November 28, 2022

8 creative ways to add flair to your Instagram stories

8 creative ways to add flair to your Instagram stories

Plann / Unsplash

No one would blame you for thinking Instagram’s customization options for Stories are somewhat limited. You can add text, a GIF, draw something, and plug in a tune. But when used in creative ways, these tools are more than enough to create stories that’ll capture your followers’ attention.

Periods can become polka dots or squares to compose a trendy, geometric background for your pictures. Dashes can turn into lines, GIFs can create flashy effects, and the right colors can disguise the zillion hashtags you used to ensure your post is noticed. 

There’s a plethora of possibilities. These are just a few to get you started. 

Keep those hashtags hidden

If you want your posts to go beyond your tight-knit group of friends, you need to make them more social. There’s no official guidebook on exactly how to do this, but users have picked up a few things after years of experimenting. The main takeaway is that the more social elements you add to your story, the more traction it’ll gain in general searches. This includes mentions, location tags, and, of course, hashtags. 

[Related: How to shoot great Instagram photos]

The more of these labels, the better, but nothing is less aesthetically pleasing than a bunch of words you can barely read. The solution is simple: hide them. The algorithm will pick them up even if people can’t see them. This works for mentions too, and there are three ways to do it. 

Drag them beyond the margins 

Your Instagram stories have some space beyond the margins of your screen; it’s not much, but it’s a great spot to hide things.

1. Use the text tool to type all the hashtags you need. If you’re using too many, consider doing it in batches.

2. Using your index finger and thumb, shrink the text pieces as small as you can. 

3. Drag the text to the right or left until they’re no longer noticeable. Repeat if you have more text you need to hide. 

Hide them behind your post

If you’re sharing a post from your feed or timeline, you can paste that on top of the hashtags to hide them away. 

1. Choose a post you want to add to your story and use the paper plane icon to share it. Tap Add to your story on the dialog that pops up from the bottom of the screen. 

2. Use the text tool to type the hashtags you want to use. You can do this multiple times if you want. 

3. If necessary, adjust the size of the text with your thumb and index finger to make sure it’s smaller than the picture of the post you’re sharing. 

4. Drag the text on top of the post and then tap the post to bring it to the front. Your hashtags will no longer be visible. 

Camouflage your hashtags

No one will see your hashtags if they’re in the same color as your background. 

1. Choose a post you want to add to your story and use the paper plane icon to share it. Tap Add to your story on the dialog that pops up from the bottom of the screen. 

2. Select the drawing tool (the squiggly line at the top of your screen) and choose a color. 

3. Press on any space not covered by the post you’re sharing to set a background color. To finish, tap the check mark in the top right corner of the screen. 

4. Select the text tool and type your hashtags.

5. Tap on the color wheel at the top of the screen and select the same color you used for your background color. If you need to, use the eyedropper tool in the bottom left corner of the screen to select the exact shade. Tap the check mark in the top right corner to finish. 

6. Drag your hashtags into the space around the post you’re sharing. If necessary, use your index finger and thumb to modify the size of the text. 

Hide the music player sticker

You have many options when you use a Spotify sticker on an Instagram story. Tap it once, and you’ll see the song’s cover art. Tap it again and again, and you’ll see the lyrics displayed in different ways. The default is a white label sticker that, no matter how much you try minimizing it, most of the time looks like an eyesore. Plus, the artist and name of the song are already listed under your username, so there’s no need for it if you want your followers to know what song you’re playing. You can simply stash it beyond the edge of the screen—noticing a trend?

1. First, add a music sticker. Keep the default display option and figure out the exact snippet of the song you want to feature on your story. Tap the check mark in the top right corner to finish. 

2. Then use your thumbs to flip the sticker to a vertical position. You’ll see a yellow dotted guideline appear to make sure it’s perfectly parallel to the sides of your screen. 

3. Use your thumbs to shrink it as much as possible. 

4. Drag the sticker to the side of your screen. If you still see a thin white line, move it up and down to hide it completely. 

Create a flashing effect using GIF stickers

8 creative ways to add flair to your Instagram stories
Some glittery fun.
Sandra Gutierrez G.

With this trick, you’ll turn your Instagram stories into a flashing sign to catch your followers’ attention. You’ll need to perfect your free-hand drawing and writing skills, but if you’re already an enthusiast, there’s a lot you can do with this technique. 

[Related: Make your own Instagram filters]

1. Open Instagram and tap the plus sign at the top of the screen. Then tap Story at the bottom

2. Tap the shutter button (it doesn’t matter what kind of pic you took) and then touch the sticker tool (it’s the third one from the right at the top of the screen). There, tap the GIF option and search for something flashy. Words like “flash” and “glitter” yield strobe-rrific results. Keep in mind that bright, flashing effects can provoke discomfort, headaches, or even seizures in some people.

3. Using your thumb and index finger, enlarge the GIF until the flashy or animated part covers the entire screen.

4. Hit the download button (looks like a downward arrow) on the top of your screen to save the story to your device. 

5. Tap the X button in the top left corner of the screen to close the story editor and choose Discard on the popup prompt.

6. You’ll be redirected back to the camera view of the Instagram stories editor. There, tap the Gallery button in the bottom left corner of the screen and select the story you just saved. 

7. Open the drawing options, choose a color, and press anywhere on the screen to paint over the video. 

8. Choose the eraser tool (at the top of your screen, third from the right) and use it as a brush to delete the top layer of color you just created. As you write or draw, you’ll reveal the GIF underneath, and the finished product will start flashing before you.

Use characters as design elements

When a platform only gives you basic tools, you have to get creative. And that’s exactly what Instagram users all over the world have done by turning characters such as dashes, periods, and other punctuation marks into design elements. 

Unfortunately, this is a technique that you may not be able to take full advantage of on Android. If you have an iPhone, though, the possibilities are endless, and the results will mainly depend on how you use them. For now, this is how you start. 

Add lines and blocks to your Instagram story

8 creative ways to add flair to your Instagram stories
Using dashes and periods you can make a film reel to feature your favorite photos.
Sandra Gutierrez G.

1. Open the text tool and select your font. The one you choose will depend on what you want to do. Type a period and see if it’s a circle or a square, and choose the style that best aligns with your idea. If you want to make a line, type a hyphen or a dash.

2. Tap the check mark button in the top right corner to exit the tool.

3. Use your thumbs to make the text as big as you want it to be. This is where the waters of possibility separate depending on what phone you have. When trying to enlarge these elements, Android users will hit a relatively small size limit. This limitation keeps characters looking like characters instead of geometric shapes, defeating the purpose of this technique. As an alternative, Android users can use the highlight function when typing (the third button at the top of your screen; it looks like an A with sparkles) to make characters bigger.   

4. Drag and position the element where you want it and change the color if you’d like. 

Superimpose text to give it volume

Plain text is boring. 3D text is way cooler. 

1. Use the text tool and type what you want to say. Tap the check mark button in the upper right corner to finish. 

2. Repeat Step 1 as many times as necessary. 

3. Use your thumbs to enlarge all pieces of text and make sure they are the exact same size. A great way to help you do this is to use Instagram’s automatic guidelines that appear when you center the text.

[Related: The best hidden Instagram tricks]

4. Change the colors of the text as you like. You can do a rainbow or a gradient of colors. If you want them to match a photo or post, use the eyedropper tool

5. Align your text to create a volume effect. This requires some practice, but you can start by placing them on top of each other and moving the upper layers of text slightly to the right or left. The piece of text on the very top should be the farthest away from the one on the bottom. Don’t despair if it takes a long time to achieve the desired effect, but we recommend you don’t try to align 20 layers of text on your first try. Start small.

Add pictures to your Instagram story straight from your phone

Stickers and GIFs are fun, but you can paste your own pics, too. If you’re promoting a post with multiple photos, this is a great way to display them in all their glory. 

1. Select the photo you want to use from your device. Tap the Share button and choose Copy. If you don’t see it, this is because it’s not possible with some versions of Android. All iPhone users can use this feature.

If you have stock Android, you’ll only be able to do this by using a browser to copy images directly from the web, as Google’s operating system doesn’t allow you to copy an image as a sharing option. If you want to do this, you can go to Google Images or directly to the website featuring the photo you want to use, press on it to select it, and tap Copy.  

2. In the Instagram story editor, open the text tool and paste the photo as if it were text. Now you have a sticker you can drag and resize as you please. 

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