You've probably seen a few dozen articles out there explaining just why having board covers on your Pinterest boards is so important. They create a pleasing look, consistency, and help other users identify what your board is about at a glance. Does that mean they are required or that your Pinterest marketing won't work without a board cover? Of course not. Pinterest Board Covers are a completely optional tool and an aesthetic choice. You don't have to have them for your Pinterest strategy to work. What matters the most is that you are pinning content that people are looking for, repinning other people's content to help fill in the gaps, and that you are posting consistently. But if you would like to create Pinterest Boards, I'll show you how to use PicMonkey to create those boards for free.
A quick note about affiliate links. I love trying out new things: services, software, and various programs designed to make my life easier. And I’m more than happy to pass on my experience to you. Your trust means everything to me. I would never recommend anything I didn’t use and love myself. PicMonkey is one such service. Because I am an affiliate, should you choose to follow any of the links on this page and sign up to use PicMonkey's paid services, they will pay me a small commission. It won't cost you anything extra, but it will help me out tremendously.
What you'll need.
It probably goes without saying, you'll need a couple of things to be able to do this.
- A computer with a strong internet connection, preferably wi-fi or some other fast internet.
- A Pinterest account with boards. Each board should already have a minimum of 1 pin for you to be able to set the cover (note, boards with at least 10 or more pins tend to perform better than others).
- A free PicMonkey account.
- Some graphics or digital paper you have permission to use.
Where to find Digital Paper.
Have I told you how much I love Pinterest? It's a pretty common thing around here. Anyway, Pinterest is the first place I go to when it comes to my search for background graphics and the like. Digital paper is a patterned background designed on a computer that can be printed out to create a patterned paper. The resolution is usually very high, much higher than the average digital wallpapers or background graphics. And finding them is easy on Pinterest. All you need to do is run a search for free digital paper. You can even include types to help narrow it down, such as free floral digital paper, free chevron digital paper, or free spring digital paper.
The most important thing to note about using digital paper is in its usage: do you have permission to use it? Check the licensing before you download any digital paper: if it says “for personal use only” then the answer is no, you can't use it to create your board covers. You are looking for licenses giving you permission to use for commercial purposes. And this license doesn't always come when you pay for a design; I've bought plenty of digital papers off sites like Etsy only to find out that they were for personal use only. So make sure you really check that license.
Design the Board Cover in PicMonkey.
Okay, head over to PicMonkey, and if you haven't already done so, create your free account. Signing up is fast and easy. When you're ready, click on “Design” near the top of the screen:
You can start a new design in three ways. “Custom Size” will give you the option to choose the length and width of your graphic in pixels. The ideal size for a Pinterest Board Cover is between 735×735 and 800×800. If you choose “Blank Canvas” PicMonkey will open up the editor to a blank square that is 2000×2000 pixels. Either one of these options is great if you already have a basic idea of what you would like your board covers to look like.
If you don't have any ideas on what you want your board cover to look like, or if you aren't all that artistic, then you want to select a template. Go ahead and click on “Templates” to bring up their selection. As of right now, the board covers on Pinterest are squares (I will update this every time the dimensions change). In “Category” select “Square social post” to filter the templates.
One important thing to note here; PicMonkey offers both free and paid accounts. When you're searching through the templates, pay close attention to the icons in the top left-hand side of each one. Those that say “free” are available to you with the free account. To use any of the templates with a crown icon on them will require you to upgrade your account to a paid account (called a Royale account). I do happen to have a Royale account with PicMonkey because I use them often and because I love some of the features that come with the paid account (such as the Hub). But in this tutorial I am going to stick with only free features.
Once you've chosen a template you like, click on “Preview” to bring up the enlarged view:
The preview screen will show you more information about the template, as well as a larger view of the template itself so you can get a close look. If you change your mind, you can close the template to go find another one, or click on “Customize” to bring the template over to the editor.
Using the PicMonkey Editor.
The PicMonkey editor is fairly simple to use, and comes with some of the most popular features in any graphics editing program. The picture will be zoomed out to fit on your screen. For those of you running the free account, you may or may not see some ads surrounding the main editor window; those won't get in your way you can just ignore them. Sometimes they're there and sometimes they aren't.
One of the first things you'll notice is that the template is built using layers. You can move or replace any of the layers you want. Uploading new images will add that as a new layer on top and cover any of the layers below it. You can click to select any layer you wish and use the arrows along the top to move it up or down in the template. You can also select the trashcan in the bottom right-hand side to delete the layer. Clicking on the “Merge Layers” icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the layers menu will allow you to merge the layer you've selected down with the one below, or merge all layers together to form a new background.
PicMonkey's main menu and options is on the far left-hand side of your screen. To replace that photo in the back (the matches) we are going to upload our own digital paper. To do this, select “Overlays” (the butterfly):
The select “Add your own” and choose to upload from your preferred source. Hub is a feature available only with the paid Royale account on PicMonkey, but your choices include uploading from your computer, importing from Facebook, or loading from Dropbox:
PicMonkey is going to place your new overlay as a layer directly on top of everything else, and sized just smaller than the background canvas. To resize it, click your mouse along the white border lines and pull outward; pulling on any line like this will preserve the proportions so you don't have to worry about stretching your graphic in a weird way. I chose a black glitter background I own, and since I want that to cover the entire back ground, I am going to stretch it out to cover the whole canvas:
Obviously, I want this glitter graphic to cover the matches from the template, but not the words or the other shapes. There are two ways I can move it back. I can right click directly on the overlay and select either “Send to back” (to send it all the way to the back) or “Send Backward” (to send it back one layer at a time):
Or I can select it in the layers box and use the down arrow to send the glitter background back:
Now my next step is to resize the hexagon so that it takes up the majority of the room on this graphic. I want to use that to house the words, and need to make it large enough so that they can be read on Pinterest. So, just as with the glitter layer, all I need to do is to select the hexagon layer, and pull on its border to resize it the way I want.
You'll also notice a second toolbox on the other side of the editor. This one houses all the options available for the layer you have selected (in this case, still the hexagon). You can change the color, set its transparency, or flip the image to your liking.
Editing text in PicMonkey.
Editing Text in PicMonkey is just as easy as editing text in any other program. Click to select the text you want to edit, then double click inside the box to highlight the words and make your changes.
You can change the fonts by using any available font in the main menu on the left-hand side of your screen. Just as with the templates, any font that shows a crown icon next to it will require you to upgrade to a paid Royale account before you can use it. But there are plenty of free fonts available for you to use. You can also use any font installed on your computer by clicking on “Yours” in the menu.
The title of your Pinterest board should be easy to read and recognize at a glance. I know a lot of people like to choose clever names that capture their sense of humor. That's all well and good, but if you get so clever that you can't fit the title on the board or followers don't know what to expect, you may end up making it difficult for people to find you.
Just as with the overlays, you can grab onto the border surrounding your text to resize the lettering to fit your design.
I also like to place my board description right on my board cover with the title. This is a completely personal choice, I just happen to like it. If you don't want to include the board description, then simply resize the board title to take up ample space so that it looks nice. And of course, don't forget to include your logo or branding on the board.
Once you have your board cover the way you like it, go ahead and select “Save” from the top menu. If you haven't already created your free account by this time, PicMonkey will ask you to create a new account before allowing you to save your masterpiece.
This is also the last chance you have to resize your photo to optimum size for a Pinterest board cover. Again, I have found that the optimal size is a square anywhere between 735×735 and 800×800. Anything outside of that range and Pinterest seems to resize and compress the board covers too much, resulting in blurry boards. You can also choose your image quality during this step. I have found the middle option to be the best for Pinterest Board.
That's it!! You're all done with your shiny new board cover!! Continue changing the words with the titles and descriptions of your other board covers until you have completed one for each board you manage (you won't be able to replace board covers for group boards you don't own).
If you find that you have a lot of boards, you may think about upgrading your PicMonkey membership to a Royale account. That will give you access to the PicMonkey Hub, which is an amazing cloud storage feature that will preserve your layers. Perfect for when you need to quit for the day and come back to design more board covers later but don't want to have to start from scratch each time.
Uploading your board cover to Pinterest.
Uploading your new board cover to Pinterest is fairly straight forward, but I will walk you through it anyway so you can see why these are such amazing tools.
First, click to get into the board you want to add the board cover to. For this, I am going to go into my board called “To Read.” Inside the board, click on the icon to save a new pin.
Then select to upload from your device.
Then select the image you want to upload.
For the Destination URL, you want to use the URL for your board, look for it up in the address bar:
This is important. The other option is to have the board cover go to your website, but that won't really do you much good. Or leave the URL empty, and that's even less helpful than having it go to your website.
Once you click on “Continue” you will be asked to edit the pin. For board cover pins, I like to use the same description as I used on the board itself, then at the end I tack on a few keywords that I think people might be searching for. I do this because board descriptions are taken into account when people are searching for things, so it increases the chances that I will be found.
Then, of course, choose the correct board to house the cover:
Next, we need to tell Pinterest that this is your board cover. Go back to your board (you may have to refresh the page a couple times for your new pin to show up) and click on the little pencil to edit the board.
On the next screen, click the button to change the cover. Your most recent pin will be shown first, so as long as you haven't uploaded anything since uploading the board cover it should be right there. The screen for selecting the board covers are a little wonky right now — I hope Pinterest fixes that soon. It's because in the past, the board covers used different dimensions, so you could move the image to show only what you wanted to show. Now the entire square shows so you can ignore and just click on “Save Changes.”
And you're all set! You new Board Covers will give your Pinterest profile a clean, easy to read appearance. And better yet, if anyone shares them for any reason, they will lead people back to your board.