How to Make an Instagram Mosaic: the Collage Feed Unlocked

Meet: The Instagram Mosaic

WHOLEco+Puzzle+Instagram+Feed.jpg

Get rid of your boring Instagram feed, the Instagram Mosaic is here to stay.

@wholecomedia

It’s Time to Up your Instagrid Game

Is it just me, or is everyone doing the checkerboard instagram feed these days??

If you’re one of them, I’m not hating. I’m simply asking: can we be a little more creative? Instagram is, in fact, a place to showcase your creativity. Especially as a business, it’s meant to help you stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, with the number of people now doing the checkerboard feed or some slight variation of it, it’s just become trite and tired.

When I first started my business Instagram feed, I knew I wanted more. I wanted my feed to accurately display who I am, what I do, and what’s important to me. As I thought more about it, I realized that the perfect way to do that was to work outside the square boxes we’re given and create something entirely my own.

Here’s How to Make a Collage on Instagram

Your Instagram Feed is the FIRST thing that people see about you, and we all know by now how much first impressions count. So let’s make it the most exciting that it can possibly be, while still being entirely aligned with your brand personality and your target audience.

Now, before we get started, I have to warn you that this is a time-consuming process, especially when you’re trying it for the first time. If you’re down for it, great! I’d recommend trying to make your puzzle cyclical so that you can use the same one every time, just with new images in it. If you take a look at this article and it seems like a little bit too much work - check out the templates I have here.

Are you ready to design your own Instagram Mosaic?

Here’s how to do it:

Sign up for Canva (or any other Drag and Drop Design Software)

If you’re not using it already, this is your new BFF! They have free and paid accounts, but the free one will definitely give you all that you need to create an Instagram Collage feed.

Click “Create a Design” then select “Instagram Post”

Choose “Instagram Post” over “Social Media Post” - the dimensions are correct for Instagram (1080px x 1080px) on “Instagram Post” and using it will help prevent loss in image quality!

Explore Canva Templates & Design Elements

Use the menu on the left and explore all that Canva offers. From the “Elements” menu, try typing in things that relate to your business or brand identity. i.e. If you’re a crafty/creative business, try typing in “Watercolor.” There are some elements that cost money, but from the search bar you can elect “Free Only.” If you have a premium Canva account, many more items are free! Just get a feel for everything before you actually get started designing, so that you know what you’re in for!

Pre-design Your Instagram Mosaic or Collage Feed on Paper

This is my secret sauce. I start from the literal drawing board before I even begin designing in Canva. I learned to do this because the first time I created a collage, I tried to do it all online and kept running into elements that were supposed to overlap on posts, but I hadn’t done it correctly. This was SO frustrating, and designing it on paper beforehand speeds up the whole process and prevents these silly errors.

I start by drawing 9 squares on paper in the form of an Instagram Feed, then I begin drawing in background elements (like color blocking). Next I draw in squares and rectangles for photos. My general rule of thumb is have at least one overlapping image per row, so that it keeps things all looking connected! You can also experiment with stacking images, etc. For some extra inspo, check out my Collage Inspo board on Pinterest. Finally, I draw in where I want text or extra design embellishments (i.e. Vectors, Frames, Image Shadow boxes, etc).

canva instagram grid collage.png

Number Your IG Grid Squares

Now - number your squares on that paper. Start from 1 at the top left corner and work all the way down to 9, going across the rows as if you’re reading. This will help in the actual designing process!

Get to Work!

Now we get to translate everything we’ve done on paper into Canva! This is where it can get a little bit challenging as you have to align everything and make it all come together. Don’t be afraid to consistently reference or change your hand-drawn design as likely there will be some things that make more sense once you see it on the actual Instagram Squares in Canva.

Use your numbered squares on paper to see where pieces need to get copied onto various squares in order to implement the Puzzle Feed. For example, if I had an image hanging off of Square 3, the bottom of that same image would get pasted onto Square 6. If I have an image that overlaps Square 7 and 8, I’d need to ensure that the right part of the picture is lined up.

A secret to making this easier is to go onto Unsplash and find a really detailed image to download. Upload this image to Canva and use it as your reference (before putting any of your own images into the template). Drop the image into each of your planned photo spots, and find a reference point within the image that you can use to recognize where the rest of the image on the overlapping Square needs to start. For example, if I’m using an image of a bouquet, I can say: “This image on Square 7 ends at the right side of the pink flower. So on Square 8 I need to put the right side of the pink flower on the border of the Square.”

Once you have your background colors and images in place, you can begin to fill in the gaps with text or various other vector elements. Some of my fave vectors are the Mandalas or Patterns - try searching these in the Canva Element Menu.

Download Your Instagram Mosaic!

Head to the upper right corner and click “Download,” ensuring that you change “File Type” from PNG to JPG. I know PNG is a higher quality, but it will actually be too high of quality for Instagram and make your image appear slightly blurry - which I can tell you from experience SUCKS, especially when your feed is a Puzzle because if you don’t catch the messed up image right at the time of posting, you have to just leave it otherwise you’ll mess up your puzzle.

Canva will automatically download this as a .zip file, which you just have to double click for it to unzip!

Check that everything lines up in Unum

The most important step!

Head over to Unum and create a free account, and upload your 9 images from your unzipped file. If they don’t upload in the correct order, just drag and drop them until they’re set! A cool feature of Unum is that you can connect your Instagram feed, so once you’ve done a few puzzles you will be able to ensure they each align with the puzzles below them as well.

Have a really close look at each of your images, design elements, and background colors. Ensure that every single piece is lined up correctly, because if it isn’t and you don’t realize until it’s already posted, you’ll have no choice but to leave it otherwise everything else will get messed up.

If something isn’t aligned, then go back into Canva and fix it! You’ll thank yourself later.

Post (backwards!)

Ok, maybe THIS is the most important step. The natural inclination may be to post your photos starting at 1 and then ending at 9. DON’T DO THIS!

You have to post them backwards (start at Square 9 and work to Square 1) in order for everything to line up.

Use Later to schedule posts in advance

We’ve built the cake, now for the cherry on top. Sign up for Later (there’s a VERY useful free account, or you can pay a small fee for a basic Premium account!) and begin scheduling your posts in advance. It even auto-posts them for you so you don’t even have to bat an eye at phone posting notifications (cough Buffer cough).

Later also allows you to connect every single social media channel (even Pinterest!) for absolute ease.

PLUS if you click the link I provided for Later, you and I will both get an extra 10 social media posts to use up per month! Which is GREAT to have some flexibility beyond the 30 posts allotted per month on the Free plan.

That’s it, folks!

Now you’re ready to create the Instagram collage grid of your dreams. Best of luck with it, and I’d love to see what you create! Tag me in your photos on Instagram so that I can see them, and follow me for more inspo!

If you’re feeling like this is all going to be a bit too much work, feel free to download my pre-made but fully customizable Puzzle Feeds here! I already did the hard work for you, made them cyclical, AND gave you 12 Squares to work with instead of only 9. All you have to do is drop your photos in and update the colors and text to match your brand!

p.s. In case you’re worried about purchasing a pre-made template and becoming similar to everyone else, I only sell 30 of each design! Once 30 people purchase it, it’s off the market FOREVER. With over 1 billion users on Instagram, it’s highly unlikely that anyone within your circle would be using the same one!

With love, Carly