Easy Custom Headers with Canva

Refresh your blog in a snap with a custom header you create in Canva.

Create a free custom header at <a href="http://canva.com">Canva</a>

It’s late spring, your site is overdue for a makeover, and you don’t know where to start. Sound familiar? Creating a new custom header is one way to refresh your site’s look and inject a fresh spark of personality at the same time.

We’ve explored Pablo and Canva, two free tools to create custom images to use in image widgets and site headers, and to unify your brand across your social profiles. Today, we’ll go deeper and learn how to create a custom header using Canva in under ten minutes flat. Are you ready? Here we go!

Get your site’s header’s dimensions

Heather Armstrong, who blogs at Dooce, changes her header once per month. Here’s her archive of often hilarious mastheads.

Go to My Site(s) → Customize → Header Image. If your theme supports a custom header, you’ll see a message stating the optimal image size. Note that my header image below is 960 pixels wide x 180 pixels tall:

Note: you can also find key specs and dimensions for your theme at the bottom of its showcase page.


Create a Canva account

Next, create an account with Canva. For a quick peek around, browse various tutorials or resources like color palettes, font combinations, and even design courses. Otherwise, let’s dive right in.

Set your site header’s dimensions

Once logged into Canva, click on Use custom dimensions to set the image size you’ll create:

I’ve entered 960 x 180:

Choose a background

Once you’ve set your image size, poke at the different backgrounds available. You’ll see a preview of your image on the right-hand side. You can use one of the free patterns, select a solid color, or click on the “plus” symbol to reveal a color wheel. You can click anywhere on the wheel or enter the hex value for the color you’d like. I went with a lighter orange background with a funky circular pattern in it:

Add some text

Next up, add some text to your new custom header. Here, I’ve clicked and dragged one of the sample text options on to my background. You can adjust the font, size, and color as you see fit:

Play with graphical elements

Canva offers plenty of free images to choose from, and you can also upload your own. Here’s a resource of high-quality, free-to-use stock photographs.

Next, I added a fun little “voice bubble” (also a free element you can click and drag under the text options). And finally, for a little visual interest, I searched dog illustrations and chose the universal symbol for barking dog. There are plenty of free images and illustrations to choose from, so with a little time you can mess around and create the look that’s just right for your blog’s brand and your personality:

Download your image

Once you’re satisfied (and you can easily get lost for hours playing around with Canva — it’s that much fun), click on the Download button in Canva’s main menu and save your new custom header as an image in a location on your computer:

Upload your new header

Go to My Site(s) → Customize → Header Image and click Add new image to upload your new custom header. Finally, click Publish to add your new header to your site:

Keep playing, keep experimenting

Canva has free design tutorials on design elements such as fonts, color, images, backgrounds, shapes, and more.

This resource scratches the surface of the custom headers you can create with Canva. Now get on over there and start experimenting. Have fun!

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    1. “PAINT” is a great and trusted tool, and it’s $$ right =O . I wanted to mention a couple Newer
      Image and Illustration Software’s that are also FREE … GIMP (Raster/Photo Shop) … Inkscape (Vector)… Free Open Source. … Vgo … Peace

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  1. I love headers and change them pretty often. But I do like them wordless – in my opinion, the images should be clear enough to serve as an intro, so the text in my blog post jumps out.

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  2. Perfect timing for this post – thanks so kindly! I would like a certain pic in my header but due to the # of characters in my site title, it was pushing the bottom of the title slightly below the pic so it looked off. I think the tips in this article will allow me to put together both the title and the pic in one nice & clean shot. Thanks again.


  3. I’m so happy you guys have caught on to Canva! They are the best free/semi-free tool I found to use on the internet last year. I mention this website to everyone I know in graphic design. I even mentioned them in a post in January. I spend a lot of time creating designs on that site. They are fantastic!

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      1. Sometime last year. I’ve recently changed my blog theme so the header I created is no longer being used. What I like most is that you can upload your own pictures and create new graphics. There are so many text fonts too. You can get really carried away once you start using it.

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