How to Create YouTube Thumbnails in Canva (For Free)

I’m going to show you how you can create YouTube thumbnails for free using Canva.

To find out more, check out my video below or keep reading for the full blog.

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So your thumbnails are the first thing that people will see in order to determine whether they want to click on your thumbnail to watch your video. It’s really imperative to have good eye-catching thumbnails. This will then determine how many people are going to click on your thumbnail which ultimately leads to more views.

If you’re not getting that sort of percentage of click-through rate, there is about time we change that thumbnail.

Now, something really important to remember is YouTube will not allow you to create your own custom thumbnail. Until your account has been verified by YouTube. But don’t worry, it’s a really simple process. All you do is go to forward slash verify. You’ll be asked to enter your telephone number, you’ll be sent a code and you simply go back and type that code in.

Now you’ve got a verified YouTube account. If you don’t have a verified account YouTube will simply choose a random clip out of your video and use that instead, which are normally not so good.

Try as much as possible to use a custom thumbnail. What we do is you go to, and sign up for free, right. Then when you log in it will show some designs for you and a presentation. If you want to present, it’s got already some pre-made templates there for social media.

But for now, we’re going to keep it really basic. And we’re going to click on this button here called to create a design. You click on here, and you type in your keyword. So in this case, I want to type in a YouTube thumbnail.

I can type in a YouTube thumbnail and look at this. It’s already telling me that the size of the YouTube thumbnail is going to be 1280 by 720. So it’s already done the homework for me, I don’t need to guess what size my thumbnail needs to be. You started with a blank slate first, blank design first. Then what it allows you to do is allows you to choose some templates, which Canva have already made for you. Look at this, and they all categorize all recently used YouTube thumbnails. If in the beauty industry or tutorials or travel is already got these categorizations. So you can choose from the categorizations.

But the one really important thing to remember is when you hover over this, it will show you whether it’s free or not. If it’s free, it will show this thing that’s free. But this one here, it’s not showing free, which means that they will charge a slight premium for right. It’s even so it’s not very expensive.

It’s like you know, one pound or one USD per every is up to you. So let me scroll down here and choose a thumbnail. Let’s say this one, right? Oh, actually, that that’s it, there’s a paid one. I won’t use that one. But, or even for teachers,  for example, which I know is free. I do this. And there you go, right. I can now customize the thumbnail to suit my branding, it’s really important that you’re all your thumbnails for your YouTube channel are consistent. They’ve got consistent branding.

If someone looks at your thumbnails, they will easily recognize that. Clearly, that’s not me. So what I’m going to do is on the left-hand side here of the uploads, and it uploads, it shows me some images or videos that I’ve already used, right. I can simply highlight this and click on delete, and it’s deleted.

I can choose one of my existing images and you literally drag and drop. That’s how easy it is. You drag and drop it, and then you can resize it. Look, look how easy this is. You don’t even need to be a graphics designer. In order to do this. It’s so so easy, and I can reposition it so that the image appears exactly where I want it to be. And then it’s got some fantastic tools here. Like over here, I can click on a position and I can say backwards so you can save the image. You know behind this or whatever it is that’s really what I wanted. Or over here opposite effect.

So I can choose to click on it. Let’s look at this right, just give it a few seconds to load. And look, Canada already got some predefined effects for me. So I can choose an effect, I simply click on it. And it’s done within like seconds, that effect will be applied if that is already applied. I can click on adjust here. Adjust the brightness like this, I can adjust the brightness. I obsessively do dark. Then I can click on the contrast so I can increase or reduce the contrast.

However, one-two, it is absolutely brilliant in terms of what I can do with the level of control of God. I’m going to adjust the tense, okay. I just want to choose like this one down here, and it’ll just quickly apply it for me. Also, click on flip here, let’s give it a few seconds to apply that I can click on the flip.

I can flip the image horizontally, or vertically, I really choose to do so,  then what I can do is okay.  These are not my brand colours, right? So I can click on an image here, right, and I can change the colour. So if it was red, they go right up or red.

I can reposition it how I want to. And this over here, if I wanted to change the colour of this, I simply highlight it and just choose a colour.  I can either choose a colour, like from here or what I can do. I can click on the plus symbol. If you know that code of your image and some people know something called a hexadecimal code. I can just type that code in like f 3161. And there’s my brand colour, right. Now we’re left with the text here, right? This is the text that I want, I want to choose the right YouTube. Then I can again, click on here, and I can change the colour of this, right-clicking on text colour.

So I want that to be red. Now if I let’s say phone, add some more text, right, I can go here, click on the device’s text here. Look at this, I can choose any of these pre-made font styles. If I want to choose this one down here, I can choose this. If I just wanted to do something fairly simple, I can just choose this and then literally drag and drop it, he goes and clicks on here. I’ve typed in thumbnails, thumbnails to that and change the colour.

However, I want wherever colour wanted to be. Likewise, I can choose to change the font size to do this. Look how easy it is right just click on the plus symbol, and I can change the font size. If I wanted to add more text here, let’s be brave.

Let’s choose one of these sorts of styles here. Right, so I’ve chosen a style, I’m gonna change the wording, like how to write and now I want to reduce the size of this. I can just type in like it’s not going to find five. It’s let’s see if it’s gonna be 100. Right?

If I really wanted to, I can change the colour of the green to something else that I want as well. Right? If all were primarily to be read, there you go, and how easy that was to create my thumbnails.

Now one of the really good things is that it’s also got some pre-made photos, right?  I can use any of these photos. Again, it’s really important that when you hover over these images. It will tell you when the image is free, or like over here you can see it’s saying Pro, right, and pro means that this image will be chargeable, and it’d be about $1. Right? It’s not really it’s not gonna break anyone’s bank, really.

But if you do want to choose a free image each, take that in, and he’s positioning where you want to position it. You can resize it however you want to. But you can also do other stuff like you can click here and make him more sort of transparent. If you just wanted it as a background type of image, you can do that like that. Right? How easy was that? And then finally, what we do is once you’ve got the image looking how you want it wanted to look.

What we do is we click on Download here, but before I click on download. I want to show you this, luckily, you can click on this icon here. You can upload your thumbnails to social media accounts directly from how right but I won’t do this.

In this case, I’m simply going to click on download. And what Canva has done is it’s recommended a format like PNG format. In this case, I’m simply going to click on PNG and I click on download. There you go and it says Easy as that right so now I can use this thumbnail for my YouTube video.

I can apply it to any new video that I’m creating. Now in order to apply the thumbnail to your video, you just go inside your, your regular YouTube editing screen, scroll down. These are the thumbnails that are in this video that YouTube already selected for me. You can click on this No if you haven’t already got a thumbnail custom thumbnail. Then use your plus symbol here or please click on change.

I can just click literally just upload my thumbnail. Now you can go away and create your YouTube thumbnails for free using Canva. Have put a few links in the description below, which would be really helpful to Canva itself. A guide that I will produce which I’m sure you find super useful if you’re creating regular YouTube videos.



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