How to Get Your Custom Gifs on Instagram Stories in 3 Easy Steps

Everyone who uses Instagram stories knows about gif stickers but have you ever thought about how they get there and who designs them? A couple of weeks ago I set out to discover how it all works and now I’m going to share my newly required knowledge with you.


The GIF stickers you can search for on Instagram stories are all uploaded by artists and/or brand channels on GIPHY. In case you didn’t know GIPHY is where you can find “normal” gifs as we know them from Twitter and Facebook, but also gif stickers like the ones on Instagram. I must admit it took me by surprise to learn that GIPHY technically approves anyone in the sense that you don’t need to be anyone of importance to get approved. A quick note if you want to make gif stickers and get them on Instagram stories for others to search: you make zero money on it! Making gif stickers is a passion project and the only validation you get is by watching your gif views go up – plus the joy of searching your own name and see stickers appear on Instagram, of course.

The irony is that making gif stickers is incredibly easy; getting approved by GIPHY however is where it can get a bit tricky. I’m not going to share a complete 101 on how to make gif stickers. A quick search on YouTube will tell you all you need to know. But I will tell you that I use Canva, and if you’re an iOS user and want to spend money on Procreate then I would recommend doing so. Using Canva is probably quicker but designing stickers from scratch is just that much cooler AND you end up with 100% unique looking gif stickers. Both ways of creating gif stickers is the same in the sense that you kind of make a small stop-motion sequence in a loop, but yeah. If you want to learn exactly how to make them click here and here.


If you want to make gifs and get them onto Instagram stories for others to search you have to:

  1. Create a free GIPHY account
  2. Create and upload 5-10 gifs
  3. Apply for an artist or brand channel

Creating a free account is very simple. You go onto the GIPHY site and click where it says to create an account. To be eligible for approval you need to remember to upload a profile picture – they call it an avatar – and fill out your bio plus connect your socials like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and/or website. Clearly your website can be free; I must admit I was very sceptical. Your bio doesn’t even need to be special, here’s what I wrote: “Danish hobby artist in love with creative digital design.” That’s literally it.


Think of it like creating a portfolio: what is your design style going to be? GIPHY needs to see what your work is going to look like before you can be approved. Sounds reasonable, right? There are certain requirements your gif stickers need to have to get approved (in general, not just to apply for approval); these are the 4 most important ones:

  1. The gifs have to comply with GIPHY guidelines
  2. At least one part of the sticker must be animated
  3. Stickers must be exported with transparency (at least 20% of the first frame must be transparent)
  4. Stickers must have relevant tags

You can read the rest of the requirements here but I feel that the rest are easy to avoid if you just keep away from plagiarism.

I went for the safe option and uploaded 10 gifs before applying. Creating and uploading took a few hours.


As the headline suggests there are two different channels to apply for: artist or brand. The brand channel is the easiest to get approved and GIPHY advise social media professionals to get their clients a brand channel. If you, however, is like me and just want to have fun creating gif stickers then you need to apply for an artist channel. Honestly I did not expect to get approved since a lot of people in the YouTube comment section complained about not getting approved. You see GIPHY will only tell you if you DO get approved, not if you don’t. Which means that a lot of people apparently had waited for months and months. I believe I waited 7-10 days before I got an email saying I got approved. No matter what try not to stress over it, it won’t earn you any income anyway, and if you’re just doing it for fun then…

If you want to give it a go then click here for BRAND. Click here for ARTIST.

And that is it. Like I said, very simple. You can check out my GIPHY channel here @nilymagic and search for “nily” OR “nilymagic” on Instagram. You are, of course, also welcome to visit my Instagram account for magical content. I hope you found this blog post useful; if you get approved by GIPHY please comment your search name and I will go check it out and probably give you a shoutout. Stay safe.


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What style gif stickers would you make?




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