How to Create Printable Polaroid-Style Photos Using Canva

Polaroids have made a comeback. Whether it’s for nostalgia or the aesthetic retro look, these instant film photos aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

However, they can be pricey to produce—a Polaroid Go or Instax Mini Link isn’t in everyone’s budget. But you don’t need any of that. You can create a DIY Polaroid photo with Canva in no time. Let’s show you how.

How to Create and Print a Polaroid Photo With Canva

You can easily make a printable Polaroid-looking photo from scratch in Canva. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A digital photo
  • A regular inkjet printer
  • Photo paper (we went with Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II)
  • Scissors

Head to the Canva website and log in (or sign up if you haven’t already). On the homepage, click Create a design and choose your canvas size. The dimensions don’t matter too much; 1000 x 1000 px should do. You can also use centimeters or inches if you want a better estimate of the size of the photo later on.

Drag and drop your photo onto the canvas from your computer. You can also go to Uploads > Upload files, select the photo from your computer, and drag it onto the canvas from the left panel. Don’t crop or rotate it just yet.

Uploading Photo to Canva and Searching Elements

Head to Elements on the left panel and type “polaroid frame” in the search bar. Select any one of the frames with a transparent background and drag it onto the canvas. Don’t worry about aligning it with the photo right now.

Drag Polaroid Element Onto Canva Canvas

The canvas background is white by default. Because you’re going to print and cut your Polaroid, you need to create a more noticeable line between the white Polaroid frame and the background for easier cutting.

You could change the background color, though that would be a waste of ink. So use this quick trick: select the frame, select Edit image at the top, scroll to Shadows, apply the first one, Glow, and hit Apply.

This will create an outline around the frame so you can quickly and precisely cut it. Note that it might leave a slight shadow on the inside of the frame as well; you can reduce the size and intensity by clicking on Glow again.

Adding Glow Shadow to the Canva Element

If you’re using a color frame, the above wouldn’t be necessary.

Now you can start aligning the photo and the frame. Use the white dots to crop, rotate, and resize both of them, and then drag them so your photo fits perfectly in the frame.

Rotating, Cropping, Resizing, and Grouping in Canva

You might not be able to nail the exact size of a real Polaroid photo, but you can estimate. First, group your Canva elements: drag the cursor over the frame and photo and select Group.

Look up the standard size of the type of Polaroid frame you used, then resize the group selection to match, using your canvas size as a guideline. It won’t be precise, but it won’t be too far off either.

Download Canva Polaroid Photo as PDF Print

Once you’re happy with the alignment and the size, you’re ready to print. Select Share in the top right and click on Download. Under File type, select PDF Print, check Flatten PDF, then hit Download. Select where to save the PDF file on your computer.

Make sure your printer is on and connected, and put in your photo paper. Open the PDF file in your PDF reader and print it from there as you normally would. Depending on your system, you can probably adjust the size, position, and orientation if needed.

Print Settings for DIY Polaroid

Once it’s printed, cut on that shadow outline we applied earlier, and there you have it—your DIY Polaroid photo! To avoid empty space and save on photo paper, create multiple Polaroids in the same canvas using the steps above.

To make it sturdier like a real Polaroid, glue the cutout to a piece of cardboard of the same size, and cover it with self-adhesive clear plastic so the ink doesn’t rub off over time.

How to Create a Polaroid Photo With Canva Templates

If you want something a little more artistic, use a template. On the homepage, type “polaroid” in the search bar, and scroll through the results until you see something you like. Click the template and then hit Customize this template.

Open Polaroid Template on Canva

Once in the editor, you can go ahead and delete the photo in the template since you’re going to insert your own. Select it and click the trashcan icon. Then, bring your photo onto the canvas.

Send Canva Element Backward in Layer Stack

Left-click on your photo, select Arrange, and keep selecting Send backward until the photo is right behind the frame but in front of the background and any other elements. Use the white dots to resize, crop, or rotate it so it fits in the Polaroid frame.

From here, you can customize the picture however you please. You can change the frame color, add a cool Canva font, bring in fun elements, or switch up the background.

Final Result of Canva Polaroid Template

You can print this design, but with the background and other elements, it will look more like a scrapbook print than a Polaroid photo. This one is best for sharing online. If you want to get creative, add your Canva design to a mug.

Make Your Own Polaroids With Canva

Polaroids are cool, but the cost of producing real ones can stack up quickly. If you have a printer at home and a few minutes on your hands, make your own Polaroid photos with Canva.

With a Canva Pro account, you can save your design as a template and keep using it for multiple photos—you can create a DIY Polaroid photo album or use them for any other creative project.


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
 🤝 | Let's Grow Together.

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