How to Make Instagram Highlight Covers – FREE with Canva

I’ve received a quite few DM’s asking where I got my Instagram Highlight Covers – I actually designed and created them on my own, very simply and for free using Canva!

When it comes to branding, even the smallest details count and creating unique highlight covers for Instagram can help take your profile to the next level.

In my case, maintaining that same flashy pink I use in my Pins and on the blog was a definite must for my Instagram profile.

Let’s get started and brand your Instagram profile according to your personal or business image with this super easy tutorial.

Learning how to make Instagram highlight covers (FREE with Canva!) can help you to:

Keep reading to see how you can implement branding into your IG profile in a matter of minutes!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and I could earn a small commission should you make a purchase using one. This comes at no additional cost to you and all opinions are my own.

How to Make Instagram Highlight Covers FREE with Canva

First things first, to make free Instagram highlight covers, you’ll need to download Canva.

This is an incredibly versatile and powerful little app that I use to design:

You are definitely going to want to download and keep it somewhere accessible – personally, I store Canva with Lightroom and other creative apps in a Design folder.

Once you’ve downloaded Canva, Launch the app.

When the app opens, you’ll automatically enter the (+) Create a design screen.

Where you see the Category Instagram Post, click on See all just to the right-hand side.

canva create a design screen as displayed on an iphone

Click on the square the reads Blank.

Tap on the plus sign in the bottom right-hand corner.

Tap on Graphics and search or scroll down through the options for most popular design elements. As an example, I’ll search for a camera icon!

search results for camera in canva are displayed at the bottom of the screen

Once you’ve found one you like, centre it and choose from a set of popular colours in the Defaults or set your own by clicking on the rainbow square.

If you know your brand colour, type it in here by tapping on the bottom right-hand square above Done.

This one of the biggest benefits of knowing how to make your Instagram highlight covers free with Canva!

Enlarge your icon of choice to get a better idea of how you want it too look.

camera icon is now enlarged by about 200% in canva app

If you want to do the reverse, and use a colour for your background instead of for your element, you can do so by tapping directly on the blank space of your working area.

Again, choose from a Default colour or select the rainbow square to enter your colour of choice. Be sure to change your icon colour so that it is visible!

pink background with the camera icon now shown in white on canva design app

Keep in mind that story covers look best when they are kept simple! You want your highlights to add to your profile rather than taking away from it by clashing or being too distracting.

In my personal experience, I’ve found that two to three colours work best and ideally, choosing at least one that is dominant within your Instagram image posts (in my case, white) is most aesthetically pleasing.

Highlight names should also be kept simple. Think, one or two words max!

And in my personal opinion, text should be avoided in your highlight covers.

Consider the fact that the vast majority of those viewing your profile are probably doing so on a mobile device. So, how legible, if at all, will your highlight cover really be?

Plus, you have the option to use a title just below it!

To create a new Highlight, click the + Highlight icon just underneath your Instagram bio.

nikkislivarich instagram profile showing highlight addition screen on homepage

Choose an image to add to your new highlight and click next at the top right corner.

nikkislivarich instagram recent stories as shown in highlight addition section

Name your new Highlights section and click Edit Cover when you’ve done so.

instagram story highlight showing cropped version of selected photo and image icon

Click on the Mountain Range image icon to the left and choose your newly created Canva image.

Move the icon so it’s perfectly centred and you are happy with it! This is exactly how it will appear on your profile.

Click Done when you are satisfied. Now, click Add at the top right corner.

pink camera icon showing in instagram story highlight cover of editing screen

Within seconds, you’ll see your newly created Highlights reel.

nikkislivarich instagram profile showing the highlight addition option for stories

To add additional stories to your Highlights, simply click on the Clock icon for your archives at the top left of your profile screen.

nikkislivarich instagram story archive screen displaying most recent posts

You’ll see all of your past Stories displayed in reverse chronological order 🙂

Choose one you like and click Highlight.

Click on your new Highlight or any others you’ve already created to start adding more past Stories you’d like shown on your Instagram profile.

Instagram Story Tips

In addition to creating unique Instagram story highlight covers, there are a few other key factors that can improve the performance of your stories. These include:

Learn more about Instagram and reach your first 10,000 followers by checking out the Mastering IG: Free Online Self-Paced Course right here on the blog!

5 hand drawn black hearts as a banner

And there you have it! You know how to make Instagram Highlight Covers – FREE with Canva 🙂 Nice work!

What type of Instagram story highlights do you display on your profile? What are you favourite stories to share with your audience? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

text reads nikki xo

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