Back to school: 5 ways to get organised with print

From sticky labels to bespoke bookmarks, discover how to get the new academic year off to a great start with a little help from Canon's easy-to-use printer range.
A top-down image of a selection of colourful exercise books, a calendar, stickers and Canon printer paper.

Every year it's the same. The summer break feels like it will stretch on forever, giving you ample opportunity to get through all those annoying organisational jobs that never seem to get struck off the to-do list during the busier months – name tags on uniforms, a calendar of timetables, storage for treasured artwork.

But then there are sports camps, holidays abroad and day trips to the seaside, and before you know it, it's time to go back to school. This year can be different, as mum Elisha discovered ahead of her daughter India starting school. Canon's user-friendly range of printers and paper products offers plenty of solutions, from labels to printable magnets, to help you get organised before the bell rings – and you can get the whole family involved too.

A tote bag with the initials IB on it is positioned on a table next to a photo of a young girl, a calendar and a pack of Canon Magnetic Photo Paper.

By turning preparation for the school year into a fun activity you do together, kids may feel even more excited about going back.

What you'll need:

  • A Canon printer that works well with creative apps and paper. Here we used the Canon PIXMA TS7440 printer and the compact Canon SELPHY CP1500, as both models offer wireless professional-standard creative printing that can print to a range of sizes.
  • Creative print app. The Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app for the SELPHY range has many layouts and personalisation options available. For PIXMA owners, the Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app offers a huge range of ready-to-use photo templates, while the Canon Creative Park app contains hundreds of creative designs.
  • Creative printer paper. For SELPHY CP1500, choose from a range of sizes, with or without sticky back. For PIXMA users, Canon Iron-on Transfers (for light or dark fabric), Canon Magnetic Photo Paper and Matte Photo Paper give you many creative options.

1. Personalise gear with iron-on transfers

A woman cuts out the letter B from a sheet of paper. In the background on a wooden table, a Canon printer and a vase of sunflowers can be seen.

Print the designs from your computer or directly from your smartphone or tablet using the Canon Creative Park app. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download the app, then you just need a Canon ID and a supported Canon printer.

A woman helps a little girl in a green school dress put a rucksack on her back in their family kitchen. The rucksack has the initials IB on it.

You can use Iron-on Transfers on a range of different materials so children can choose their own illustrations to go on t-shirts and tote bags.

Let's face it, one school tote bag, t-shirt or pencil case looks much like another, so why not add a custom-made motif to help your child easily identify their gear during the scramble at the end of the day.

Creative Park, Canon's free craft resource hub, offers a range of fun templates that you can download and print with a Canon PIXMA printer onto A4 Iron-on Transfers*, which are available for light or dark fabric. Kids can get involved too, picking a design they feel reflects their personality – maybe combining their initials with a favourite animal such as a whale or parakeet. India opted for a basketball design and her initials to personalise her tote bag.

Once printed, carefully cut out the designs with a pair of scissors, and then follow the easy-to-follow guide that comes with your transfers to iron them onto your fabric.

Read more about using Canon's Iron-on Transfer papers in our article on customising your wardrobe with textile printing.

2. Add sticky labels to bottles and lunchboxes

A white Canon printer prints out a small sheet of paper with the same image of a young girl repeated eight times.

Use the Canon SELPHY CP1500 printer to print your bespoke labels on square (KC-18IS, 54 x 54mm), credit card-sized (KC-18IF, 54 x 86mm) or mini (KC-18IL, 22 x 17.3mm) sticker paper.

A pair of hands can be seen carefully attaching a sticker with a young girl running on it to a green water bottle.

Simply peel off the backing and attach to your child's lunchbox or water bottle.

Many schools now ask children to bring in their own water bottle each day. But with unicorns, dinosaurs and certain cartoon characters high in the primary school popularity stakes, they can easily get jumbled up, as Elisha and India are about to discover.

Use the Canon SELPHY CP1500 compact printer to create your own customised labels for bottles, lunchboxes and glasses cases using Canon SELPHY sticker sheets. The Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app has a Label Layout option so you can select a photo from your camera roll and customise with text, stamps and colours. There's also a Mini Label option which enables you to print eight smaller images – identical or different – on one sheet.

Metal lunchbox? No problem – simply use your Canon PIXMA printer to print your labels on Canon Magnetic Photo Paper instead. The stickers will adhere to the surface, and you can remove them when you need to give the lunchbox a wash.

3. Stay on top of schedules

A top-down image of a person filling in dates for the month of September on a homemade calendar.

Turn your favourite family photos into personalised calendars, so you never miss an after-school club or playdate. You could even create small magnets using Canon Magnetic Photo Paper to attach your timetables and calendars to the fridge.

A white Canon printer printing an image of a young girl in school uniform. The image also contains a small QR code.

The Canon SELPHY CP1500 can also print QR codes, so you could add links to clubs and organisations to your printouts for easy access to address details and timetables.

Art on a Monday, games on a Tuesday, science on a Wednesday. It's hard enough to keep track of everything that the various children and teens in your house need to remember for different lessons throughout the week – and that's before you get to after-school clubs and extracurricular activities, from swimming to singing, flute to forest school.

By printing out their timetables and sticking them up on a pinboard or onto the fridge, you and the kids can see at a glance what they need to remember to bring in on any given day. No more dashing into reception to drop off a pair of forgotten football boots.

You can also print out calendars through the Easy-PhotoPrint Editor app where you can add in birthday parties, playdates or other upcoming family events and make a note of who is dropping off or collecting the kids from school on any particular day.

4. Organise folders and display artwork

A young girl wearing a green school dress peels off a sticker from a sheet of sticker paper. In the background, two colourful exercise books can be seen.

Print out labels onto card or paper and insert them into the front of plastic art portfolios or reading book folders. For exercise books, you could create and print stickers of your child's name, class or school subject.

A black Canon printer prints a child's colourful painting. The original piece of art can be seen next to the printer.

You can print beautiful, durable images that are rich in detail so you can do justice to your children's artwork. If your printer has a scanner, you can also scan their art and print.

Children often come home laden with stacks of handmade artwork. You might want to store these in boxes in the loft – stickers with your little one's name or a particularly cute portrait of them, their age or the year, will come in handy for putting these in order so you can find them again when the children are a bit older and you fancy a trip down memory lane.

Before you put everything away for safekeeping, why not photograph your favourite artworks and print them using Canon's range of photo papers, as Elisha has done, turning them into long-lasting quality prints? (If your printer has a scanner, you can also scan their art and print.) You can then mount them in frames and hang them in your children's rooms, or they would make a lovely gift for grandparents.

You could even print some on Canon Magnetic Photo Paper to display on the fridge, so you don't have to worry about the original getting dirty, torn or tatty. With each sheet of paper measuring only 10 x 15cm, you'll be able to display quite a few works of art at one time.

5. Print bookmarks

A top-down image of colourful exercise books, sheets of stickers and a Canon printer printing a picture of a young girl in school uniform.

Canon SELPHY printers can be used with any smart devices on the go, so you can make labels quickly and easily wherever you are when you happen to have a spare moment and then add them to your items later on.

Youngsters can use the SELPHY Photo Layout app to design and print their very own bookmarks so they don't have to lose their place in the schoolbook that they're currently reading.

Select the Bookmark Layout option and the postcard size (100 x 148mm) paper and then choose whether you want your chosen images – which could be everything from favourite animals to holiday mini prints – aligned to the top or bottom of the bookmark.

PIXMA users can find pre-designed bookmarks featuring different types of animals on the Creative Park website. There are even cute house-shaped options.

With both SELPHY and PIXMA printers, simply print and cut out.

The Bookmark Layout option in the SELPHY Photo Layout app is also useful for printing ID photos for bus or library cards.

With a Canon printer and paper, these tasks don't have to be a drag. Pick a project and turn it into a fun and imaginative craft activity the whole family can get involved in on a rainy afternoon.

* Light Fabric Iron-on Transfers LF-101 compatibility: PRO-100/PRO-100S, TS series (except TS31xx series/TS20x series), TR series (except TR45xx series), MG77xx series/MG75xx series/MG68xx series/MG67xx series/MG57xx series/MG56xx series/MG36xx series, iX68xx series

Dark Fabric Iron-on Transfers DF-101 compatibility: PRO-100/PRO-100S, TS series (except TS31xx series/TS20x series), TR series (except TR45xx series), G series (except GM40xx series/GM20xx series), MG77xx series/MG75xx series/MG67xx series, iP87xx series/iX68xx series

Written by Rachel Segal Hamilton

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