How to make custom Instagram stickers in Canva

How to create custom stickers for IG stories in Canvas
Written by: Jo Petzer
Did you know that you can use Canva to create your own stickers to use in IG stories? Maybe you’re asking why you’d want/need to do this? Mostly because it allows you to create customized stickers that align with your brand. Combining elements you use often in Canva and using your brand colors help you to stand out online.

How to create custom stickers for Instagram stories using Canva

I know that Insta has loads of their own really great stickers, but using ones that you’ve created yourself and that are unique to you is so much more rewarding and helps your brand to stand out in a more personal way.

Plus, you can also use the same stickers in Instagram posts, through your other social graphics, in your emails, as freebies, or even sell them as printables!

Let’s do it!

What you need

  • Canva desktop (preferably), free or pro version.
  • Access to the remove.bg website (free) if you don’t have Canva Pro.
  • Your smart phone with Instagram installed and logged in.
  • Your brand palette or hex colours ready to use.

Step 1: open a new empty Canva design

Start with a blank Instagram post template. Name it ‘My IG Stickers’ or something similar. Easy.

Step 2: select elements for your stickers

Choose 2 or 3 element categories to associate with your brand message or personality. Then go and search for Canva elements in those 2 categories.

I’ve chosen ‘cats’ and ‘coffee’ for mine.

Make sure that the elements are in the same design/illustrative style and that you can edit their colors. You’ll only know this once you’ve added them to your design page. When you select one, you’ll see the color options come up in the toolbar.

Drag the elements you think will work onto the first page of your document. Get a few, then delete any that you can’t color edit or that won’t work together.

(See step 2 image to see the ones I chose.)

Step 3: edit colours to match your palette

Next, change the element colors to match your brand palette, or the palette you’ve chosen to use. I put up some references at the top of my page to help with this.

(See step 3 image to see my palette and updated elements.)

Step 4: build your stickers

Now you’re going to combine the elements you’ve edited to create composite graphics. This makes your designs much more personal than just using Canva’s elements as-is because the chances of someone else using the same image combo as you will be quite low.

(See step 4 image to see my combos.)

Step 5: add some text (optional)

Before you add any text, move each of your new designs onto their own page in your design file. Make sure the background of the pages is white (or transparent).

Now add some text to your stickers. You don’t have to do this but it just makes them more personal. Think of fun, quirky messages in your brand voice that your audience can relate to. Use your brand font if you have one. I’ve also added a color blob behind my final designs just for fun – and inserted my little logo mark.

(See step 5 image for how they turned out.)

Before you download your stickers, make sure that each one is a large as possible on the page. Take each graphic right to the edge of the page without going over the edge. This will clip the PNGs nicely when you download them without any excess ‘blank’ room taking up space around the sticker.

Step 6: download to share

How you do this will depend on the version of Canva you’re using. If you’re not a Canva Pro user then download each of your stickers as PNGs. They will save on a plain white background.

Then go over to remove.bg and upload each of your stickers, removing the background and saving them back to your computer.

If you’re using Canva Pro then simply export each of your stickers as PNGs with a transparent background.

Test that your stickers do in fact have a transparent background by uploading them back to Canva and changing the background color of the page.

If the background isn’t transparent, your stickers will have a white block behind them.

(See step 6 image.)

Step 7: send PNG stickers to your phone

How you do this will depend on the sort of phone you have. You want your stickers to end up in your phone’s photo library so you can access them from there in Instagram.

I have an iPhone so I just airdrop them to my phone. For Android phones there’s an app called Share it that does the same thing.

Other ways to do this are …

  • Email your stickers from your desktop to your phone then save them to your photo album.
  • Download them straight to your photo album using the Canva app on your phone (Pro users only).

Step 8: add your stickers to your Insta story

Once your transparent PNG stickers are sitting in the photo feed of your phone, select one of them and copy it. 

Note: when you select a PNG on your phone, it may show the background as being solid black or white. This is fine and normal.

Go over to your Instagram app (on your phone), tap the profile icon to start a new story, and select ‘create’. You’ll be prompted to ‘tap to type’. Tap the screen as if you’re going to type something but don’t type anything, then hit ‘next’.  This is important. For some or other reason, the ‘paste’ action doesn’t work here (well, not on my phone anyway).

Instead, after you’ve hit ‘next’, select the little type tool in the top right. Long hold your finger on the screen, release, and a little ‘paste’ box will appear. Tap it and your sticker will paste into your story screen.

From there you can move it wherever you want to and add text, more stickers (go and copy them first), or other story elements.

This also works over a photo, or when you’re sharing a post in your story. Any story type where you can add text, you can paste your custom designed sticker instead. Ta-da!

(See step 8 image for screen shots.)

Bonus tip!

Use your imagination to come up with other custom sticker ideas for your stories. You could use selfies with speech bubbles, images of your pets, your drawings, or anything you can create as a transparent PNG. Use them in IG posts by first adding them to a story and then downoading the story to your phone to upload it as a post. These stickers also make great freebies for your clients, especially if you’re a creative. 

Remember to use #madewithmockupscene when you share your designs so I can reshare them.

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