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 as your thumbnail or upload your own custom thumbnail image. Since thumbnails are meant to grab viewers' attention and entice them to click on the video to watch it, it can be superĀ helpful to use some kind of thumbnail maker tool that allows you to add text, icons, shapes and other images to your thumbnail so that it really stands out.

According to YouTube, only accounts that have been verified or have access to the live streaming video feature can have custom thumbnail images uploaded to their videos. Thumbnails should ideally be 1280x720, come in a compatible file format (JPG/GIF/BMP/PNG), be less than 2MB in size and have an aspect ratio of 16:9.

Many of the free tools available for making YouTube thumbnails have these image sizes and formats worked into their platforms so you don't have to worry about resizing or reformatting later. Here are a few of the best free thumbnail makers to check out.

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Canva
Screenshot of Canva.com

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 tap the More button beside the list of design options to see al options and 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.

Compatibility:

  • Web
  • iPhone/iPad
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Fotojet
Screenshot of Fotojet.com

Fotojet is another free graphic design tool that looks and functions extremely 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 on the righthand side and bottom of the screen, which is is perhaps the biggest downside to using this tool, but you can get rid of them by upgrading to Fotojet Plus.

Compatibility:

  • Web
  • Google Chrome Web Browser
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Adobe Spark
Screenshot of Adobe.com

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 Adobe Spark's 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 Adobe Spark 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.

Compatibility:

  • Web
  • iPhone/iPad
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Snappa
Screenshot of Snappa.com

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.

Compatibility:

  • Web
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Backgrounder
Screenshot of Panzoid.com

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 YouTube Video Thumbnail from the Preset type dropdown menu to make sure that your image has all the appropriate sizing and formatting for YouTube.

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 gradiant or a sunburst to make your thumbnail really pop!

Compatibility:

  • Web
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Thumbnail Maker
Screenshots of Thumbnail Maker for YouTube Videos for iOS

The convenience of mobile devices and camera quality they have nowadays makes it easier than ever to record, edit, and upload videos via the official YouTube mobile app. And for those who don't want to have to move to a desktop computer just to create thumbnail images, there are apps like the free Thumbnail Maker for YouTube Videos app 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 and also 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.

Compatibility:

  • iPhone/iPad
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Thumbnail Maker & Banner Maker
Screenshots of Thumbnail Maker & Banner Maker for Android

If you record, edit and upload videos to YouTube from an Android device, you'll want to check out the free Thumbnail Maker & Banner Maker app for Android to help you create great looking thumbnails. As a bonus, this app 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 the app has to offer. Your thumbnail will be automatically sized to fit the image size that YouTube suggests.

Compatibility:

  • Android
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