How To Make A Gradient In Canva (Ultimate Guide)

When it comes to using color in graphic design, there’s nothing like a gradient to spice things up. There are tons of software that make it easy to create gradients, but how easy is it to make a gradient in Canva? Actually, easier than you might think. 

Below I will cover how to find the perfect gradient with Canva and how to find a gradient you can customize. I will show you how to create a transparent gradient through the Elements Tab and make one manually. I’ll show you how to form a gradient text with letter frames and give you a quick way to create a gradient border around your entire design. 

How To Create A Basic Gradient In Canva

Unlike other graphic design software, Canva only allows you to use premade gradient layers with your designs. Thankfully, it’s not hard to find one of these gradients that will work great with your project. 

To find one of these premade gradients, click on the Elements Tab, and in the Search Bar, type “Gradient.” 

You now have all of the gradient elements available in Canva at your fingertips. Now you need to select some options to make this easier. First, click on the Filters Button to open the Filters Menu.  

  • Under Orientation, select the option that best matches the size and shape of your design. 
  • For Animation, click Static. The Animated option is for video.
  • For the Cut-out option, just leave it blank. This option isn’t beneficial for gradients. 
  • Under the Price option, click on Free unless you are a paid subscriber to Canva.   
  • When you are finished selecting your options, click on Apply Filters

Once you click on Apply Filters, you will have fewer gradients to pick from, but the gradients left are more tailor-made for your project. 

However, the first thirty or so gradients will be in different shapes and most likely not relevant to you. Scroll down to the gradients that will fit the size of your canvas. 

You should now have tons of gradients available to you that will work with your design. Click on the gradient of your choice, and it will show up on your canvas. 

You also need to make your gradient fill the entire canvas. To do this, use the Corner Handles on each corner of the gradient to stretch it over the entire canvas. 

Now that your gradient is stretched over your entire canvas, you can also rotate it if you wish. Click and hold on the Rotate Button and move your mouse to where you’d like to rotate your gradient. 

Your gradient is now the right size and rotated to where you’d like it to be. Now you need to move this gradient layer behind the other visible elements of your design. 

With your gradient selected, click on the Position Button to see your options. Click on Backward as many times as you need to. Alternatively, you can press Control + [ (Win) or Command + [ (Mac) to move your gradient one layer back. 

If you know that you need your gradient to become your background, you can click on To Back to send the gradient back as far as it can go. Alternatively, you can press Control + Alt + [ (Win) or Command + Option + [ (Mac). 

With your gradient exactly where it needs to be, there’s one last thing to do, adjust the Transparency. 

With your gradient selected, click on the Transparency Icon. You will be presented with a slider that will allow you to adjust the visibility of your gradient to your liking. 

Adding gradients to your designs can be quick and easy using the premade elements in Canva. Try out as many as you need to find the perfect gradient. 

How To Customize A Gradient’s Color 

The gradients in Canva come in two groups: gradients where you can customize the colors and gradients where you can’t. 

Below, I will show you how to find gradients where you can customize what colors are blended together.

To start your search for a customizable gradient, click on the Elements Tab and type “Gradient” in the Search Bar

To better our chances of finding a customizable gradient, click the Filters Button to open the Filters Menu and select Square

There are far more square gradients that are customizable than either vertical or horizontal ones. 

To find a customizable gradient, keep clicking different gradients in the Elements Tab until you see Color Options available.

Once you find a gradient with Color Options available, click on each color block to change its color.

After customizing your gradient, resize it to the size of your design’s canvas.

Position your gradient where you would like it to be with the Position Button.

With your gradient in the right position, adjust the visibility of your gradient with the Transparency Slider

How To Create A Transparent Gradient In Canva 

Sometimes your design needs a gradient that fades into another color, and sometimes you need a gradient that just fades away. 

Below I’ll show you how to create a transparent gradient with a premade element and make one manually. 

– Using The Elements Tab

To find a premade transparent gradient, go to the Elements Tab and type in “Transparent Gradient.” Click on the one that works best with your project, and it will be added to your canvas. 

After adding your gradient, click and drag it to where you need it to be and use the Handles around the gradient to pull it to where it needs to be to achieve the desired effect. 

– The Manual Way

The key to making this work is finding a gradient that allows you to customize the colors. Type in “Gradient” in the Elements Tab and click as many gradients as you need until you find one that gives you the option to customize the colors. 

Once you find a customizable gradient, you can change one color to whatever you would like, but the other color needs to match your background to give the illusion of one color bleeding into the background. 

With the colors all set to go, resize your gradient to fit the canvas as best as possible and then duplicate it with the Duplicate Button or by pressing Control + D (Win) or Command + D (Mac).

Position the second gradient to fill the rest of the canvas. Click on one gradient, hold the Shift Key and click on the other gradient and then press Control + G (Win) or Command + G (Mac) to group them. 

With both gradients grouped, you can then adjust the Transparency or the first color. 

How To Create Gradient Text In Canva 

Yes, it is possible to add a gradient to text in Canva. However, pulling it off is more of a hack than a feature, and it is limited. Still, using this trick can lead to some excellent results if done right. 

Step 1: Place Your Letter Frames

In the Elements Tab, scroll down until you get to the frames section. Click on See All and scroll down until you find frames shaped as letters. 

To create your text on the canvas, select the letters you need to spell out your word(s). 

Each letter will pop up on your canvas, and you can use the purple guidelines to help you resize each letter frame to be the same size. 

Step 2: Choose Your Gradient

With your letter frames in place, search “Gradient” in the Elements Tab.  Browse the gradient collection until you find the perfect one. 

Once you pick one out, drag it to your canvas and over your first layer. The gradient will fill in the letter frame. Repeat this process by dragging the same gradient into the remaining letters. 

Step 3: Adjust Each Gradient 

Currently, your design looks like a gradient repeated multiple times instead of a continuous gradient. 

You can fix this by double clicking on the first letter frame, which allows you to move the gradient. For the first letter, move the gradient all the way to the left.   

Repeat this process with the rest of your letter frames, using your judgment to place the gradients in a way that will give the illusion of a flawless color transition. 

Step 4: Move Your Gradient Text To Your Final Design

Your text is almost ready to transport. The last thing to do is click and drag your mouse around your entire text to select it all and click on the Group Button. This will make it easier to move text around. 

Copy the text by pressing Control + C (Win) or Command + C (Mac), and then paste it into your final product by pressing Control + V (Win) or Command + V (Mac). 

How To Create A Gradient Border Or Frame 

Sometimes your design needs a border to put a bow on top of it all. This is how to create a gradient border that will fit perfectly with your design. 

Step 1: Place Your Gradient 

To make the perfect border size, add a page to your design by clicking the Add Page Button. This page can be used as a workspace. 

Find a gradient that you like by searching for the gradient in the Elements Tab or using a recently used gradient that’s available to you. 

Next, click on your gradient to place it. Make it fill the canvas by stretching it with the Corner Handles

Step 2: Add A White Rectangle

Now that the gradient is in place, we need to add a square to the canvas. Click on the Elements Tab and find the Lines & Shapes. Click on the square to add on to the Canvas. 

Make sure that the square is white, and then stretch it out so that only a small amount of the gradient is visible around the entire design. 

Step 3: Download And Then Upload The Frame

Once your design looks like a frame around the edges, click the Share Button and then the Download Button. Set the File Type to PNG and ensure that you have the Current Page selected under Select Pages before clicking Download

With your frame downloaded, click on Upload Media to find it, or drag it from the Download Bar into the Uploads Tab

Once the frame is uploaded to Canva, go back to your original design and click on the newly uploaded frame. This will drop your frame onto the canvas.  

Step 4: Remove The Background And Place Your Frame

With your frame on the canvas, select it, click on Edit Image, and then click on BG Remover to remove the background (or white square in this case). 

Finally, move your frame to one of the corners of your design and pull from the opposite corner to stretch your frame around the entire design.

The frame will be the correct size for your project since you used the same page size when creating it. 


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Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

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