7 Free Thumbnail Makers for YouTube Videos

These tools let you get super creative with your YouTube video thumbnails

When you upload a video to YouTube, you have the option to select a still image from your video for the thumbnail or you can upload a custom thumbnail image. Since thumbnails are meant to grab viewers' attention, it's a good idea to use a thumbnail maker tool to add text, icons, shapes, or other images to make your thumbnail stand out.

Here are some of the best free thumbnail makers to check out.

Only verified accounts can add custom thumbnail images for their videos. The ideal thumbnail size is 1280x720 or an aspect ratio of 16:9. It should also be less than 2MB and in any of these file formats: JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG.

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Canva workspace


What We Like
  • Multipurpose tool.

  • Great YouTube support.

What We Don't Like
  • Not focused exclusively on YouTube.

  • Subscription/payment model can hinder productivity.

Canva is one of the most versatile and intuitive design tools out there for all sorts of social media graphics and other types of designs. In addition to having a specific YouTube thumbnail template, you can use the tool to upload your own images to add them to your layout, add custom text, select icons to add from Canva's built-in library and so much more.

Once you've signed up for a free account, simply select the More button beside the list of design options, then scroll down until you get to the section labeled Social Media & Email Headers. This is where you'll find the YouTube Thumbnail template, which you can click on to start designing your own right away.

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Fotojet website
What We Like
  • Good toolkit.

  • Free to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Ads.

  • Online-only experience.

Fotojet is another free graphic design tool that looks and functions similar to Canva, with a YouTube thumbnail layout of its own plus lots of great pre-made designs to choose from. Some pre-made designs are available to paying subscribers only, but there are lots that are free as well.

You can use Fotojet to upload your own images, add custom text, add clipart such as shapes or icons, and, last but not least, customize your background with different colors and designs. There are ads, which is perhaps the biggest downside to using this tool, but you can get rid of them by upgrading to Fotojet Plus.

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Adobe Creative Cloud Express

The interface for Adobe Creative Cloud Express


What We Like
  • Part of the Adobe family.

  • Free template access.

What We Don't Like
  • Basic functionality.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly Adobe Spark) is a free graphic design platform that's also pretty similar to Canva. Unlike Canva, however, you don't have pay to get access to CCEs pre-made thumbnail layouts. You can select one, customize it however you want, and download it when you're done.

One thing you might notice about this platform is that its feature offering is pretty basic. There are no fun shapes or icons to add like there are in Canva, but you do get to customize your layout with your color palette, background components, text, and a few other basic options.

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Snappa website
What We Like
  • Good mix of tools and templates.

What We Don't Like
  • Online only.

  • Heavily restricted free account.

Snappa is a graphic design tool with both free and premium options that offers all sorts of social media templates, including one for making YouTube thumbnails. All you need to do is sign up for a free account before you can start browsing through some of the pre-made YouTube thumbnail layouts or use the blank template to create one from scratch.

Take advantage of Snappa's built-in library of visual icons or upload images yourself to use in your thumbnail. You can also customize the background, add effects, put custom text anywhere you want, create shapes and do so much more to make your thumbnail look exactly the way you want it to look.

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Backgrounder website
What We Like
  • Fast and simple.

  • Free to use.

What We Don't Like
  • Extremely basic, with a limited toolkit.

For a super basic YouTube thumbnail maker tool, Panzoid's Backgrounder could be all that you really need. In the basic settings tab, you can select from the drop-down menu to make sure that your image has all the appropriate sizing and formatting for.

You can choose from a few pre-made layouts (or start one from scratch) and then move on to add and customize new layers. Layers include images you can upload yourself or custom text, plus the option to group layers so that they're easier to move around. As an added bonus, Backgrounder lets you generate a color gradient or a sunburst to make your thumbnail really pop!

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Thumbnail Maker for YouTube Videos

Thumbnail Maker on iOS
What We Like
  • Decent set of features to support deep personalization.

What We Don't Like
  • For iOS devices only.

  • Low App Store rating.

It's now easier than ever to record, edit, and upload videos. For those who don't want to have to move to a desktop computer just to create thumbnail images, there are apps that can be used to make great looking thumbnails in just seconds on any compatible iOS device.

This app lets you upload your own photos to use as backgrounds. It has a selection of pre-made background layouts that you can choose from. From there you can crop your thumbnail image to fit the ideal YouTube thumbnail size and add optional filters, fonts, photos, and even stickers to make it look more eye-catching.

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Thumbnail Maker Android
What We Like
  • Good editing tools.

  • Versatile use—design more than just thumbnails.

What We Don't Like
  • Android only.

  • Not optimized exclusively for thumbnails.

If you record, edit, and upload videos to YouTube from an Android device, you'll want to check out this free app for Android to help you create great-looking thumbnails. As a bonus, it is a two-in-one tool that not only lets you create thumbnails but also banner images for your YouTube channel as well.

Choose from over a hundred pre-made backgrounds, upload your own images to use, enhance the look by applying filter effects, add uniquely crafted typography fonts to your text, and take advantage of the advanced editing tools. Your thumbnail will be automatically sized to fit the image size that YouTube recommends.

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