How to craft an exquisite Instagram story collage

Make your stories stand out.
A person sitting at a light wooden desk in front of an Apple desktop computer, scrolling through Instagram on their iPhone.
You can scroll back through all your old posts if you want some inspiration for your story collage. Gabrielle Henderson / Unsplash

Instagram has grown way beyond the simple photo feed it made its name with, extending into direct messages, video, and, of course, stories—the Snapchat-like format that lets you post content that stays visible for just 24 hours.

While you can opt to post single images and video clips to your Instagram story, you can create something even more eye-catching by combining multiple photos together. The option to do so is available inside Instagram itself, while third-party apps offer even more layout and formatting options.

Not only is this an easy, fun way to add a bit more flair to your story, it means fewer photos left by the wayside. So go ahead: pack in as many photos as you see fit.


The built-in collage-making options within Instagram.
The collage-making options inside Instagram are limited, but they are there. David Nield

It’s a good idea to check out the built-in features available in Instagram first, just so you know what’s possible without any third-party apps. Long-press on Your story from the home screen, then tap Add to your Story, followed by Select, and pick the images you want to use. Choose Next and Layout and start organizing.

The buttons at the top enable you to add stickers, text, and other elements, and the one at the far left lets you change the layout of your collage—the available options here will vary depending on how many images you’ve picked. When you’re happy with how everything looks, use the Your Story (everyone sees it) or Close Friends (just close friends see it) options to post.

While it’s convenient to have these options within Instagram, they’re not the most advanced and they don’t give you many choices when it comes to positioning photos or adding effects. If you really want your photo collages to shine, you’ll need to turn to a separate app.

Instagram is free for Android and iOS.


The Canva interface for designing Instagram stories.
Canva lets you start from scratch or use a template to kickstart your collage. David Nield

Canva has established a strong reputation as a powerful, feature-filled graphic design application, and it can make some top-notch Instagram collages. From the opening screen, tap Social media, Instagram, and Instagram Story to begin—you can choose from Canva’s own templates or pick Create blank to start from scratch.

Use the + (plus) button at the bottom to add images, text, stickers, and other elements—even additional templates. Once you have everything you need on the page, Canva lets you reposition and resize each object: select something and options will appear underneath. When you’re done, you can export the results directly into Instagram to post to your story.

[Related: Anyone can add links to Instagram stories now. Here’s how.]

Building Instagram collages with Canva can take some time and effort, but you’ll get a huge amount of control over how your creations look, and you can get each pixel looking exactly how you want it. You can create collages for free, though a Canva Pro subscription ($13 a month, with a free trial) gives you access to more stock photos, stock illustrations, and templates.

Canva is free or $13 a month for Android and iOS.

Adobe Express

The Instagram collage creation interface on Adobe Express.
In Adobe Express, collages can be freeform or based on a grid. David Nield

Photoshop’s lesser-known sibling is a powerful social media collage-maker. Adobe Express is similar to the Canva tool we mentioned above, in that it covers all kinds of graphic design projects, including  flyers, logos, and social media imagery. You can make Instagram posts for free, though more templates, stock content, and advanced features are available for a $10 monthly subscription.

We’re interested in Instagram collages here, which you can create inside Adobe Express by tapping Instagram stories from the home screen. Pick one of the templates or choose Start from scratch and you can begin to build your post. Then use the Add button to add new elements (including images) and the Layout button to change the post’s layout.

Images can be moved freely or snapped to a grid, and you get plenty of helpful features here—including the ability to quickly remove the background behind a photo subject. You can even add simple animations (lik fading photos in and out). When you’re done, you can send the results straight to Instagram.

Adobe Express is free or $10 per month for Android and iOS.


The Instagram story collage template interface on the Mojo app.
We found Mojo to be a handy Instagram collage-maker. David Nield

Mojo offers a whole host of settings and layouts for Instagram story collages, and can help out with all your other social media platforms as well. There are hundreds of templates to work with, so you should be able to find something that matches the look you’re going for.

The Templates tab is where you start, and once you’ve picked your preferred layout, you can tap on the gaps to load in your images. As you work, you can adjust colors, animations, and even background music, and there’s also a handy preview feature that lets you see how your post will actually look on Instagram.

[Related: Perfect your aesthetic by choosing your own Instagram story background]

You can export your creations directly to Instagram when you’re finished. If you’d rather just pick and edit a template instead of building a collage from a blank page, Mojo is well worth a look—you can create Instagram stories for free with a small Mojo watermark, but a $10-a-month subscription will get  you more layout options and additional templates.

Mojo is free or $10 per month for Android and iOS.


The Instagram story collage-making interface in the Unfold app.
Unfold comes with a bunch of useful filters and effects. David Nield

The Unfold app comes from the web hosting and design company Squarespace, so you know there’s plenty of engineering expertise behind it. As with Mojo, it’s very much based around templates, giving you a head start with your story creation—all you have to do is pick a template and choose your images.

There are hundreds of templates to sift through, plus a variety of options for animations. You can easily drop text and stickers  on top of your social media creations, and there are nice touches throughout the app—such as the ability to put together a curated list of your favorite templates.

Unfold is one of the best collage-makers we’ve seen for getting a post built as quickly as possible, and you can send whatever you make directly to Instagram. A premium subscription ($3 per month) gets you more templates, more text effects, and more photo-editing options, but there’s plenty here for non-paying users too.

Unfold is free or $3 a month for Android and iOS.