Papercraft challenge 3: birthday in autumn

In the third of our series of papercraft challenges, discover how designer Pippa Hiscock created joyful birthday decor.
A large cake and smaller cupcakes are adorned with papercraft decorations and arranged on a coffee table next to photo props, with a papercraft banner hanging in the background.

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

This time the challenge for designer Pippa Hiscock was to create decor for her birthday party – which falls in autumn – to brighten up gloomy and rainy days using templates from Canon Creative Park, a Canon PIXMA printer and her favourite photographs.

A range of birthday papercraft decorations, including a banner and numerous photo props, are spread across a table next to a pair of scissors, a cutting board and a pack of Canon paper.

From banners to photo props, Pippa downloaded a range of templates as part of the papercraft challenge. She prefers the idea of making recyclable paper decorations over buying single-use plastic.

A birthday party is always a fun celebration, no matter your age. The seasons play a role in party planning – a summer birthday might be best spent in a garden or park, while it might be wise to host a gathering at home during autumn since the weather is a little colder. Adult birthday parties don't have to be dull. Even if it's raining outside, you can create your own fun for you to enjoy with your loved ones. Bring out the child in you and play around with the crafts on Canon Creative Park.

With hundreds of templates to choose from, including cake toppers, bunting and fun games, the theme can be anything you want, as long as it brings you that childlike joy. Creating your own party decorations is an affordable way of decorating and a unique way of personalising your party. You can then recycle your paper templates afterwards or keep them for future events.

Canon Creative Park is full of fun templates to choose from for every milestone – whether it's a 5th, 25th or 60th birthday. "It was really easy to find birthday party-themed crafts," says Pippa. "It's great that it tells you how difficult each template is and how long it might take so that you know what to expect.

"Being plastic-free is really important to me, especially when it's for something like a party. This way you can have all the fun without the waste on your conscience. I even gave away some of the crafts that survived the party to neighbours afterwards so that they could get a second use before being recycled."

Pippa is a paper collage artist and has always loved making things with her hands. "I was always crafting something out of cardboard as a child," she says. "There is something about it that really focuses my mind and relaxes me. Plus it's very rewarding to have a physical thing to use at the end of the process.

"I loved taking part in this challenge as it combined my favourite things – crafting, hosting and making special moments, and cake – all with no plastic involved."

See how Pippa handled the challenge as she shares her top tips for making your own papercraft birthday decor.

Designer Pippa Hiscock smiles as she cuts out a papercraft template printed on a Canon PIXMA printer via the Canon Creative Park app.

Meet the creator

Who: Pippa Hiscock

What: Designer and maker of homewares and gifts

Also taking part: Rothko the dog

Choosing your templates

A hand holds a smartphone with the screen displaying a template from Creative Park while a Canon PIXMA printer sits on a table.

You can access Canon Creative Park through a smartphone, tablet or laptop and choose from hundreds of templates so your parties always look vibrant and fun. Browse for inspiration or search keywords to quickly find exactly what you're looking for.

For her birthday party, Pippa decided to search on Canon Creative Park using the keywords "birthday" and "party", and she was able to find a vast selection of eye-catching templates. "I wanted a big decoration for the wall so that we had a nice backdrop for plenty of funny photos, so the "happy birthday" garland and photo props were the obvious choice," says Pippa.

Once she had the bigger elements sorted Pippa looked at the details, and what is a birthday without a cake? "Of course there would be cake, so the mini bunting cake decoration was perfect," she continues. "These just had to be cut out, folded and glued over string, then either hung on the wall or tied to wooden skewers for the cake."

Offering her advice to those approaching this for the first time, Pippa says to pick a few attractive but simple decorations, such as a garland or a name banner, to start with, and to check the difficulty rating on each template. "Things like the birthday banner bunting make a big impression at your party and are really easy to make," she says.

Printing your templates

A print of a Canon Creative Park template emerges from a Canon PIXMA printer.

While Pippa used a number of different templates to decorate her space and create photo props to use throughout the party, she was particularly keen to create something large that would have an immediate impact. This "happy birthday" banner was simple to cut out and link with string.

A pair of hands scores a Canon Creative Park template before folding it.

Some templates are more complex than others. If you're creating paper crafts with the family, there are plenty of simple templates that can be cut out by parents and assembled easily by small children, while older children and adults get on with the more challenging designs.

"Some of the templates were quick and simple, and some were more of a challenge that required more time and concentration, but I enjoyed making all of them," says Pippa. "It was so nice to spend time crafting with a cup of tea, and I ended up with some really colourful decorations for the party."

Pippa set up her Canon PIXMA printer on her home Wi-Fi and then connected using her smartphone and the Canon Creative Park app. This way she could simply search for the templates she wanted to use then just click print.

Once she had printed her chosen templates, Pippa cut out all the models. Then it was time for the crucial scoring phase before folding the paper templates. This ensures the final product remains strong and sturdy. After you've scored and folded your templates, glue together any remaining sections following the instructions provided, and remember to leave your papercraft creations to dry fully before using them as decor.

Assembling your decor

An over-the-shoulder view of Pippa cutting out a photo of her face printed on Canon Glossy Photo Paper.

Pippa cut out pictures of herself and her dog Rothko to stick to toothpicks. You could also use Creative Park templates to add personal touches to a fun picnic outing or tablescape decor for a dinner party.

A hand places a food pick with an image of Pippa's head into the top of a cupcake.

Based in Bristol, UK, Pippa mainly works from home with Rothko as her home office companion. She printed a photo of Rothko and her face on Canon Plus Glossy II photo paper and attached them to toothpicks using biodegradable tape before putting them on top of her cupcakes.

Pippa used photographs to make fun, personalised flag picks to place into cupcakes. This is a great way of making your party unique. You could also do this for an engagement party with photos of the happy couple, or use your favourite holiday snaps or pet portraits. "I have made cupcake toppers before but never using photos," she says. "It was really fun looking for pictures of the guests to print." She even recommends making them with your friends on the night so they can pick their own photo.

Pippa printed her favourite images on Canon Plus Glossy II photo paper using her PIXMA printer, cut out the figures and then simply attached the photographs to the toothpicks using biodegradable tape. You could make these double-sided by printing out two copies of your photographs or write a fun message or name on the back.

Don't forget, it's easy to add your personal style to the existing templates on the Canon Creative Park app with the addition of drawings or even ribbon, whatever your crafty heart desires. "The birthday bunting was easy to personalise by choosing a lovely bright neon cord to hang it on," says Pippa.

You can even get together with friends and create homemade gifts, or if you want to take it to the next level, you could try building intricate fine art papercraft models.

Get the party started!

Four people smile as they pose with papercraft photo booth props created using Canon Creative Park and a PIXMA printer.

Pippa and her friends made and used the birthday photo booth props at their celebrations, but you could choose Canon Creative Park's photo booth props with a sports or festival theme.

Pippa and her friends had fun at the birthday party. "We had a great time and ended up taking some funny photos using all of the paper photo booth style props and masks," she says.

Everyone also loved the personalised photo flag picks. These made for little unique party gifts which could be reused at other celebrations. "The photo sticks on the cupcakes made them all laugh and I could give them cake to take home after the party," she says.

Pippa says she would make Canon Creative Park templates again. "The craft projects were fun and I ended up with more unusual and personal decorations at a much lower cost than if I had bought readymade ones," she says. "And the fact that it can all be recycled afterwards makes it even better!"

With Creative Park, planning and organising a birthday party can be a fun and creative activity to share with your family and friends, regardless of age. After all, we are only as old as we feel, so go ahead – search Creative Park and release your inner child.

If you like the idea of combining craft with plastic-alternative decor then keep an eye out for our final papercraft challenge focused on a festive winter celebration, and see what you can make this year with Creative Park templates. Check out our Pinterest page for inspiration, and don't forget to share your creations using the #MadeWithPixma hashtag!

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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