How to Create Printable Polaroid-Style Photos with Canva

Polaroids are back. Whether it’s for nostalgia or the retro aesthetic, these instant film photos aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

However, they can be expensive to produce – a Polaroid Go or Instax Mini Link is not within everyone’s reach. But you don’t need any of that. You can create a DIY Polaroid photo with Canva in no time. We are going to show you how.

How to Create and Print a Polaroid Photo with Canva

You can easily make a Polaroid-looking printable photo from scratch in Canva. This is what you will need:

  • a digital photo
  • A normal inkjet printer
  • Photo paper (we went for Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II)
  • Scissors

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

Drag and drop your photo onto the canvas from your computer. You can also go to loads > Upload files, select the photo from your computer and drag it onto the canvas from the left panel. Do not crop or rotate it yet.

Upload photo to Canva and search for elements

Go to Items in the left pane and type “polaroid frame” in the search bar. Select any of the frames with a transparent background and drag it onto the canvas. Don’t worry about lining it up with the photo right now.

Drag the Polaroid element onto the Canva canvas

The canvas background is white by default. Since you will be printing and cutting your Polaroid, you should create a more noticeable line between the white frame of the Polaroid and the background to make cutting easier.

You could change the background color, although that would be a waste of ink. So use this quick trick: select the frame, select edit image at the top, scroll to Darknessapply the first, Glowand hit Apply.

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

Adding Glow Shadow to the Canva Element

If you are using a colored framework, the above would not be necessary.

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

Rotate, Crop, Resize, and Group in Canva

You may not be able to pinpoint the exact size from an actual Polaroid photo, but you can estimate. First, group your Canva elements: drag your cursor over the frame and the photo and select Cluster.

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

Download Canva Polaroid Photo as PDF Print

Once you’re happy with the alignment and size, you’re ready to print. Select Share at the top right and click Discharge. Low Type of fileselect Print PDFcheck Flatten PDFthen hit Discharge. Select where to save the PDF file on your computer.

Make sure your printer is turned on and connected, and load 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 necessary.

Print Settings for Polaroid DIY

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

To make it sturdier like a real Polaroid, glue the cutout to a piece of cardboard the same size and cover it with clear self-adhesive 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 stencil. On the home page, type “polaroid” into the search bar and scroll through the results until you see something you like. Click on the template and then press Customize this template.

Open Polaroid Template in Canva

Once in the editor, you can go ahead and delete the photo in the template as you are going to insert your own. Select it and click on the trash can icon. Then, take your photo to the canvas.

Send Canva element back in the layer stack

Left click on your photo, select Arrangeand keep selecting send Backward until the photo is just behind the frame but in front of the background and any other elements. Use the white dots to resize, crop, or rotate to fit the Polaroid frame.

From here, you can customize the image however you like. You can change the color of the frame, add a cool Canva font, add fun elements, or change the background.

Final result of the 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 is the best for online sharing. If you want to get creative, add your Canva design to a mug.

Make your own Polaroids with Canva

Polaroids are great, but the cost of producing real ones can add 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 continue to use it for multiple photos – you can create a DIY Polaroid photo album or use it for any other creative project.