How to Make a Custom Youtube Thumbnail – Easy Tutorial for Designer Dummies

I am going to say it exactly like it is. I am a designer dumbo. So if you want to know how to make a custom Youtube Thumbnail and you are not a very bright spark when it comes to design you have really come to the right place.

The images I design aren’t the best but they are good enough. I don’t have to pay a graphic designer which is a huge financial saving, and I also don’t have to wait for anything anymore which is also great.

I wouldn’t say that my images are anywhere near as good as what they could be though.

how to create a custom youtube thumbnail

Before I show you how to make a custom Youtube Thumbnail I just want to explain quickly why it is so important.

The first reason is that when you upload a video to Youtube they will automatically choose 3 screenshots from your video that you can then choose from to use as your thumbnail. I can promise you that each and every shot they have chosen for me must be the worst images in the entire video, especially when my face is in it. For me it has never been about choosing the nicest image, it has been a case of choosing the best of the worst.

The one occasion it was so bad I didn’t want to publish my video. The good side of that is that it forced me to learn how to create a Youtube Thumbnail.

The other reason is that even if the 3 images that Youtube chooses for you are nice, they will most likely never be as good as a special custom made thumbnail right? Your Thumbnail is one of the biggest reasons someone is going to click on your video. So try and make it stand out.

Also consider Pinterest and how a Youtube Thumbnail is shareable on Pinterest… you want it to look good right? And if you embed a Youtube video on your WordPress post the thumbnail is what will show to your readers.

How to Make a Custom Youtube Thumbnail

The website I use to make my Youtube thumbnails is Canva. It is the simplest and easiest way to do it. Yes I agree there are much better design programs like Photoshop… if you know how to use Photoshop and you are an ace at that, this article is not for you. This is for people like me that have tried Photoshop and will never understand it. My sister is a graphic designer and she has spent loads of times showing me how to use Photoshop.

There is something in my brain that is just not connecting the dots and I don’t think it ever will. Besides I like writing, this is what I want to spend my time doing. I don’t want to spend my time pulling my hair out over an image!

Ok so back to Canva… you can just sign in with your Facebook account. It is that simple and easy. It is free but there are some paid options you can choose while designing. There are some lovely paid images and other features but I have always gotten by without paying anything.

On the home page you will see an option to choose your own dimensions or you can just scroll down the page to find the image size you want and they are named according to what you want to do with it. So scroll down until you see the one called Youtube Thumbnail. Click on that and your blank image will appear.

On the left hand side you have all the options to change the background, upload your images, add text and many other cool features. I suggest you go and play around.

Watch my video to see how quick and easy it is.


Have you found a quick and easy way to make a custom Youtube thumbnail? What is your experience with designing images? Leave a comment to join the discussion!

Are you wanting to learn everything you possibly can about online marketing? This article is a MUST read for you!


Lynne Huysamen

Mommy to a pigeon pair, blogger and online marketer. Lover of chocolate, good books and buckets of coffee.


  1. Hi Lynne,

    I’ve been doing affiliate marketing and other types of business online for quite a while now, I’ve yet to take the plunge and move in to the video arena though!

    I must admit when I have looked in to it, it’s always sounded quite complex with thumbnails etc. I’m glad to hear there are ways to make this process simpler!

    Any high level tips for anyone new to promoting their business via online video?

    • Hi Nate

      Oh no, I am a real dumbo when it comes to things like graphics which is why I shared this. It really is so simple and easy to do.

      Yes I have loads of tips and I will be sharing them all, I have just started video marketing this year and I am loving it. I think the main thing is to just get started.

      I published this training tutorial on Youtube at Wealthy Affiliate, you can access it if you are a free member.

  2. I am always trying to stay abreast of good online business opportunities, both for myself, and for other people. Your blog in general provides some great tips and techniques for online entrepreneurs. I never realized how important Youtube thumbnails actually were until your article, and I do agree that Canva is an awesome and easy to use tool for composing graphic documents. I will bookmark your post should I need to create a Youtube thumbnail in the near future. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    • Hi Ciandress

      It is a pleasure, yes a Youtube Thumbnail is important and if you don’t know to choose one or add your own custom one Youtube will just allocate one for you and it will most likely be terrible.

      I also wonder how much it affects ranking naming your image as your keyword? I am not sure if this makes a difference of not, but I always do it anyway. All my videos have ranked really well, so it certainly can’t hurt doing it.

  3. I just finished reading your article on How to Make a Custom Youtube Thumbnail. It was a great read.
    I am new to the online business scene and I had never realized the value in a YouTube thumbnail until I found your post. However it does make a lot of scenes.
    I found your How To portion to be very helpful, and I wanted to say thanks!

    • Hi Brendon¬†

      Welcome to working online! I am glad you found this a helpful tutorial. I always make a custom Youtube thumbnail. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.