How To Make A Puzzle Feed In Canva (Without Photoshop)

 *post may contain affiliate links 

Let's get right into it, shall we?

First off, What the hell is a puzzle feed? 

A puzzle feed is the latest trend in Instagram feed layouts. It's super tricky at first, but once you nail it you'll get amazing results. It's hard to put into words so here is my puzzle feed all layed out in Preview App. 

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As you can see it's basically a series of images and patterns that fit like a puzzle. The feed won't look right if you take any of these posts away. 

Most of the techniques out there require photoshop. I know not everyone has photoshop, and I know not everyone is super tech savy. So at first i tried using like 3 different apps to create what was something close enough to a puzzle feed. I'll leave a picture below. 

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While there is literally nothing wrong with this feed, it wasn't really what i had pictured when i thought of puzzle feeds. My other post about how to make a puzzle feed without photoshop literally became my most viewed post OF ALL TIME. So i figured I'd tell you all the updated process, and include some goodies along the way for those of you interested in taking all this a bit further into your own feeds. 

This is a tutorial on how to make your puzzle feed in an app/website called Canva.  

The apps you'll need:

  1. Canva

  2. Grid Maker (or photosplit on iphone)

  3. (Optional) Preview App

Making your feed in Canva

 (Some instructions like button presses are for the mobile app! If you're doing it on the computer the button locations will be a little different)

First, you'll want to start by making a new design with custom dimensions. You'll be making a 3240 X 3240 px canvas. This will be big enough for 9 squares of your Instagram feed. 

Next, it's all about the creativity. For me personally i went with a more simple look. Colored background, simple geometric shapes, and focusing on negative space. Not every square needs a picture. Remember that you can use textures, designs, words, etc. I picked 3 main colors and went with simple black and white accents. Canva has a ton of free images, graphics, and fonts that you can use to start off. Just press the plus button in the bottom right corner to get started.  I get a lot of my images now from the styled stock society. You can use my link to check them out.

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As you practice you'll learn how to eyeball each "box" of your feed so you know exactly where to put the images, text, etc. For now get a rough layout, save it with the button on the top right, and put it into grid maker so you can see exactly how it will cut up the squares.

I personally started with the background first, then images, then smaller details like dots or textures. Here are a few more feeds for inspiration.

@mariellehearts

@mariellehearts

@juniperoats

@juniperoats

Grid Maker

This is the easiest part. After you get your feed all set up in canva, just save the image by pressing the box in the top right corner, and upload it to the grid maker app. USE. GRID. MAKER. it will NOT distort your image quality like other grid apps!!!!!! TRUST ME. i made this mistake already.  (Again, or photosplit on iphone)

It should automatically put you on the 3x3 option but if it doesn't just scroll over and select that. Make sure your selection fits the entire image and boom. Save it. It should make its own little folder with your images. 

@thegypsylifecoach

@thegypsylifecoach

Preview App

For added feed planning, put your images into preview app. This super helpful app will let you schedule reminders to post, pre plan your captions, and will help you see what your feed will look like before you upload. It also has a hashtag library. 

 

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I know reading a tutorial can be confusing, and just incase you STILL think this whole creation thing is kinda hard without some help, I'm selling my first EVER product for the most affordable price I've ever seen it. I want to help you make the feed you've always wanted with minimal effort on your end. Maintaining a puzzle feed is tricky enough. Why struggle with creation?

I've made a 3 template bundle for the price of one at $9.99 ! 

 When you buy you'll get 3 different templates: bold boss, neutral minimalist, and beach vibes. Each one you can COMPLETELY customize. From fonts, to colors, image placement, background changes, and literally anything else. 

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Hate the blue i used for Beach Vibes? Change it. Don't like a frame? Delete it. Font not for you? Pick a new one. 

I've included a mobile version and a computer version of each template since some drag and drop features are available only to laptop users, and i wanted everyone to have the convenience of designing their feed where they want. 

No clue how to use canva ? I've included a basic video tutorial as part of the $15 bundle, as well as what to do once you have the templates! Be sure to read the instructions carefully. 

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If you've always wanted to have a puzzle feed, now is your chance! It's literally never been easier to get started. This fast growing Instagram trend is not one you wanna miss out on. If you want your feed to stand out without the hassle of taking hours upon hours to learn, click the button below.


Also just a quick thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey. It's my greatest pride and joy to be able to inspire and help so many people daily. 

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how to Make a Puzzle Feed Without Photoshop

I HAVE A NEW PROCESS ! PLEASE READ MY NEW POST HERE

Puzzle feeds have been all the craze lately after @juniperoats on Instagram shared her tutorial with @Preview.app. I have honestly seen them everywhere since then, emerging slowly. If you have no idea what a puzzle feed is, here's @juniperoats ' feed: 

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I decided to put my own spin on the puzzle feed craze by only doing a background image that connects with all 9 squares. Most puzzle feeds have pictures, colors, and other overlays that connect. Here is what mine is going to look like as of writing this post:  

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As you can tell it's slightly different than the norm, but I'm obsessed with it. 

Most people I've talked to use Photoshop, but I was determined to find a way to do this without it. It took 3 apps, and a lot of trial and error, but I've totally simplified the process and did all the hard work for you. Here's how to create my style of puzzle feed without photoshop. 

I HAVE A NEW PROCESS READ MY NEW POST HERE 

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The Apps you'll need for creation:  

  • Canva
  • 9 cut (or similar grid app)
  • picsart  

*it is extremely important that you follow the steps carefully. For example when I first tried this, my background graphic wasn't the best quality, so when I tried to create the whole thing on Picsart, the text and other overlays turned out pixelated. By using canva for your text and pictures AND THEN pics art for overlays, you'll avoid the pixelation. I also want to note that there are probably other ways to do this, but this is the method that I found that worked first and best for me.

Creating your background image or layout

Step 1: First you'll want to open up Pics art. This app is super simple to navigate, and I've even done a tutorial on my YouTube on how I make my graphics. It'll give you a good idea on how to start.

Start by pressing the new image button and clicking edit. It'll then ask you if you want to select an image, or you'll have color options. This is totally up to you if you want a picture or colors. I personally started with a white background.  

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Then I added stickers and colors to create my image. This is the part where you get creative. Experiment with different color blocks or patterns. Most people use a series of textures. I can't really guide you through this part, so I'll leave some feed inspiration throughout the post. You are ONLY adding the background colors and images at this point ! 

 

I HAVE A NEW PROCESS ! PLEASE READ MY NEW POST HERE

Step 2: Head over to canva 

This is where you will add any text or images you want to add on top of your background images. 

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Canva now has a website and app so you can choose what works best for you. Canva is a really easy design tool that I use for literally every single graphic I've ever made for anything.  

The nice part about this is, since you already have the background saved, you'll be able to use it over and over again to create a continuous feed. Adding pictures and text later just let's you customize it. 

Once you're finished adding images and text, you might be done. If not, save, and keep moving forward. 

If all of this seems complicated, I've created templates for puzzle feeds you can edit in CANVA.  CLICK HERE for the puzzle feed templates.

Step 3: If you want to add logo overlays or patterns or literally any finishing touches head back on over to Pics art

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I realize this is a lot of picture saving and app switching, but for now this is the only method I could find where I kept the quality of the images at the highest they can be. When you edit a picture too much with too many overlays  (especially if you keep reusing the same one over and over) it'll start to distort and become pixelated. By putting it into canva first and then adding overlays, you're preserving that original quality.  

Now you can add other images like product shots, logos, patterns, textures, Etc. Without them being fuzzy.  

Step 4: Save your photo and upload it to 9 cut

 @plushcontentco

 @plushcontentco

This will be the final step in creating your puzzle feed. Like I said I used the 9 cut app, but you can use any other app that will turn your picture into a grid for Instagram. Make sure you select 3 X 3 and it will crop automatically. 


Step 5 Bonus round: upload to preview app

I use Preview app to plan my feed. This allows you to see what the puzzle will look like on your feed before actually uploading it. I have been obsessed with Preview and everything it has to offer. You'll be able to see if everything looks cohesive and it helps you easily make changes. 

  

How to plan your content for the new year

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Content planning can be a pain. There. I said it. Truth is, it doesn't have to be ! Often times we make it more complicated than it has to be. I have a process that I use that made content planning super easy for the new year. I finished the first quarter of the year already and it only took about an hour. So I figured this process was worth sharing !  

1. Brain dump ideas  

The first thing I do when I start my content planning is to brain dump ideas. I literally just write down any idea that comes to mind. It's a little more organized once I'm finished, but step one is to brain dump away. I love to look on Pinterest for blog post ideas or inspiration from the pins I saved. Often times I'll find ways to put my own twist on certain topics. 

Tip:  Once I'm finished brain dumping, it's smart to recycle some ideas that i didn't use from last year if I still need to fill in some spaces. 

2. Categorize them  

I personally categorize my blog posts into 4 different main sections. Productivity, business, social media, and blogging. I like to try my best and get one of each topic to write about per month. This helps to make sure my content is always fresh. 

This takes a little while because sometimes it'll fit into more than one section, but it helps to see what I'm working with. Plus I'll be able to tell if I have too many in one category, and basically none in another.  

3. Holiday posts  

I always make room for holiday posts if need be. For example in December I did a girl boss holiday gift guide. So for January i try to focus my posts around starting fresh, February I'll have a couples related post (It's a unique twist so stay tuned!), etc. try to think of what's going on during the month. Are people focused on school, is there a holiday coming up, is it vacation season, wedding season, etc. These posts are important because they can bring in lots of traffic since people can relate. 

4. Make a monthly spread  

I like to physically write out my months and how many posts I'll be posting a week. For 2018 I've decided on one post a week for now since I'll be writing a little more in depth versus shorter posts. Quality versus quantity am I right ? So that's 52 blog posts overall, and there's 4 weeks in a month. So for example I'll write out "January" and 4 lines under it. Then I'll decide what blog posts I want each week and write them in. 

I personally like wriing it out by hand. However you could use spreadsheets, Google docs, etc. For your layout. Google spreads even has a calendar template you can use. I tried it last year with my videos and I loved it. 

You can also click here to get my FREE digital blog planner

It's up to you how many months you want to do at a time. I recommend doing this monthly spread every quarter. I hear about people planning their whole year at one time, but I'll be honest I tried doing that and it just didn't work. Not because I couldn't think of ideas, but because I like to post based on what's relevant. Talking about net neutrality might not be that important in a few months. If I'm using a new program this month and decide to post about it in a few weeks, I may not be using it anymore. Do you see what I mean ? My suggestion would be quarterly or even monthly. I decided to go for the quarter and see how that works. 

There's no one right or wrong way to do this ,  but this was the quickest way for me. Leave me a comment if you do something different !  

See you guys next time. Stay productive ! 

How to plan your week in less than an hour

** This is a guest post by Alex Weaver. Scroll down to read more about her! **

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed throughout the week with so much to do? Do you procrastinate your chores, homework, errands, or other tasks and then feel rushed to get it all done in one day? Well, I have a method for planning your week that will allow you to plan your schedule, spread out your tasks throughout the week, and set goals for yourself.

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First things first, you need to know what you need to do for the upcoming week. This can be done many ways. Some people pre-plan using sticky notes, others preplan in another planner. Some people use weekly sticky notes to write out events. It is important to keep track of upcoming events so that when you sit down to plan you don’t forget anything, and you can appropriately schedule your time. Once you pre-plan your week with the big events, you can take a look at the other things that you need to do.

 

Some events have to be completed on a given day, so make sure you allot time for that event. I suggest keeping a running list of errands, chores, and other tasks that you need to accomplish the next week. Then, when you sit down to plan, look at errands you may need to run throughout the week. Do you want to grocery shop, run to the post office, get your hair done, and pick up dry cleaning all in the same day? Do you want to space these errands out so you have less going on each day? It’s up to you. But remember that each of these errands, tasks, or chores take time and you need to make sure you have time to do it on the days you schedule it.

 

After you plan your events and errands, you can tackle your to-do list. Your to-do list may include tasks that you want to get done during the week but don’t have an exact time frame. These events you may want to space out as well, or maybe you want to do them all at once. It depends on you and your schedule. Say I have to do 2 papers, read some chapters, do laundry, clean the house, and more. Personally, I don’t want to do this all in one day. Instead I may delegate one task per day.

 

The last step to planning a successful week is setting goals. This can be anything you want. Maybe you want to not eat out that week. Or you want to journal everyday, or keep track of your meals. Whatever it is, writing this down and tracking it will make that goal more concrete and will encourage you to stick to it. You can track these goals using habit trackers or creating a habit tracker sheet in your planner. Setting goals is all about improving yourself--don’t set goals that you know you won’t keep, or that you don’t want to complete. Once you make it through a week and you fulfill your goal, you will feel great and accountable for your actions.

 

The key to successfully planning your week within an hour or less is that once you create a schedule, stick to it (as best as you can). Once you decide your schedule doesn’t matter, you will procrastinate and then you will end up having to complete all of your tasks in one or two days, and personally, that causes extreme anxiety for me. So to plan a week in an hour or less, it is essential that you:

  1. Pre-plan
  2. Schedule your events, errands, and other tasks.
  3. Delegate your to-do list.
  4. Set personal goals.

 

I hope these tips help you plan in a more efficient way and help you not be lost at the beginning of the week. Delegating my time is one of the most effective strategies I have encountered so that I don’t feel overwhelmed because I procrastinate.

 

Thank you for reading!

Alex

 

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Alex Weaver is a 21 year old college student in Omaha, Nebraska studying Early Childhood Education and aspires to be a teacher to young children. Alex utilizes her planner and other organization tips to ensure success in her classes. Her Instagram (@craftycollegestudent) shows her weekly planner spreads, crafty hauls, and more.  head over to her blog craftycollegestudent.com for more amazing blog posts like this one! 

Creating a Blogging Schedule - Blogging for beginners

This is the second post in my blogging for beginners series, and I'll be showing you a couple of ways to create a blogging schedule. First we will go into how many times you should be posting, and what the exceptions are. Then I'll go over the different ways to create a blog schedule that works around your week. 

Most beginning bloggers don't know how to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. I didn't really know what I was doing at first either, admittedly, which is perfectly okay! If you don't really know where to start or what you're doing, then sit tight because this post will hopefully help give you some clarity.

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How often should you post to your blog?

This has always been a topic of conversation, because nobody can seem to figure out the perfect formula to what works the best. So this is the best advice I can give you as to what to do.

First off, take a general look at how your schedule is from day to day. This is the most important thing. If you can manage 2 blog posts a week, do it. A number of studies show that posting twice a week helps with your search optimization. So basically, your website is considered "active" by Google or whatever search engine. This helps your site show up closer towards the top of the search. I always recommend putting out as many posts as you can when you're first starting out. Maybe you do twice or three times a week. 

However, once you get active readers coming to your blog (which is a lot more attainable than you think!) you can tone it down a bit if you need to. However, two times a week is still recommended. 

What's more important than how many times you post, is how consistently you post. This is where the schedule comes into play. If your readers know you post twice a month, then stick with that. If your readers know you post three times a week, stick with that. It's equally how many times you post, and how consistent you are with it.

How to make your blog schedule

There are a few ways you could go about making your ACTUAL schedule. However, there are a few things you should do before hand to accomplish this.

  1. Look at your weekly schedule for re-occurring events
  2. Brain storm a lot of ideas (like.... A LOT)
  3. Figure out what type of schedule you like best: digital or paper

I'll go over both digital schedules and paper schedules.

Digital schedules

Bloggers usually prefer this method because it allows you to move things around without much repercussion and mess. It's super easy to just change the date or time on your event  versus scratching something out. 

I suggest using google spreadsheets or excel for this one. Most of the time they will have calendar templates built into the program. I know for sure google does.

The digital method doesn't work as well for me, so I use paper.

Paper Schedules

This is great for those of you who need to have it in front of your face, physically in order to remember. Writing things down also helps you remember more than just typing something into your phone or computer.

There are a ton of different planners out there. More recently; however, I have ALWAYS recommended an hourly planner. 

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Actually Creating the Schedule

First what you'll want to do is dissect your week. Look at what events are reoccurring and schedule those in first. Then look at the time you have left. For example: if you work a 9-5, then you know what needs to get done has to be before or after those times. Maybe you have a one hour break for lunch. LEAVE SPACE FOR IT! You'd be surprised how much you can get done in that hour break period. 

Now that you have your reoccurring events down, look at what other major events you have.  Some examples would be doctors appointments, school activities, date night, etc. Be sure you schedule time for these next, or you might accidentally schedule something over it.

Last should be your other obligations, and/or hobbies, and errands. THIS is where you schedule in time for you blog. If you're looking at your schedule thinking "omg I can't do this". STOP. It's not that hard. You're making excuses for yourself, and you know it. If your blog is high on your priority list, then you'll get it done. Trust me. 

If you have to get up an hour earlier, then do it. If you have to stay up an extra hour, then do it. If you have to spend 30 minutes of your 1 hour break making graphics, then do it. If all you have is Friday night or the weekend, you gotta do it if it's that important to you.

Be stubborn with your schedule once you have it. However, make sure you have some cushion room. What I mean by this is: if you get out of class at 1:25, and you have to drive home, but you schedule yourself to do your blog post at 1:30. This probably isn't the smartest thing to do because you aren't allowing yourself that cushion time to get home and chill out for a second. If a task takes you longer than you thought, you want to make sure there's a time cushion.

Something you should keep in mind is that you do NOT have to get everything done in one sitting AT ALL. I actually recommend breaking things up and doing them throughout the week. It's less overwhelming this way. 

If you want to get a better look at how I schedule things out, be sure you are following me on my planner Instagram. I share how my planner looks and some awesome tools I use in conjunction with it.

 

How To Prioritize Your Tasks When Everything Is Important

You may have backed yourself into a corner more than a few times tackling more than you can handle. Maybe you just have so much to do naturally that you can't seem to figure out what to do first. Whatever it may be; as people we are busy. Like almost all the time which can be extremely frustrating because everything is important! So how do you know where to start? 

Don't worry because today I'm going to share with you a few ways you can break down your tasks so you can figure out what to do first. (You might even want to do all of these to make your list even more accurate!)

 

1. By due date

This one is probably the easiest. If something is due in an hour you better get on it. If something is due next week you can probably hold off, or do a little bit if possible everyday. If it's something you can do in 10 minutes or less, then do it NOW. This is a great way to organize your to do list because everything will be done on time as long as you stick to the schedule. Make sure you allow a little flexibility in case something pops up. What do you do when you have a bunch of things due tomorrow or next week? Why I'm glad you asked.

2. By length 

If you have a project you know is going to take a few days or the course of the week, you'll want to start on that ASAP. Don't hold that off until last minute! If something that's due next week will only take a few hours, then work on your longer projects first to get them out of the way. You'll need more time to accomplish your longer tasks so always start them first. However if your few hours long project is due tomorrow you may want to start that first instead. Using the length rule and the due date rule together with your best judgement will help to really narrow down your list. 

3. Is it for fun? Or is it serious?

Sometimes we do little fun projects like making a bird house, or organizing our room differently. Unless these are totally necessary, it might be a good idea to skip out on them until your big projects are done. If it's work related, bills, something with your kids, or a date then that stuff should always come towards the top of the list.

Sometimes the cost of success has to be fun. (Not always though! I believe business and fun can almost always happen together.) However this is a good guideline to follow in conjunction with the two rules above. 

>> want to read more about time management? Check out my time management tips for busy women like you!<<

By using all 3 of these methods together you'll be sure to narrow down your to-do list in no time! My best advice would be to write out all of your tasks for the week and next week on a piece of paper. Then narrow it down after you've brainstormed everything you need to do. This will ensure you don't miss anything else that's important. 

Don't forget to repin this if you think it could help someone out, or share on your social media! I would really appreciate it. 

Thanks for reading!

How To Stay More Awake

It's happened to the best of us. We've been sitting  at our desk all day, and we can't help but notice that we are starting to nod off and struggling to stay awake. Nothing seems to work and all we can do is yawn until we can leave. So what can we really do to help us stay more awake even when we want to pass out ? I am going to share with you 5 easy steps to feeling more awake 

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1. Get moving  

I know for some of us who work an office 9-5, getting up and moving may not always be an option. However even if it's to get some water or "go to the bathroom", anything counts ! Walking around or getting up to stretch is a good way to get our brains active again and help increase our focus. For us bloggers and work from home ladies, this is super simple ! Every hour get up and walk around or do a quick exercise. I have a fitbit so it's really hard for me to forget to take this small hourly break. 

2. Drink lots of water  

Drinking water helps to restart your system. When you drink cold water, you're cleansing and also shocking your system causing you to feel more energised. When you feel more energised you feel more awake. I know I know, you probably don't choose water as your go to drink (bonus points if you do!), so here are some alternatives if you don't like plain water.

  • Fruit infused water  
  • Eat lots of water based fruits
  • Flavored water  
  • Flavored carbonated water  

3. Eat healthy snacks  

We are all tempted to bring the quickest thing we can eat or find with us. This could be chips, a soup cup, a microwave meal, cookies, etc. However the truth is these snacks are filled with sugars and ingredients that will only give you temporary energy. You want foods that are going to give you sustainable energy like peanut butter bites or a chicken salad. Anything that's low in sugars and higher in carbs and protein. 

4. Get proper sleep 

This is more of a prevention, but getting the proper amount of sleep is extremely important. Most of is require a full 8 hours of sleep, but we know this is nearly impossible for busy people like ourselves. I recommend getting at least 6 for a good night's sleep. Make sure of the following things for optimal sleep:

  • there's little to no light 
  • There soft to no noise
  • You try not to look at your phone at least 30 minutes before bed  
  • If that's not possible there are apps that take away the blue light in your phone that keeps you awake

5. Listen to music 

     Listening to music is a great way to get your mind in the right place. When you're getting tired or feeling sluggish, try putting on some upbeat or inspiring songs. I have a spotify playlist that I listen to when I need to get going. Try doing the same ! It makes the world of a difference. Just make sure it's not something you could also fall asleep to.
    So there you have it ! 5 things you can do to stay more awake throughout the day. If you have any tips feel free to leave them down below in the comments.
    As always, thanks for reading