How to make a custom YouTube thumbnail

A custom Youtube thumbnail is like a the cover of a book – yes we all want to think we don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but we do!  Making an enticing video thumbnail will convince people to click the ‘play’ button.
Thumbnails are great for branding and give your videos a distinctive look so it’s easily recognizable in the Youtube feed.  I’ll show you step-by-step how to make a quickly make a YouTube thumbnail – without any expensive software (ahem, Photoshop, ahem) or degree in design!

Step 1

When you’re filming, pause and hold the pose you want to use for your thumbnail.  I usually try a couple different poses so I can choose the one I like best.
It’s better to do it this way, rather than take an actual picture, because the proportions are the same.
Then, scroll through your video to find the pose you like and take a screen shot of it.

Step 2

Go to the free online tool Canva.

 

From the upper right-hand corner, choose ‘Use Custom Dimensions’ and put in 1920 x 1080.  This is the exact dimensions of what YouTube needs for your thumbnail so it will fit in the frame perfectly.

 

Drag your image onto the browser with Canva and it will upload.

 

Click on your image and drag it into the frame.  You can adjust your image size – I always like to overlap the edges by just a little bit so there’s no white space.

 

For myself I like to use a transparent colored shape to give a bit of definition.  Then I put on my text.  There’s also free images you can use with Canva (and some which are available for $1), so in this case I decided to use a Youtube play button so people can quickly see it’s about Youtube.

 

When you’re done, click ‘Download’ from the upper right hand corner.

Step 3

Go to your uploaded video and upload your thumbnail.  Click ‘Save’ and you’re done!
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To making your Youtube covers watch-worthy,

Have you made any custom YouTube thumbnails? Pop the link to your video below!

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