Want to learn how to design a kdp paperback book cover on Canva? In this article, we’ve got you covered! We will take you step by step through the process of creating a cover on Canva.
To Get Started, we need the following 5 things…
Before we get started make sure you already have a Canva account. If you don’t have one, go to this link and sign up for your free account.
Here is a book size chart for your convenience.
KDP Paperback Cover Template
First, we need to go to the kdp paperback cover template page to download our cover template. (Link Listed Above) This is where you need to know the size of your book and the number of pages.
Choose the correct size of your book.
Type in the number of pages.
Click “Download Cover Template”.
For this demonstration we will be using the 8.5”inch x 11” inch size template. We are creating a Daily Planner for a years’ time. This will be an undated planner. So 365 days = 365 pages.
Note: Most KDP books are 120-130 pages and the cost to make the book is $2.10 – $2.50 to make. With 365 pages that is doubled and makes the book between $5.00 – $5.50 to print.
This matters when it comes to making your profit in the end.
Ok Now that you have downloaded you template you need to “Extract All” from the zip file. Left click on the file and click “Extract All”.
Then click on “Extract”.
When you open the file up you will see 2 files.
- 1. PDF Template File
- 2. PNG Template File
Now to fit the image on Canva we need to compress the PDF file size. The way it comes is just too large to be uploaded on Canva. So, this is where ILovePDF.com comes in.
Go over to ILovePDF and click on “Compress PDF”.
Then click on “Select PDF” and choose the file from your computer. Upload the template and wait until it is finished then download the new file.
Ok Stay with me now as this gets a little complicated! You are doing fine. Just Breathe.
Alright, Go back to ILovePDF’s home screen and click on “PDF TO JPG”.
Upload the file you just downloaded by clicking “Select PDF File”
Then Click on “Convert To JPG” on the right-hand side.
Wait for it to convert then click on “Download JPG Image”.
Finally your image is ready to be uploaded to Canva.
Figuring Out The Cover Size
Ok so now we need to do a little math to figure out our cover size.
Note: You have to add .125 to every side according to the printing guidelines.
We are going to figure out how wide our cover should be by adding 8.5 inches with the .125 requirement.
8.5” + .125” = 8.75
Multiply that by 2 because you need it to cover both book halves and you get 17.25 inches.
Now add the spine length. In our case that is .83 inches.
So 17.25 + .83 = 18.072
Now we need to do the same thing for the length. Don’t forget to add .125 twice for both sides.
11” + .125” + .125” = 11.25”
So our cover size will be 18.072” x 11.25” inches.
Once you log in to Canva, look to the right top menu and click on “Create a Design”.
Look down to the bottom of the tab and click on “Custom Size”.
Input your dimensions. In this case we choose inches and input 18.072 for the width and 11.25 for the height.
Then click “Create New Design”.
Your size template will populate and open a new window.
Now you need to upload your template. Click “Uploads” on the left menu bar and upload your template.
Once it is uploaded, click on the pic of the template.
Then drag to fit the screen.
Note: For whatever reason you get the size wrong, you will be informed of the correct size after you upload the cover and the interior then click on launch previewer. You will then need to correct the error. If you have Canva Pro it is as simple as resizing the image. With out PRO you will need to recreate your design in the new size.
Now you are ready to design your cover.
We will leave the actual designing to you and your imagination but we do have a couple of tips.
1. Create a Spine. You don’t have to keep it if you don’t like the way it looks but it does help with design as it at least marks the place. The light yellow rectangle shows the “spine”, extend it to both sides if you wish to keep it. Choose any color.
2. Don’t cover the bright yellow box as that is where the barcode will be placed.
3. Use the “invisible” box as a border. This box shows up purple when you get close to it. We have shaded the whole box to give you some idea of the space available to work with.
Once you have created your design Click “download” then select “PDF Standard” as the format.
Just to show you the example we were working on
Now you are ready to upload your cover to kdp.
Please keep in mind you will need the interior pages as well to complete your submission. We have written separate posts on
And another post answering
Do you have any questions? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below.
Please share this with you friends on social media. This helps us out big time! Thanks for reading.