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How to make an ebook cover for free

Today I'm going to share how I made the cover of Resist for free. You can use this method to create your own cover. All you need is Canva.com and Wiki Commons.

I chose three images that defined my book: Hans Scholl, an old fashioned typewriter, and a Third Reich stamp. All of these images were available on Wiki Commons where you can download and use any images for free. You can also use sites like Library of Congress or New York Public Library.

Then hop on over to Canva.com and click on the eBook or Kindle design.

After you've uploaded your images, just drag and drop them into the template. You can re-size them, change the filter and transparency, bring it forward, send it backward, etc. 

Next thing I did was to download the first leaflet of The White Rose, crop it, and change the transparency. 

 I cropped the picture of the typewriter and changed the filter to "Nordic" for a vintage feel. 

 For the strip of vintage looking paper, I cropped a page from an old book. 

Then I changed the filter to "Nordic."

I added the stamp and the title/author. There are tons of fonts which are fun to play around with.

Then it's just a matter of saving it. If you use one of Canva's designs they do charge you $1, but everything I used was free. It's easy to spot which ones you'll have to pay for.

  Voila! A cover for free! 

Have you ever made your own book cover?



  1. Thanks so much Em! I'm now trying (in vain) to design a cover for the project I've been working on lately.. :-) Choosing elements that represent your book is harder than I thought

    1. Yes, that's the hard part! I'm sure you'll find the right images! =)

  2. Thank you for sharing this tutorial, Emily! Would you be able to explain how you are able to to transfer this ebook cover to work in paperback form, as well? I've played with Canva a bit, but am having a difficult time making the back cover, spine, and such.

    Thank you!


    1. For sure! I'm still playing around with it myself but as soon I'm 100% sure it works I'll write up a tutorial.

    2. Wonderful! I'll look forward to it!

  3. Thanks for that tutorial! I'm very tempted to go and design a book cover for fun now. :)

  4. Thank you, Emily! I've been meaning to compliment you on the cover, because it looks professional and overall is simple, well balanced, but has a punch. I was wondering how you made it, though, so this answered my question. Now I must try out that feature of Canva! I've used Canva for other things, but didn't realize/haven't seen that part. Usually, I come up with a good idea in Canva and then reconstruct it in GIMP to get it just right. ;) But designing is fun and worth the time spent!

    Hmm...wonder if Wiki Commons would have any pictures to help me with my 66 AD historical fiction? Or maybe the ones from the New York Public Library ( http://www.nypl.org/research/collections/digital-collections/public-domain )? By the way...have you found any easy ways of searching Wiki Commons? I hate going through page after page of unrelated results! Although in this case you may have used Hans' name....

    Enough wandering; I need to get on with studying. Thanks for the post!


    1. Thank you so much, Esther!

      Oh, I totally forgot to include that you can get free images though Library of Congress and, as you said, NY Public Library. I don't really have any tips for searching Wiki Commons ... I just try to be as specific as possible.

  5. I've worked on making covers but I haven't done very well or made one I'm satisfied with yet. After hearing about Canva, I finally decided to try it and I designed a pretty cool poster :) I'll probably try to make a book cover next. Thanks for the tutorial! I think your book cover is one of the prettiest and most professional looking indie covers I've seen yet! It's so cool that it was free!!!

  6. This is so clever Emily! And your finished design is lovely!

  7. Thanks for the tutorial! I need to design one for a print book as I am going to aim for traditional printing first.

  8. Emily,
    Thanks for all this incredible information!!!

    My younger sister usually does all my graphic design things (she loves doing it and also shares my taste to a T, so it all works very swimmingly, but we were both wondering where to find photos that were legal to use, so that info was particularly exciting. :)