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In Canva you can use frames, which act as placeholders for images or videos. When you add an image or video to a frame it will take on the shape of the frame.
If you are an Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator user than frames are similar to creating a clipping mask in those graphic design programs.
Canva does have a wide selection of frames that you can choose from, but you may find that you run into a situation where you want to use a specific shape that is not already available in Canva.
In this guide we will show you how to create your own custom frame with the help of Illustrator that you can import and use in Canva.
Related: How to create a custom frame for Canva with Photoshop
How to Create a Custom Canva Frame with Illustrator
Create your custom shape in Illustrator
First, open up a new document in Illustrator. The size of the document does not really matter. In the video tutorial I use the size 6 in x 6 in.
In the video I demonstrate creating a custom flower shape. To create a flower first use the ellipse tool to make a circle. Size this circle based on the size you want your petals. With this circle align it to the center of your document.
Next, duplicate the circle and move it up to where you want your petal to be and center align with your original circle.
Make sure you select your top petal circle and access the Rotate tool (keyboard shortcut is the ‘R’ key). Click opt key (mac users) or alt key (PC users) and click on the center of the central circle. This will mark your access point.
Once you click it should bring up a dialogue box for the Rotate tool. I wanted to have 5 petals so I entered 72 degrees. To determine the degrees you need use this formula: 360 divided by total number of petals. In this case I did 360 divided by 5 which is 72 degrees.
You can toggle the preview icon on and off if you want to see the rotation. Click on Copy to make a copy of your circle. Press Cmd/Ctrl + D to use the transform again function to continue to make additional copies with the rotation until you have 5 total circles.
To combine all the shapes together to make one flower object use the shape builder tool.
First click outside of your objects and then just drag along each of the components until everything is selected. Once you stop clicking all parts of the shape will combine to form one flower shape.
Besides shapes you can create a custom frame from text. Check out my tutorial on how to create a custom text frame for Canva with Illustrator.
Use an Image to Create a Clipping Mask
Now that you have your shape you will need to bring in an image into Illustrator. The image can be in .png or .jpg format. Go to file > Place and select your image. Drag on the canvas to size the image to bigger than your shape. Position the image behind your vector shape.
To create a clipping mask make sure you select both objects and then go to Object > Clipping Mask > Make. The image will then take the shape of your object.
Export your object as a PDF file
In order to use your custom frame in Canva you will need to export your file as a PDF document. To do this in Illustrator you need to open up the Asset Export Panel. Go to Window > Asset Export.
Click and drag your vector shape into the panel. Once in the panel you can rename your asset. This name is what you file will be saved as. Under the drop down menu select PDF for your file type.
In order for the Export button to work you need to make sure have selected your asset in the assets panel. Click to Export your file.
Upload your PDF to Canva
With a PDF document you can not upload it directly within your project. From the Canva home screen click on your Projects and then in the upper right hand corner you should see a plus icon where you can upload a document. Select your PDF document to upload. Once it has been uploaded click to open the document in Canva.
You should see your newly created shape with the picture on the inside. Click on your object and then hit the trash icon and select delete image. After the image is deleted you should see the typical landscape scene that is common with Canva frames. You can now drag a new image or video into your frame.
To use your frame in another project just click on your object and then copy it (Cmd/Ctrl + C) and then paste it into your new document (Cmd/Ctrl + V).
With this document you can create a folder within Canva to save all over your custom frame documents to or create one master document and copy and paste your custom frames into that document. Bookmark this document with your web browser and then you can easily access it and find all of your custom frames.