How to Make Your Instagram Stories Pretty

A lot of Instagram accounts put a ton of effort into their aesthetic -- after all, we all enjoy looking at pretty pictures. But sometimes it's a little hard to design your stories in the same way. Sure, there are gifs and stickers and different kinds of text, but what if you want to take things to the next level?

There are as many ways of prettying up your stories as there are Instagram accounts, but here are a few basic tricks that can help you get started depending on what you want to use your story for. Read on to find out more!


How to Make a Pretty Text-Based Instagram Story

Depending on how you typically use your stories, you might have a need for slides that basically just involve writing out text. Luckily, this is the very easiest place to start with making your stories pretty!

You can use whatever app you want for designing your background, but I highly recommend Canva. It's a free web-based design app that's super easy to use, and it has a template specifically for Instagram stories, so you don't have to work out what dimensions your design should be.

Once you create a pretty background you like that leaves space for your text, you'll need to send it to your phone and save it to your camera roll.

Then, open up Instagram and go to the Story screen. Tap the camera roll icon in the lower left corner, select your story design, and type whatever text you want on top! See the screenshots below for a visual:



How to Make Your Story Post Shares Pretty

Okay, so we've got the pretty text-based story down, but what if you want to share posts to your story? Instagram is always messing around with the story resharing features, but I made a tutorial a while ago that I think still holds up today -- especially if you don't have the post resharing sticker feature that they're testing at the moment (as of July 2021). Click here if you want to watch that tutorial as an Instagram Reel, but here are the written steps:

Step 1: Design your template in Canva with a black square where the post will go.

Step 2: Open your template in any photo editor that can deal with layers. I use Affinity Photo, but a great free online option is Pixlr E. Use the magic wand select tool to select the black square, and press delete or erase it to make a transparent square.

Step 3: Save the image to your computer as a png. It’s VERY important that you save it as a png, or else the transparent area won’t stay. Send it to your phone and save it to your camera roll.

Step 4: Open up Instagram and go to the post you want to share. Tap the airplane icon and “add to story”

Step 5: Go to the template in your camera roll. Hit the “share” button (on an iPhone it’s the icon with the square and the arrow on the bottom left). When the share menu pops up, hit “copy photo.”

Step 6: Switch back to Instagram, and your template will pop up as a sticker! Tap it to add it to your post.

Step 7: Resize and adjust your sticker and the post until the post fits in the frame you cut out. Add any extra text, and hit share!

This tutorial works if you want to share square posts to your story. If you want to share a Reel, or share the post with an option that involves rounded edges, things get a *little* more tricky because the cutout you'll want to put on your sticker won't be an exact square.

The way I got around it was by sharing a post of the type I wanted to my Instagram story, then taking a screenshot and sending it to my computer. I then uploaded the screenshot to Canva and created the black area on my template using the screenshot as a guide. But to make things easier for you, here are two black cutouts that are the same size as rounded feed posts and Reels respectively:


Simply save them to your computer, upload them to Canva, position them how you want them on your template, and you're good to go!


How to Make Pretty Book Review Stories

On bookish Instagram accounts specifically, you might see people posting reviews in their stories using a cool template. These usually involve showing your rating, the book cover, a couple of stats about the book, and perhaps a short paragraph about what you thought.

Here are a few book review templates to give you an idea! Mine is on the far left, and I used the above method to create a cutout so that I can share my review post and people can tap through to see the full caption where I wrote my review. The middle one is by the amazing @BookishBasma, and a blank version is saved in her "Templates" story highlight so you can use it too! The one on the far right is a template by @MyFictionalWonderland, demonstrated here by the lovely @SamiasLibrary.


If you want to make your own review template to fit your theme, as always, I'd recommend using Canva.

Final Thoughts

Making your Instagram stories pretty might seem kind of like overkill in the aesthetic department, and yeah, it kind of is :P But it can also be a lot of fun if you enjoy designing things and sharing stuff in a visually pleasing way. At the end of the day, this is just another option for fulfilling the ultimate goal of running a bookstagram: having fun!

Want more bookstagram-y content like this? Join my newsletter, the Loose Leaf List, to get reviews, opinions, bookstagram tips, and other fun stuff delivered directly to your inbox once a month!

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