My Favorite Free Online YouTube Thumbnail Maker

Watch as I make this exact thumbnail from scratch using my favorite free thumbnail maker – which happens to be Canva – so you can apply the same techniques to your own thumbnails.

The thumbnail we'll make has:
1⃣ A photo with the background removed
2⃣ A glow effect around the photo
3⃣ A color gradient background
4⃣ A torn border effect
5⃣ Text with a shadow effect to help it stand out
6⃣ Boxes with shadows to provide contrast and help the text stand out
7⃣ An arrow to help draw your attention


0:08 Features of an attention grabbing thumbnail
0:30 Free online YouTube thumbnail maker tutorial
0:39 How to remove the background from a photo
1:08 How to add the glow effect around the photo
1:58 How to add a gradient background to your thumbnail
03:01 How to make the torn border around your thumbnail
03:40 How to add your logo to a thumbnail
3:50 Adding the text and boxes to provide contrast
6:03 Adding the arrow


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#YouTubeMarketing #YouTubeThumbnail #YouTubeThumbnailMaker

My Favorite Free Online Thumbnail Maker – Video Transcript

Watch me make this thumbnail from scratch using my favorite YouTube thumbnail maker which happens to be Canva.

This thumbnail has a photo with a background removed, a glow effect to help the photo stand out from the background, a color gradient background, a torn border, a logo, text with a shadow effect to help it stand out, and boxes with shadows to help provide contrast and help the text stand out. And it's also got a huge arrow to help draw your attention.

Let's get started.

All right, if you haven't already got a free account with now's the time to get one.

Sign up and when you get inside, click Create a design, and select YouTube thumbnail. Then you're going to click on the uploads tab, and we're going to bring in our photo. Now you can choose any photo I've just taken this one with my webcam, drag it in, and for Canva pro users we're going to use this effects background remover. It's just amazing for moving backgrounds. If you haven't got a pro account and you're on a free you can go to , drag your image in there, download it and drag it into Canva exactly the same thing, you'll end up with exactly the same image, but totally free.

Now drag that image down to the corner.

The image is done, now we're going to go for our glow effect, so make a copy of that image. Drag the copy and make it bigger. And we're going to go back up into this effects area. There's a wonderful little app in there called Duotone. So we're just going to select that and pick one of them. At this point, we're going to do blush we might change that over later actually I think I might go for more of a yellow, yellow glow but anyway. Click on the Adjust item at the top menu item- we’re going to ramp up that brightness, and blur our image.

Then we're going to send it to the back. You can't see it at the moment, but it's going to look amazing in a minute once we do our background.

So, go to the elements tab.

Do a search for gradient. That's the best way to find these gradient images and scroll down until you find a square that's got two separate colors on it – you don't want a square that's only got one color grading to nothing. You want one of these ones.

Now, make it big enough so that covers the whole background.

That probably goes without saying, really, I suppose. And then we're going to set.. um, set our colors. So I've got some brand colors that I use for all of my videos. They're all over my website but you can choose any two colors that you like – any colors that stand out compared to the other videos that you're competing against in the related videos area. As I said, I'm just going to put my two brand colors in and then we're going to send that to the back.

As you can see the glow is there. We're gonna go muck around with that a little bit. Actually I think I might just leave it till later.

Right now it's time for the background. So a lot of my stuff has just from a branding perspective has this sort of torn look my images on my website backgrounds on my thumbnails actually backgrounds around most of my YouTube videos have this torn stuff on them so for me I like having that as my border it provides a nice contrast to the white of YouTube, and also provides a bit of a, I suppose, something different about my videos. It helps me be consistent.

But, do whatever you like all I've done is grabbed an element. And like the edge of it so I've just made it huge copied and pasted it and dragged around to all corners. I've also made a nice little corner extra bit for my logo, which I'm going to drag in. And then when it's uploaded just resize it as appropriate and drag it down into its little corner.

It only needs to be really tiny but it just adds another branding element to my thumbnails.

The next thing we're going to do is put our boxes in – these boxes are going to go behind our text. So, you can see that I've chosen one with a shadow behind it. We’re just going to pick the colors, really just make them all black. We're going to have three boxes in this particular design. So I'm going to set up my three boxes now, the middle box is going to be white.

And now we put our words in. So you'll notice that I'm just rotating my words a little bit. I'm also going to add a lift effect. So you go to the effects menu over to lift and put that in. Put the rest of the text in. What we want is sort of the box to be not too much bigger than the text.

And I like to rotate my boxes a bit. So, it just adds another element of visual interest, really to the boxes. You'll notice the middle box is white with red text, the other two boxes are black but top box has white text and the bottom box is going to be bright yellow. So it's good to have things that just mix up that visual interest to say that what we're trying to do with a thumbnail is to draw attention and get people to read the thumbnail.

You normally don't want more than three words on a thumbnail, I try and use three to four. In this case the watch me is you know it's not going to stand out there people gonna barely see that, but it just makes more sense then make this thumbnail to me so that's why it’s there – I’m going to make the word thumbnail bright yellow doesn't match any of my colors- we're trying to stand out a bit here. And I'm going to also just make sure that the order of my boxes is okay so that the that the ‘this’ stands out.

Right. You're gonna have to play with some of your elements. You'll notice that my photos… you don't want boxes over your face. And I actually want to make a few changes here because I think I prefer a more of a yellowish logo I think the white doesn't stand out enough so back up to the effects into Duotone, back up to the adjustments and re-blur everything there.

Yeah, I think that looks a lot better.

Alright so the rest of this is just really, I suppose, Positioning. Oh, I forgot the arrow, we're going to put the arrow in. So, once again, elements, search for an arrow. I want to really draw attention to the word ‘this’ on this thumbnail that's that's really the center and the focal point so I create one arrow that's black, and I'm going to just copy and paste it. Get a white arrow, reposition it over the top, it just adds a bit of depth and helps it stand out from the background.

Yeah, I'm really not happy with the way those words are sitting so what I'm going to do, just basically, is select all the words – select everything all together.

And then we can click and drag it now to select in Canva sometimes it's painful when the word and the text box is the same size as the box the background.

So I'll just offset my words a little bit, and then move it, shrink it do whatever you like to it, and then just drag the text back to where it's meant to go. Yeah it's a lot easier that way.

Okay, so give it a title, the title should be a key word. And in this particular case I'm tossing up whether the arrow should be white, or whether the arrow should be yellow.

So what I do is I prepare both options, and then have a look in the thumbnail at a thumbnail level and see which one I think is going to be more catchy. In fact, if you want to tell me which one you think is more catchy, let me know in the comments.

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