Learn how to use Canva templates and rock your social media followers with the amazing free graphics Booklist Queen provides.
Have you ever been on social media and been blown away by an amazing graphic? The world has moved far beyond creating images in Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. With programs like Canva, graphic design has never been easier.
Yet, when you try to do it, you can’t seem to figure out how to make it look so nice. Even with a template, it can be hard to know where to start.
At Booklist Queen, I often create social media templates for readers to share their reading challenge progress or reading wrap-ups.
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use Canva templates to update the annual reading challenge checklist graphic. This will get you comfortable using Canva. Before you know it, you’ll be using Canva like a pro and designing your own graphics for all your needs.
What is Canva?
While some bloggers can get away without using polished graphics, most readers nowadays expect sleek visuals to accompany your posts. While there are plenty of options out there, I exclusively use Canva to create my visuals. Literally every single image you see on the blog was run through Canva.
Canva is a free program you can use on your browser or in the app. The browser version has much more flexibility, but it can be handy to have access to your account on your phone.
Included in the free version are thousands of stock photos and design templates and elements. You can choose the dimensions of your graphic or use preset dimensions such as sizes for posters, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, etc. I always suggest starting with the offered templates, then playing around by mixing and matching elements to create your own design.
For most users, a free Canva account is more than adequate for your needs. However, if you do a lot of design work, I recommend upgrading to Canva Pro. A paid account will grant you access to millions of stock images. For me, unlimited folders to organize all my templates and uploads saves me time as I sort through the thousands of book covers I use on a regular basis.
Canva Design Screen Tutorial
Let’s go over what your screen will look like when you to edit your design on your desktop. You have the same options in the app, but the placement of your taskbars will be different. Let me give you a quick tutorial of the various options.
On a desktop, the far left is the main taskbar. This is the menu you will use to scroll through to access photos, videos, change the background, and add elements such as text boxes and stickers. To access the main taskbar on the app, just click the “+” button on the bottom left of your screen.
Main Taskbar options:
- Design – Here you will find premade templates that correspond to your graphic dimensions. You can quickly access pre-saved design styles.
- Elements – Stock Photos, shapes, lines, grids, videos, emojis, and stickers. You’ll find all the little design elements under this tab.
- Text – Add a text box, choose your fonts, or use a predesigned text graphic here.
- Brand – Access templates and design elements saved for your specific brand here.
- Uploads – This is where all your uploaded photos and videos reside.
- Draw – Draw directly onto your graphic with this option.
- Projects – Access your already saved projects and folders in this tab.
- Apps – Third-party options you can use.
- Background – Change your graphic’s background color or add a photo or video background.
When you click on your design, an editing taskbar will appear above it on desktop and below it on the app. This is for easy access to reconfigure your design.
Editing Taskbar options:
- Font – Change your font. (Not all fonts are available on a free account.)
- Font size
- Text color
- Uppercase – Change text to all uppercase, all lowercase, or mixed case
- Alignment – Left, right, center, or justified
- Spacing – Letter spacing and line spacing
- Effects – Text effects such as shadow, lift, outline
- Animate – Add animations to your graphic
- Position – Move an element up or down
- Copy Style
- Lock Position
How to Use Canva Templates
I find the desktop version of Canva the easiest to use. Since your screen is bigger, more menus and taskbars are visible on the side, making navigating the program easier. However, you can also do all these steps on the app on your phone.
Canva also has premade templates which will help you create professional graphics. However, in this tutorial, I’m going to teach you how to edit a template that has been shared with you.
Because Canva is web-based, you can access it anywhere you have the internet. All of your files are automatically saved, so you don’t have to worry about losing your work.
Open the Canva Template
Now that you are comfortable with the options in Canva, let’s learn how to use Canva templates. For our example, let’s use the 2024 Reading Challenge Checklist (Vertical).
Once you click on the link, a webpage will open saying that Booklist Queen has shared a Canva template with you.
Select the “Use Template for a New Design” button on the bottom of that page.
If you aren’t already, Canva will prompt you to sign into your account or to create a new account.
Add a Book Cover to the Canva Template
Now that we have our template open, let’s edit it to add the books you have read for the reading challenge.
First, find the Reading Challenge prompt that you want to add a cover for. Let’s say, I want to do #2: A Goodreads Winner in 2023. I’ve read the book Weyward by Emilia Hart and I want to add the cover into my graphic.
Before we get started, I need to upload the book cover into Canva.
- Search for and save a copy of the book cover on your device. Book covers are generally considered fair use. You could also take a picture of the book.
- On the main taskbar (left side of the screen for desktop, “+” button on app), go to “Uploads.”
- Select “Upload Files” and upload the book cover image.
Now let’s add that book cover onto your graphic.
- Find the numbered box in the grid for your book cover.
- Delete the number in the text box. (i.e., delete the “2” in the grid)
- Select “Uploads” on the main taskbar.
- For a desktop, with your mouse, drag the book cover until it is on top of the empty grey box. If positioned correctly, the book cover will snap to fit perfectly into the grid.
- On the app, select the picture you want to use. It will appear on top of your graphic. Drag the picture until it hovers over the empty grey box. If positioned correctly, the book cover will snap to fit perfectly into the grid.
Your book cover is now perfectly saved into the grid. Keep doing this for any book covers you want to add. Once you are finished, you can click “Share” to download your image or share directly to your social media accounts.
If you want, you can edit the template further. Change the grey boxes to red. Switch from black text on a white background to white text on a black background. Replace the top image. Feel free to make it your own. Just try to leave the Booklist Queen logo since it’s the Booklist Queen Reading Challenge.
Get Free Canva Templates
Want to share your progress on social media with amazing graphics?
Newsletter subscribers also get access to a collection of social media templates through Canva.
Whether you want the full checklists, monthly challenges, single book reviews, or to share your monthly wrap-up, I’ve got you covered with easy-to-use templates. Just throw in your book covers and share them on your social media account!
Did You Already Know How to Use Canva Templates?
Do you use social media to share your reading? What other struggles to you have with Canva or social media? Let me know in the comments