Print any photo as a polaroid: free template!

When my brother Joe came up with this simple method to print any photo as a Polaroid for the backdrop of our Showcase stand, I knew you’d love to get your hands on the free template. So, I’ve invited him to do his first guest post here and share the DIY – over to you bro…

Print any digital photo as a polaroid free template from Decorators Notebook blog

Hi, Joe here!

If you love Polaroid format pictures as much as I do, you’ve generally got two options: buy a bargain Polaroid camera then shed tears over the cost of the film, or shell out almost as much on send-away Instagram printing.

Now, I print my DSLR photographs for the princely sum of 10p each at my local Asda, so the above options just didn’t add up for me. So instead, I decided to have a go at designing a Photoshop template that meant I could print any digital photo I liked as a Polaroid – and it worked!

Print any digital photo as a polaroid free template from Decorators Notebook blog

Turn any digital photo into a Polaroid print

Your photos as jpegs

Photoshop (or if you want almost the same thing for free, I recommend GNU GIMP)


1. Download my free Polaroid template PNG image and open in Photoshop or GIMP
2. Drag in your photograph as a layer* and re-order the layers so your photo is behind the Polaroid template
3. Select your photograph layer and use the re-size and move tools so that the desired section of the image appears in the square portion of the Polaroid template. It’s likely that your photo will be huge compared to the template, but just shrink it down to size**
4. Save or export image as a JPEG
5. Put the pictures on a memory stick and take to your local photo processing place or use your home printer
6. Use a guillotine or craft knife to trim the bottom white portion from the photo, leaving a thicker border at the base than the sides

*Need help with layers? Watch this YouTube video for Photoshop or this one for GIMP.

**The template size is 12×8 inches which will automatically be scaled down to 6×4″ by the photo processor but allows the file to be a higher resolution to start with. If you chose to print it in a different ratio, the Polaroid image will no longer be square.

I really hope you like it – I’ll be on hand in the comments section to answer any questions!

– Joe

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Print any digital photo as a polaroid free template from Decorators Notebook blog

{Photographs, tutorial and template © Decorator’s Notebook}

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  1. Katie says

    As its printed as a 6″x4″ photo, does it mean the photos are much bigger than the usual 3.5″x4.2″ polaroid prints?
    Thanks for the template, much needed!

    • Joe - Decorator's Notebook says

      Hi Katie,

      The width will be 4″ as opposed to 3.5″ so they will come out as slightly larger than a modern Polaroid. However the older pull-apart Polaroid format is 4″x5″ which is what you’ll get from this template once the bottom inch is trimmed.


    • Atalie says

      This seems really cool!
      I can’t get the photo I am working with to fit within the square portion of the template, though. I’ve tried to scale the photo, but it only distorts the photo instead of shrink it to fit. Any suggestions?
      Thank you!

  2. girlwiththesilverlocket says

    I thought this was a really clever, cost effective idea! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while, so thank you!

  3. says

    Worked a treat – I squared down some photos, added the G’MIC SX-70 Polaroid filters before pulling the image into the template. Looks great but lacks the shadow vignetting of the pola frame. Still, a great and cheap way to add a lot of retro charm to your pictures.

    • Joe - Decorator's Notebook says

      Thanks Stephen,

      I’m glad you liked it. Deliberately held back from a heavy vignette as I personally don’t think it works for every photo you might want to put in there.

      Would love to see any results if you can tweet us a pic! @decoratorsnotes


  4. Nisha says

    This looks amazing! I was wondering where you get them printed though? On Asda’s website it looks like the smallest they do it 6″x4″. Or do you just trim an inch off the bottom afterwards? Thanks

  5. Rosey says

    Hello! I just wanted to say thank you for putting this post up – I’ve used it for some photographs and it looks really great!! :)

  6. Dee says

    Hi, i love this idea so much and would love to use this for my friends wedding. However i was wondering if you happened to have any landscape polaroid versions? some of my pictures don’t work with the normal format. Or do you know anywhere i can find a template like that?

    thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Dee – thanks for your comment. I’m afraid I haven’t seen polaroid photos produced in a landscape format. I think part of the charm is the proportions of the square frame and cropping the images to fit However if you download GIMP you could try playing around with the frame in the template we’ve provided. Good luck!

  7. Ashleigh says


    Why does the template have little black splotches on it? Around the edges? I think they might be a “look” of polaroid but they are distracting on my photo. Am I doing something wrong? Or is there a good way to remove them? Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Ashleigh,

      I did add some marks to the template as well as a slight vignette to try to replicate the feel of an old camera which might have dust on the lens or film. If you are looking to display your photos as they are but with a Polaroid crop, you can use the dimensions of this template, crop your pictures to a square, print and trim.

      There are plenty of video tutorials online for getting started with GIMP/Photoshop.

      Thanks for reading, good luck!

    • Mimi says

      This got to me too, my friends ended up with black spots on their faces like they had beauty marks or something. I worked around this by cropping the photo to the size of the picture and then layering it ontop of the template rather than underneat (I did this on Inkscape btw but I’m sure you can do it with Photoshop and GIMP too) . I hope these turn out well, thanks Joe!

  8. says

    Thanks so much for posting this template. I am curious how you suggest adding text to the bottom of the template if I wanted it printed on the polaroid. I wasn’t sure how the photo processor would handle the text. Thanks so much again!

    • says

      Hi Kathryn,

      Adding text is a great idea and should be fairly simple to do if you’re opening this up in GIMP/Photoshop. I’d suggest having a look on Font Squirrel for a nice (free) hand drawn font.

      You should be able to find a basic tutorial online for manipulating text in GIMP. If you install a new font it should appear in GIMP next time you restart.

      As long as the text fits on the template the photo processor should handle it without any problem. Good luck! We’d love to see the results when you’re done (@decoratorsnotes on Twitter).

    • says

      Hello Emmie. We took our photos to a professional photo lab and had them printed at 4″ x 6″ onto matt finish paper. The template will automatically scale down to that size and then you just need to trim off the bottom of each photo as explained in the instructions. However you could use a home printer using 4″ x 6″ photo paper if you prefer – we just never find the finish is quite as good.

  9. sidney says

    Thanks for the template! I found I was able to accomplish the same effect in a photo editing app called picmonkey and the paint program with a bit of cropping here and there, so there’s no need to worry about purchasing a Photoshop program!

  10. Julianne says


    This template is exactly what I’ve been looking for!

    The problem I’m having is that when I scale down my image to fit in the template’s window (in GIMP), my image loses resolution and goes fuzzy.

    Any suggestions?


    • says

      Hi Julianne,

      The first thing I would try when you open the template/image in GIMP is to go to Image>Scale Image and check that the x and y resolutions are at 300 pixels/in (minimum). If that doesn’t work then rather than resizing using the resize tool in the tool-bar, select the layer and try going to Layer>Scale Layer. Here you can try different “Interpolation” settings which can give a different image quality when resized.

      I hope this helps,


    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      You should be able to increase the size of the template layer in GIMP/Photoshop. You may lose some of the definition of the template itself, but as long as your original image is large enough then I don’t think it will effect the quality too noticeably.


  11. Emma says

    hi there, every time I press on the link to your template it comes up a picture of it but doesn’t actually download, has this been a problem?

  12. catherine says

    This is brilliant! Exactly what I am looking for. I am just having a little trouble saving as a jpeg so I can put them onto a USB. Any advice?


    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      The image is in PNG format. JPEG images cannot have transparent elements, so the template wouldn’t work as described.

      If you open the link in the post and right click on it, you should be able to “save image as…”. This should allow you to save the PNG to your USB.

      I hope that helps,

  13. Thahiya says

    Hi, I am currently using this template however, I can’t seem to get these small lines across the pictures off. Also, I exported the picture as a jpeg, will I sill be able to print?

    P.S not very photoshop smart. And I am using GIMP!


    • says

      Hi Thahiya

      There are some marks added to the template to mimic the imperfections you might find when developing a film from an old camera.

      If you are looking to display your photos as they are but with a Polaroid crop, you can use the dimensions of this template, crop your pictures to a square, print and trim.

      There are plenty of video tutorials online for getting started with GIMP/Photoshop.

      Jpegs will be fine for printing.

      Thanks for reading, good luck!

  14. Joanne says

    Hi.i just dont understand about it.And im using canon pixma printer and glossy photo paper.How can i turn it into a polaroid . and different size of polaroid.


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