How I Make My Instagram Story Templates

One of the things that I enjoy about Instagram is participating in story challenges and filling out story templates. It gives me a chance to show off my personality and I get to learn new things about my furriends.

While I have made at least one story template using Photoshop, most of the time I make them using Canva.

Canva is a free design tool that allows you to quickly create a wide range of social media graphics. I like using it for my IG stories because I have access to tons of free graphics, illustrations, shapes, and photos. I can also look at all of my previous templates there and edit them at any time.

If you want to start making your own Instagram story templates with Canva as a way to interact with friends and boost followers, here’s what you need to know.

How to Make Instagram Story Templates with Canva

The first thing you want to do is sign up for a free Canva account. You can even do this with Google or Facebook to simplify logging in.

Once you create your account, you’ll be ready to begin making story templates and a host of other cool social media graphics.

To create a new template, click on the button that says “create a design” in the upper right corner of your home page. Then, you can either click on “Instagram story” (if it’s listed as a suggestion) or “custom size”. If you use the custom size option, you’ll want to make your graphic 1080px by 1920px.

This should take you to a design creation page where you can start working on your template.

The first thing I like to do is add a background. That might be a photo, a gradient, a solid color, or a pattern. Canva has many of these available for free, but you can find more patterns and photos on free stock photo sites like Pixabay or Unsplash.

For the purpose of this sample tutorial, I’m using only Canva backgrounds, illustrations, and photos. I clicked on the background tab on the left hand side to add an orange gradient to the whole canvas.

Adding background in Canva

Next, I might add some blocks or circles (depending if answers will be gifs or text).

Making an Instagram story template in Canva

Just type in the shape you need under the elements tab and choose the best one for your project.

Next, you might want to add some text using the text tab to let your followers know what they need to do to complete the challenge. I typed in “3 Things I’m Doing This” in one style and then added “Halloween” in a preset neon style available when you scroll down in the text tab.

Finally, I started sprinkling in some illustrations and graphics to give the template more character. Just type what you need into the search box under the elements tab. If you want to see only the free elements, click on the filter icon in the search bar, scroll to the bottom, and check the “Free” box.

how to get free graphics in Canva

If you want to change the colors of an illustration, most of them will let you do so. You’ll notice color boxes in the top menu when the graphic is selected. Simply click the color you wish to change and select your new color from the preset colors in the color menu or choose a new color in the color picker.

how to change element colors in canva

If you need to change the position of one element so that it is behind or in front of another element, that’s super easy to do. Just click on the graphic you need to reposition and click the “position” button in the top menu. There you can move it backwards or forward until it’s in the right spot.

How to reposition elements in Canva

Be sure to add your IG handle to your template before you download it. You can download the file in different formats, but I like PNG because it provides a slightly higher quality image.

If you see a graphic that you like, but it’s not free, you can probably get it for about $1 (most that I have paid for in the past were $1). Canva Pro offers unlimited graphics, illustrations, and photos for $12.95 per month, but I find that it’s not necessary. If there’s ever something I really want, I usually just pay the $1 for it.

Without further ado, here is the finished product:

halloween instagram template tutorial
Halloween Instagram template

Canva Tips

Canva is super user friendly, so there’s not much room for life hacks or secret tips. However, for the sake of saving you time while figuring it out, here are some of my best tips:

  • The elements snap to certain spots in the canvas, which is great for making sure they are centered or similar distances apart. But it doesn’t always snap where you want it and Canva can try to place your element in an awkward location . If you zoom the canvas in to 75% or 100% you can get much more precise placement.
  • Make sure to select only the pages you want before hitting the download button
  • If you’re not sure on what color scheme you want for your graphic, you can find some great color combos on
  • If you’re not sure about the layout, you can browse some of the Canva templates for inspiration.

I hope you have found this article useful! There is so much more that you can do with Canva, but this should get you started on making your own Instagram templates. If you’ve never made your own template, why not give it a try? Canva makes it super easy and fun, and it might also boost your follower count. If you do make a template, please tag me in your nominations @cathy_permakitten 😸

Next month I will be walking you through how I make my pet edits on Photoshop, so stay tuned!



@cathy_permakitten on IG

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