Do you love playing Minecraft? Today you'll learn how to customize your own character to make the game even more fun. Join along as we reveal in simple steps how to make a Minecraft skin.
If you're interested in learning more about customizing the game by creating your own buildings, animals, and more, check out our Minecraft modding class and our fun Minecraft Redstone Engineering class designed by professionals from Google, Stanford, and MIT. There are even free intro sessions to begin!
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What is a Minecraft skin?
A Minecraft skin is a graphic download that changes the appearance of a video game character. A skin does not change the outcome of the game.
In Minecraft, it is helpful to think of the skin as made up of pixels. A pixel is one square of color on a screen. Minecraft skins come in two sizes - 64 x 64 pixels (a total of 4,096) and 128 x 128 pixels (a whopping total of 16, 384!). When you create a Minecraft skin, there are lots of pixels to fill in, but the various paint tools will help you do this rather quickly.
What parts make up a Minecraft skin?
The parts of a Minecraft skin include:
- The head - 6 visible sides
- The body's torso - 4 visible sides
- Arms - 6 sides visible
- Legs - 5 sides visible
It's important to consider which surfaces of the skin are visible. For example, the top of the rectangular prism that is the legs is never visible. But the bottom of the head is visible from certain angles because it sticks out from the neck.
How to make a Minecraft skin
In just seven quick steps you can make your own custom character experience! Let's get started.
1. Open the Skin editor
Start by heading to the Skin editor website. (Here are some of the best Minecraft skin makers to pick from. For this tutorial, we'd recommend using MinecraftSkins. To start with, the Steve character (male-identifying) shows up as the default skin.
2. Get familiar with the tools
Click and move your mouse to rotate the skin. With your mouse wheel you can zoom in and out on your skin. The color palettes is set using the colors below, and there are tools to draw, fill, and erase. The paint brush tool will fill 1 pixel at a time. Click and drag to continuously paint lines of pixels. The paint bucket tool fills an entire surface of the section of the skin you are on (such as the left arm). Remember, you can always click the undo button to go back a step!
3. Pick a character
Now you can pick a character to start building from - try to find one that is the closest to the skin you plan to create. You can also chose Alex (female-identifying) from the Model drop down under your skin. And you can pick any skin listed under New Skins or Top Skins to edit.
4. Pick a color palette
If you look closely, Steve’s shirt has at least 3 shades of teal. Most Minecraft skins use multiple shades of the same color to give texture and depth to the characters. So click each square on your character's shirt to change the color. Try adding 3-5 colors you like using the paint brush! To fill in big sections quickly you can use the paint can.
Most skin editors have tools to help you with shading. MC Skins has a cool spray paint tool that will automatically make a shade lighter and darker than your selected color, making a mottled appearance with 3 shades. MinecraftSkins uses a “lighten color” and “darken color” tool to help make your shading palette. To use it, simply select your color in the palette and click the light or dark star to increase or decrease the brightness of that color. You don’t need to change the color very much for shading your skin.
If you need ideas for color palettes, check out this helpful tool.
5. Make the face and hair
Zoom in so you only see the head. Choose 3-5 colors for your color palette for the head.
The placement of the eyes is one of the trickiest parts of making a face - they are usually farther down on the head than you would expect. Take a look at the placement of Steve’s eyes below. Each eye is 2 pixels - one with color and one for the whites of the eyes. Other types of skins, such as animals and creatures might have more unusual eyes that are spread out more, use more pixels, or taller than the typical human eyes. Bigger eyes (2 x 2 pixels) can also give your human characters more of an anime look.
Next, locate where the mouth and nose of your character will go. Many skins will have no mouth at all, while others will have 4-6 pixels in a row for the mouth. Remember that you can always look up images as a reference.
Make the hair for your character next. When choosing hair color, it is best to choose 2-3 shades of the same color to keep the hair from looking completely flat. Adding some hair over the eyes can give you a swooped bangs look. Longer hair can be tricky because some of the hair will cover the top of the torso.
Do you need ears? Horns? Anything else on the head? Remember to add these details and then fill in the sides, top, bottom, and back of the head.
6. Create the clothing
Start coloring the torso. Decide what kind of neck line you want on the shirt - most shirts do not go straight across the neck and shoulders. Use a darker shade of the shirt color to outline each surface of the torso, and a lighter shade to fill in the shirt. Adding shading - even a little bit - will give your skin depth and make it look more realistic. Plaid shirts, patterned shirts, and striped shirts will take more patience but look really great when finished! Or try making a sports jersey, a hoodie, a jacket, or overalls on the torso of your character.
After the torso is complete, work on the arms and legs of your character. Again, use a darker shade of the clothing color to outline, and a lighter shade of the same color to fill in the clothing. For the legs, try pants, ripped jeans, shorts, a skirt, dress, or kilt for your character. If your character wears shoes, reserve the bottom 3-4 pixels of the legs for sneakers, and more if you want boots or another higher type of shoe.
Remember to click and move your mouse to rotate your character and see all sides. If you make any mistakes you can use the undo button to remove them.
7. Save it
Click the download button to save your skin. It will save as a .png file. Don’t worry if you look at the file and it looks like your skin is laid out in a strange way - that is how it should look until it is uploaded to Minecraft! Make sure you save the skin to your photo library to make it later accessible in Minecraft. To do so, tap the image and hold until a menu appears and select Save Image. Open Minecraft and press the Store button. Then press the Custom Skin model. Press the Choose New Skin button. You now have the option of applying your skin to a Steve (Male) or Alex (Female) model. Now press the Confirm button to confirm this is the skin and model that will be used for your player from now on.
Here's a video that can walk you through the process step by step:
Now here's how to import your skin into Minecraft.
Make your own Minecraft skins
Now you're ready to make any Minecraft skins you can imagine or change your character's skin! You can even try making Halloween skins. Up next, learn how to make your own Minecraft pixel art or try free Minecraft modding.
To dive deep into customizing your Minecraft gaming experience, join our fun online Minecraft Modding Quest class (Grades 2-5) or Minecraft Redstone Engineering class (Grades 2-5), designed by Google and Stanford experts, and led live by experts who can answer all your questions!