Homemade table decorations: papercrafting tips and ideas

From papercraft ornaments to napkin rings and place names, create your own décor with a PIXMA printer and Creative Park.
A close-up of a dining table covered with a linen tablecloth and decorated with pine cones, foliage and papercrafted objects.

Whether it's a birthday party, festive meal or extended family get-together, everyone loves to dress their table to impress. Making your own table décor is not only a more affordable way of hosting an evening, it's also better for the environment, as you can recycle your paper templates afterwards – or keep them for a future event.

Canon challenged professional stylist, Dani Tucker, of The Social Kitchen, to create a 'tablescape' using a medium new to her – paper. "A tablescape is just making a table look absolutely beautiful," Dani explains, "but it doesn't have to be really expensive. For me, I think it just means being creative with your table décor, and putting a bit of personality into it."

See how Dani got on with the task and discover top tips for making your own papercrafted table decorations.

1. Picking a theme

A woman with long brown hair places pine cones across a beautifully decorated dining table.

Your table could be inspired by anything – for example, you could create a floral extravaganza for a summer dinner party or a birthday table for a friend based around their favourite colour or hobby. Here, Dani adds pine cones to her winter-themed tablescape.

A close-up of a table decorated with pine cones, candles and paper snowflakes, stars, owls and gingerbread houses created using Creative Park.

Once your party is over you can present your guests with some of your papercraft models as a parting gift, recycle them in your paper bin or keep them for a future special occasion.

To make your own tablescape, start with a theme, then all you need is some paper, a printer and a selection of designs. Creative Park is full of free templates, from papercraft buildings and animals to decorations and even napkin holders and place names to help give you a head start. A floral table, for example, could feature flower and butterfly templates glued together to make a bright table runner or garland, paired with decorated name cards for that personal touch.

On this occasion, the theme was winter. Dani describes her process as starting with a colour palette. "I chose gold, yellow and brown as I wanted to bring in some natural tones. I then gathered elements to create the look, keeping within that palette of colours. I wanted it to feel wintery so I added the eucalyptus [commonly used in winter wreaths], and then added some candles to increase the mood."

There's no need to spend much when making your table decorations, and Dani always makes sure to use everyday items in her styling. "Everything I've used is easy to find," she says. "I've used old jam jars for candle holders, or vases that I filled with other props."

Dani used the gold star templates, and yellow snowflakes, paired with miniature owls to start her table. She then added menu printouts and name cards, as well as pine cones and foliage she had collected to build a contrast of golds and greens.

2. Printing your templates

A woman with long brown hair removes a printed star template from a Canon printer.

"I printed the templates from my phone on the Creative Park app – once you've set the printer up it's really easy to use," says Dani.

Before printing your chosen designs, make sure you have the right media to hand. Each Creative Park template lists a specific paper type, most calling for Canon Matte Photo Paper. This can really make a difference to the final structure, as the Matte Photo Paper ensures a sturdier model than using standard printing paper.

You can print directly from your smartphone using the Creative Park website or app.

Once you have all your templates printed it's time to start building them – depending on how many you're creating, you could spread this over a few evenings to ensure the end results are of the highest quality.

3. Making your templates

A top-down image of a person sitting at a desk and using their smartphone to look at an image of a papercraft star on Canon's Creative Park website. A printout of this same star is also on the desk.

There are templates on Creative Park to suit all abilities, with simple designs right through to more challenging builds.

A woman leans over a wooden table, folding and cutting out papercraft templates on a small cutting mat.

"I used glue dots to secure the templates together," explains Dani. "I cut the dots in half because some of the templates were quite small and secured the model like that."

Follow the instructions carefully as some models would require you to fold the design before cutting. Then cut out the templates, and fold down any tabs which need to be glued. You can use glue to attach your templates together, and then leave them to firm up and dry.

You can even customise the designs, making your décor unique for your celebration. "You could personalise your templates by writing names on the star templates or the houses," suggests Dani. "Or if it's for a birthday, you could write the age someone is turning or 'happy birthday'. I think nice handwriting and a good pen can be really smart and effective for decoration." You can also add designs via the app as another option.

Dani customised the original templates for her table theme – for example, she used the star template split in half so the stars could lie flat on the tabletop, and glued together the gingerbread house templates so they were solid models. She also mounted her small menu cards onto larger pieces of coloured card to create a border and used the snowflake templates upside down so the colours would work with the theme.

4. Setting the table

A beautifully decorated dining table covered with a linen tablecloth and decorated with pine cones, foliage and papercrafted objects.

Making your own décor means you can swap themes whenever you want and simply print more templates, which is a cost-effective way of adapting your table settings to different events. As well as the four seasons, you could also try making papercrafts for a baby shower, New Year's Eve event or even for a going away party, themed around the country you're travelling to using the Creative Park range of architectural templates of famous landmarks.

Now you have all your templates finished, it's time to arrange them on the table. Make sure you have your plates, cutlery and glasses ready, so you can work around them with your décor.

Dani recommends arranging your bigger items first and then working down in order of size. "I start by putting the tablecloth on," she says, "and then adding in the biggest objects like flowers in vases or flowers arranged on the table, and then I work down and scatter the smaller items."

Add your focal point decorations in the centre of the table first – this could be flowers, driftwood pieces, pine cones or even fresh fruit, such as whole oranges or pumpkins, depending on your theme. Then add smaller items like your menu lists and name cards, as these are easy to place by each plate.

Dani suggests grouping your items in odd numbers – she always adds decorations in threes for a more appealing look.

Once those aspects are in place it's time to arrange your smaller papercrafted decorations around them, dotting them about the table as you see fit. Perhaps each person has a miniature owl by their drinking glass? Then you can add your final touches, like napkin rings, and other small ornaments.

Dani was impressed with the range of free templates available on Creative Park, and relished the chance to get inspired. "I thought the challenge was really cool and gave me freedom to get really creative with paper and make it look really beautiful – it's not something I've done before so it allowed me to flex my creative muscles," she says.

If you're inspired to have a go, browse the #MadeWithPixma hashtag for more creative ideas and then share your papercraft tablescape, tagging @canonemea.

Whatever the occasion, why not decorate your table with papercraft?

Written by Tamzin Wilks

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