Papercraft challenge 4: winter decorations

In the last in our series of papercraft challenges, discover how graphic designer Chris Stenner and his son Eli created festive tree decorations.
A flatlay image of a selection of papercraft Christmas decorations spread across a wooden table, alongside printed Creative Park templates, Canon printer paper, pine cones, twine and a festive branch.

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

In the final instalment of this four-part series, we challenged graphic designer Chris Stenner and his son Eli to create festive decor for the Christmas season using templates from Canon Creative Park and a Canon PIXMA printer.

Challenge 4: Christmas decorations

A Canon PIXMA printer sits on a small sideboard, covered in a selection of papercraft Christmas decorations and with a Creative Park template in the printer tray.

Christmas with young children often means an abundance of plastic toys and non-recyclable wrapping paper, so why not take a step towards a simpler Christmas with handmade, recyclable decorations that can be printed at home.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, decorating your home for winter can be a delight for all ages. Crafting your own decorations is an affordable way to make your home feel bright and colourful as the days get darker. Plus, you can recycle your paper templates afterwards – or keep them for future events.

Whether you choose the same pieces each year following family tradition, or you like to create a different theme for your Christmas tree, Canon Creative Park has a range of festive templates, from red and gold stars to mini snowmen. After all, in Christmases past, decorations were always made with what was available rather than bought from the shops and whole families would gather together in the run up Christmas, spending their evenings crafting individual items for the tree.

All the Creative Park templates are available in different skill levels, which means you can find something suitable for everyone, no matter their age or ability.

Meet the creator

Who: Chris Stenner

What: Graphic designer

Also taking part: Eli

Working in a creative industry with an eye for all things art and design, Chris was keen to take on the challenge and do something that he and Eli had never tried before. "I really enjoyed making this alternative to single-use plastic," he says. "It's great knowing I can recycle these once they're broken or finished with, rather than creating waste. If I want to change the theme of the tree I can keep the templates, and make more decorations in a different colour scheme."

Chris says he would recommend papercrafting to anyone as he found it really rewarding. "It's good to do something to challenge yourself, and to create something from scratch," he says. "Eli loves colouring in and drawing cartoon characters, but cutting, glueing and sticking together is a nice change from what we normally do."

You will need

Picking your templates

A hand holds up a smartphone showing a template for a papercraft Christmas decoration on the Creative Park app. In the background is a Canon PIXMA printer with a Creative Park template in the printer tray

"I wanted a star template for our Christmas tree because we've got lots of baubles and I was looking for a different shape," says Chris. "I searched under 'Decoration' in the Christmas section and picked the two in the colour scheme that I like – red and gold."

Chris and Eli decided to go with stars and snowflakes as the main theme for their Christmas tree decorations. To find templates, simply search for 'ornaments' on Creative Park, or do a wider search for 'Christmas'. If none of the ornament templates appeal, you can choose any design you like and use a hole punch to thread some string through to hang it on your tree. You could choose a non-traditional butterfly theme, and attach a loop of ribbon to each. Let your creativity lead the way here.

Creative Park templates can offer a fun and mindful activity for friends and family to make together, and could make for a crafty evening activity during the school holidays to get everyone in the festive spirit.

Printing your templates

Creative Park papercraft star templates emerging from a Canon PIXMA printer.

Chris set up the PIXMA TS7640i printer on his home Wi-Fi and then connected using his smartphone and the Creative Park app. This is an easy way to get started, and you can print multiples of one template if you know you'll need more, as Chris found with the stars.

A boy's hands carefully cutting out a Creative Park papercraft star template.

Simpler projects, such as these stars, are ideal for getting children involved as they require just a small amount of cutting and glueing to make an attractive finished decoration.

You can connect to your PIXMA printer using your smartphone, and simply print your templates after downloading them from either the Creative Park app, or the website. Make sure you don't accidentally print them double-sided.

"I was very impressed with the colours from the PIXMA printer – they came out so vibrant and the texture of the glitter on the star templates was really realistic," says Chris.

Once you've selected your chosen templates and printed them it's time to start cutting – you can use scissors, or a craft knife and cutting mat for the more intricate designs. When all your designs are cut out, fold them neatly along the lines using the online instructions to work out if you need a mountain or a valley fold. Score the lines on the folds using a ruler so the templates will fit together seamlessly when you start glueing. "I would definitely recommend scoring the folds," says Chris. "Your shapes will be so much sharper and crisper when finished."

Once scored you can glue your templates together following the online guidance. You could use glue dots, a glue stick, PVA, a glue gun or an eco-friendly alternative, but make sure you leave your models to dry before moving on. The glue you use may also determine whether you can recycle your decorations. If you're crafting with young children glue guns can get quite hot, so maybe switch to PVA so they can stay involved. You'll need to bear in mind that your designs will take slightly longer to dry, though.

Assembling your decorations

Chris helps his son thread twine through a hole in the top of his papercraft star decoration.

You could even turn papercraft decoration-making into a fun, crafty competition for family and friends, with hot chocolate and gingerbread for a festive evening.

A pair of hands hold up a papercraft Santa Claus tree decoration attached to a loop of striped craft string.

Printing papercraft decorations such as these cute Santa Claus figures is a great alternative to plastic ornaments. Your favourite designs can be reused year after year, or easily recycled.

Once assembled and dried you can attach the ribbon or string to your pieces. For this you can use a hole punch, or you might be able to thread the string through the top of the design if there's space. You could also personalise your ornaments further by decorating with pen, paint or stickers.

"Attaching the string to our decoration was really simple," says Chris. "I thought it was going to be fiddly but we just pierced a hole and tied the thread through. It was really easy to get it to hang on to the tree." Chris and Eli used a striped craft string but you can personalise your decorations with whatever material you like, from brown twine to red ribbon or even thin tinsel.

Chris described building the templates as quite a mindful experience. "There's something really satisfying about cutting out stars and snowflakes. You get so involved in it – from the cutting to glueing together the final creations."

For Eli, this was one of the hardest stages in the process, but he managed it with a little support. "Some parts were hard and a bit fiddly like the cutting out, but dad helped me," he says.

Get decorating!

A boy hangs a papercraft star decoration on a Christmas tree.

Chris and his family love Christmas, usually spending it with relatives in Bristol, UK, before heading home to Wales to relax. "We've got two house cats, who we don't like to leave alone too long because it's their Christmas too," he laughs.

A Canon Creative Park papercraft star hanging from a Christmas tree, with blurred lights in the background.

"I would definitely make paper Christmas tree decorations again or home decor throughout the year," says Chris. "Next time I'll move on to spring-themed papercraft, because I'm hoping the Christmas decorations will last for at least a couple of years."

Once your designs are finished with their ribbon or string loops, you can start decorating your Christmas tree in the knowledge that you crafted and made the decorations yourself. Put your favourite ornament in pride of place – you could even have a go at making a Christmas tree topper to complete the look.

"I think they look great on the tree," says Chris. "The decorations are really colourful and knowing I made them with my son makes them so much more meaningful than decorations bought from a shop. I found it really rewarding, not only because you are decorating your tree with recyclable materials, but also because you're creating them from scratch with your family. You're not just putting a star on a tree, you're decorating it with love."

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


An exclusive community for creators like you. Pursue your passion with support, inspiration, benefits and more. Joining is easy. Purchase a product. Register. Join Canon Club.

Chris says he's now hooked on papercrafting with his family. "This is definitely something we would do again," he says. "It was great to have that time with my son, sitting at the table and crafting something rather than getting lost in your phone." Eli also really enjoyed the process and hopes to make more Creative Park designs with his dad.

Papercraft Christmas ornaments are not only fun for all the family, but make lasting memories. You could even give papercraft decorations to your friends and family – after all, homemade gifts are often the presents that mean the most.

If you like the idea of combining craft with home decor, take a look at the other instalments in this series to see what else is possible with Creative Park templates. Check out our Pinterest page for inspiration, and don't forget to share your creations using the #MadeWithPixma hashtag!

Tamzin Wilks

Related Products

Related Articles