Papercraft challenge 2: summer picnic

In the second of our series of seasonal papercraft challenges, discover how a young family created games and picnic decor with a Canon PIXMA printer and Creative Park.
Two women holding papercraft photo booth props sit with a small child between them on a picnic blanket covered in colourful Creative Park papercrafts.

As part of our PIXMA Papercraft Challenge, we tasked crafters and families to create beautiful papercrafts for occasions throughout the year.

This time it's the turn of illustrator Emma Howcutt-Kelly, her wife Clare and their young son. The family's mission? To use a PIXMA printer and templates from Canon's Creative Park to craft games, decor and props for a summer picnic.

Challenge 2: summer picnic

A picnic hamper filled with Creative Park papercrafts sits open on a colourful blanket. Surrounding it are several more papercrafts including paper ice creams, airplanes and a bingo game.

A papercraft picnic makes for a fun summer holiday activity. You could spend a day making the papercraft elements and delicious snacks, and then the next day in the park enjoying all your hard work.

Whether you're in your garden or a local park, a picnic is a great way to make the most of the longer summer days. And with everything from pretty menus to colourful flag picks to choose from, plus hundreds more summery designs, Canon's Creative Park can help make your experience truly unique.

Creating your own summer decorations is also an affordable way of making a day outside more exciting for your little ones, as well as adding a crafty element for them to enjoy. Unlike plastic, which so many children's decorations and toys are made out of, you can recycle your paper creations afterwards – or keep them for future events.

Working with the theme of summer, Emma and Clare had to think about what a picnic would look like for their young family. Emma enjoys getting creative and has recently started a small business as an illustrator, however their son is too young for some of the more advanced Creative Park templates, so they had to find designs that would suit all ages.

"We decided to make a little camera box to keep him entertained – and it was the perfect place to store some sweets," explains Emma. "There are Creative Park projects for all skill levels and the results make you think: 'Yes, I did that!'"

Here's how to make your own papercraft picnic games and decor.

Crafter Emma Howcutt-Kelly smiles as she glues together a papercraft ice cream from Canon Creative Park.

Meet the creator

Who: Emma Howcutt-Kelly

What: Mum and illustrator

Also taking part: Clare Howcutt-Kelly and their son

Selecting your summer-themed templates

Shot from above, Creative Park templates and partly constructed papercraft models arranged on a table top.

Emma and Clare decided to make a selection of picnic accessories and decor, and a range of games and toys for their young son to play with.

A pair of hands holding a smartphone displaying a papercraft ice cream in the Creative Park app.

The range of templates on Creative Park means there are some suitable for little ones and also more complex options for adults, so everyone in your family or friendship group can get involved.

Clare enjoyed the range of templates on Creative Park and described it as well organised and easy to find what you're looking for. "I spent a few hours happily scrolling through all the projects," she says.

After browsing the Creative Park website, Emma and Clare decided to kickstart their challenge with the camera box, crown, ice cream and paper plane templates – but there are hundreds more to choose from if those aren't quite right for your own gathering. Are your little ones interested in dinosaurs or fidget toys, for example? Then why not make an exciting themed picnic?

Creative Park will also give you an indication of how long a template might take to make, so you can plan your papercraft session and ensure smaller children won't get bored.

"We chose items that would make the picnic setup look really pretty and unique," says Clare of their selections.

Printing and cutting out your templates

A colourful ice cream template printed from Canon's Creative Park emerges from a Canon PIXMA printer.

Emma and Clare connected a smartphone to their PIXMA printer and printed their templates straight from the Creative Park app. You can also use the web version of Creative Park. "We found it really convenient. You don't need much kit to bring the creations to life and it's quick to print," says Emma.

A pair of hands using scissors to cut out a Creative Park ice cream template.

Emma found making the picnic templates a fun and mindful activity. "You have to concentrate so you don't accidentally snip bits off, but my brain was so focused, I couldn't actually think about anything else," she says.

When you've chosen your templates you can print directly from your smartphone using the Creative Park website or app and a Canon printer such as the PIXMA TS5340.

Once your templates are printed, it's time to start cutting out – you can use a craft knife and cutting board for more complex designs or a pair of scissors.

Building your papercraft decorations

A young child sitting at a table between two women uses glue to stick a papercraft template of an ice cream together.

The family found a glue gun helpful for some of the more fiddly bits, but recommend a glue stick or glue dots for children.

A woman sat at a small blue table in a conservatory carefully attaches two parts of a papercraft ice cream together.

Clare's top tips are to score the paper and to take your time. "There's no rush and you'll find it very therapeutic!" adds Emma.

Remember to score the lines with a ruler before folding and glueing as this will give your finished templates a better shape. Emma says this was the trickiest part of making the decorations. "You need to do that before you construct the items as the recommended paper is quite thick," she says. "Once you've done that, it's easier to stick it all together."

It's also a good idea to make your crafts a day before you leave for your picnic so the glue has had time to dry.

Hosting your summer picnic

A young child sits in a garden between two women who are mostly out of frame holding a colourful papercraft camera up to his face.

Emma and Clare made a range of games and toys for their son, including a camera box, which was both fun to play with and a handy place to store some treats.

A Canon PIXMA printer with four picnic-themed papercrafts on top of it sits on a desk in a small room.

The family loved their papercraft picnic creations and made more than they needed because they got carried away with crafting. You could also use your designs for birthday parties or as props for children's games.

Once you have all your summer decor ready, it's time to prepare your picnic, whether you're laying a blanket out in the backyard or visiting the nearest park. You could even have an indoor picnic if the weather isn't suitable or you don't have access to a garden – simply set up your blanket on the floor of your living room and bring the sunshine in by playing your favourite summer songs.

Emma and Clare found a range of picnic-themed photo booth props on Creative Park to add some extra fun to the occasion. You can also find photo booth props for birthday parties, sports, Halloween or Christmas.

The family also made a bingo game to pass the time when out in the sunshine. You could also try and make something a bit more complex, without a template, such as a papercraft kite.

Having completed the challenge, Clare says papercrafting is definitely something she'd like to do again. "I love how there are things to make for every season. There are loads of Christmas-themed goodies, and when we have the time, we'd love to tackle one of the more complicated projects such as the miniature bakery or the polygon animals."

In addition to being a fun craft activity, papercraft toys and accessories are better for the environment than plastic, as well as being relatively cheap to build and easier to dispose of when children inevitably grow bored with them. Canon Matte Photo Paper can be recycled alongside your regular paper/card recycling – although this might not be the case if you are decorating your designs with other materials or using glue (always check your local recycling guidelines).

"Plastic is everywhere," Clare continues, "especially when it comes to children. I'd much rather use something that's recyclable."

Look out for our next challenge, which is themed around an autumn birthday party. In the meantime, see what else you can make with Creative Park templates, and don't forget to share your creations using the #MadeWithPixma hashtag. You can also find plenty of inspiration on our Pinterest page. Good luck!

A top-down shot of a Canon camera sitting atop a Canon PIXMA printer, with a collage of photos in the background.


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Tamzin Wilks

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