How To Add A Border In Canva (To Images, Shapes & Text!)

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With the help of Canva, adding a border is easy and will give a basic picture or design a fun and professional touch. This is possible with minimal design experience or skills required.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how easy creating a border can be, along with tips to add a border to text, shapes, and cut-out images in Canva.

Let’s get started!

How To Border A Design In Canva

There are a few ways you can add a border to your design in Canva. Some people take the time to create their own borders using basic elements, and others import custom-made borders.

For now, let’s talk about the most time-effective way to create one.

Step 1: Search For “Borders”

You can create a border using basic elements. However, searching for a completed frame in Canva’s collection of elements is much faster. 

First, click on the Elements tab. Then, in the search bar, type Borders. Then hit Enter

Step 2: Find The Perfect Border 

There are two different types of borders that you can find in Canva: Graphic borders and Photo borders. Both types have their strengths and weaknesses. 

Click on See All next to the group you want to browse to see all your choices.

In the Photos section, you will find a ton of detailed borders that would take a long time to create if you were to make them yourself. 

Unfortunately, there is a downside to the photo borders. 

These borders are useful if your frame size is the same as your design. If the two sizes don’t match or even come close, it is tough to stretch the border to fit your design. 

So instead, graphic borders are often the best way to go, as you have more options to customize your border. 

Step 3: Pick Your Border Color

When you add your border to your canvas, there’s a good chance it won’t be the correct color. 

To change the color of your border, click on your border to select it, then click on the Color Picker at the top of the page. From here, you can choose from all of the available colors that Canva provides. 

Step 4: Rotate Your Border 

There will also be times when you will need to adjust the positioning of your border. You can do this with the Rotate button. 

Select your border to reveal the Rotate button. It will either be at the bottom of your border or on one of the sides. 

Click and hold onto the Rotate button, then use the measurement guides that pop up to help you align your border to 90 degrees

Step 5: Strech Out Your Border

The last step in this process is stretching your border in place. 

Line your border up to one of the corners of your design. Then pull the opposite corner handle toward the opposite side of your design. 

If the border doesn’t fit, you may have to adjust the border slightly with the other side handles. If this doesn’t work, you may have to search for another border. 

How To Border An Image In Canva

Creating a border around a specific image is a bit more complicated, but it’s worth the trouble. There are a lot of designers who won’t take the time to use the technique I’m about to show you. That just means that your design will stand out more than the others. 

Step 1: Duplicate Your Image 

Before you duplicate your image, if you have a border around your design that’s in the way, you should quickly move it. The best way to do that is to make a page below your current one, then drag your border to that page. 

You can drag your border back to your current page after you’ve finished your edits. 

Now that your border is out of the way, duplicate your image by clicking the Duplicate button. You will use the duplicate image to isolate the object to add the border too.

Delete all the other elements of your current design on the duplicated copy, so only the image remains. 

Step 2: Use The Background Remover To Isolate Your Image 

To create the appearance of a border around a specific part of your image, you need to erase everything that surrounds that specific part. That’s where the background remover comes in. 

Note: The background remover is only available to Canva Pro users. If you do not have Canva Pro, you will have to remove the background of your image with another program. 

To start, select your image, then click Edit Image. Scroll down the left panel until you find Background Remover. Click on it. 

Canva will get to work immediately. Removing the background from your image will take only a few seconds. 

Canva usually does a good job of removing your background. If something goes wrong, you can fix any problems that Canva may have made with the Erase and Restore buttons. 

When you’re ready, click Apply

Step 3: Add A Background Behind Your Cut-Out Image 

If you envision your border being white or any light color, you will want to add a small background behind your cut-out image. This will help you see your border while you are editing it later. 

Note: If you plan for your border to be dark, you can skip this step. 

To add your small background, click on the Elements tab, then search for Lines & Shapes. Click on the square shape. This will place a square on your canvas. 

Stretch the square, so it covers the entire cut-out image. 

Now you need to send your square back one layer by clicking the Position button, then clicking Backward. You can also press Control + [ (Win) or Command + [ (Mac)

Step 4: Add The “Glow” Effect To Your Image 

Select your image to start creating the border, then click Edit Image

Scroll down the left panel until you find the Shadows section. Click on Glow. If you can’t find it, click See All to find the effect. 

Step 5: Adjust The Glow Effect

Click on the Glow Effect again to open the settings options. The first two options you should always adjust first when creating a border around an image are the Transparency and Blur options. 

For Transparency, make sure to adjust the slider to 100. This slider affects how much you can see through your border. 

Set the Blur to 0. You don’t want any blur to your border, at least at first. 

With your Transparency and Blur set, you can change the color of your border with the Color Picker

The last option to adjust is the size of your border. This option depends on your image and how you want your final design to look. You can change the size of your border with the Size slider. 

One last step thing. Sometimes the edges of your border feel a bit jaggy. To fix this, adjust the Blur slider to a 1 or a 2. Anything more than that will create too much blur and potentially ruin the effect. 

When you’re finished making your edits, click the Apply button. 

Step 6: Drag Your Cut-Out Image To Your Original Page

The border around your image is now complete. You can now drag your cut-out image from page 2 to page 1

You should easily place your cut-out image on top of the original. 

You can also delete page 2 by clicking the Trash Can icon. 

Step 7: Move The Border For Your Image Back In Place 

You can now drag your main border back to your design. It should be easy to put it back in place. 

Creating Borders Around Text & Shapes In Canva

It’s easy to think that adding a border to text and shapes is the same process as adding a border to your project or image. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

Both text and shapes have more steps/different steps to add a border. 

Adding A Border To A Shape

If you select your shape, you’ll notice that the edit button is missing. This is because only images can reveal the Edit Image button. 

So if you have a shape that you want to add a border to, you will first need to convert the shape element to an image. 

To do this, click the Duplicate Page button to make a duplicate page of your image/design below your original. 

Select and delete every element on the duplicated page except for the shape to which you want to add a border.

If your shape is white, it can be tough to see against the blank background. Select it to reveal a purple outline. This will confirm that your shape is the only element left on the page. 

Next, click the Share button, then select Download.

Make sure you download your image as a PNG, and the Transparent Background box is ticked on. Then, click Download

Your image is now downloaded to your hard drive. You can either drag your downloaded image into the Uploads tab or click the Upload Files button and navigate to your downloaded image. 

Once your image is uploaded to Canva, click it to add it to your canvas. 

Now that your image is on the canvas, you can delete the original shape. 

Next, line your image up with the corner of your design. Then pull the opposite corner handle to the opposite corner of your design.  

Your image should fill the area perfectly. 

Now that your image is in place, you can treat it like any other image to which you would add a border. 

As a quick reminder, select your image first and click Edit Image. Select the Shadows effect, which you may find in the recently used section. 

Select the Glow effect, then click it again to adjust the settings. 

In the settings, make sure the Transparency is 100, and the Blur is 0 (or 1 or 2). Pick out the color of your border, and adjust the size to your liking. 

Click Apply when you’re ready. 

You now have a border around your shape that fits it perfectly. This technique will work even with the most bizarre shapes you can create. 

Adding A Border To Text

Adding a border to a text element is entirely different from other elements. 

To start, select your text, then click Effects. Out of the list of available effects, select Splice

The Splice effect works by creating a shadow with no transparency at a 45-degree angle off of your text.

To pull off the effect of a border around your text, ensure that the Offset setting is set to 0

Now the shadow part of the splice effect is in the center of your text. Use the Color Picker to set a color for the center of your text. 

As for the other settings, you can leave the Direction setting alone. For the Thickness, adjust this setting to what works best for you. 

When you’re done, click anywhere on the canvas to confirm your choices. 

To change the border’s color, click on the Color Picker at the top of the screen. You can then choose any color that works best for you. 

Also, if the thickness of your border needs changing, you can always select your text, click Effects and adjust the Thickness slider to where you need it. 

You now know how to add a border to your design, an image, a shape, and text. 

Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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