest for me to work with on the Glowforge.
  7. Deliver the file to your client. Be sure to offer the BEST customer service possible! There are many people offering this service, and because it's a pretty simple task to do, you've gotta stand out in some way. The way I do that is by truly caring about each customer and making sure they know that.

How to convert handwritten recipes in Inkscape

I know nothing about Inkscape AT ALL, but I found this video so if you're an Inkscape gal, try it out! Convert your handwritten recipes to SVGs in Inkscape:

How much to charge for converting recipes

Everyone will have their own process and price, but the going rate for converting recipes seems to be $8-$10 each for simple recipes, with more complicated ones getting a few bucks more. You can set your prices at any amount you choose, but I always like to know the “going rate” so I can be within range to compete with others who are offering similar services.

Each recipe takes me less than 15 minutes, on average. Some do take longer, but like I said, it's therapeutic for me. I don't do this as a service at the moment. To figure out how much to charge, start with an hourly rate. How much do you want to make each hour? How long does the average recipe take you? Work backwards with those numbers to figure out your “per recipe” price.

For example, if you want to make $50 an hour (not bad for sitting in bed playing on your iPad, huh?), and each recipe takes you 15 minutes, you'll need to charge $12.50 per recipe.

Some recipes will take longer. Factor those into your pricing. Never take on a job without seeing the recipe first so you can gauge how much time it may take you.

Don't worry about your pricing being “too high”. The worst thing you can do is price TOO LOW! So, if you start high and things aren't moving, you can adjust accordingly. Instead of lowering prices, I always recommend adding “extras”.

People love bonuses. How can you make your service unique – and better than what everyone else is offering? What about making some cute recipe card frames to use on the outside of the recipe? Use your imagination!

Your extras shouldn't take you much – if any – extra time, should be easy to duplicate for each customer, and mostly on autopilot (like the recipe frame example).

Where to list your services

If you don't already have an Etsy shop, I highly recommend setting one up. In fact, I have an entire course teaching you exactly how to set up an Etsy shop to create a product ONCE and sell it over and over again.

You can also set up a Shopify store ($39/mo), or your own website (costs vary), or sell on Facebook. Wherever you decide to sell, go all in. Make it work. Don't complain about “no sales” when you only have 5 listings up. Get creative and make it happen.

How to over deliver while converting recipes

You know my motto is “always over-deliver!!”, but how exactly do you over-deliver while converting a handwritten recipe? Here are a few ideas:

  • recipe card frames: draw a few recipe card frames with simple designs. It wouldn't be difficult to swap the frame out 3 times, and deliver all the files so your customer has options
  • coupon codes: if they have several recipes they want converted, offer a bulk discount or a coupon code. Factor these discounts into your pricing ahead of time so you aren't cutting your profits.
  • follow up: don't be spammy, but following up with customers is one more way to let them know you care! Create a copy and paste message you can send to everyone a week after you deliver their order, making sure they are satisfied.

Add-ons and Upsells

Creating add-ons and upsells is a great way to ensure you make MORE money from each customer. When you send their files, send a sheet with the other services you offer, as well as a coupon code.

Referral codes are also great! If they refer 5 customers, they get their next file free (or something similar – factor these into your prices).

What else can you add to this service that would make a good upsell? Write it out: brainstorm 5 ways to make more money with each sale.

Questions about rewriting recipes

If you have questions about offering this as a service, leave them in the comments below! I'm happy to help.

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