How to create Instagram Highlight Covers (plus 5 free templates!)

You may have noticed recently that some of your favourite Instagram accounts have jazzed up their Instagram Story Highlights with custom covers. The great news? These are incredibly easy to create, straight from your cell phone.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s what they look like on your Instagram profile – the lovely colored circles that sit on your profile between your bio and your feed:

Today I’m going to show you how you too you can create custom covers for your own Instagram Story highlights.

TIP: Too busy to create your own? Download my pack of free highlight covers below, then scroll to the end of this post to read how to upload them to Instagram.

Click here to subscribe

Before you start:

Before we get started with the design (aka, the fun stuff!) check that your Instagram Stories settings are in order:

  • On your profile, click on the three lines in the top right hand corner
  • Tap Settings 
  • Then tap Privacy
  • Now press Story
  • Turn on Save to Archive

This will come into play a little later on.

Start Designing With Canva

Today we’re designing with Canva, in particular, their mobile app (this has the Story Template that we’re going to customise) and is the exact method I used to create the covers on my Instagram profile.

  • Open the mobile app and scroll through the templates at the top of the screen until you find Your Story.
  • Select the Your Story icon, then select the Blank canvas

Now it’s time to get designing! 

  • To edit the background colour, tap on the blank canvas and a series of swatches will appear.

  • Here you can select from the pre-determined swatches, or click the + button on the first row of swatches to create your own custom hue. Now you can either enter your brand’s colour code (RGB) into the text field, or slide your finger through the gradient to find your perfect tone.

  • Click done and the colour will be applied to the canvas.
  • You now have a coloured canvas to apply your designs to.

  • Now you can apply graphics (icons, shapes, illustrations) to your highlight cover. The first design I created was a Pinterest cover to highlight my Pinterest-related stories.
  • To add icons to your canvas, click the + button on the bottom right of your screen, then select Graphics from the menu

  • Scroll through the library of graphics, and simply tap on your selection to place it onto your canvas (I started with a circle as my base).
  • Be sure to place your graphic directly in the centre of your canvas (Canva automatically provides rulers for this).
  • I kept my circle white, however to change the colour, tap on the graphic, then select a colour from your palette.

  • In this case I used 2 graphics – a circle as my base and a Pinterest icon layered on top. Have fun with your designs to give them your own unique twist.

  • Once you’re happy with your designs click Share, then save your stories to your phone’s Camera Roll.

Time to share your designs! 

In order to set your design as a cover for your Highlights, you need to first share it to your Insta Stories. If you’ve never done this before, follow these steps:

  • From your Instagram app’s home screen swipe right to open Stories
  • Drag your finger down from the top of the screen to open your camera roll
  • Select your graphic from your camera roll
  • Share your graphic

Once your graphic has been posted:

  • Click on your profile image to view your story
  • Click More



  • Click Edit Highlight


  • Click Edit Cover

  • Position the image to be centered

Now that you’ve created one graphic, just repeat the process for your remaining highlights! And be sure to share your designs with me on Instagram @katewilkinsoncreative!

With love,


Click here to subscribe




How to create eye-catching covers for your Instagram Highlights (+ 5 free covers you can download now!)