How to Use Canva to Create a YouTube Thumbnail

As a YouTuber, you probably know how important it is to have an eye-catching thumbnail for your videos. Luckily, there are plenty of tools online that you can use to achieve that perfect look. Canva is one example that never fails to deliver.

This article explains how to use Canva to create awesome YouTube thumbnails using your PC or mobile device. Plus, you'll learn how to make your thumbnail stand out from the crowd and appeal to a wider audience. Let's dive into it.

How to Create a YouTube Thumbnail in Canva on PC

A video thumbnail is the first thing viewers see when they discover your channel. This is often the deciding factor in whether they click on the video or not. A rule of thumb says that the perfect thumbnail should be captivating, have a readable and clean font, have colors to match the brand, and accurately reflect the content of the channel.

Using Canva, you can design eye-catching thumbnails to help you grow your audience. This software runs in a web browser so you can use it anytime, anywhere without needing to install anything on your computer.

Canva's main goal is to help create high-quality graphics with little effort. Thousands of designers have created templates in just about any category – YouTube thumbnails included. Moreover, a built-in function allows you to use any image from your video as a background. And you can do it all for free!


To start designing your thumbnail on Canva, you first need to create an account. You can sign in from your Facebook or Google account using the desktop app here. Once you are there, you will see the main dashboard. Simply follow the steps below to prepare your first thumbnail:

  1. Press the "Create Design" button on the left of the screen. If you plan to create your design from scratch and not use a pre-made template, click on "Custom dimensions" and insert the preferred dimensions manually.
  2. To use pre-made templates, type "YouTube thumbnail" in the search bar. You will see many thematic solutions like practical advice, beauty, travel, music, food, etc.
  3. Edit the project name. This will help you find it faster once the design is complete. Click on the existing name at the top of the screen and type in the one you like.

To make a drawing

Once you've found a template or created a new design from scratch and given it a name, it's time to start designing. When you search for pre-made templates, you will come across many templates that do not match your video or your brand. But do not worry. You can replace any image in the template with your own, change the font color, size and type, and adjust the design to suit your needs.

  1. Use drag and drop to add or modify elements to your design.
  2. Use animation features to make your design stand out. Play around with color schemes and font combinations to match your brand.
  3. Upload your own artwork or images, adjust the layout, or make any changes you want.

Upload an image from your video

Premade templates are cool, but there's a better way to customize your YouTube thumbnail content. You can replace the background image of the template with a frame from your video.

  1. Choose a model.
  2. Delete the existing background image to clean up the canvas. To do this, right-click on the background image and select "Delete".
  3. Go to the menu on the left and select "Downloads".
  4. Go to "Videos", then "Download Media".
  5. Select the video you need.
  6. Use the progress bar at the bottom to find the frame you want to use.
  7. Pause the video once you've found the perfect frame.
  8. Adjust the frame with the crop and crop feature on top. Don't worry about the play button in the center because it will disappear once you export the video.
  9. Right-click on the background and select "Send to Background".

wrap design

  1. Once you are done editing, press the "Download" button.
  2. Save the drawing to your computer.

How to Create a YouTube Thumbnail in Canva on a Mobile Device

YouTube thumbnails play a vital role in the view count of your videos. You can think of them as the face of your video. You want your viewers to be enticed to read the content. Luckily, you don't have to be a graphic designer to create captivating thumbnails. Canva has all the tools you need.

Here's how to create a compelling YouTube thumbnail in Canva on a mobile device:

  1. Open the Canva app on your Android or iOS device.
  2. Create a new account or use Google or Facebook to sign in.
  3. Search for the following keywords in the search bar: "YouTube Thumbnail".
  4. Explore the templates and tap the one you like.
  5. Start designing your own template. Use animation features, try different color schemes and adjust the font to match your brand
  6. Add your own logo or images and make any changes you want.

Upload an image from your video

The pre-made templates are great, but it's best to customize your thumbnail by adding a frame from your own video. Here's how to do it on the Canva mobile app.

  1. Choose a Canva template that you like.
  2. Delete the existing background image to clean up the canvas. Tap the background image and select "Remove".
  3. Tap the purple circle with a plus sign to add your video.
  4. Tap "Gallery" and grant access to Canva.
  5. Select the video you need.
  6. Use the progress bar at the bottom to find the frame you want to use.
  7. Pause the video at the image you want to use as a background.
  8. Adjust the frame using the crop and trim feature. The play button in the center will disappear when you export the video, so don't worry about it.
  9. Tap the background image and select "Position".
  10. Press "Back". This will move the background layer behind, so the font and other designs can be seen.

wrap design

  1. Once you are done making changes, save the thumbnail by pressing the "Export" button.
  2. Choose where you want to save the drawing.

We recommend using your phone to create patterns only if you can't do it on a computer. Creating a thumbnail on a computer will leave more room for precision. Also, it's easier to drag and drop items onto a larger screen.

Additional FAQs

How big are YouTube thumbnails?

The default YouTube thumbnail size is 1280 x 720 pixels. The minimum width in pixels is 640. The aspect ratio should be 16:9 and the maximum file size should not exceed 2MB.

Create eye-catching YouTube thumbnails with Canva

Canva is a DIY creator's paradise. Whether you're starting a blog, video channel, or social media page, you can create stunning designs to match your brand personality. Designing YouTube thumbnails with Canva is no different. With the easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface and hundreds of pre-made templates, your perfect YouTube thumbnail is just minutes away.

Do you find it easier to create designs on your desktop or mobile? Did you use pre-made Canva templates or did you create one from scratch? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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