I don’t believe in beating around the bush in hopes of being as helpful as possible. If you’re looking for a content-aware background extending option like the one you’ve seen or used in Photoshop, you won’t find it in Canva.
With that said, being a self-proclaimed Canva hacking expert since the early days, there is always a workaround (remember when it wasn’t so easy to insert tables into Canva?)
So, don’t fret, I have some options for you. It’s a little more manual and less than perfect, but can certainly get the job done in a pinch. I’ll also say this is a lot easier or more difficult depending on the type of photo you’re working with, so keep that in mind, and try to apply the different principles we go through here to your own personal projects.
1. Duplicate the Background
The general idea of “extending” the background in Canva is to duplicate the background you’re working with in small chunks. So, looking at the example below, you can see my photo isn’t tall enough to fill up my Canvas.
Thus, I need to extend the background upward, which means I need to somehow extend the blue sky and clouds.
In terms of duplicating the background, there are a couple of ways to do so. One, you use screen capture to grab, say, an inch off the top of the photo. You then upload the image you just captured to Canva and add it to your photo.
Here you can see I’ve taken a sliver of the original photo and added it on top to start filling up the white space.
If I keep going, adding about 6 or 7 new pieces on top of the original photo, I get this:
Upon first (quick) glance, not terrible, right? But if you look again, you can see the different photo lines separating each image:
Before we address these lines, the other, quicker method is instead of capturing that sliver of blue sky and clouds, uploading it, and then pasting back into your photo, you can simply duplicate the entire image and then move it to the back. Then, inch the very back photo upward so that it begins to peak out on top of the original photo.
You’ll essentially get the same effect, lines, and all, but it’s much faster.
2. Add Gradient Blur
So now that we have the entire white space filled with additional background pieces, we need a way to smooth things out, and not have the separating lines between each image be so obvious.
What I’ve found to work best is to look for a gradient blur in your Canva elements.
Obviously, that big orange blob looks awful, so the key is to find a gradient blur of which you can change the color. In this case, I’d want to add the blur but also change the color to sky blue and/or white to help things blend together.
First I want to add the blue, so insert the gradient blur and then click the color block to change its color. The goal here is to choose a blue that most closely resembles the photo’s sky. So, click the eyedropper tool and then “grab” the color of the blue just about where it’s meeting the clouds.
Now that my gradient blur is close to the right color blue, I add it around my sky, and you can see that the separating lines aren’t so obvious.
You can still see a few lines in the clouds, so I’ll go ahead and do the same thing, only using white instead of blue. I can also fill in more white so that it appears more cloudy.
All things considered, really not that painful of a process, but one that needs some fine tuning depending on how perfect you need things. For instance, I’d probably want to spend some more time blending the clouds here, but it works for now.
And as mentioned above, if you have a plain background, things get a lot easier. Here is a great video on how to extend when you have an empty background with just colors or patterns: