It’s the new year, you’re full of hope and ambition, you’ve set big goals, and you’ve chosen your “word of the year.” (If you haven’t chosen a word of the year, try it! Pick a theme word to motivate and inspire you through the year–it can be a powerful practice!) Now it’s time to keep that word front and center by putting it in the one place we look at all damn day–our cell phones! In today’s tutorial, I’m showing you how to create a cell phone wallpaper background using my favorite free design tool, Canva.
I do this to display my word of the year in a pretty way on my iphone. But you can use the same technique to create any kind of background you want! Check out the video tutorial:
More of a reader than a watcher? Here are the basics:
How to make cell phone wallpaper using Canva
Step 1 – Create a new design using your own dimensions
Most iphone screen dimensions have a 9:16 ratio, but since they’re vertical, we can’t just use the widescreen templates that Canva gives us. So we have to click “use custom dimensions” and enter our own. Use 1080 pixels for the width and 1920 pixels for the height for most iphones (iphone 5 and newer. And if you’re using an iphone older than that, please share your secrets with me! I can barely make it a year without doing something crazy to mine!) Many android phone screens also use these dimensions, but if yours doesn’t you can easily find your dimensions by googling the type of phone you have and “screen dimensions.”
Step 2 – Place a photo or other background design
I wanted to make a pretty watercolor background, so I searched “watercolor” in the Canva search bar. I skipped over all the pretty ones that cost $1 and chose an ugly looking gray one. But guess what! You can change the color to ANYTHING you want! Just click the little square in the upper left corner and pick your color.
Step 3 – Place your text and make it pretty
You can choose a pre-designed text element or just click “add a little bit of body text” and write your word. Change the font, color, and size to your liking. I rotated mine a few degrees to put it at a fun angle, too. Drag your word around and place it wherever you like on your background. I avoid the bottom because the apps at bottom of my iphone would block the words.
Step 4 – Download and send to your phone.
To download your design, click the download button in the upper right corner. PNG is usually the best choice! (I’ve noticed the resolution is better than JPGs when downloading from Canva.) Next, we’ve got to get our our wallpaper designs to our phones! If you have a mac and an iphone you can use airdrop to send files between devices. But if you don’t, you can email your image to yourself. Just open a new email, and attach your design!
Step 5 – Open on your phone and set as wallpaper.
To save an image to your phone from your email, go into your email and open the attachment. Look for a little download symbol. Click that and it will save to your camera roll!
Now go to your photos and open up your new design. To set your image as your wallpaper on an iphone, click the “share” button (it’s a box with an arrow pointing up) and choose “use as wallpaper.” On Android phones, tap and hold the home screen and select “wallpapers,” then choose your photo! You can set your cell phone wallpaper to be your lock screen (what shows up when your phone is locked), the background image behind your apps, or both!
Voila! Now you have your word of the year (or your New Year’s Resolution, your big goals, a photo collage of your kids… whatever you decided to design) right on your phone to remind you of your priorities and keep you motivated and inspired!
Want to learn more about how to use Canva? Join me for my free Canva Crash Course starting January 22nd!
Want to learn more about Canva?
My FREE Canva Crash Course will teach you how to design like a pro!
In this free, step-by-step course, you'll learn learn how to...
- Customize templates and change colors
- Upload photos and find free stock photos
- Edit text and fonts
- Use icons and illustrations
- Create dynamic designs with shapes and lines.
The next round starts January 22nd!