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5 Free Instagram Story Cover Collections + Tutorial

5 Free Instagram Story Cover Collections + Tutorial

 

If you’re even a casual Instagram user, you know that stories have been the new big thing for a while now. I have to admit, I was very late onto the story train, and even later on saving story highlights. You’ve probably seen your favorite influencer with sleek, coordinated story highlight covers, and you may have wondered where they came from. And now you can instantly transform and spiff up your Instagram profile too! I’ve created a minimalist Instagram story highlight cover collection in 5 different colors for you to download for free. I’ll also provide a brief tutorial so you can make your own custom collection!

Each collection comes with 6 icons—a house, a baby, a leaf, a bow, a cup, and a paintbrush. It also includes one blank color background in case you need to create a different image or just want a plain background.

 

Creating your own is very simple but requires you to have the right tools. I made mine with the Procreate App for the iPad Pro. Other programs that would work are Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Both are available for a free 30 day trial here.

To make your own, create a new canvas in whichever program you choose. Make it 1080x1920px.

Photoshop: Create a new color fill layer in whichever color you want your background. Add a new layer. Use the pen tool (P) to create your shape on the empty layer. Make sure your fill for your pen tool is set to none and make your stroke whatever color you would like your image to be. I liked the thickness at 3pt. You can also import in an image to trace over. Just make sure it’s on a separate layer from your pen tool so you can delete it or turn it off when you want to save your image!

5 free instagram story covers

5 free instagram story covers

5 free instagram story covers

Illustrator: Draw a rectangle (M) to cover your layer. Set the fill color to whatever you’d like your background to be. On a new layer, select the pen tool (P). Under properties, set the fill to none and the stroke to whatever color you’d like your image to be. I found that I preferred the stroke width at 3pt. Draw your image using the pen tool. Just like with photoshop, you can import in a photo to trace over. Just make sure it’s on a separate layer from the one you’re drawing on.

5 free instagram story covers

5 free instagram story covers

Procreate: Drag and drop your background color onto the canvas to fill the layer. Add a new layer. I used the “gel pen” that came with the app. Draw whatever shape you want! I used the symmetry guide for the shapes that were mirrored. Again, you can import in a photo to trace over and delete if wanted.

Save your image as a jpeg and import to your phone.

If you wanted to add a new image to one of the collections I’ve provided, simply import in the blank photo in the desired color and use that as your background in your selected program.

I know this is a brief tutorial. If you have any questions or would like more in depth info, let me know! I am also planning an upcoming post on using the pen tool in Illustrator and Photoshop.

To make your cover, first upload the images to your story. Then, from your profile, select the + by story highlights. Select your image as the cover. You can edit the cover to make sure the art is in the center.

Enjoy how pulled together your Instagram profile looks now with minimal effort!

I would love to have you follow me on Instagram. Drop a comment with your user name and I am happy to follow back!

Get your free story highlights collections below! They are organized by color and you will receive instant access after you complete the form.

Free Instagram Story Covers

Free Instagram Story Covers

5 Big Mistakes You’re Making on Pinterest

5 Big Mistakes You’re Making on Pinterest

Are you harnessing the power of Pinterest for your blog or business? Maybe you’ve heard that you need to be using Pinterest to boost your website traffic, but you’re just not getting results. See if you’re making one of these 5 common mistakes that hurt your Pinterest stats!

I remember discovering Pinterest many years ago and pinning all kinds of random pictures, posts, and crafts. I created silly board names and crafted a Pinterest account that was totally me. However, once I started learning about blogging, I discovered that Pinterest is a powerful tool to get blog posts out in the wild. But, I needed to increase my follower count and profile views to effectively get my pins out. With my disorganized and very specific to me account, there was no way that I would attract any more followers! I’ve now incorporated a few simple strategies that have been steadily gaining me followers and page views. I will share the mistakes I was making with my account and how I fixed them to achieve this!

  1. Having boards and pins that are specific to only you – My boards were very personalized to me, and because I had given them silly names, they weren’t going to turn up in searches accurately. The first step to an attractive Pinterest profile is to curate your boards and pins to appeal to and attract your desired audience. I chose to make all of my personal boards secret, so I can still access them. Then, I brainstormed and came up with boards that related to my blog. I also thought about who I wanted my blog readers to be and tailored my boards and choices to them. I created new boards that I thought would appeal to my audience. I then began filling those boards up with relevant pins.
5 Mistakes You're Making on Pinterest

See all of the silly board names in the bottom example? These boards would not show up in a search because people aren’t searching for “dipstick.” The example on the top is organized, much cleaner, and more likely to show up in a search.

  1. Not pinning consistently – For years as a casual Pinterest user, I would hop on Pinterest when I wanted to find a recipe or craft, save several pins at a time, and then not get back on for days. If you are wanting to increase viewers and followers, this is a poor strategy. You want to show Pinterest that you are an engaged and active user! 30 pins per day is the hallmark for many bloggers. Tailwind, a helpful Pinterest scheduler, has found that pinning more than 50 times every day can be detrimental, so you don’t have to wear yourself thin with pinning! Using a scheduler like Tailwind can also help you keep pinning consistently.
  1. Not having great Pinterest images on your blog – If you only have regular photos on your blog, visitors will be less inclined to pin them and Pinterest users won’t know what the photo is about. In each of your blog posts, make sure to include a long Pinterest image that you and visitors to your site can pin. Pinterest recommends 600x900 as the ideal size. This will create a long, vertical pin that will stand out on Pinterest. Include information about your post and your blog name so that pinners can grow to recognize your blog!
5 Mistakes You're Making on Pinterest

Which image would you be more likely to pin? The one that just shows a picture, or the one that promises to show you exactly how to make what is pictured? Casual scrollers can quickly and easily identify that this is a tutorial with the pin on the left.

  1. Not including multiple pinnable images – This is one I still struggle with! Different people will be attracted to different designs, so creating a couple of different Pinterest images for one blog post can help your post receive more interest. And, you can keep track of any pin styles that work better for your blog and continue to use that design. Canva is a great place to start for great Pinterest images.
  1. Not including keyword rich descriptions – After looking at many different pins, I can tell you that this is one that a lot of people struggle with! You can have the most eye-catching, beautiful image ever, but no one will be able to find it if you don’t include a description with plenty of keywords. Provide a detailed description of your pin with appropriate keywords sprinkled in. And don’t forget to add hashtags! Pinterest very recently began allowing hashtag use in pins.

There is so much to learn in the realm of good Pinterest profile etiquette, and these tips only scratch the surface. However, these are things that you can fix RIGHT NOW that will start giving you results! My pageview and follower count have been climbing up since I’ve implemented these changes. If you have any questions, comment below and I would be happy to help! And I’d be honored to have you check out and follow my boards. I’m happy to follow back if you let me know in the comments!

5 Mistakes You're Making on Pinterest

5 Mistakes You’re Making on Pinterest

3 Easy Steps to a Modern Hoop Wreath

3 Easy Steps to a Modern Hoop Wreath

It seems like every spring and fall bring a flood of gorgeous wreaths into my Pinterest feed.  Nothing shouts “It’s a new season!” like beautiful new decor around your house and front door. If you’ve ever searched for wreaths at the store or online, you probably suffered sticker shock when you first realized how expensive they are! My natural inclination in response to that is to figure out how to make one myself.

A Gorgeous Modern Hoop Wreath

In today’s tutorial, I will show you how to make a lovely, modern floral hoop wreath and I will give you a price breakdown of materials. A floral wreath is also an excellent addition to your Etsy shop and it looks stunning in craft booths, so I will also offer pricing suggestions to help you get started on selling your own wreaths.

A Gorgeous Modern Hoop Wreath

Now for materials! I purchased all of my materials in store at Michaels.

• 14 inch wire hoop

• Assorted flower bunches

• Greenery

• Floral tape

• Glue gun

• Glue sticks

I purchased one bunch of mums and one small, pre-made bouquet that I then took apart. I suggest purchasing flowers when they are on sale, so make sure to keep an eye on that before you purchase! I went when there was a 40% off on fall flowers sale.

A Gorgeous Modern Hoop Wreath

 

Instructions:

  1. Heat your glue gun up so it is ready when you are. Loosely lay your greenery and flowers around and decide on a rough arrangement of what you want.
  2. Start taping down your greenery. I cut the largest branches off of my bunch and taped them down. Make sure to hide the tape under other leaves if it will not be covered by flowers later on.
  3. Once you have the leaves to your liking, move on to the flowers! Cut the flower heads off of their stems. Apply them to the wreath with the glue gun. If the flower was going in a tricky place, I put a small dot of glue just to secure the flower and then flipped the wreath over so I could see better where to add more glue. I worked from the center of my flower bunch outward. I also spaced my flowers very close together to make my wreath more lush.

 

A Gorgeous Modern Hoop Wreath

When you have enough flowers on the wreath, you’re done! I decided to add a ribbon from my stash to the top, but it’s not at all necessary. Hang your wreath and marvel at its beauty!

A Gorgeous Modern Hoop Wreath

If you love arranging flowers and matching unique color schemes together, then perhaps wreath making would be a great source of side income for you. Wreaths of this style sell for $45-55 on Etsy, and at Michaels I saw wreaths selling for $60-80. With tax, my total for this project was $21.21 (I did not count the glue gun and glue stick as those are reusable, general craft items). I also have enough flowers left over for another wreath, which would lower my cost per wreath. The wreath took very little time to put together, so you could potentially net $24-34 per wreath.

Another place to find great wreath materials is Afloral. They have hoops in gold, which I love! Their flowers are more costly but are beautiful and very high quality.

A Gorgeous Modern Hoop Wreath

And that’s the end of this tutorial! I’d love to see your creations—tag @hannah_lynne on instagram! Follow me on Pinterest for plenty of inspiration and don’t forget to subscribe below for the latest content!

3 Easy Steps to a Modern Hoop Wreath

3 Easy Steps to a Modern Hoop Wreath

Make an Easy Watercolor Background on Your iPad or iPhone

Make an Easy Watercolor Background on Your iPad or iPhone

Watercolor backgrounds are a great design element, but you have to have a bit of time and equipment to make them. I found myself wanting some backgrounds in new colors but never having time to get around to creating some. Then, I discovered a way to quickly produce already digitized, transparent watercolor backgrounds! This is a huge timesaver and I will show you exactly how to do it.

In my previous posts, I shared how to make a watercolor background and remove the background in photoshop. To make these quick digital backgrounds, all you’ll need is the free app Adobe Sketch. Then, follow along with the video to create your background!

I also included a quick tutorial to show you how to use this background in Procreate or Photoshop. By using blending modes, you can put your watercolor background in almost anything. This is a great way to make printables and digital downloads that you could sell on Etsy or your website.

Instructions: Download the app “Adobe Sketch” on your iPhone or iPad. You will need to login or create a free Adobe ID. Choose your canvas size and then choose the “watercolor flat brush.” Make your brush pretty big and select your color. Start laying down strokes of your color. You can adjust how saturated the color is by adjusting the “flow.” You’ll notice that the strokes mix and blend as you paint.

Choose different shades and variations of the color you’ve chosen for your background. Blend these shades together by adding small strokes of different shades. When in doubt, keep blending! When you are happy with how the background looks, click the share button. You can send it in layers to your Adobe creative suite if you are a subscriber, or you can share or save your image.

If you want to put your watercolor background into lettering, import the photo into Procreate or Photoshop. Set the blend mode to “Lighten.” Add a layer beneath your watercolor background layer. Anything that you draw or type on this layer in black will reveal the watercolor texture beneath!

How to Make a Watercolor Background on your iPad or iPhone

So there you have it! I promise I won’t always talk about watercolors, but this one is so easy and produces lovely results. Now, you can experiment with different colors and make backgrounds to your heart’s content. These will not look quite as organic as the real thing, but you can still get really beautiful results without photoshop, a scanner, or any actual paint. Plus, since it’s an app on your phone or tablet, you can make backgrounds anywhere and anytime!

Even if you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, you can STILL grab four free backgrounds that I’ve made. Just sign up below and you’ll be able to download the backgrounds instantly.

I’d love to see your creations. Tag me on instagram @hannah_lynne and follow me on Pinterest for more design tutorials!

how to make a watercolor background using your phone

How to Make a Watercolor background using your phone

Pursuing Art: An Interview with Emily Williams

Pursuing Art: An Interview with Emily Williams

Today, I have for you an interview with Emily Williams of EmmaWill! You can find her on instagram @emmawill or online at www.emmawill.com.

Emily creates beautiful floral pieces and has been such a source of encouragement and wisdom to me. She is married and has 2 sweet boys. Read on to learn how she got started in painting and glean wisdom about how to juggle motherhood with pursuing an artistic career!

An Interview with Emily Williams

How did you get to where you are today with your art?

I began to paint with direction towards making it into a career when I was a senior in college. I had found a lot of online classes by women who were teaching different painting skills and I flew through the videos and loved it! Ever since then, I’ve been painting. A year or two later, I set up an Etsy shop with some big dreams surrounding it. Every year since then, I’ve zeroed in more on what I really want to do. I started doing craft shows in 2014, but have mainly focused on selling online. I feel like I started really late [in life] and I feel behind, so I’ve worked more on a portfolio and less on trying to get sales quickly. I have some big goals for this year that feel like I’m stepping forward into selling at a profit and for more than just a season or two during the year.

So you said that you learned by watching videos as a senior in college. When you were growing up, what was your artistic ability like?

Growing up, I loved basically any art you could hand me, so I painted a lot! My mom would check out a video from the library for me where they would lead you through a painting, and I’d do it over and over again. There wasn’t a focus where I’d tell my mom, “I love to paint!” I just loved crafts. So I’d sew, do macrame, and things like that. So I was always making something, and I’d say I was pretty proficient at those things. It’s surprising to me that it never occurred to me or my parents that of COURSE I would want to do something creative! But now, looking back, it makes all the sense in the world to me. I love to write and do anything creative.

So, the videos that you watched in college—what are some you’d recommend?

Yeah! So the woman that I found was Jeanne Oliver, and she gets a lot of other women and make painting or creative workshops. She and a woman named Christy Tomlinson had a lot of art journaling videos on youtube for free and I went through all of those first and then decided to ask for one of the workshops for my birthday. I got the one called “Studying the Masters” and I loved it. They’re more geared toward women who want to do art as a hobby, but I learned a lot of basic skills that I did not know because I had never gone to school for it.

Ok, so your timeline has been that you were always interested in art but didn’t try to make a career out of it until after college. But more recently, you’ve scaled back in your attempts to sell pieces to focus more on just painting, right?

My style has changed a lot because at first, I didn’t even know what I wanted to paint. If you’re always changing and not giving people something consistent in your art, they won’t want to come to you. Brands are consistent, and as some sense as an artist you become a brand. There’s obviously room for changing, but I don’t want to always be questioning myself.

An Interview with Emily Williams

Do you feel like you have found yourself as an artist?

I think I am definitely closer than I was! I feel a lot more confident in what inspires me to paint, what I want to paint, why, and how I will present myself online and with other people. I think that’s just due to time. Some people see social media as a bad thing, but I have learned so much through teachers on instagram. You can learn a lot from following them. It’s great to follow someone who you think, “In 10 years, I’d like to be like you or doing something similar to what you’re doing.”

Where would you recommend someone who is just starting out in art to go learn more?

I would recommend something like Skillshare if they didn’t have access to a community class. It is so valuable to meet with someone face to face and have them put eyes on your work. Many communities have something like that, but if you don’t, something like Skillshare is great because there’s a wide variety of classes and options. Creativebug is another online community. What I like about Skillshare is that you can submit your work and let the artist and others see it.

If a frazzled mom with a desire to have an art career asks for advice and you had 2 minutes to give her your best tip, what would that be?

I would say, “Don’t despise the time.” Don’t despise even 30 minutes of time. As a mom pursuing an art career, 30 minutes is plenty of time to do something. I used to think, “I don’t have 2 hours of time to finish this so I can’t do anything.” Because we have little time, that time becomes very valuable and we have to use it wisely. So really, use your time wisely! Don’t write off even 10 minutes of time. Lately, I’ve been using colored pencils because they require no clean up. Use your time wisely and you can get a lot done!

Thank you so much, Emily! Check out Emily’s instagram and website, and don’t forget to subscribe for the latest content below.

Pursuing an art business as a busy mom

Pursuing Art as a Busy Mom