My dad had the most perfect penmanship. He attributed it to his Catholic school education: “The nuns beat it into me,” he would say. Whether he was writing with his left or right hand, his handwriting was better than most people’s. As the story went, he broke his right arm three times in a year and got no slack from the nuns. They smacked his left hand with a ruler until his handwriting looked just as nice with his left as it had with his right.
After my dad died, I found comfort in almost anything with his handwriting on it. One might think this had to do with what he wrote, and of course, sometimes it did. But more often it was just that he wrote it. A grocery list, a random phone message, whatever. Throwing away anything with his handwriting on it? Unthinkable. Well, unthinkable until it started to seem a little unrealistic to keep every scrap of paper around the house with his handwriting on it. At some point, things slowly had to go.
When my grandmother died several years later, I went through this all over again. She was my dad’s mom and, not only was her handwriting sentimental in and of itself, but it also reminded me a lot of my dad’s. As I cleaned out her house, I knew I couldn’t keep everything… but there were some things I couldn’t part with.
Recently, I have been thinking about ways to preserve handwriting of those we love and have stumbled upon some really cool ideas. I figure I might not be the only one with some handwriting-nostalgia, so here I am compiling some of these ideas in case you are looking for ways to hold on to your loved one’s handwriting without having a room in your house piled high with every scrap of paper they ever wrote on. I have linked back to the source where possible, so click on the image to go to the site.
I know more than a few grievers with one of these babies. A good tattoo artist will be able to replicate anything you bring in that your loved one wrote. It may be best to seek a tattoo artist who specializes in text to make sure you get something you are really happy with. There are a zillion examples, but here are a few:
This is from yours truly at WYG. My grandmother’s recipes had her beautiful handwriting and seemed a perfect decoration and memorial for my kitchen. You can always just throw the recipe itself in a frame, but if you click the image below there is a tutorial on how to blow the recipe up and frame it at a larger size.
Create a Handwriting Scrapbook Page
Though this blog hasn’t been active for many years, The Good Grief Scrapbooking Blog provided 24 scrapbooking prompts to remember loved ones. They had a great handwriting prompt and some of the submissions are really cool.
If a tattoo seems a little too permanent, you can still wear your loved one’s handwriting in a more temporary way. There are TONS of jewelry makers who will take something your loved one wrote and turn it into a beautiful necklace, bracelet, keychain, etc. Etsy is a great place to start. A search for handwriting jewelry there brings up over 15,000 options, so I am guessing you’ll find something you like!
Overlay Handwriting on a Photo
If you have a card, letter, or something else that is meaningful that your loved one wrote, you can use photoshop to impose the handwriting onto an image that you may also find meaningful (or just a nice image that you want to use!). If you have a little photoshop knowledge, this tutorial will help you get it done! And if you still can’t, you can order custom handwriting-photo overlays from this Etsy store.
Binding Letters into Books
This is such a neat idea. I am a disaster when it comes to crafty things and this looks like it takes some skill, but for those of you who are more ambitious and talented than me, it could be a VERY cool memorial.
Framing Just About Anything with Handwriting
I love this look and it could be done with just about anything: grocery lists, postcards, letters, recipes, or anything else. I saw this on Pinterest but couldn’t find the source of the image, please comment if you know the original source!
Obviously, this is another Pinterest find. I thought it was another cute option for hanging just about anything with handwriting on it. Plus you could mix in some photos, etc.
Recipes on Tea Towels? Yup!
I love this idea! Erin of the Sometimes Homemade blog transferred her grandmother’s recipes onto tea towels. I guarantee this would be a train wreck if I tried it, but I feel certain some of you are talented enough to make this work. And if you do, you better send us a photo!
Recipes on a Cutting Board? Yes!
Will the creativity never cease? I am OBSESSED with this idea. Obsessed. I saw this one first on the Nutfield Geneology blog, but I have links to some Etsy sellers too.
I’m sure there are many options to preserve handwriting that I missed, so leave a comment to let us know. Then subscribe to get our new posts right to your inbox!