Create your own children's storybook step by step

With the Canon SELPHY CP1500, it's easier than you think to craft a storybook from scratch.
An adult and two children sit on a couch, looking through a handmade storybook created using a Canon SELPHY CP1500 and the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app.

We all know play and creativity are important to children's development, and fostering these at home can be a great way to spend quality time together as a family. Play enthusiast and content creator Alison ( believes in the importance of helping her children – Isla and Callum – learn through creativity.

"Both are very creative, and I find sitting down and crafting with them really fun," she says. "I love seeing their imaginations come through." Alison shares the family's experiences on social media and her latest project with her six-year-old daughter, Isla, was to make a creative homemade children's book using the Canon SELPHY CP1500 printer.

Creating your own storybook may sound challenging, but the SELPHY CP1500 can simplify the process. Whether you're making a unique gift, a school project or a personalised bedtime story, families can work together to come up with ideas. "Isla was involved in a lot of the decisions," says Alison. "I liked that it was something I could create with her." Here, Alison shares her tips to make it easy and fun for the whole family.

Materials you'll need

Various prints, a pair of scissors and an open scrapbook next to a pink Canon SELPHY CP1500 lie on a wooden table.

The Canon SELPHY CP1500 allows you to print photos quickly and easily from your smartphone via Wi-Fi, so you don't have to ask your children to wait around or spend time untangling and connecting complicated cables.

One of the features of the Canon SELPHY CP1500 is its ability to print on to peel-back sticker paper, so there's no scissors or glue necessary when crafting with younger children. This printer also allows you to add additional elements using the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app, offering a way to create the entire book without lots of extra materials. Here's everything you'll need:

  • Canon SELPHY CP1500
  • Smartphone with the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app installed
  • Scrapbook
  • Compatible Canon sticker photo paper, cassette and ink

You may want to add extra touches, which could include optional materials:

  • Pair of scissors
  • Glue
  • Stamps
  • Paints, pens and pencils
  • Eco-friendly glitter

Brainstorming ideas

A smiling child holding a piece of coloured paper looks intently at the adult sat beside her.

Visual storytelling is a fun way to discuss various subjects with your children – whether it's about which character traits are important, or issues our planet is facing.

Exploring story ideas and creating your own storybook characters is the perfect opportunity to talk about your children's life experiences, their favourite books and TV shows – the plot, pictures, protagonists, themes and messages involved. Or how they might use friends and loved ones as inspiration while creating a character.

"Isla decided she wanted to have herself in the book as well as her brother Callum, and mummy and daddy," says Alison. "We have several books at home exploring what can happen if plastic goes into the sea, so Isla understands that we need to look after our beaches. She likes to go litter picking and tells her friends if they drop litter that we need to pick it up."

Isla adds: "Turtles like eating jellyfish, but if plastic bags are in the sea, the turtles think these are jellyfish and eat them. It makes them very ill." This passion for animals and the environment became a central theme in Alison and Isla's story.

Creating characters and choosing images

A child uses a coloured pen to write "happy" and draw a smiley face in a scrapbook while various prints, stationery and a Canon SELPHY CP1500 sit on the table.

The children could choose to include photos of themselves or family members in the storybook, assigning the characters different powers or job roles that could serve as an aspirational tool.

A smiling child uses a pen to write in a scrapbook guided by the adult sat beside her.

"I loved that Isla could use her imagination to create the book," says Alison. "She asked me to help her, so it felt like a joint project for us to do together."

Learning to make a book from photos can be the perfect way to give new life to memories – whether it's creating a fictional adventure using holiday snaps, giving your pets a secret identity, or transforming your kids into superheroes, fairytale characters or inventors. Creating a storybook is also the ideal opportunity to get out of the house to take some new photos, so children can see themselves represented in any way they choose.

"Once we decided our story would feature Isla and Callum on the beach, we found photos to fit the story," Alison explains. "Isla thought litter on the beach was a good idea and wanted to include a photo of our litter picker." While assembling the book, Isla drew a sad face to show how disappointed she feels when she sees plastic left on the beach, and a smiley face to symbolise her happiness when she's able to make a positive change.

Exploring different formats

A close-up of hands holding a smartphone, showing the editing of a photograph in the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app.

You can use craft sets and additional materials to make your storybooks your own, but the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app makes it easy to do everything on screen.

In any library or bookshop, you'll find a wide range of different children's books, from comics and picture books to fairytales and biographies. Characters can communicate in speech bubbles, poetic verse, or through a narrator or diary entries.

Regardless of the format you choose, the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app enables you to add text, borders, and stamps on to photos. Additionally, there are templates to print single- or multi-photo layouts, along with a selection of different finishes. It's a great way for children to get involved and explore what works before pressing Print.

"I found the app really easy to use and it was fun to get creative," says Alison. "We tried out some of the stickers and designed some photos with borders. We also added text, played with speech bubbles and added a heart on some photos too. Using the different features on the app made the storybook look fun and different."

Printing photos and assembling your book

A child peels a photo from Canon sticker paper – printed using a Canon SELPHY CP1500 – while another person holds it.

The sticker paper allows younger kids to get involved without fiddly cutting or messy glue, making it easy for them to peel off the back of the photo prints and stick them directly into the storybook.

A smiling child peels off a small numbered sticker from a sheet of Canon sticker paper to put in the scrapbook in front of her.

The Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app includes a Label Layout option for printing mini stickers, which Isla used to add blue and white page numbers to her storybook.

Once you have the images printed, you can start combining all the elements. At this point, it may help to sketch out a structure on paper or lay the pages out on a table or the floor before you commit to the page. "We had lots of different ideas to include, so we wrote them down and had a look to see what parts to put in," says Alison. "It then ended up flowing really well and we had a beginning, middle and end."

Younger children could stick in the photos while older children and adults handle any cutting required. Everyone can get involved with other creative additions, such as drawing or writing, and choosing photos for the cover. Don't forget to add the authors' and illustrators' names – that's you!

Admiring and sharing your creation

A child puts washi tape across the corner of a photo in a scrapbook, created using a Canon SELPHY CP1500 printer and the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app.

Working together as a team to create something personal can be a great bonding experience for families, and having the final book to show off can help children take pride in their creative skills.

A child smiles at the camera while holding up a handmade storybook, created using a Canon SELPHY CP1500 printer and the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app.

"I think it's a lovely project for Isla to do," says Alison. "She enjoyed being creative and drawing pictures inside as well as writing some of the story and choosing where to stick the photos."

"We chose to call it Isla's Beach Adventures," says Alison. "We used the black and white filter on three photos and some of the square stickers to make the title, adding the text in blue so it stood out. We're really pleased with it!"

Learning how to make a book yourself is a fun way to spend time as a family, letting imaginations run wild and enjoying discussions about characters and themes. The Canon SELPHY CP1500, combined with the Canon SELPHY Photo Layout app, makes the process easy and fuss-free, helping families create as they go. You can proudly display the result on the bookshelf or your bedside table, or it could be a personalised gift for a loved one.

"Be creative," Alison advises. "There's no right or wrong way to make a storybook. You could make a book about something your child is interested in or a trip they've been on. It's a great activity for a rainy day. Isla has loved reading the book to Callum, so it's not just about the creating, it's about sharing the book with others."

Let your imagination run wild by creating your own adventure and experimenting with the SELPHY CP1500 and the SELPHY Photo Layout app. The sky is the limit when you're the author.

Written by Kat Halstead

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